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MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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, compilations, samplers, and singles are particularly hard to deal with because there are so many of them that they often get lost in the shuffle. This sometimes means that deserving music released in non-album form goes unnoticed and does not reach the people who might enjoy it most.
In an attempt to rectify this situation and to give some of this music its due - or at least its moment in the sun, Lost At Sea occasionally dredges through the muck to weed out a select few of these releases for comment.
Nevertheless - Live Like We're Alive (Flicker Records)
From my last days spent frolicking in the Pacific Ocean, across two weeks traveling along the Southern edge of the United States, to my first month feeling disoriented on the East Coast, Nevertheless has haunted me. Hanging like a specter over my head, I couldn't pick up a pen or type on a keyboard without getting the feeling that I was neglecting to do something. So here I am, ready to exercise my demons by saying that I'm kicking myself for forsaking Live Like We're Alive for so long. Taking cues from the earnest forbearers of the pop-punk genre, Nevertheless rock out with their heart on their sleeve. If the kids these days know what's good for them, they'll eat this Tennessee band up.
Various Artists - TRR100: Thankful (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
I hope everyone was able to put the turkey, tofurkey, or God help you, you gluttonous pig, Turducken, down and take a second last week to think about what it was they were thankful for. Temporary Residence didn't just mumble "family" like everyone else, but showed they were grateful for their fans by releasing a CD commemorating their hundredth release in ten years. It's quite a feat to have that kind of staying power in these iTunes, Myspace, Christ, kill me already, times we're living in. With one listen to the CD, it becomes apparent why Temporary Residence has had so much success - a large roster of quality bands. Thankful features a new song from ten active TRL artists, some of the standouts being including Eluvium, The Ladies, The Drift, and Mono. When it was my turn, I coughed up some stuffing, took a swig of gravy, and said I was thankful that Temporary Residence has provided my ears with such consistently excellent music over the past decade.
Walt Ribeiro - I.I (Self-released)
Probably one of the more interesting things I've received while at the shaky helm of EPMD, Walt Ribeiro sent me a CD of original orchestral compositions that he wrote. I wasn't aware that anyone was even making quote/unquote classical music these days. I just assumed that everyone was more interested in being the next Fallout Boy than the next Mozart. Hell, I shudder to think what answers you'd get from nine out of ten people when you asked them who Mozart was. I definitely have to take my hat off to Walt for doing his own thing and producing a CD in this day and age that has all of the beauty and complexity of what some would consider a lost art form.
Russian Circles - Enter (Flameshovel)
I don't know if I can muster the strength right now to describe the sound of yet another Post-Punk instrumental band. Which is unfortunate, because Russian Circles are really good. Not as soft as those pussies who don't sing because the sound of their voice scares them, but not as hard as a band who would probably have a front man screaming about their half-baked political ideologies, Russian Circles tow the line between introspective and epic. Lucky us.
Cricket Spin - Grains of Salt, Grains of Sand (Self-Released)
Right now I would love to be on my friend's roof, listening to Grains of Salt, Grains of Sand out of a crappy boombox, and waiting for the sun to go down to see what colors the empire state building will be lit up with. A couple of bottles of red wine would keep the night's chill at bay and as I would stare off across the East River at the mass of lights that become more and more visible as the horizon gets darker, I wouldn't stop thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to live in this city.
Unforunately, it has been raining for the past few days. Not having any pressing reason to leave the house, I don't. It's not nearly as enjoyable listening to Cricket Spin's fun, poppy songs cooped up inside behind rain-streaked windows as it would be under a warm sun with the lovely music drifting off, fading out into the a beautiful late Autumn sky.
Blanche - What This Town Needs (V2/Artemis)
In light of someone sending me a labeled, but blank, CD-R, I'll take a guess and write a review about what I assume Blanche sound like (which is not that far afield from what I usually do). It turns out they're so crazy I have to make up a whole new genre to describe them- Black Industrial Goth Rap. With five guitarists, two drummers, and three DJ's, the band makes a racket that would wake the Dark Lord himself. Utilizing a set of power tools to create a pulverizing backdrop for their madness, Blanche blow minds even further when MC Corrosive Stigmata drops sixteen bars detailing his love of candles, lace, and "fucking pale bitches who better say their prayers/ that I meet at all of the fly-ass Renaissance fairs."
The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower - INRI (Art Fag Records)
I used to really like these guys and now, not so much. Their first album was an amazing combination of punk, jazz, and chaos, which was followed by their second album that meant well, but just kind of sucked. While not a big enough one, this three-song single is a step back in the right direction. The new song is good, the Bowie cover is whatever, and the remix is unnecessary.
Parson Red Heads - Field Mouse Carnival (Yukon Records)
I just received the Parson Red Heads EP from someone I met over the weekend who lives three thousand miles away. No offense to Dane or the band, but I kind of tossed it aside for a couple of days. What a mistake. I've just listened to it five times in a row with a big smile on my face. I love this column not only because it gives a crackpot like me a forum to express my skewed views, but also because I get exposed, and get to expose others, and sometimes expose myself, to folk-tinged pop gems like this.
Unique Chique - Ethica (Loose Tooth Records)
If I had reviewed this CD two columns ago I probably would have skewered it. Instead, a somewhat rosy outlook on life has replaced the previous twenty-six years of cynicism and pessimism and I find myself really liking Unique Chique. Their mellow, jazzy, intelligent songs have a kind of turn of the century indie/emo sound to them. You know, when that was still an interesting genre. Seriously, six or seven years ago these guys could have been huge. Unfortunately, now they have to compete with the angry, yet sensitive, suburban screamo crap that seems to be setting an example for kids that it's okay to be insincere and mediocre.
Ms. John Soda - Notes and the Like (Morr Music)
Between the gorgeous scenery that keeps rolling by and this uplifting music, I am getting incredibly contemplative and self-reflective. In fact, after a lot of thought, I've decided to make a few changes in my life. First, I've got to take a little break from being such a ladies man. Second, I'm going to stop being lazy and start doing two thousand sit-ups a day instead of my usual nineteen hundred. Lastly, I'm going to drink more water. Thank you Ms. John Soda for helping me to better myself with your pleasant, glitchy, pop songs. Your music is soothing through its use of soft beeps and horns, organic instrumentation, and beautiful vocals. You have made me a better man.
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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