This blog is now located at http://mixtapetb.blogspot.com/.
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.
For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to
The LP starts off with a grooveless dirge, “Before Destruction”, which displays the raw aesthetic sought on the record as a whole. I’m okay with somewhat lo-fi recording, hell I love classic Guided by Voices, but when a band at Spoon’s level of professionalism adopts it, the statement is a little concerning. The following tune, “Is Love Forever?”, has a decent groove, lyrically and musically. Unfortunately there’s an unnerving phased drum snap which reeks too much of gimmicky David-Fridman/Flaming Lips bullshit, when the washed, echoed vocal track kicks in, my fears are realized: these guys are trying to make an Indie/Artie record rather than a Rock record. “Mystery Zone” comes next with a decent, B-grade Spoon groove that’s making me question my doubts. Maybe this record will turn around? No, because “Who Makes Your Money” starts with a phased keyboard riff that could have carried the tune if it weren’t all fucked with, then the chorus comes in with more of that same echoey phasey shit. Nice bass line in there, though. The final cut on side A (yeah, I got this on vinyl, so for 20 clams I'm entitled to an opinion), “Written in Reverse,” gives a little taste of that Spoon groove I was looking for, with a heartfelt vocal, nice little harmony touches, and a killer bridge leading to a decent breakdown, false stop, and wrapup. Okay Britt, whatcha got for side 2?
“I Saw the Light” kicks it off in good style, a slow burner with nice build and song dynamics. This ‘raw’ production is starting to annoy me though, as I seem to be hearing a bit too much clipped distortion. C’mon boys, you’re too good to follow along with the distorto production trend! Just when it sounds really crap, they shift into a nice drawn out march to the finish, but unfortunately the breakdown/solo at the end is a phasey minute of “brum, brum, brum, brum” followed by a crazy distorted (er, digitally clipped) “bumbumbumbumbum…” that thankfully just ends to stop the song. Stop it now! But as they say on late night TV, There’s More! “Trouble Comes Running,” a Faces-style rocker, sounds absolutely atrocious, all tinny and clipped. What’s worse, this has the best vocal hook and harmony so far on the record. These guys are starting to remind me of the smart girl who acts like an idiot bimbo to impress the boys. You’re too good for this shit! Stop, please! And stop they do, only to shift into full piano ballad mode on “Goodnight Laura.” The sound isn’t bad, but the song is pretty much a ripoff of “Golden Slumber” from
Conclusion: it’s great they picked up a consistent bass man, whose prominence is welcome. Obviously I can’t stand the distorted production crap, and given that this is the first record they have produced themselves, the blame all falls in their lap. After so many great records, I guess I expected more from these guys. Still, it’s a Spoon record, not Tapes n’ Tapes, so even their crap gets 3.5 stars.
Voivod, Nothingface. I remember a tour ad for these
Killing Joke, Killing Joke. Strange as it may seem, this dumb hick farmboy from Orange County, VT (me) once was big into Industrial; the whole Wax Trax!/Chicago/Europe thump and clang ‘dance’ scene. While that stuff from the late 80’s-early 90’s has not aged gracefully, this groundbreaker from 1980 is simply stunning; think of it as post-punk proto-industrial metal with a solid, organic groove. Vinyl score from Burlington Records, certainly not expecting to see that.
Dinosaur Jr., Farm. Like many folks from my generation, DJ are considered a pretty solid act in my world, discounting of course their mid-late 90’s crap. After last year’s unexpected and solid reunion, this release proves the boys can still rock as well as they did in their late 80’s prime.Awesome album cover, btw.
Neko Case, Middle Cyclone. Call me a fanboy, but I just love NC. Sure, the new one has upped the pop quotient, but is that such a bad thing? And given the pile of poo nominated for Grammy’s this year (especially see the album of the year category), it’s great that someone of her talent is recognized by the powers-that-were.
Booker T, Potato Hole. Great set from the king of instrumental soul with solid backing from the do-no-wrong Drive-By Truckers. Side note- when the hell are DBT coming to this town?
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes. Yeah, FF are so 2008, but I’m behind the curve on these cool indie-rock things nowadays. Besides, I wait until I see everyone else’s ‘best-of’ lists before getting too excited about the flavor of the week. Anyway, picked this LP up at PP and boy is it worth the hype. I guess I’ll have to write about Grizzly Bear in 2010??
Robyn Hitchcock, I Wanna Go Backwards Box Set. Another oldie (from 80’s, reissued in 2006?), but a killer set from this crown prince of pop psychedelia. I have a good number of RH and the Egyptians records which feature more fleshed out (i.e. electric) weirdo pop, often brilliant, so I have no need for the second set, Groovy Decay. This material from both pre- and post-Egyptians is essential. To hell with the Beatles remasters, this is what the music world needs more of. Yep Roc Records.
Tiger Trap, Tiger Trap. Slightly twee girly punky-pop from the mid-90’s. Vinyl copies are pretty hard to find and at times pricey, I’ve seen up to $50. Picked this off a random eBay auction for $15, sealed.
The Go-Betweens, Oceans Apart. Picked this LP up straight from Yep Roc Records when they were having a $5 vinyl sale. What little bit I’ve heard from these late Aussie indie-poppers is just great. I love the bouncy opening cut, “Here Comes a City.”
It's like a love song to pop music; so varied, yet cohesive. The
couplet of 'Stockholm Syndrome' and 'Autumn Sweater' (record 1, side 2)
still gives me the feelies.
I'll give someone the download code that came with my record since I
don't need it. Only hitch is you have to buy at least one more YLT
cd/record at an independent music store, no itunes, no cheating. Maybe
pick up a killer Kinks record while you're at it?