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While Lost At Sea endeavors to write about a great deal of the music it receives, there are hundreds of releases that slip through the cracks - things too strange, too transient or (yes) too bad to earn a full review. EPs, CD singles and 7" records are particularly hard to deal with because there are so many of them - and they are so small - that they often get lost in the shuffle. This sometimes means that deserving music released in non-album form is not reaching the people who might enjoy it most.
In an attempt to rectify this situation and to save give some of this music its due, Lost At Sea occasionally dredges through the bins of EPs and singles to weed out a select few for comment.
El Hijo - La Piel Del Oso (Acuarela)
I don't have the faintest clue how I ended up with this CD. So now I am a stupid gringo trying to review an album sung entirely in Spanish. I wanted so badly to write this review in Spanish, but figured I would butcher the language so badly that I might as well change the font to wingdings. I won't even pretend I know what is being sung, seeing as how I am only able to pick out the occasional word or phrase, but the music is very much in the Spanish vein of classical sounding guitar and the not so stereotypical back-up piano. This is not something you would hear blaring out of the jukebox in the taqueria down the street. Interestingly, sometimes it kind of sounds like a Spanish version of Tom Jones. Muy sexy!
Nest - Nest (Self-Released)
Boy was this band barking up the wrong tree when they asked for LAS' "professional input." That might have been the case if this would have ended up with Sara or Zanger, but instead it found its way to me. And I've been drinking. Sitting in my boxers, eating a burrito, I dream about putting on this CD as I romance yet another in a long line of gorgeous women. The singer's sensual voice puts my lovely lady in the mood way faster than my fart jokes and soon I'm clearing the bed of stuffed animals before we make passionate love. Thank you Nest for your smoldering, sexy music.
Larocca - Sing Song Sung (Dangerbirdrecords)
Good, straightforward rock n' roll. Larocca seem devoid of pretense and are most likely way less image-conscious than most other bands that play music like this. I think Larocca figured out that if your music is good you don't have to dress like you stole the clothes off a stylish bum and act like a douche bag. At least I hope that is the case. Fuck it, they name-check the E-Street Band.
Jai-Alai Savant - Thunderstatement (GSL)
Although I think it is lazy writing to out and out compare one band to another, and I usually abhor press sheets and their lofty comparisons, I'll be damned if the Jai-Alai Savant didn't hit their influences on the head. Put quite simply, this band sounds like a cross between The Police and TV On The Radio. I'm always surprised at how much shit I get for this, but I hate The Police. Nevertheless, Thunderstatement takes the dub-influenced rhythms and melodies of The Police and mixes them with the jazzy experimentation and vocal style of TV On The Radio. The result is an upbeat and unique listen.
Ousterdok - Twilight of the Weary Soul (Brown House Records)
The second cut from Twilight of the Weary Soul is called "I Am Not A Nice Girl." No matter how many times the singer says it, or how sincere she tried to sound, the fact of the matter is she is a nice girl - or at least sounds like one. When a singer is trying to convince you she is not a nice girl, she's usually tallying up the number of dicks she's sucked or admitting that she likes licking the occasional butt before Ludacris jumps in with a verse. It doesn't help matters any that the singing is backed up by mild-mannered trip hop. Nice girl or not, this sounds a bit goofy and a little outdated.
Silversun Pickups - Pikul (Dangerbird Records)
My friend moved down to Los Angeles and turned himself into a real life Jack Tripper. A little awkward in college, next thing he knows he's living in Silverlake with a stripper and a European model. Granted, both girls were train wrecks, but fortunately for Ben they had plenty of friends. No longer the Bio-Psychology major who told bad jokes, Ben was now using the scummiest pick-up lines to pull a slew of aspiring actress/dancer/models into his clutches. The transformation was downright impressive. I think the first time I was in town visiting after he moved he got laid while I puked outside of Spaceland. Silversun Pickups are from that magical land of Silverlake, have a distinctive indie-rock sound, and are only biding their time before they get signed by a major label. This EP spent a while in the box I was sent, so they could very well already be on their way to making some old white dudes even richer than they already are.
The Exeter Popes - The Exeter Popes (White Shoe Records)
I live in a an area of San Francisco called Nob Hill, or to the locals, "Snob Hill." Sure, some of the places around here are nice and classy, but my house sure as hell isn't one of them. In fact, I often take offense to the remark, seeing as how I don't have a living room, the fuse blows if you try to run more than two electronic devices in any room at one time, and we don't have a heater. It's pretty funny that I live in a shit hole, yet greet the doorman of a fancy apartment building one block away everyday on my way to work. I'm sure no one gives a hoot about where I live, so I should clarify that I only bring this up because the main man behind The Exeter Popes used to be in a band called Snob Hill. What a coincidence. Who cares? Sure, the Exeter Popes could have come a little more correct than three songs, but the nine minutes of music on this eponymous CD is pretty good. Mellow and dreamy with a bit of Brit/shoegaze to it, The Exeter Popes show potential on too short of a record.
Kissing Cousins - Kissing Cousins (Velvet Blue Music)
I could see this band playing somewhere really dark with a bunch of tables lit only by candles. Couples on awkward first dates would be clustered about, nervously sipping their vodka tonics, grateful for the music that provides momentary reprieve from forced conversation. It wouldn't take long for the girl to start tapping her foot along to the dark, sultry songs. The guy would then look over, make eye contact, notice a faint smile flickering across her face and give himself a mental high-five, sure that he is going to get laid later.
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.
See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.
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