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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #549 (Vol. 11, No. 40). This edition is for the week of September 27--October 3, 2010.

"Let Me In"  by Michael Smith
"The Social Network" by Mike Smith
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part 13. The Works of John Randal McDonald, Part Two, The Church Building: Transcending the Material to the Spiritual  by William Moriaty
September Album of the Month: Neil Young Le Noise  by Terence Nuzum
Forgotten Films: Stop, Look, and Laugh  by ED Tucker
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974)  by Jason Fetters
Passing On .... Rock And Roll Honors .... How Much Money Can I Make From These Movies - Let's Find Out .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

The Audio Philes by Terence Nuzum

September Album of the Month: Neil Young Le Noise

Album of the Month Neil Young: Le Noise.  

Back in the late 70s to about early 90s Neil Young was making albums that were so out of nowhere sometimes that fans refer to them as volumes in the Tales of the Unexpected. Those albums included the classics like Rust Never Sleeps and the clunkers like his bizarre Geffen years that included both a Synth and a rockabilly album. Young reclaimed the rock by getting back together with Crazy Horse in the early 90's and enjoyed on equal levels fan love and critic love. But by the 2000s Neil's weird side came back again. Greendale was a semi-rock opera concept album and film, Prairie Wind was a Harvest knock off (and finally made Neil sound like an old man), Living with War a wacky heavy metal protest album, Chrome Dreams II was a collection of new and ancient material from the vaults all together on an album with a title that confused the public (the first Chrome Dreams was a unreleased album from the 70's), and Fork In The Road was another concept album but this time with a hokey clincher...it was an advertisement/propaganda for electric cars! Le Noise continues this weird Neil era that has to be by now called Tales of the Unexpected returns. Le Noise though doesn't fall in the Everybody's Rockin and Fork In The Road territory but instead in the Rust Never Sleeps classic arena. It is a solo album but it's also electric.
Sample of "Hitchhiker" by Neil Young
The only problem with that is that a lot of the songs sound like demo's and you keep waiting for drums and Crazy Horse to follow lead. Instead though we at least get some awesome guitar atmospherics that are much gentler but still reminiscent of the Weld album. Daniel Lanois and Young make a feast for your ears that sits somewhere between shoegaze and white noise. You gotta hand it to Neil at his age he still manages to sound fresher than most new acts. Lyrically Neil is at his darkest which is also when he's at his best. When he's not recalling the tragic parts of his life, all recalled by which drugs he took during which incident, he's spinning apocalyptic tales about America where life is bad for the fisherman and the businessman. He also stirs up the demons of his failed marriage with Carrie Snodgrass in the 70's but of course without being too obvious. Is this the beginning of a new Ditch Trilogy? We can only hope. While that originally trilogy (Times Fades Away,On The Beach, and Tonight's The Night) was sparked by some of the worst times in Neil's life it also produced his best albums. Is it so wrong for us fans to want a little taste of that again? Looks like we at least got it here. Le Noise is a triumph.

No Age: Everything In Between.  

Compared to No Age's last release this sounds like they won the lottery and bought their own studio. Way more tight and polished Everything In Between sounds like a stab at the big time. Not much as changed the songs still fluctuate between Sonic Youth rave ups and My Bloody Valentine dronescapes. What it lacks though is the sense of urgency of living in the moment that so made this band sound like the theme music to being young. In any event this is still a record that should not go unheard.

Black Mountain:: Wilderness Heart.  

Black Mountain have come along way from minimalist 70's hard rock jams and psych-folk to Hawkwindesque prog rock to now finally an album that combines all that in a more subtle way and into a cohesive whole. Wilderness Heart is them putting their last inch of breath into a masterpiece. All the old elements of their sound, the Black Sabbath meets Mountain mix, but now add in some Incredible String Band influences. But they never have and still don't make their influences rip offs. They as a band are like the difference between Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, the former rips off old films while the latter simply makes films as if they were released back then but without actually copping anything. The most amazing thing about the record is that even before the first track is over you can tell this band sound confident and cocksure. They act like they have already taken over the world and no one can stop them.

Bad Religion: The Dissent of Man- Ok so like 6 songs on this album could've been dropped. Some of them are beyond filler and way too poppy to be Bad Religion. "Hey I Wont Deny It" is embarrassingly poppy it could be used on a mentos commercial. And Weezer gets flack?! Not a bad album really, with tight clean production, mellow numbers,punk tunes that remind you of old Bad Religion only more mature and refined technically, all around a satisfying laid back release. And that's the problem! Especially when you are Bad Religion.

Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest- Since Cryptograms I have loved Deerhunter. Microcastles will still stand as an amazing record for the ages. But on Halcyon Digest they have take some detours into the land of no return and they may not get out if they aren't careful. To be frank the music on this album is not all that original. It lacks the Spectoresque production techniques that made Mircrocastles such a joy to digest. Instead the band decides to experiment by making things more lo-fi, off the cuff, and just playing whatever whenever. Some of it works for instance like when Coronado uses a Sax but it hardly helps as the song is uninspired. "Sailing" is one of the worst offenders. It along with some other songs sound like Deerhunter is jumping on the indie surf music revival by doing their best Surfer Blood impression. There is at least one track that I swear could be a Vampire Weekend song. So all in all this album coming on the heels of two stellar pieces of work just falls short plain and simple. Problem is if they continue this route they may gain some new fans but is it worth the loss of the old ones?

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.