Friday, July 14, 2006

One Last Invitation plus A Number Of Short Album Reviews.

Okay, this is my last attempt to cajole you out of the house tomorrow night and to implore you to join me at The Continental for what I hope will be an unforgettable evening of great music and transcendent interpersonal contact. In short, make sure you show up at The Continental after 11pm ready for one hell of a party. Kip has the next day off, though, so again; if you see him approaching make sure your drink is not at wing-wang level.

Now, since I’m sure you are all going to show up I’ll move on to a slightly different topic. I’ve gotten a truckload and a half of new music in the last week or so, and I reckoned I would share a few of my observations on a few of the discs with you. So, without further adieu, let’s get to it.

Soul Asylum, The Silver Lining – I’ll say this; this album could have been much worse. Considering the group’s last disc, though, the band really had nowhere to go but up. Overall it’s a pleasant collection of the workmanlike tuneage that we’ve come to expect from Mr. Pirner in the last decade or so. Nothing too spectacular but I bet my dad would have enjoyed it. File under the musical genre a slightly more aggressive Sheryl Crow might inhabit were her balls to ever drop.

Joshua Radin, We Were Here – I admit I only gave this a listen because Chris Holmes produced it. Overall it’s pretty weak and I sort of wish either a) Radin had a more distinctive vocal style or b) Holmes had experimented with the songs in the studio and bulked them up beyond their limited range. I think he could have done it but I’m guessing he opted for more of a hands-off approach to highlight Radin’s songs. He must have seen something in them that I’m missing.

Rhymefest, Blue Collar – Aside from his being a Chicagoan I think Rhymefest deserves massive props for “Devil’s Pie” and its terrific use of a modern rock and/or roll sample (The Strokes’ “Someday.) Oh yeah, the rest of the disc is awesome too. I reckon this will just get praise heaped all over it so I don’t really need to expand on the contents all that much. Let’s just say I like it when the buzz proves to actually come from a bee with a hell of a sting.

Assassins, You Will Changed Us – Not terribly different from the version of the disc that’s been circulating for the last few years, but the content has definitely been sharpened. I am a big fan of this band and really hope they make the jump beyond the borders of Chicago and NYC. A full review is slated to publish later today at Chicagoist.

MSTRKRFT, The Looks – I commented on this a few days ago but think I should expand. I’ve given this quite a number of listens, more than I would probably accord to most other albums that didn’t strike my fancy right away, due to the fact I have enjoyed MSTRKRFT remixes so much. Unfortunately they can’t really carry it over a whole album’s worth (well, eight songs worth) of original material. I still think "She's Good For Business" is a stand-out but the remainder really suffers from a characterless malaise. I suspect they thought they could go the LCD Soundsystem route but they just don’t have the originality to sustain interest in their own compositions.

The Dears, Gang Of Losers – The Dears’ new album is better than their last one. The music is more layered, the melodies more plaintive and the emotion more provocative. These Canuck’s run the risk of being slumped in with that whole chamber-pop thing but I think it’s a mistake to view them so narrowly. Notice, I’m not even removing any points for Murray Lightburn's vocal similarity to Morrissey. Why? Because the tunes are so good that I don’t care who he’s ripping off as long as it keeps working.

Primal Scream, Riot City Blues – Pitchfork continues its recent trend of misinformed reviews by trashing this album. Okay, yes it is a return (some might even say (tongue in cheek) relapse) to their previous motor-boogie incarnation that followed the aural bliss of Screamadelica. So if you are looking for them to continue the sonic assaults they were building under Kevin Shields’ tutelage you are going to be disappointed. If, however, you are like me and enjoy riding along with Bobby Gillespie and company no matter where they’re headed - -as long as the trip is interesting – then you are going to like this disc. Musically it is as solid as an inner-city holler crossed with a man-hug. Chinks will only appear in the fa├žade of the songs if you look for the group be something they’re not. At least not right now.

DJ Tankboy, The Continental – Okay, I lied, I’m pimping it one last time…be there tomorrow night!

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