Now in our fifth calendar year|
PCR #226 (Vol. 5, No. 30) This edition is for the week of July 19--25, 2004.
|THE DIGITAL DIVIDE|
Wilco: A Ghost is Born
"Not what you expected" is the term you could use for Wilco's follow-up to their masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. If you thought the experimentation on the previous album was too much or found it hard to believe that Universal found it uncommercial at all you will be either turned off or pleased that the promise was fulfilled. Tweedy this time around dips in the Neil Young songbook for "At Least That's What You Said", returns to the Beatlesque style of his 1999 effort Summerteeth for the beatiful "Hummingbird", goes Garage rock on "I'm A Wheel" and on the best track "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" evokes the spirit of Krautrock geniuses Neu! all before wasting our time with the album's main fault "Less Than You Think" a soft song which closes with about 10 mins of white feedback noise, with no tune, purpose, or direction which comes off with the idea that "even Sonic Youth wouldn't have been that pretentious". That's actually not far from the truth. See Sonic Youth producer/new member and avant-garde rocker Jim O'Rourke has once again infused his noise racket into a good band. He did it with Sonic Youth and now he's done it with Wilco. Yes Jeff Tweedy claims this indulgent song is the "closest to the migraines I suffer" yet one can't help but feel that's an excuse for trying to make the song sound relevent even when it has already in two months given every music reviewer the chance to use the phrase "you will find yourself hitting the skip track button on your CD player". The last 10 mins of that song aside the album is great just not the masterpiece we thought it would be. Then again Pink Floyd never topped Dark Side of the Moon yet that doesn't stop us from playing the hell out Wish You Were Here. 5 LEDS
P. J. Harvey: Uh Huh Her
Heres a little tale for you. Once upon a time there was a rocking "50 ft. Queenie" who became a howling goth " Down By The Water" but then the "Sky Lit Up" with dark electro pop. After that she fell in love in New York and found "Good Fortune" and even though she discovered "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore" she realized "This Is Love". Now during all this time her rock goddess crown had been snatched up by young upstarts like Karen O of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Now with the new tale Uh Huh Her she finds this out and starts all in a good old-fashioned rage and asks "Who the Fuck?" pulls out a "Pocket Knife" and holds it up to all the young punks who think that she lost it. Those of you who got that little tale will have already bought the album. Those who don't need to buy all the others, listen album by album, then pop this baby in and find out what the initiated already knew, little Polly Jean's got her guts and her guitar back! 5 LEDs
Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse
After Murray Street's false claim about sounding like classic rock I had lost all hope of the band I once loved. Not only did it not sound like classic rock it sounded like a tired band. But now it has all been remedied. Back are the sprawling guitar walls and the snotty lyrics. It even sounds a little like classic rock. Think Fleetwood Mac if they had been a '70s No Wave band. This may be their best since Dirty and even up to the standards of the immortal DayDream Nation. 5 LEDs
The Cure: The Cure
Ok, let me start this off by saying that Ross Robinson, a nu-metal producer who has produced Korn, is the oddest choice for a band like The Cure. Somehow, most of it works though. The opening track "Lost" at times sounds like an outtake off of Nine Inch Nails' Fragile, but it proves that Robinson has done what others cannot -- namely harness Robert Smith's moan like no other. Robinson's favorite Cure record must be Wish because the majority of the tracks like "Labyrinth" and "Alt. End" sound like it -- all awash with hypnotic guitars. The focus of the album is to obviously keep the band on the same level as all those current emo-metal bands that cite them as influences, but Robinson either does, or lets, them take it too far on "Us Or Them" as Smith uncharacteristically screams the word "fuck" more than a couple of times. It's not so much the word as it is that it seems like someone trying too hard to be edgy. It's still as good as Wish and better than Wild Mood Swings but to me it isn't that much of the lauded improvement over Bloodflowers that it claims to be. Who said Bloodflowers needed improving anyway? 4 1/2 LEDS
Beastie Boys: To The 5 Borroughs
It's been awhile but the boys are back in town. No it doesn't sound like the frat rock of Licence To Ill, the sample genius of Paul's Boutique, the funk/punk collage Check Your Head, or the alt-rock Ill Communication, but at least it doesn't sound like the comedy album mess that was Hello Nasty. The boys have decided that they will go all garage rock on us. But in their punk rap way, of course. So no jaw-dropping sampling, no guitars or bass just sparse minimilastic beats and synths invoking the feeling that this is how they played in their garage when they first started out. But it's still full of piss and vinegar as they take swipes at Eminem and President Bush. It's all good. 5 LEDS
TV On The Radio: Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes- The coolest band I have heard in ages.
Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand - For those who like Pulp and dancing. Whoever you are.
Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News
On ! Air ! Library ! - My Bloody Valentine's only successors.
Ratatat. Ninetendo dance punk from the guy in Dashboard Confessional. No, not him, one of the other guys.
Secret Machines: Now Here Is Nowhere- Takes you back to the days when bands like Traffic and Led Zeppelin achieved that huge sound. Yet there are only three guys here! Worth it.
Ryan Adams: Love Is Hell- Finally the complete gothic alt country masterpiece. Yeah we got screwed by buying the EPs.
Morrissey: You Are The Quarry - Moz is back!!!!!
Les Savy Fav: Inches
Brian Wilson: Gettin' In Over My Head- No it's not great, but it will tide you over until SMILE.
"The Digital Divide" is ©2004 by Terence Nuzum.. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.