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"127 Hours" by Michael Smith
"Tangled" by Mike Smith
|THE AUDIO PHILES|
November's Album of the Month: Smashing Pumpkins Teargarden By Kaliedyscope V.2 by Terence Nuzum
Show Review: Renninger's Antique Extravaganza 2010 by ED Tucker
|THE ASIAN APERTURE|
Yukio Mishima by Jason Fetters
Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith
November's Album of the Month: Smashing Pumpkins Teargarden By Kaliedyscope V.2
Where Vol.1 of Corgan's eventual 44-song epic was rather weak for a comeback, Vol. 2 delivers the goods in almost the completely right direction. First off, the E.P. presentation is better this time around. Instead of a wooden box we get a huge 1970's flashy metallic floral cover with a 4-track CD inside and picture disc vinyl of the CD with one B-side. Yes, iconography and album art are important to the SP experience but it's really the music that we all wanna know about. If you thought Billy was slipping on Vol. 1, then have no fear. Solstice Bare sounds like almost a full band again (it's just Billy doing bass and guitar parts with 19-year-old Mike Byrne on drums. So far Nicole Fiorentino and Jeff Schroeder haven't been on any studio work. That's for the next E.P.) with far more of a drive. Billy's voice sounds more animated, too, than on Vol. 1 which sounded weak and tired. Vol. 2 kicks off with a pulsating New Order homage "The Fellowship" which is full of cool fluid guitar chord.
"Freak" is next with a fuzz-scarred bass line and driving pop guitar as Billy's emotional vocals return to warn us of "milk and filth and disease". "Tom Tom" is MVP on this E.P., it's part Americana sound mixed with alt-rock guitar. The E.P. ends with "Spangled" a Beatlesque tribute to love that bemoans how "butterflies don't make it in movies". Lyrically, vocally, musically, and most importantly, emotionally, The Solstice Bare signals the return of the band. The Teargarden Project could use a little more of the loud guitars angry Billy of yore but at least we have the cool New-Wave inspired pop Billy that made "1979" and "Perfect" such classics. I couldn't quite get behind the notion with the first volume, but with volume two, I have full faith that Billy is back in conquer-the-world mode. Now bring on the rest of the 36 songs!
Sample of "Freak" by Smashing Pumpkins
Weezer: Death To False Metal.
Not entirely a new album. That's the press anyway. Death To False Metal is comprised of outtakes from all of Weezer's career. The result is an album better than most any of their recent ones but oddly one that shows they always sounded as tacky as they do now. It seems the poppy garage rock of The Blue Album and the proto-emo Pinkerton were just wise choices and that the current cheesy Weezer was always there but regulated to the sidelines because, let's face it,, in 1994 and 1996 grunge and downer rock was in. Highlights are "Turning Up The Radio" a pop metal cruncher, "Blowing My Stack" an obvious Pinkerton outtake that just makes you fall in love with the old screaming his heart out Rivers Coumo all the more, "Trampoline" a sugary fuck off pop rocker that's every bit as awesome nerdiness as the title suggests, and "The Odd Couple" and bouncy ballad that celebrates the love for opposites with a great vocal performance from Rivers. Love them or hate them that's two albums from Weezer in one year. In less than a month apart. If you hate 'em, move on. If you love 'em, pick this baby up now because it may be the best Weezer album you've heard in forever.
Bruce Springsteen: The Promise.
Let's face it, even detractors can't deny that Darkness on the Edge of Town was a great album. While the optimism of Born to Run had faded in year zero for Punk at least The Boss's love of Spectoresque production had not. It was a dark album that many probably didn't expect coming from Bruce. I mean "Adam Raised A Cain" was as brutal as any punk song that year. As great an album as that was there was another album or two before it that never even happened...enter The Promise. First off, there is more optimism on a lot of these tracks than Darkness...but even this early, some of the more apocalyptic type love songs were present for these sessions . Take "Because The Night" for instance, an almost suicide pact sounding love song that was just downer enough to be covered by the queen of New York herself, Patti Smith. What you have in The Promise is essentially a better album than Darkness...though it lacks the drive and is a bit overlong (though the liner notes suggest that it isn't one whole album but actually two or three. Remember, that's possible since most albums back then where 9 tracks and this one is 21). All it takes is one listen to this album's version of "Racing In The Street" to know that while Darkness on the Edge of Town was a classic, there were many more gems we never even knew about.
To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "The Audio Philes" is ©2010 by Terence Nuzum. All graphics (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.