Short Cuts 12/29/01
(Turducken Records special)
Wow--they should've called this "N.O.-Brainer." This compilation, N.O.-Fi, is "a live documentation of New Orleans garage/surf/punk." The list of bands included alone is enough to let you know you need this CD--the Royal Pendeltons, the Darkest Hours (w/Peg, formerly of the Gories), the Persuaders, and many more are featured. In fact, there isn't a single song on this CD that doesn't rock--from the smooth and tasteful instro action of the Ramparts, to the fun/silly surf of Famous Monsters (w/Sean, formerly of White Zombie), this CD is packed with goodies. I had heard some criticisms of this comp related to the cleaness of its sound but, let me assure you, the high level of this CD does not sap any of the power from what these bands are doing. You need this CD.
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Jonny and the Shamen--...Adventures In Espionage...
Man or Astro Man fans, take note--this CD, ...Adventures In Sound... by Jonny and the Shamen, is for you. In fact, besides the similarities the two bands share from a songwriting standpoint, MOAM alumn Birdstuff actually had a hand in producing this CD. What you get is a rocking CD filled with space-age instrumental surf jams. Solid songwriting and great sound make this CD the obvious choice for heavy rotation at your next interstellar bash. Go for it!!!
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This self-titled Dominions CD is a real treat. The style of these songs would probably have this album falling into the experimental/noise/ambient genre, but there's a little more to it than that. In the songs which contain vocals, Dominions are somewhat reminiscent of the great Alan Vega/Alex Chilton/Ben Vaughn collaboration Cubist Blues, or maybe a more experimental/noisy version of Mercury-era American Music Club. This music is very spare sounding and extremely relaxing, with a few exceptions like the wall of distortion that is "Ah Pook the Destroyer." Besides the fact that this is so enjoyable musically, it's almost a must have for those who still make mix tapes for their friends, due to the fact it contains several tunes in the thirty second to one minute range. The Dominions CD is an all-around winner and highly recommended.
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squab teen--Dance America
Squab teen's CD, Dance America, is a pretty cool listen. Musically, it's pretty angular and quirky in a way that should appeal to folks into the kind of strange coolness that Skin Graft Records is known for putting out. However, at the same time, structurally this is somewhat straightforward. It's also danceable, thanks in large part to the well-put-together industrial beats which drive the whole thing. This one is definitely a keeper.
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The Hong Kong--Lights at Night
This CD, Lights at Night by The Hong Kong, is a really solid slab of instrumental indie rock. They wear their influences well, the Cars and DEVO being the most obvious, to my ears. If there is one critisism of this material, it is the same critisism I've always had of instrumental bands who play in this style, like Pell Mell--with music this pop-based and accessible, it is almost criminal not to have vocals over it. Potential vocal melodies really jump out at you with music like this and when they're not being performed, it can be a bit frustrating. However, that's just my opinion. Is this a good CD that deserves a listen? Absolutely. At the very least, Lights at Night could wind up being your favorite driving music for long roadtrips. That's not bad at all.
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