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"Edge of Darkness" by Mike Smith
Forgotten Horrors: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things by ED Tucker
|THE AUDIO PHILES|
January Albums by Terence Nuzum
Ahoy! Pirates In Pop Culture by Lisa Scherer
|THE ASIAN APERTURE|
Curse of Japanese Toy Shopping by Jason Fetters
|LAMPIN' @ THE 6TH BOROUGH|
I Love St. Pete @ ARTpool by John Miller
Love Is... .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith
Vampire Weekend: Contra- The flaxen-haired beauty on the cover invoking the image of a 80's college yuppie may make you think that Vampire Weekend are still playing on their Kinks-meets-Talking Heads-meets Paul Simon's Graceland debut album but don't be fooled. Gone are the quaint Ray Davies guitar riffs. Instead they are replaced with reggae rhythms funneled through "Confusion" era New Order. This is displayed best on the song "White Sky". Ezra Koenig's Paul Simon/Peter Gabriel vocal nuances have remained the same except when taking a Thom Yorkish croon detour on the album closer "Contra" and the downright David Byrnish "California English". While "Taxi Cab" is the only real dark or slow song on the album there is a sense as is most always with sophomore albums a tendency to get a bit more artistic. "Run" best exemplifies this as it starts off as a slow ditty with a bouncy back beat that eventually consumes the song as it builds to a dance pop climax. The albums best song is "Under The Gun" a poppy driving number that wouldn't sound out of place in the Britpop 90's. Of course there is also a bit of the old style on the album in the form of the pop knockout "Cousins" which boasts a sped up schizoid riff behind lyrics of hereditary fame. An almost perfect album that tows the line between artistic and Top 40 pop. And while it has various styles they never seem too far from each other stylistically. Swapping African Rhythms, Kinks riffs, and yuppie pop for dance hall, reggae, and 80's electro pop Contra has emerged as an album taking a step forward while also not alienating fans.
Spoon: Transference- Spoon ups the guitar for this one giving us riffy pop rock with a hint of Zeppelin and darker lyrics than usual for indie-rocks favorite band. Not as poppy or jazzy as past efforts but for those who love the earlier albums (Girls Can Tell in particular) will welcome the return to the more garagey side of the band.
Surfer Blood: Astro-Coast- Florida band makes good. This was already making the bootleg rounds as early as August last year and it totally lives up to the post Pitchfork review hype it has been getting. It's Garage Punk funneled through a wave of Brian Wilson echo chamber, and like its title it dwells in the surf guitar genre, but unlike retro acts it isn't straight forward or noticeable to the casual listener. Instead its brilliant guitar rock is simply informed by the echoey and twangy ghost of the sea and surf. Who says Florida has no good bands? They will be huge.