Oct 25, 2014

Music Review: Teenanger-EP LP

     Toronto's Teenanger slow the tempo down (in some cases, quite) a bit for their third album, 'EP LP'. They haven't lost their knack for finding inventive riffs (which sets them apart from their peers) and the bass on this one is so much heavier. Production is crisper compared with previous releases, albeit with a slight tinge of reverb. The sax solo on 'Twisted' is awesome; it's that of the reedy vomit variety. I want to know the story behind that 'cause it's such a great but singular* moment on the album.
     Teenanger remain one of Canada's finest due to their songwriting abilities. No one else I know of combines post-punk and thrash like they do. There always seems to be an airy, almost angelic, clean synth or guitar part buried in the mix on their earlier releases, accenting the front-loaded chaos. 'EP LP' may be a slight departure from thrash aesthetic but who will complain when the riffs are ever-intriguing. If this is their permanent new direction, so be it. Teenanger will never be found "at the loser convention" and their "name" will never "mean zilch".
Listen/Buy Here

                                                                                                              The Verdict: 3 Bedpans

*I know sax solos have been used only once on albums by many artists before. For me, it's kinda sad to wonder why sax talent wouldn't be employed more than once on any given album. How'd the saxophonist convince the band to allow them a drive-by of sorts? 

Oct 19, 2014

Music Review: Son of a Gun-No Bread

     Son of a Gun's 'No Bread' is exactly the type of album for which my journey through garage rock five years ago began; plainly direct in its mission to rock out. Rocking out is a noble goal for anyone over the age of 30 'cause it's the largest middle finger we can give to a society that would have us behave like pacified children. 
     Whether or not any of us chooses to accept it, The Light is dying more everyday. Somebody's gotta take that Dylan Thomas verse to heart. Somebody's gotta model the lunacy/idiocy/hedonism/hysteria that'll be the Yin to society's boring/suppressive Yang. Son of a Gun are proud members of that ever-growing club. 
     The "Bread" in 'No Bread' probably refers to money, but I like to also take it as actual carbohydrates or empty calories that turn into unwanted fat cells. The phrase. "all Killer, no Filler" was invented to describe 'No Bread'. Son of a Gun hardly ever reduce their BPM here. 'Peel Off' begins with, "I walked into a tattoo shop. I said, 'Gimme everything you got'"; which describes Son of a Gun's mad approach to their music.
     Speaking of "Gimme everything you got!", 'No Bread's cover art is a massive slice of Awesome. It depicts Lewis Carol's Alice sitting among stuff that's guaranteed to transport her. Firstly is a turntable stereo system. Judging by the semi-cloudy-but-otherwise-clear sky that's painted onto the dust cover, music could certainly take here there. To her immediate left is what looks to be a 70's model, fifteen passenger van. It's too large and too clean to be a party van. Someone is driving, but they're the only person pictured in said van and what looks to be heavy rain can be seen through half the windows. Kinda hard to interpret that image. In front of Alice sits some sort of (I'm guessing) South American folk mask or icon. It looks like it could be a personified sun. No quite sure what to make of that either. However, Alice doesn't disappoint 'cause she's gripping one of those infamous drugs Lewis Carol gave her from which to choose. Looks like Alice has some options once again. I think the wax provided by Son of a Gun to place on that turntable platter might be The Ticket, Alice.

                                                                                                                       The Verdict: 4 Bedpans

Music Review: Useless Eaters-Bleeding Moon


     "The Devil's in the alleyway, pissing in the gutter"? Okay, Mr. Sutton. Seth has officially put his baby, Useless Eaters, on the map and I can no longer ignore them. Why would anyone want to when they've suddenly picked up some Wire influence? Yes, I'll take it and ask for four more helpings. 
     'Bleeding Moon' has style to spare. The second guitar part on 'Simple Device' is enough to send my senses reeling. An air of cool prevails over 'Bleeding Moon' as Seth lets the music (particularly rhythm) do most of the work. His speak-sing plain vocal styling serves as a mere accent to this post-punk meets Memphis garage rock experiment. Solos are kept to the bare minimal, but when they arrive, they wail.
     The Bunnymen's 'Moon' meant to kill us. Seth Sutton's just means to bleed on us. If I can gleam some of Seth's magnetism from the latter, it sure ain't bad. If the blood will only stifle me, I'll gladly take the former.

                                                                                                                            The Verdict: 4 Bedpans

Music Review: Li Xi-Meet Me Somewhere

     Li Xi's 'Meet Me Somewhere' is a beautiful music collage. The cocktail airy vocals, clean, large Gibson guitars, dub-y bass, bouncy drums, Moog accents, and vignettes of specific scenes and places is pleasantly whimsical. Li Xi's destination is the sun. Before I knew it, we were there; probably halfway through the second track. 
     The running time of 25:45 shouldn't fool anyone into thinking this music is as economical as the song-lengths. Every tune is filled with exactly what it needs, no more or less, often brimming with all aforementioned elements. At other times, restrained, but always feeling like they could burst at any moment. The last track, 'Moss Beach' is certainly a standout here in that it goes prog towards the end, giving the listener about :45 secs of "Huh?" but not enough to suspect outright format betrayal.
     Li Xi are meticulous pop architects. Every San Franciscan should seek out 'Meet Me Somewhere'. It can only help anyone who's bummed over the state of their once-beloved City. For myself, 'Meet Me Somewhere' will be in heavy rotation to buoy me 'til Spring. Li Xi have my sincerest thanks.

                                                                                                                            The Verdict: 3 Bedpans