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vol 8 - issue 03 (nov 2005) :: entertainmental
RE: VIEWS (LISTEN)
Compiled by the staff of TLC
Above image by Kathrine Berger

 
Here's what's making love to our ears this month. Click on the artist's name to visit their website, and click on the title to buy it on Amazon.


 
ADAM GNADE - RUN, HIDE, RETREAT, SURRENDER (Loud + Clear Records)
 
Are you suicidal? Do you feel empathy in an empty way? Do you poop out at parties? Well, this CD is for you. I was very surprised at how much I liked this spoken word poetry disc. It kind of reminds me of The Catcher In The Rye.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Eric Adkison

 
ALEXANDRA LAWRENTZ - BACK FOR CHRISTMAS (Thought Squad)
 
Sure, seeing something like the following quote would make your heart swell up with compassion, compelling you to write a positive review: "A portion of the proceeds will be donated to non-profit, non-governmental organizations, dedicated to supporting military families during this difficult time of service." But it also helps that Alexandra Lawrentz belts out Fifties-style holiday tunes, infused with a soulful gusto that would make Aretha Franklin proud. It amazes me that sheís only 17. And itís a nice little coincidence that three of my favorite musicians (Vic Ruggiero, David Hillyard, and Glen Pine) turn in some session time on this sweet ballad. Order it through the label (click on Alexandraís name above), and get in the spirit.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - FEELS (Fat Cat Records UK)
 
This extremely unique album permeates weird overlapping vocals and woven strips of bizarre, yet pleasing, instrumentation, creating a sound that is similar to a non-annoying version of The Polyphonic Spree.
 
THE GRADE: A+
 
- Bethany Shady

 
BEEBLO - PIRATE VS. NINJA (Omega Point Records)
 
This is fun! Ben Greenwood is only 17 years old, and he's producing music that overrides, but mixes, punk and techno. There's a lot of computerized weirdness going on-- chaotic keyboards and drum machines with game sounds bleeping all around. It's got a good beat, and you can't beat it. I love this CD!
 
THE GRADE: A+
 
- Eric Adkison

 
 
As a longtime Buckethead fan, I can honestly attest that this album is his crowning achievement. With guest vocals by System of a Downís Serj Tankian, spoken-word god Saul Williams, and the ethereal Azam Ali-- Enter The Chicken is the spectacular showcase of surreal shred and songwriting Bucketheadís talent has been promising since the beginning.
 
THE GRADE: A+
 
- Night Watchman

 
DEERHOOF - THE RUNNERS FOUR (Kill Rock Stars)
 
There is nothing in our wacky world like Deerhoof! Listening to their latest album, The Runners Four, I found myself thinking once again, "Holy shit! I donít know what the fuck is going on, but I love it!" Just let yourself go, forget all you're supposed to know, and take pleasure in this crazy-unique pop record. Fab track: "Siriustar".
 
THE GRADE: B+
 
- Hellkat

 
DOUBLE - BEST KEPT SECRET: VOLUME ONE (Self-Released)
 
I liked Double before, but now I love him. This is his second mixtape release in a year, and while I really dug the first one, this one is even better. You still get Double's classic rhyme delivery and style, and you still get great sampled beats from some of the best music out there. But the production on Best Kept Secret is tighter than its predecessor. Not only that, but back are the funny skits that make a Double album more than just your average mixtape.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Wayne Chinsang

 
 
If youíre a teen or preteen girl who enjoys Nickelodeonís Unfabulous, and its star, Emma Roberts, then youíll love this fucking record. If youíre a 27-year-old man who doesnít have cable and thought Emma Roberts was that British chick who was married to Kenneth Branagh, you probably wonít like this.
 
THE GRADE: B (IF I WERE YOUNG AND FEMALE)
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
 
When punk once again became the most popular girl at school back in the mid-Nineties, Face To Face stood in the corner as one of the few bands that didnít sound like everyone else. And that made them one of my favorites. This "essential" collection is an exceptionally well-selected batch of tunes taking you through their musical evolution, which will make you sad you missed it as it happened.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
 
When this album first started to unspool, I thought of the first albums I heard by Elbow and Sigur Ros. But as Gravenhurst outsoared the highest highs and dove deeper than the lowest lows, I have been left without the words to describe the experience other than a breathtakingly morose must-have.
 
THE GRADE: A+
 
- Night Watchman

 
 
Two CDs, over thirty tracks, and a DVD that features not only his legendary 1972 performance at Wattstax in Chicago, but also his hilarious South Park-inspired tune of "Chocolate Salty Balls"?!? And it's all his classic shit from '68 to '77?!? Can I dig it? Absolutely.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Wayne Chinsang

 
 
 
 
What can I say about a sixty-one-song, three-disc set from "The Man In Black" that catalogues his complete Sun recordings from 1955 to 1958? Buy it. That's what I can about it. As for The Legend Of Johnny Cash, I wasn't even going to review this, because by now you should know what grade I'm going to give a twenty-one-song "best of" disc from Johnny. But this one's worth getting just for the previously-unreleased early take of "The Man Comes Around". For that song alone, I wrote this review.
 
THE GRADES: A (FOR BOTH)
 
- Wayne Chinsang

 
 
Mick, a long time Nick Cave collaborator and brother of PJ Harvey, stuns with this beautifully melancholy album featuring covers of Tim Buckley and The Gun Club songs. One Manís Treasure is understated and gorgeous with that Bowie-esque/Nick Cave danger hidden just beneath the surface.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Night Watchman

 
 
If you didn't buy last year's three-CD, one-DVD collection of Nirvana rarities and outtake (With The Lights Out), you now have another chance to pick up some of those tunes. This disc takes nineteen of the best songs off the three-disc set, and adds three additional never-before-released tunes to the mix. So if you dig Nirvana and didn't pick up the box set, get this. However, if you already own it, you may want to save your cash and just download the three new songs off of iTunes.
 
THE GRADE: B+
 
- Wayne Chinsang

 
 
Brothers Chris and Andrew Merritt serve up thirteen tracks (one of which is hidden) of fun, lullaby-ish rock, making us think that they are quite possibly the long-lost brothers of Ben Folds. Any Ben Folds Five and Ben Kweller fans out there better be sure to add The Legend Of Harley Knowles to their album collection.
 
THE GRADE: B
 
- Bethany Shady

 
 
Picture fingers gliding over strings, a sweet feathery voice, a marching band, crickets chirping, and bells ringing, and you may get an idea of Paul Duncanís seriously homemade Be Careful What You Call Home. Itís an outstanding fusion of melody and sound art. I love it so much, I think I am going to marry it.
 
THE GRADE: B+
 
- Hellkat

 
PUBLIC ENEMY - NEW WHIRL ODOR (Slam Jamz Records)
 
Greats come and go, but for as long as I can remember I've had Public Enemy in my ears. While some have called it quits over the years, PE stays strong and keeps 'em coming. And New Whirl Odor is another fine notch in the PE bedpost. Chuck and the fellas have always been wise in their product, but this album goes beyond wise. The trademark sound is there, but the overall feel and content has aged perfectly with its audience. I think when you've been around as long as PE has, you should concentrate less on making a good album, and more on remaining loyal to the evolution of your sound. And luckily for PE, this album does both.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Wayne Chinsang

 
SLUM VILLAGE - SLUM VILLAGE (Barak Records)
 
I canít explain it, but from the beginning of "Giant" to the end of "Fantastic", this new Slum Village album reminds me of Goodie Mobís Still Standing. Maybe itís how soulful the whole thing sounds. How good it is. How you can tell these dudes love what they do, and have proven themselves to be one of the few consistently good hip-hop units around. Either way, thatís a huge compliment coming from me. Fuck Capitol. Long live Barak Records!
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
SUPERNATURAL - S.P.I.T. (Up Above Records)
 
If youíve never seen Supernatural live, you have no idea how great the man is. Yeah, S.P.I.T. is a good documentation of his ability to write better than half the people pushing pens. Yeah, heís got production from a lot of hot beatmakers. (Vitamin D, anyone? Evidence? DJ Rhettmatic?) And yeah, Raekwon and Chali 2na guest on tracks. But more than anything, S.P.I.T. will light a fire under you to see freestyleís greatest live.
 
THE GRADE: B+
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
TEDDY GEIGER - STEP LADDER (Cred Records)
 
If you never saw a photo of Teddy Geiger, youíd think he was a seasoned, heart-wise singer-songwriter. His voice sits somewhere between John Mayer and Dave Matthews, and the songs sit soft, sweet, and catchy on your ears.
 
THE GRADE: B
 
- Stella Canoli

 
THE DIALS - FLEX TIME (Latest Flame Records)
 
Two years ago or so, I was painting at a party The Dials were playing at. In a sheer act of guerrilla marketing, one of them stuck a Dials sticker on my car, forever making me a mobile billboard for them. Thankfully, Flex Time does not blow ass, and I donít have to be embarrassed about waving their pop-punk flag for them. The Ramones would be proud.
 
THE GRADE: B
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
 
One day, a squirrel named Django went to the circus. He rode the Ferris wheel and saw the bearded lady while snacking on an enormous mountain of cotton candy. This album was his theme music.
 
THE GRADE: A-
 
- Bethany Shady

 
THE MORNING AFTER GIRLS - PRELUDE: EPs 1 AND 2 (Rainbow Quartz International Records)
 
Envision dancing beatniks with tambourines inviting you to take a hit off the peace pipe and go-go dance naked. If youíre an artist and like to make penis art, you will love this album. I loved this album.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Eric Adkison

 
 
I know it's part of a larger series Iím supposed to review altogether, but the world needs to know about The Phenomenauts. If The Aquabats ever had a twin brother from another mother, made of punk rock, space travel, and sweet, sweet rockabilly, they would be it. And this is their rockiní installment in the Beyond Warped series, capturing show cuts and videos on a Dual Disc deal.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
 
What happens when the former singer and the drummer of Monster Magnet decide to start up another project? This does. But don't let that fool you into thinking that The Ribeye Brothers sound anything like Monster Magnet. What we have here is more stripped down and garage sounding (and a bit of country twang in parts), but it also has the potential to be just as loud. I have to admit, I was never big into Monster Magnet, and this is a nice breath of fresh air. The instruments work together well, but I do wish there were a little bit more variety in the pacing of the songs.
 
THE GRADE: B-
 
- Wayne Chinsang

 
THE ROAD HAMMERS - THE ROAD HAMMERS (Airstrip Records)
 
Now this is not exactly what I was expecting to hear. The Road Hammers are a rock country band. And while I don't think the lyrics are all that great, the music definitely is. They bring a great beat in every song, and each tune starts with an amazing sound that keeps you wanting more.
 
THE GRADE: B
 
- Rachel Vogel

 
THE SCORCHERS - STUNTIN' (Jump-Up Records)
 
Not to say that Mush One is the only member of The Scorchers worth talking about, but he has been involved in two other projects that bore traces of an unmistakable sound style that Iím convinced was his: raw, gritty, and authentic. Stuntin' is a collection of tunes spanning reggae, ska, soul, and Burt Bacharach covers. The vocals and harmonies are excellent, but the music is what lulls me into a head-bobbing shuffle.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
THE TAH-DAHS - LE FUN (Undeniable Records)
 
Le Fun is the debut album of a great new indie rock band from Dallas, Texas called The Tah-Dahs. Their humorous lyrics about pretty people and alcoholism are more in the same vein of Ween, Dead Milkmen, and Violent Femmes.
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Sal Swayzo

 
VAUX - BEYOND VIRTUE, BEYOND VICE (Undeniable Records)
 
With a slightly different vocal approach for each song, Vaux has released one of the best albums of the year. Intense, beautiful, and excitingly fresh music that makes it impossible to pick just one favorite song.
 
THE GRADE: A+
 
- Night Watchman

 
 
With Love And Squalor is indie rock with a sense of humor. There are so many catchy melodies and guitar lines, you just canít catch them all. Oh, and their website is funny, too.
 
THE GRADE: B+
 
- Sal Swayzo

 
WITH HONOR - THIS IS OUR REVENGE (Victory Records)
 
Now this is fucking Victory! Back to basics with this kick-ass hardcore band. With Honor fights back against all the garbage we are fed daily. There is a lot of shouting anthems where you can shake your fist in the air and belt out a group chorus!
 
THE GRADE: A
 
- Eric Adkison
 


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