MICRO-REVIEWS OF HIP NEW BANDS THAT THE KIDS DIG
Please note: the reason these are MICRO-reviews and not "real" reviews is because they are based (in most cases) on cursory listens. Do not take them as gospelly. They represent my initial impressions of bands based (again, in most cases) on the 4-6 songs they've posted on their MySpace pages. If your favorite new band posted their weakest songs on MySpace, that's their fault, not mine! If you're wondering "What's the point?," then this page isn't for you. It's for people who want to know - QUICKLY - whether a new band might be up their alley. Entries in BOLDFACE PRINT TYPE TEXT FONT are *recommended,* but read the others too, because some of these bands might really appeal to you even if they don't appeal to me.
2009 MICRO-REVIEWS OF HIP NEW BANDS THAT THE KIDS DIG
30 Seconds To Mars - Jared Leto was awesome in the horrifying drug movie "Requiem For A Dream," but his band plays generic emo (or "mall punk," as it's apparently known among certain factions). Slow, predictable and boring. No wonder he got thrown in jail and had his arm amputated!
3OH!3 - Godawful duo playing overproduced vocal-autotuned assholish electronic-emo-rap garbage with lyrics like "Don't trust a ho" and "Shush girl, shut your lips/Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips." I guess they're trying to be funny, but they just sound like total dicks and their music is awful.
65daysofstatic - Very serious and dramatic instrumental rock band from England. Well-performed and richly emotional music created with piano, rock instruments, electronics and other things. I'd probably cry myself off a cliff if forced to listen to such MONUMENTALLY IMPORTANT-SOUNDING music all the time, but they're definitely a good band. They sound like they should be doing soundtracks for heartbreaking motion pictures.
400 Blows - This L.A. trio plays fuzzed-out AmRep-style noise-hate rock with aggressive rhythmic emphasis and snotty vocals. The hammering rock style is fun, but the guy's voice is a hindrance and none of the songs really go anywhere.
A Place To Bury Strangers - Fans of Bauhaus and Joy Division crank up the reverb and churn out the gothy post-punk. Pointless and idea-free.
Abe Vigoda - Calamitous excitable pop-rock with busy tropical rhythms! A very interesting sound and approach, though they're kinda irritating at times. They're not big on tuning their instruments to each other, for example.
Acid Reflux - Screaming over simple angry punk rock played on thick fuzzed-out guitars with a heavy metal drummer who loves his kick-drum. Ugly and not good.
Adebisi Shank - Cool Irish instrumental rock band with fast finger-tap guitaring. Think early Trans Am but with awesome guitaring. Or The Fucking Champs but less boring.
Adele - Young white British woman who sounds black. Soul/ballad-type stuff, with violins. Not my kind of music.
Afrirampo - Two Japanese women on guitar, drums and vocals, playing everything from pissed-off garage rock to lovely guitar-pop to screaming noise rock. Definitely better than you'd expect!
Against Me! - Hmm. Well, supposedly they're a punk rock band, but their Myspace songs are (a) an acoustic joke about a guy dating an FBI lady, (b) a radio-pop duet with a girl singer, (c) a suave midtempo nighttime groove, and (d) an acoustic protest song with gross phlegmy vocals. Plus the singer sounds like Robin Zander from Cheap Trick, so who knows what the hell's up with that. A couple years back, I downloaded an album by these guys and absolutely loathed it, but at this point I can't even remember what it sounded like. Was it good? Did it 'tear'?
Ahleuchatistas - Instrumental math-rock trio from Asheville, NC. The guitar is trebly and not very distorted so don't look for heavy pounding math-metal here. On the plus side, this cleaner guitar tone allows you to actually hear all the complicated parts he's playing. Personally I find this type of scratchy cerebral music enticing for a few minutes, but then its lack of memorable melody (and, I admit, HEAVINESS) grows a bit tedious. Nevertheless, their math-driven math-rock matherial should have all you math-loving math-rockers mathing in the aisles.
AIDS Wolf - This band is either Arab On Radar with a girl singer, or the most pathetically obvious Arab On Radar ripoff imaginable. If the former, yay! If the latter, FUCK YOU COPYCAT ASSHOLES. Does anybody know which it is?
Air France - "Gentle and giving" Swedish music with corny '80s synths, keyboard washes, and happy male/female vocalists pumped through various digital effects. Presumably for girls and male Rick Astley fans.
Airport 5 - If you love Guided By Voices, but are too scared to buy any solo Robert Pollard records, don't fear Airport 5. It's a project that he and Tobin Sprout had going in the early 2000's and the results are about as GBV-esque as you could hope for. Melodic, guitary and enjoyable.
Algernon Cadwallader - Bright happy guitars intertwangle as some tone-deaf guy hoarsely screams on top of them. It's a pity that such well-done guitar interplay is wasted on such hideous emo-pop.
All Time Low - Appropriate name. Effeminate power pop with no melodic ideas. Almost the exact blueprint for generic emo. GODDAMN YOU, GREEN DAY'S "DOOKIE," FOR MAKING SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE THINK THAT THE TERM "PUNK ROCK" MEANS "BUBBLEGUM MUSIC FOR 12-YEAR OLD GIRLS."
All-American Rejects - Crap pop.
Alphabeat - Terrible Danish pop band with a girl and guy singer. Their corny music sounds like "Like A Prayer"-era Madonna or whatever other godawful funk-guitar/pop piano/dance beat '80s sissyass crap band you'd care to remember.
Alva Noto - German guy making ambient music with little record crackles, drone-tones and piercing electronic beeps. On a scale of 1 to 10, this fuckin blows.
Amazing Baby - Brooklyn indie rock. Reverbed shoegazey feedback, gentle vocals, lo-fi-ish recording. A couple of their MySpace songs are very pretty, and they seem to "get it" musically speaking. "Pump Your Brakes" certainly stinks though.
Ambulance Ltd. - Their biggest influence is the Velvet Underground, so obviously they bore the shit out of me. Slow, gentle, generic, BORING!!! (or alternately slow and 'funky,' like the worst of John Lennon's solo work). The singer's voice is annoyingly high too. They do a cover of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" though, so that's one point on their side.
American Princes - Fairly diverse modern rock band. One MySpace song sounds like '80s Paul McCartney on speed, another like a sorrowful '80s British band (with an American singer), a third like a terrible lo-fi emo band, and the final two like good solid fuzzed-out dark rock. Inconsistent, but they've got some catchy tunes in there! The singer has kind of a weedy, strained voice though.
Amy Winehouse - '60s r'n'b by a disgusting junkie cretin white woman with a big ol' black lady voice. "Rehab" is catchy as hell; the rest can take a hike. A couple of my best friends love her music though, so just call me a curmudgeon!
An Horse - Australian boy/girl duo playing college jangle pop. Their pretty love songs are okay, but their minor-key upset songs can suck it.
Anberlin - One of their MySpace fans writes, "God speaks to me through your music. thank you for being such a big part of my life! God Bless, Rebecca." I realize we all have different theological views, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that God is speaking to us through sub-Linkin Park crybaby-metal.
And So I Watch You From Afar - Instrumental Irish alt-rock band with loud distorted guitars that ring, intertwine, pierce and blast. Very full production and an anthemic sound make them a good fit for people who hate singers, but these songs really do seem like they should have vocals. Could they just not find a singer without an Irish accent? Song titles include "Set Guitars To Kill," "Tip Of The Hat, Punch In The Face" and "If it Ain't Broke, Break It."
Andrew Bird - This Chicago guy plays violin, acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, etc. His lesser songs are just strummy singer-songwriter bleh. But he also puts together some fantastic arrangements with all kinds of plucking interplay and such. Some songs are warm and peaceful, others dark and sad. His voice at times resembles Thom Yorke too, and that's a nice sound. He has FIFTEEN songs posted on MySpace, so if you're a fan of male singer-songwriters, check him out. I'm really not, so I won't. OH HELL I JUST DID MOTHERF
Andrew Rothbard - Multiple vocals, strings, ukuleles, sitars, harps, acoustic plucking, mellotron, and all kinds of crazy other instruments - yet lo-fi! Homemade psychedelia for all you homemade hippies out there. I'm not into it myself, but then I don't smoke the dope.
Angels & Airwaves - Featuring members of Blink-182 and The Offspring, this band isn't nearly as godfuckingawful as you'd expect. The singer has a strange "little boy with a weird accent" vocal style, but the songs are very heartfelt and melodic pieces of emo-pop. I wouldn't be caught dead listening to them in front of anybody (it's basically obvious radio music), but I can't deny that its warm U2-style tones are filling my heart with warmth and love on this particular lonely evening.
Antony & The Johnsons - Antony is an English-Irish transgender whose music clearly isn't geared towards me. Slow, piano and flutey and orchestral with his weird high wavery voice and accordion and whatnot. The songs aren't bad for what they are (MOODY!), but come on Antony! Where are the shredding thrash guitars?
Apollo Sunshine - I can't quite get a handle on this band from their MySpace page, but I suspect I may like them. They're definitely 60's-influenced, but their work ranges from lovely folk-rock to eerie Dionysian art-psych to blurbling Grateful Dead acid-country jamming to "Soft Bulletin"-esque emotional space music. Check 'em out and decide for yourself if they're talented hippie people are stoned balderdashians.
Apollo Up! - This Nashville trio has a sound that mixes sober Fugazi/GvB rock with a twangy guitar sound and characterless stuffed-nose vocals. A cross between the Touch & Go roster and Elvis Costello, with a hint of Duane Eddy? Doesn't appeal to my personal ear, but might yours. They don't sound dumb or anything.
Arctic Monkeys - Shitty British attitude rock. Distorted guitars playing simple snotty garage-punk riffs, and a guy singing through a distortion pedal like the Strokes. They have energy, but nothing else. At times they remind me of a weaker Strokes or Fall, but the tunes just aren't there.
Ariel Pink - Lo-fi '70s pop. Like Todd Rundgren recorded in an airplane hangar. Not my taste.
Army Navy - Wait, this singer is a guy!? Are you fucking kidding me? At any rate, the band plays warm melodic rock music and their singer sounds like a girl. The guitars are pumped way up in the mix and play lots of arpeggios, and there's plenty of warm reverb on everything, creating a nice comfy wall of sound. I can hear influences of shoegaze (Ride), '60s rock (Byrds) and hipster rock (Strokes), but the band merges them together into their own sound. Their songwriting seems a bit hit-or-miss though.
Art Brut - Playful British pop rock. The vocalist just SAYS everything in a normal speaking voice as the band plays basic guitar riffs. I've no clue what the appeal of this band is supposed to be. Are they meant to be a slicked-up Fall for the masses? Or Half Man Half Biscuit with no jokes?! They aren't actively annoying, but there's nothing interesting going on!
Asher Roth - A white suburban rapper who raps about boring suburban topics ("I Love College," "Lark On My Go-Kart," "Sour Patch Kids") in an incredibly boring manner. He complains about being compared to Eminem, but he sounds like he's specifically trying to sound like Eminem. Listen to his dumb fake-black accent -- it's just like Eminem's!
Asobi Seksu - Brooklyn dreampop/shoegaze with lovely-voiced Japanese-American female vocalist. Pretty, but so's my penis and you don't see me putting THAT on a turntable.
Asteroid - This Swedish psych-hard rock plays it heavy and chunky and sings it with '70s macho goodness. You'll feel you're in the '70s listening to a great '70s hard rock band! They keep the catchy riffs tightly packed like CKY, but with a grittier feel. I prefer their straight-up rockers to their blooze-rock sleaze-outs, but come on - what's a '70s-style band without some blooze-rock?
Atlas Sound - Solo thingy for Deerhunter guy. Lo-fi indie pop-rock, basically. Some sparkly chimes, some guitars, etc. Soothing, tuneful. Mellow relaxed, nice!
Attack In Black - Canadian band with strummy electric guitar, melodic boy next door harmony vocals and gentle indie pop-rock melodies. Sounds sorta Pavementy, in a good Pavementy way, except when the singer goes up high and his voice gets all weird and Bachman-Turner Overdrivey. They're breaking no new ground, but their music is often pretty and good for your ears. What's with the dumb band name though? Are they trying to attract all the WASP fans out there?
Audio Bullys - British electro-dance duo with fun vocal repetition. They sound like drunken louts with dance music equipment! I'm told their second album is boring as dirt, but their MySpace songs are certainly enjoyable. They remind me of the good old days of Nitzer Ebb.
August Burns Red - Christian metalcore band from Pennsylvania. The lead guitarist plays some surprisingly speedy and note-tastic riffs, but in the service of really lame music. The chord changes are generic "I feel bad!" melodrama and the vocals are the same old boring screaming. WWJD? Turn this shit off, probably.
Auto! Automatic!! - Instrumental Florida trio that records its drums louder than the bass or guitar. They list Minus The Bear as an influence, and with their gentle worried mood and speedy guitar tap'n'fingering, it's easy to see why! They're definitely talented musicians, but unfortunately keep going for the same sad/anxious mood over and over again (much like Minus The Bear). And what is up with the drum-focused mix? Maybe it was recorded live, I don't know. It definitely takes some getting used to though, and sucks a lot of potential ass-kickery out of the riffs.
Autolux - L.A. indie rock trio with female and male vox. Not bad! Some cool moods and instrumental tones (toy pianos, fuzztone guitar, others) and songs reminiscent of a less shoegazey My Bloody Valentine or less polished Garbage. If anybody remembers Garbage. (They shouldn't.)
Avenged Sevenfold - GODAWFUL cross between nu-metal, thrash and emo-screamo -- with, for some reason, the occasional country-western ballad. The music is ugly and uncreative, and the vocals are a mix of pussyish emo singing, metalcore screeching and a James Hetfield imitation. Who on Earth SIGNS bands like this!? This is among the worst music I've ever heard in my life!
Awesome Color - This Brooklyn rock trio is loud, tough and garage-tastic! Their songs feature crashing drums, hooky metronomic bass lines, trebly distorted guitar, cooool psych vocals and tons of garage rock energy. They're on Thurston Moore's label and have probably heard the Stooges. But good! Please note that I'm basing this positive review on three of their four MySpace songs. The fourth, "Hat Energy," is such a ridiculously obvious Stooges ripoff that it's amazing they haven't enraged the wrath of Iggy Pop, Attorney-At-Law.
Azeda Booth - Canadian gentle mood/drone/tribal/IDM/electronics/guitar/experimental music with Sigur Ros-esque childlike vocals. Probably great if you're on heroin.
Babyshambles - British band that doesn't seem terribly good. Melodic inspiration around the lines of late-late-period Kinks. (post-script) Just realized this is Pete Doherty's band. No wonder they stink.
Bad Chopper - CJ Ramone's new band. If you enjoyed how Dee Dee Ramone's solo albums seemed to say, "Remember The Ramones? I was IN The Ramones!," you'll get a kick out of this stuff too. Like solo Dee Dee, these songs are more midtempo than the Ramones', but the simple angry chord sequences remain.
Band of Horses - Pretty indie rock from, apparently, the Northwest! They sound like they might've been influenced by the Flaming Lips. Loud fuzzy guitars, organ, echo, emotional melodic vocal lines. It's not the kind of music I'm into at the moment, but indie rock fans should definitely check them out. Don't mix 'em up with Horse The Band though! Those guys are NOISY!
Bang Camaro - This Boston group has TWELVE lead singers who all sing the same notes together, as if they're on Neil Young's "Living With War." Unfortunately, they play cheesy '80s-style hard rock/hair metal (sample song title: "Life Is Hard On The Road"). I lived through this shit the first time; I sure as hell don't need a hack imitation of it, whether they have a billion lead singers or none at all.
Banner Pilot - Generic Fat Wreck Chords punk with one of those godawful "snotty"-voiced singers ruining any appeal they could ever possibly have. Somebody needs to lock all these "snotty" radio-punk singers in an airplane hangar and drop a bomb on it.
BARR - Silly hipster band with piano, bass, drums, weedy gay-accented voice (which he just SPEAKS with) and 'witty' songs like "The Song Is The Single." Like an empty, shitty They Might Be Giants.
Bat For Lashes - Moody nightclub UK club woman singer with whispery mid-career PJ Harvey semi-cool-dance sound. Nice Cure cover, but the originals aren't really my cup of preference.
Battles - Former members of Helmet and Don Caballero join Anthony Braxton's son to play experimental rock music with guitars, electronics and a vocal effect that makes it sound like their singer is six years old. Some of it is tight, strong stuff with hypnotic guitar interplay and/or gamelan-style electronic tones, but other songs just sound like they're fucking around trying to make each other laugh. Plus, whenever the pitch-manipulated vocals show up, it's impossible to take seriously.
Be Your Own Pet - Irritating cursing female singer fronts terrible band playing throwaway punk-metal. Sounds like every awful opening band you've ever had to sit through.
Beach House - Organ- and guitar-driven "slowcore" with high reverbed vocals. One man's "dreamy" is my man's "slothful." Sounds like a particularly boring Mercury Rev record.
Bedouin Soundclash - This Canadian duo plays a very melodic and optimistic-sounding brand of reggae-pop. As a leading anti-reggae advocate, I'd love to hate them, but they're just so darned pleasant! If you like today's radio music (Coldplay, U2, whatever other crap they're playing) and also enjoy a reggae beat, you should really check these guys out. It's not at all the kind of music I'm into, but they do a GREAT job with it.
Behold...The Arctopus - This experimental metal band (formerly a trio, now a duo looking for a drummer -- it could be YOU!) is distinguished by its use of a Warr guitar, which is a weird-looking thing with five billion strings that can make both bass and guitar noises. Usually I like difficult, cerebral music like this, but these guys aren't exactly in it for the 'hook"s. Their music just hits my ears as very ugly.
Beirut - A guy who sounds like the Editors singer merges indie rock with old world styles (Balkan, French, etc) and instruments (ukulele, accordion, horns, glockenspiel, etc). An interesting mix of instrumental tones! Sorta like a moodier and much less annoying Neutral Milk Hotel.
Belong - Experimental New Orleans duo merging layers of guitar textures, synth chords and lo-fi electronic hiss into a big murky wave of tonal sound. No drums or (generally) vocals. Just two or three slow repeated droney chords in each song. Might appeal to fans of Eno or Godspeed! You Black Emperor. Definitely not for the easily bored (me).
Ben Kweller - Texas guy with extremely young-sounding teenage voice singing country-rock, with pedal steel and whatnot. A great find for Eagles fans; a horrific bag of shit for everyone else.
Between The Buried And Me - This North Carolina band plays music that sounds like the members of Rush decided to form a death/black metal band. The prog rock influences add melodic color and these guys can REALLY play, but the one-note shouty vocals, corny emo parts and uncompelling metal passages grow tiresome after a while. I'm impressed by their technical ability, but don't actually enjoy their songs.
Bibio - This British experimental music producer puts together everything from joyful world music pop to creepy electronica to skewed shuffly funk to cut-up soul music. He's got an interesting herky-jerk sample-based sound, even if it's not always my type of music.
Big Blood - Dark folk-blues, light acoustic folk. blues stomp - all with effects and falsetto or shrieky vocals. Conjures up images of Wisconsin Death Trip. Like Caroliner OFF acid, and as such they come across as lightweight Johnny-Come-Latelys.
Black Cobra - This San Francisco sludge metal duo sounds like late-period Melvins but even ANGRIER!!! Loud, bitter, aggressive, screamy, energetic - great!
Black Dice - Ridiculous! Fun! Non-musical!
Black Elk - Heavy angry rock - singer tries too hard to be David Yow. Otherwise AmReppy and nice.
Black Gold - This Brooklyn guitars'n'organ quartet is the quintessential "shitty opening band." I saw them open for the Pixies and wanted to scream "YOU FUCKING SUCK!!! GET OFF THE STAGE!!!" but that would've been rude. They sound like a bad ripoff of The Church, but with the tone-deaf brother of Live's singer on vocals and a misguided interest in being "funky" every once in a while. Their songs are generic, faceless and completely lacking in energy. Bands like this should be banned from forming; all they do is suck the life out of the world.
Black Keys - Two guys on banjo, flute, acid rock guitar, drums, synths and redneck vocals playing '70s mountain hard rock. One of them has a full beard and it shows. "I Got Mine" has a good mean '70s riff. The others are just nostalgia - Lenny Kravitz without the metrosexual sheen. Remember that term "metrosexual"? Ah, those were good times.
Black Kids - First song on MySpace is Gang Of Four wannabe (skrankly guitar, woogly synth, dancey beat), second is Cure wannabe (synth strings, wiggly voice, happy love melody), third is just shitty '80s New Romantic garbage - and that's all I could stand!
Black Lips - Georgia garage rock nostalgia. The great fuzztone "O Katrina" could easily be mistaken for a mid-'60s Nugget or Pebble if not for its contemporary subject matter. Everything about them - vocals, instrument tones, production - is designed to sound like it's from the mid-'60s. They're hardly 'relevant,' but if you're a '60s garage fan, you might "dig" it (as they used to say back in the 1960s of life).
Black Milk - A Detroit rapper who says every word on the same note. He has some hooky background music (organ lines, soul horn blasts, weirdo guitar sounds, suspicious bass lines, etc), but his voice just isn't very gripping.
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Squoogly synth riffs, nice high female voice through effects. Dreamy, psych. Okay.
Black Mountain - '70s-style hard rock, with '70s organs, wah-wah pedals, etc. They're not bad, but who cares? I'd rather hear the real thing myself.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - I could've sworn I hated this band, but I guess I just heard the wrong record! The stuff on MySpace is mostly dark, tough rock songs -- some folk-bluesy and cool, others with overblown anthemic choruses. Lots more acoustic guitar than you'd expect too. Unless you're expecting a lot of acoustic guitar, in which case it has about as much acoustic guitar as you'd expect. Not groundbreaking, but not bad at all!
Black Taj - Two Polvo-ers and friends playing rock music. Very good stuff! Not as weird as Polvo, but still full of guitar interplay, arpeggios, bent chords and intrigue. If you liked Polvo (or even if not), give 'em a whirl!
Blank Dogs - Lo-fi indie-psych-pop-rock. Brooklyn one-man-band with distorted/effected multi-track vocals, simple guitar lines, squoogly synths, electric drums and swooshly psychedelic noises. Heavily reverbed. I like the darker songs, but the happy ones are pretty generic (aside from the billion overdubbed vocals and squooshy production sound).
Bleach 03 - Three Japanese girls playing brash, noisy METAL!!!!! with slap bass, speedy guitar squeals, blastbeat smashing, and growly yelling. Check 'em out - you won't believe it's three GIRLS! Having said that, most of their songs are terrible.
Blitzen Trapper - Big Star, Raspberries and Paul McCartney hanging out together in Portland, Oregon. Some really nice and creative melodic twists!
BLK JKS - A South African rock band! Imagine the tribal chants and percussion of an '80s Paul Simon album mixed with the dark moods and reggae beats of The Police and the (occasional) lead guitar axe heroics of Living Colour. A multi-cultural sound indeed! Not sure why they chose the name "Bleak Jerks" though; that's not very nice.
Bloc Party - British dance-rock. Reminiscent of dance-era Gang Of Four. Awful!
Blotted Science - Instrumental prog-thrash-metal trio with rhythm section pulled from Cannibal Corpse and Behold The Arctopus. If you like crazy time signature changes, weird Voivody chords and fast technical guitar leads, hop on their stick. They certainly can play, that's for sure!
Blue Sky Black Death - Two boring white producers creating boring black music. Actually, hang on. Some of it's boring white music. I stand corrected.
Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus - This defunct Florida band played grindcore with very loud guitars, screaming/bellowing vocals and drums that sound like they're murdering you to death. "Love Affair With A Mannequin" is a nice title, but the actual songs don't seem to have any memorable qualities at all. Unless you find "MUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHH!" memorable.
Bomb The Music Industry! - Exuberant and poppy punk-based (but NOT punk-limited) band that experiments with horn sections, Mexican guitars, squiggly UFO noises, ska and whatever else occurs to them. Apparently it's a "collective," wherein one guy is the center and a bunch of other people participate at different times. They seem pretty bright and diverse, but the lead guy is one of those NOFX-style overenunciating shout-singers, which kinda kills it for me. He literally sounds like the Warped Tour!
Bon Iver - Acoustic strum with ambient wind tones and falsetto vocals. Without the falsetto, it'd just be boring; with the falsetto, it's unlistenable.
Bonde Do Role - Brazilian rap. Two guys, two gals. "Melo Do Tobaco" samples Alice In Chains' "Man In The Box." The others use simple metally lines or light-hearted Beastie Boy-type music. Most of the lyrics are in Brazilian, if that's a language. Playful, seems more for little kids than grownups. Pbll.
Bongripper - Instrumental sludge (doom?) metal. Sorta like Joe Preston-era Melvins with no vocals. Slow, mean and extremely heavy!
Born Ruffians - Self-proclaimed 'hootin' and hollerin'" Canadian trio that sounds like they're playing their rollicking clumpy-dumpy indie rock in a barn. The singer has a high-pitched voice and Southern accent, which makes them sound a lot sloppier and countryish than they otherwise would. If memory serves, Modest Mouse sounds a little like this. I haven't listened to them in a while though. Hick voices turn me way off.
BrakesBrakesBrakes - British quartet playing happy, hooky guitar rock. Some poppy, some glammy, some punky - all fun! I really like some of their songs; others are too la-de-da and melodically cliched. They're worth a listen for the good ones though, if you like to feel warm inside. In other words, they're a great substitution for pissing down your own throat! No hang on
Brazilian Girls - Not Brazilian and only 1/3rd girl. Brooklyn-based keyboardist, drummer and female singer (who sings in five different languages!) perform cabaret tunes, playful synth-pop, spacey electronic weirdness and whatever else their hearts desire. I'm not the biggest fan of '80sy synth-pop, but their other stuff has a nice sound. The singer sounds like a mature man-eating WOMAN, not a girl. I'm amazed that the Grammys would nominate such a 'hipster' band!
Bring Me The Horizon - Screamo. Basically a guy shrieking over dumbed-down death metal (with strings). Nice throat-shredding vocals, but weak songwriting.
British Sea Power - Rich orchestration and thick reverb helps an okay British band sound absolutely Important and Emotional! Their songs are basically simple little guitar-pop things, but the production makes it sound absolutely GIGANTIC and BEAUTIFUL! I can see a lot of people liking this and I don't blame them at all. When all the strings and echoey guitars and everything soar up over you, it feels so emotional! Unfortunately, the parts that are just rock instruments make it clear that they're actually quite banal songwriters. The singer doesn't have a very striking voice either.
Broken Records - Scottish 7-piece indie folk-rock band with violin, piano, accordion, trumpet, cello and a singer who jumps into falsetto when he can't hit the high notes. It's pleasant enough, but all full of no-good non-rock instruments like they think they're the Pogues or something. Plus they do a Velvet Underground cover. In short -- not my kind of music, but definitely yours if you're a Pitchfork Pussy. Please let me know if I should trademark that delightful and non-sexist turn of phrase.
Broken Social Scene - The boredest-sounding vocalist I've ever heard.
Brokencyde - Hideous white boy hip-hop/screamo garbage with auto tuner. Just HIDEOUS, GODFUCKINGAWFUL music. Imagine the sissiest keyboard music in the world, with these idiots screaming over it as if it were death metal. They go by the names "Se7en," "Phat J," "Mikl" and "Antz," like geniuses would. If this band actually has fans, then it is time for music itself to die.
Brother Ali - An albino!!! Rap. Boring, but at least it's not radio shit.
Brown Wing Overdrive - Three NYCers making silly rhythmic noises with their voices and electronics. Children should LOVE this! Such silly non-music.
Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears - Piano glam-pop with high male vocals. If you already own every album by Queen, Wings and Electric Light Orchestra, and are all sad and upset because there aren't any more to buy, then by gum you're in luck because this guy isn't very creative.
Buck Gooter - This duo from Virginia includes a 22-year-old boy and a 56-year-old man! The 56-year-old plugs his acoustic guitar through about a billion different effects, and the young man screams and turns on the drum machine. The songs alternate between loud messy rock'n'roll and darker, stranger fare. The vocals are pretty awful (the old man sounds like an old man, and the young man sounds tone deaf), but it's a fun idea and the music is quite enjoyable (if repetitive).
Burning Brides - Loud post-grunge rock. Pretty basic stuff.
Business Lady - California trio who wear funny makeup/masks and play wiry, cerebral noise-punk. The singer/guitarist has a thin shouty voice, but he strums unique chord and note combinations very quickly with a trebly guitar tone that sounds like the strings would slice your fingers off, plus they've got a good bassist and speedy wallopping rollicking drummer too. Song titles include "I Am Ze Doctor," "Priscilla's Bleach Bath" and "You And Your Pigs." Their music may not be pretty, but it's pretty INTERESTING!
Buttersprites - A parody of "Public Image" called "Yellow Peril"!? Five-piece female Japanese-American band based in Seattle. Their sound appears to be based on PIL-era post-punk and cutesy '90s indie pop. Doesn't particularly interest me. The vocals are mostly in Japanese.
By The End Of Tonight - Defunct instrumental math-esque rock band from Texas. They had good energy and instrumental prowess, but the songs just sound incomplete to me without vocals. I find my attention waning during the more basic sections as my brain waits for another exciting mathy part to come in. That's a personal issue of mine though, and shouldn't stop you from checking them out.
Cage - NYC white rapper who -- and this may shock you -- tries to sound black. His voice is unremarkable, and his beats range from standard hip-hop drama to substandard alt-rock. Still, he's had a hell of a rough life (look him up on Wikipedia) and my wife, who likes hip-hop a lot more than I do, says he's "not bad." Honestly, I don't get much out of hip-hop unless it's particularly violent, funny, hooky or weird. For example, have you people heard Dalek? Now THAT'S my kind of hip-hop. In fact, you might say I should review Dalek at some point. And you might be right about that. But right now we're talking about Cage -- the rapper as nondescript as his fake name.
Cannibal Ox - Gangsta rap duo with oft-eerie music, threatening lyrics and crazyass muthafuckin beats. Apparently they released an album in 2001 and haven't managed to do Jack Pepsi since. "You got beef, but there's worms in your Wellington/I'll put a hole in your skull and extract the gelatin"!?! Their best songs are downright creepy! Not as creepy as Dalek's "Absence" though. Christ, is that a creepy rap album. (And GREAT!)
Capillary Action - Strange band of music scholars playing horns, violins, electronics and rock instruments in bizarre harmonic combinations. There are definitely some large brains behind this diverse cabaret-pop-avant-metal-industrial-IDM-rock outfit. The singer/principal member unfortunately sounds like a less charismatic Dent May (see below), but if you're a fan of indescribable bands like Estradasphere and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Capillary Action should impress the liquids out of your thin tubes.
Car Bomb - Long Island group plays tight, jagged, challenging and rhythmically intense heavy metal. They don't sound like Meshuggah, but you might put them in the same category of mathematically confusing and very heavy extreme metal. It's as if a bunch of brutal, punishing math teachers formed a band!
Carbon/Silicon - Hooky! Better than expected! I'd probably be less tolerant if it weren't Mick Jones singing though.
Career Suicide - Toronto old-school hardcore punk. Fine, whatever. I recognize a few stolen Ramones riffs, and so will you.
Caribou - Toronto guy whose music puts one in the mind of breezy old '60sy folk rock bands -- like a slightly darker version of The Association or The Sunshine Company. He has a very pretty (high) voice, plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, jingle bells, flutes and all sorts of other things, and used to call himself Manitoba. It's not my chosen listening fare, but he does it very well!
Carny - Texas trio featuring Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary, a drummer and a sleazy pissed-off-sounding female vocalist. Leary is still fun with his garage riffs, fuzzy tremelo and retarded solos, but yucko on those hateful vocals. Also, to be honest, the songs are a bit underwritten. More attitude than hooks.
Castrovalva - British duo playing drums and distorted bass. Sounds like half an AmRep band. Today's music scene has too many rock duos. Make more friends, people!
Catfish Haven - Chicago garage-soul!? Gross! Like the Spin Doctors without the "hooks." Or Grand Funk Railroad with no distortion on their guitars.
Chainsaw To The Face - Grind Grind Grind! Also, stink.
Chairlift - She tried to do handstands for me. WRITE SOME NEW LYRICS!! Bouncy annoying commercial music.
Charles Hamilton - A rapper with an overly smooth delivery who seems to fall behind the beat a lot, with r'n'b backup (or, in one instance, "Tubular Bells"). He sings about nothing but Charles Hamilton, and it's generally pretty boring. The song "Windows Media Player" is an adorable must-hear though! The background is made up of Windows music samples, and he's singing about being on Blogspot!
Charmparticles - Oregon indie rock with female singer. Guitars go from quiet and moving to distorted and loud. Songs are slow and whatever. Sounds like Belly for the new generation or something. Or The Cranberries' "Linger" over and over agan.
Cheveu - English-speaking Frenchmen speak-singing over primitive art-garage blues-rock. Jon Spencer has been "mining" this "vein" since Pussy Galore, and it hasn't gotten any more interesting over the years.
Chickenfoot - The long-awaited rock and roll supergroup of all time, featuring Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani and Chad Smith. Playing their super rock music, these guys are gonna be your hoochie coochie man, according to Sammy Hagar's vocals in their hit "Oh Yeah." If you thought cornball '70s macho shit rock died out in 1991, try again! For example, at the beginning of "Down The Drain," Sammy shouts "UH!" as if his pelvis has felt a tingle. Every once in a while, they'll dump the cliched hairy-chested fuck lickin' and actually perform a melodic piece of music. That seems to be rare though. And keep in mind that I like Nazareth; I'm not some Pitchfork Media indie rock guy. But Chickenfoot is just playing third- or fourth-generation '70s hard rock, notable only for its speedy guitar solos and Sammy's typically obnoxious vocals.
Chris Bathgate - Bland songwriter sings like the Coldplay guy while playing slow, fatigue-ridden songs on piano, guitar or ukulele - usually with no drum accompaniment. I am the exact opposite of the target audience for this kind of music.
Chromeo - "The only successful Arab/Jew partnership since the dawn of human culture." Unfortunately the music is sissified keyboard dance-pop and soul.
Circus Devils - Sounds much less like guided by voices than I'd expected! A lil' jesus lizard, a lil' '70s hard rock, a little prog rock, a lil GBV, not bad at all!
City Of Caterpillar - Virginia screamo trio from the early 2000's. The two songs on MySpace sound okay, but don't do much to differentiate them from the other emo/screamo bands of the era. Maybe their other material is more unique?
Civet - Female punk-metal band from L.A. Ramonesy songs performed with loud metal guitars, snarled lead vocals and group background vocals. Loud and likable! The chord changes are basic but hooky in that imitable Ramones way.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Annoying womanly singer ruins any chance the music might have had. TURN THAT AWFUL SINGER DOWN!!!! SMACK HIS HEAD SAY NO!!!!!
cLOUDDEAD - Three white guys with geeky voices singing and talk-rapping over gentle synth drones and slow beats. Nerdy indie rap? Alternately boring and irritating.
Coachwhips - Messy stomp rock like a less full-of-shit Pussy Galore. Fun, noisy, energetic and breaking plenty of old ground!
Cobra Starship - Energetic but painfully uncreative NYC dance-pop-rock filled to bustin' with soon-to-be-dated production cliches. Probably easy to dance to; definitely hard to listen to.
Cog - This Australian trio plays dramatic, important-sounding radio-ready rock reminiscent (in tone) of Live, Peter Gabriel or a less metallic Tool. They're super-earnest without the musical creativity to support their gravitas. "Yes, they're making lists/But maybe they're the terrorists!" they sing, very seriously. "Well, I'm happy for them," I reply, frivolously.
Coheed and Cambria - Bombastic Neo-prog-metal with a very high-voiced singer. Very bad, unless you're a Spock's Beard fan or something. Yech! Like Rush playing Survivor covers. Corny and awful! D&D players might be into it.
Coke Bust - DC hardcore with murky fuzzed-out guitars, blastbeats and an angry shouting vocalist. I've heard so much hardcore in my life that it's REALLY hard for any to stand out at this point, sad to say. They certainly aren't bad though, and their drummer is INTENSE!
Cold Cave - Moody lo-fi synth-pop. Not bad, strangely enough. You'd expect them to be just fucking awful, but such is not the case. They're in fact quite passable. The one dude has a really low voice and the other dude is a woman.
Cold War Kids - Terrible "punk/soul." Sounds like Dave Matthews mixed with Simply Red. YECH! My wife just cringed and said, "This is fucking painful!" The singer appears to be a castrato.
Colder - Dark post-punk disco/electronica/techno. Dance beats, cold synths and sexy male vocals. He can get a bit girly, but his colder moments are quite cold indeed. Check out the creepy "On My Mind"! You'll be all like, "Yo, dat's COLD!"
Coldplay - Am I nuts are is this band boring? My wife has their first two albums (out of four), and I thought to myself, "Say, I should really give these guys a chance for once." I listened to both albums in their entireties, and found every single song to be "passable, but kinda dull." Except "Yellow," which is a complete rip-off of Pavement's "Here." So am I nuts? There's just nothing going on in their music! Why are they so popular!?
Collections of Colonies of Bees - Milwaukee instrumental five-piece. Pretty guitar interplay reminiscent in places of Minus The Bear (though less "emo"-y), along with piano and electronics. Uplifting and positive without being cornball cheery. Every song is in the same mood though, so prepare to mellow out or GET LOST!
Comets On Fire - Psych-blooze-rock. Some quiet blues lickin', and also some noisy wailing psych-noise-blues-rock that sounds like Mudhoney pumped through the Butthole Surfers' effects processors. Okay, I guess. Kind of a cross between Cream and a motorcycle gang destroying your home.
Constantines - Canadian rock band with two loud guitars, a keyboard and a smooth-voiced cool singer. Good hard guitar-driven sound that's loud and kinda psych-droney at times, but not noisy. Sorta Screaming Treesy maybe? Not bad!
CPC Gangbangs - Canadian garage punk. Loud and energetic, but snotty and predictable (aside from the odd goth post-punk "Jeff Starship"). Okay, I guess. The vocalist sings through a distortion pedal, a gimmick that's really running thin.
Crocodiles - Alert the police: crocodiles have eaten the Jesus and Mary Chain! Harmless but unnecessary '60s music learned from '90s indie rockers.
Crow Tongue - A guy who spells his name "tiMOTHy" and plays a homemade instrument called 'the guimbri-banjo' performs hypnotic, depressing Appalachian/Native American music and chant-sings in a low somber Swansy voice, as his friends add banjo and drums or whatever. Every song on his MySpace sounds the same and it gets REALLY old after a couple minutes.
Crystal Antlers - The hoarse singer and Vox organ make it feel like '60s garage-soul-punk. The guitar feedback noise, heavy reverb and bluesy bass makes it feel like late-'60s freakout-psych. Put it all together and it's '60s garage-soul-punk-freakout-psych rock, I guess. Most of it's quite enjoyable and noisy! It kinda seems like they're hiding something under all that reverb, but every song has something going for it: a great Grand Funk Railroady bass line or Mitch Rydery soul chorus or something. Check 'em out!
Crystal Castles - Disco duo (guy/gal) with synth-manipulated vocals. Cold and boring.
Crystal Stilts - Retro-garage-psych with tons of reverb. Not bad, but just sounds like a band from 1966.
CSS - Brazilian synth-pop, disco and dance-rock with female vocals. Not my preferred genres, but their songs certainly are danceable. Look at my leg, for Pete's sake. It's all bouncin' up and down even though I don't like these songs at all!
Cut Copy - Australian disco. '70s nostalgia, horrifically uncompelling.
Cut Off Your Hands - New Zealand band seems to like the Smiths, Phil Spector, early Beatles and modern 'ringy guitar note' indie rock (eg Minus The Bear, Editors) in equal measure. If you do too, check 'em out! I don't give a shit.
Cute Is What We Aim For - Cutesy sweet power pop (or "emo," as they call it these days). I've just never gravitated towards this kind of music. (Because I wasn't born a girl.)
Cymbals Eat Guitars - Melodic, trebly indie rock with guitars, piano, organs, horns and the like. They're very young and the vocals sound it. There are moments of certain songs that remind me of Modest Mouse or Neutral Milk Hotel or even Pavement -- you know, the whole history of Indie Rock all piled up into the minds of young people. But honestly, I'm not the best authority on post-1995 indie rock, so for all I know they're just completely ripping off Built To Spill or something. If you're really really into Indie Rock, you should certainly give them a chance. Otherwise, fuck 'em.
Dan Deacon - Electronic musician whose work is chockful of bright sine waves, computer music, treated vocals and all kinds of other wonderfully melodic blaring electronic tones. Even his gentle songs will fill your heart with gleeful palpitations. I think I'd develop cavities in my brain if I listened to a whole album of this chirping beeping sunshine music, but it's certainly fun for a track or two! Perry-Kingsley fans should be all over this guy like roaches on my face.
Dananananaykroyd - This Scottish sextet plays what they call "fight pop." Though loud and guitar-oriented, they're way too cheerful and brash for me, with occasional group-shouted vocals like they're in a cheap '70s community musical. The overly gleeful mood reminds me of early '90s Flying Nun stuff, but the actual songs remind me of one particular band I'm blanking on. The Arcade Fire? New Pornographers? Either way, I don't like this band's songs anywhere near as much as either of those's.
Darvocets - Quirky Ohio punk rock band focused on UFOs and aliens. Fun if a bit silly at times.
Datarock - These Norwegian "electro rockers" fancy themselves a cross between the Talking Heads, Devo and Happy Mondays. At their best, they sound like a less over-the-top (and hence, less interesting) and more synth-focused version of Electric Six. At their worst, they sound like the Human League. And yes, The Human League is my benchpost for wimpy synth-pop.
Daughtry - If you think a North Carolina band led by an American Idol winner can't kick some major rock and roll ass, THINK AGAIN! Because these guys are BORING! Wait, I may have phrased that wrong. Nonetheless, imagine an even more polished, ballad-focused and radio-friendly version of late-period Soul Asylum, and Daughtry will help you bring that image to festering stenchy life. I swear to God that if I still lived next to that horrible couple who always blasted Blues Traveller and Counting Crows, they'd be playing the HELL out of this CD. Thank God they got a divorce years ago. HA HA!!! FUCK YOU, FAILED MARRIAGE!!!!
David Thomas Broughton - A guy strumming a guitar and singing in an awful voice. Alright, who told me to listen to this!?
Dead Confederate - Athens, GA slow moody guitar-based band. Dark moods reminiscent of the Gutter Twins. Actually, this is probably TOO slow. Speed it up, Deadys!
Dead Meadow - Moody, sluggish rock with blues influences and lazy, nasally male vocals. They sound like a mature rock band (not trebly indie rockers), but their songs are really mopey and not super-memorable.
Deaf Wish - Australian band playing good old '80s-style guitar-driven noise rock a la Touch & Go/AmRep. They're not the most consistent band in the world, but it's always nice to have dissonant rock songs out there with titles like "Mum Gets Punched In The Face." The craziest thing is that they're Australian, yet don't sound like the Birthday Party at all! If anything, they sound like they're from the midwestern United States, visiting Australia on vacation.
Death From Above 1979 - Toronto duo who have already broken up. Disco-rock and industrial dance. Okay, I suppose. At least it's not the weak Clash ripoff I was expecting from the band name!
Decemberists - The singer sounds like Al Stewart, and that should be enough to dissuade you from investigating them any further. They're also a bland, fey indie rock band with folksy roots. Even the energetic songs are so calm and reserved, it's like listening to a Cat Stevens album or something. And why is the singer trying to sound British? He's from fucking Montana!
Deer Tick - Rednecky vocals, acoustic picking and a band. Country-rock, I guess. Yech. Their songs aren't bad, but yech.
Deerhunter - Indie rock. Some keyboards, decent melodies, warm guitars, pleasant voices. The songs on their Myspace page are great, but I downloaded their new album and it's a lot slower and boringer.
Deltron 3030 - A hip-hop supergroup featuring Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Dan The Automator and DJ Koala. Their first MySpace song ("Things You Can Do") is absolutely adorable, but the others are generic throwaways.
Demons & Wizards - Power metal with tough thrash guitars but way-too-stonefaced melodies and goofy operatic high-pitched vocals (it being 'power metal' and all). How can people take this kind of music seriously!? It's so corny!
Dent May - Mississippi ukulele player with a voice like a less stuffed-nosed Elvis Costello who plays cutesy indie pop, bachelor pad samba, '50s nostalgia, novelty Prince covers and gentle things like that. It's absolutely incredible that I don't fucking loathe this stuff with every ounce of my being. Chalk it up to his less-stuffed nose, I guess.
Department of Eagles - Brooklyn duo making playful indie pop with instrumental quirkiness. Van Dyke Parks would probably like them more than I do.
Devendra Banhart - You know, I've wondered what she's been up to since Ally McBeal. Turns out she's now a American-Venezuelan folk rocker with a really long beard! All 'hilarious' jokes aside, this guy is quite moving and effective when playing dark Venezuelan piano music, but his rock music is dull '66 Dylan ripoffery flatly sung with an arrogant twang.
Die Munch Machine - A drummer and synthesizerist play ring modulated tone repetitions with a rhythm. Slow and unfathomably tedious.
Dirty Pretty Things - Bland British rock band led by two former Libertines. Same old Beatles chords, no new ideas. At times they remind me of The Jam, but that may just be because they're as dull as The Jam. Certainly melodic, but not very interesting.
Dirty Projectors - Quirky Brooklyn band with kooky ideas like a concept album about Don Henley and an art-pop "reimagining" of Black Flag's Damaged LP. In addition to normal rock instruments (and occasional brass or strings), they also use tons of multi-vocal harmonies, bizarre sound loops and all kinds of crazy things. Certainly quirky, I'll give them that. Near unlistenable at times, but they definitely have their own thing going on.
Disaster Strikes - Boston hardcore band that's angry and political (song titles: "Waterboarding USA," "Manufacturing Demand"), but not terribly hooky or original.
Dizzee Rascal - British rapper. Some of the background sounds are interesting, but he raps everything on one note. No emotion.
DJ/Rupture - Boring mood music with a beat.
Does It Offend You, Yeah? - The first two songs on their MySpace page are very melodic and nice, but the others are just synth bloopery and cocky British assholishness.
Dr. Dog - Another high-pitched sissy boy singing for a fey indie rock band -- this one piano-focused and going for an early '70s McCartney-pop feel. They do some nice multi-part vocal harmonies, but the songs sound like Badfinger and Todd Rundgren having a Dick Party.
Dr. Steel - Playful hip-hop with cartoony/3-penny opera/pirate background music. Basically, imagine Tom Waits as a rapper. Then go listen to the actual Tom Waits instead of this cheap rip-off.
Dresden Dolls - Boston-based boy/girl duo playing piano-driven music with a theatrical dramatic flair. My wife says "Tokio Hotel and Bauhaus put together!" Critics supposedly call them punk-cabaret or theatrical rock. I don't give a chit what you call them - just don't call them late for dinner! Faux-scary, rollicking, or just good old pretty, they seem to have genuine regard for both vocal and instrumental melody. Not that I'll ever listen to them again, but that shouldn't stop YOU!
Drunkdriver - New York industrial noise trio (as in early Swans industrial - not industrial dance!) with hideously cheap recording, blisteringly distorted guitar, rabidly shouting singer, and lots of self-defeating anger and ennui. They list their influences as "hating god every morning for not killing us off in our sleep." Not so much 'music' as 'aural assault.' Tuneless, hopeless, deafening -- and FUN!
Duffy - Good god, what an annoying voice! She sounds like a little black girl singing into an oscillating fan!
Duke Squad - Lame-o Canadian radio-friendly emo-pop. The band members appear to be about 12 years old, with songs geared towards 6-year-olds.
Dum Dum Girls - Heavily reverbed '60s-esque pop with distorted guitars, uptempo drums and harmony female vocals - all played by one person. Very pretty singing and nice sound, even if not all the songs are super-creative. Plus, she does a GG Allin cover!
Dungen - Swedish. '70sy psych-folk and blistering acid rock, with lyrics that aren't English at all! A few really good songs - melodic, moving, noisy. A couple are just 'eh' though. A mellotron!
DYSE - This German duo plays dark, hard-edged, and slightly off-kilter rock music in the Shellac vein. They don't *sound* like Shellac per se, but they play the same sort of muted, menacing snaky rock that occasionally explodes into screaming rage. Some of the vocals are iffy, but the songs are quite good!
Dysrhythmia - Very talented math-prog-metal band on Relapse with cool time signature changes, impressively speedy bass and guitarwork, and catchy (occasionally bizarre) metal riffs. No vocals unfortunately, but then again vocals might ruin 'em!
Eagles of Death Metal - '70sy glam rock with falsetto vox. Awful, derivative and stupid. The worst of Sweet, Bowie, NY Dolls and T. Rex tossed into an Arrogance Machine and set on High. It's amazing how self-confident the worst bands in the world can sound sometimes.
Ear Pwr - This Baltimore duo (with girl singer) plays electronic music. Thumping disco, '80s synth-pop, annoying bubbly noises, boring melodies -- Hell, if I were the 'o' and 'e,' I'd have left too.
Easy Action - The newest band of John Brannon (Negative Approach, Laughing Hyenas). Heavy growly mean-rock of the Laughing Hyenas/T&G/AmRep sort. If you miss pre-Nevermind Grunge, here you go! Man, is John Brannon growly.
Eat Skull - According to Wikipedia, this new-fangled lo-fi music you'll find on records by Times New Viking, No Age and Blank Dogs has been termed "Shitgaze." Eat Skull is another band that falls into this category. "Shitgaze is an emerging genre of alternative rock characterized by the use of musical instruments found in traditional rock and roll—guitars, drums, and keyboards—but recorded and played live in such an abrasive manner as to distort recordings and push amplifiers to their sonic limits." Eat Skull seems to merge overloaded '60s garage rock with "Priest-Driven Ambulance"-era Flaming Lips, with the acoustic strumming, high ringing lead guitar notes and random noise that would suggest. Maybe they're not amazing, but they beat the living shit out of Times New Viking. At least these songs have melodies! "Puker Corpse" is a particularly adorable noisy slide guitar romp.
Eddy Current Suppresion Ring - Trebly Australian band specializing in '60sy garage rock and '70s Buzzcocky pop-punk. Not groundbreaking, but fun to listen to!
Editors - I kinda like these guys! They're called neo-post-punk, but just sound like melodic, darkly emotional rock music to me. The singer has a good low voice, the songs are troubled and occasionally driving, the guitars are high-pitched and ethereal, and by gum I don't hate them at all! They're not groundbreaking, but they are a good solid rock band ready to depress you with their sadly tuneful songs.
El Guincho - Dancey shaky samba mambo Caribbean Spanish goodtimes! If that's your kind of music, you'll love it!
El Perro Del Mar - Swedish woman singing and playing music all on her lonesome. Bachelor pad music, gentle '60s pop, very calming stuff. Recorders, horns, bass, keyboards, and some pretty harmony vocals too.
Elbow - British. The best material on their MySpace page has a dark proggy Radiohead/Pink Floyd feel ("Station Approach" and "Any Day Now" are great songs!). The worst encompass lame hipster shit-rock, overdone bombast and bland Peter Gabriel doldrums. Not consistent enough to make me want to hear more, but I really like the two songs I named above!
Electrik Red - Four womens singing urban r'n'b with curse words. "Ya'all don't fuck us, nigga - we fuck you"!? That's hardly a positive message for the children. She's talking about DOING IT! Otherwise slow, synthy and boring.
Elvis Perkins - His father was Anthony "Norman Bates" Perkins and his mother was in one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center on 9/11! Who GIVES a shit what his music sounds like!? For the record though, he sounds like he's been listening to both the Bob Dylan discography and the Elephant 6 Collective, but with a prettier voice than either -- kind of a cross between Thom Yorke, Steve Malkmus, Nick Drake and the Strokes guy. Harmonica, brass section, folksy acoustic guitar, oompah songs, accordion - some nice stuff! Occasionally dull, but a lovely voice -- and how about that parental lineage!?
Empire Of The Sun - Australian sexy disco. Fine if you like sexy disco with a sexy young man on vocals. If you're straight, FUCK OFF STRAIGHTY.
Enter Shikari - "Okay, here's my idea. Imagine a cross between Linkin Park and radio-ready emo punk -- but with a big goofy Emerson Lake and Palmer syntheszier blappin' away on top of the whole thing! No wait, hear me ou-"
Entrance - This is a man calling himself "Entrance" who plays psych-blues-folk-rock through echos and other effects, with occasional violin, wah-wah, Eastern-tinged riffs and Indian instrumentation. He also sings through a distorting echo/delay effect and pumps his voice too high in the mix. It's not bad at all (the middle eastern punker "Valium Blues" is a particular standout), but seriously -- at some point, people need to get over the sixties. Heck, the seventies, eighties and nineties too, for that matter. Why are so many of today's young artists unable to find inspiration in themselves and their instruments rather than in long-past musical movements? Maybe it's always been like this and I just never noticed.
Erykah Badu - Soul singer with hip-hop beats and huge hair. Not bad, but not the kind of music towards which I naturally gravitate.
Escape The Fate - Emo with injections of hair metal and thrash. Unfortunately, when they try to 'tear' and 'kick ass,' their efforts are undermined by the Cookie Monster vocals sounding more like Big Bird. Also, their songs are terrible.
Estelle - Black British woman. Wife loves "American Boy." Not for me,thanks!
Evangelista - Woman singer, avant fucking around and depressed guitar songs.
Everest - This dull, plodding L.A. band belongs in the early '70s with The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Poco and all those other laidback country-rock pricks. They even 'mellow out' The Beatles' "She Said She Said"! Could someone please invent punk rock again?
Evil Army - Basic thrash, but enjoyable in a Venom way.
Evil Cowards - Side project of Electric Six singer Dick Valentine. Features the same manly vocals and hilarious lyrics ("There's gonna be three amigos and a four-alarm fire at the radio station!" !?), but paired with more synth-based music. A must-love if you're an Electric Six fan!
Evil Nine - This British DJ duo is making you dance with their synth-driven disco music and occasional rap vocals. Turn off your brain, turn down your ears and turn up your dancey legs! Dancey dancey dancey WHEE!
Explosions In The Sky - Gently soaring spiritual guitar-and-xylophone-based instrumentals. (Boring)
Extra Life - Math rock mixed with violin and ridiculously overdone singing. Imagine Don Caballero hiring a singer off of "American Idol"! The songs are great if you can get used to his sissyish vocal approach.
Familea Miranda - Chilean guys playing tight mean post-hardcore rock of the sort Steve Albini would like. Serious, angry, midtempo - puts one in the mind of Mark of Cain, Tar or Fugazi, though they don't really sound like any of those three. Good solid rock band, with occasional quirkiness (horns, oddball vox)! Do check them out if you don't mind the language barrier.
Family Force 5 - A loud fuzzed-out electro-glam-emo-rap-nu-metal-autotunedballad-radiopunk band from Atlanta that is CHRISTIAN! The band members use pseudonyms like Crouton, Phatty and Chap Stique, and they're CHRISTIAN! Their music is geared towards teens and it's CHRISTFUCKINGLY BAD!
Feist - Canadian alternative woman featured in Stephen Colbert's Christmas Special. Some piano thingy, some clappy people, some banjo (!?) and strings - darker than I was expecting, but still really not my kind of music (female singer-songwriter).
Fennesz - Experimental. Slow, sad keyboard half-melodies buried under hiss and noise.
Fever Ray - Swedish woman from The Knife (see below) branches out on her own to create trip-hop that sounds like Tangerine Dream with Cyndi Lauper singing. Beats the hell out of The Dull Knife (ha ha! That was pretty good! We all enjoyed that.), but geared more towards Portishead fans than Dayglo Abortions fans -- and, sadly, I'm more of the latter. If you can get her to do a cover of "Fuck My Shit Stinks," I promise to reconsider.
Fiery Furnaces - A brother and sister creating artsy (and shitty) indie rock from keyboards, guitars, drums, samples, special effects and haughty unlikeable female vocals. Even when the brother happens upon an intriguing musical loop or orchestral arrangement, the songs are no fun because the sister sounds like a schoolteacher or Patti Smith or some crap.
Fight Like Apes - Annoyingly cheery Irish alt-pop band with fuzzy synths and boisterous party girl vocals. Like No Doubt with none of the ska but all of the bad lyrics. "You're like Kentucky Fried Chicken without the taste"!? Meaning what - his skin is brown, crispy and flaking off? That's a burn victim.
Fischerspooner - NYC "Electroclash" duo, whatever the hell "electroclash" is. It just sounds like dark synth-pop to me. Yet strangely, I don't hate it at all! I like the moody riffs and booty-moving beats quite a bit, in fact. I give 'em a thumbs uppity!
Fleet Foxes - Folksy. Very warm and lovable, but not something I'd ever care to hear again.
Flight of the Conchords - New Zealand comedy TV show guys. Cute parodies of Pet Shop Boys, Bowie, Kraftwerk, Prince, Donovan and hip-hop. Probably funnier on-screen. Two guys, mostly acoustic guitars.
Florence And The Machine - British woman with horrible voice oversings generic folk/rock/pop tunes performed boringly on piano and guitar. Thank you so much, NME, for bringing this visionary new artist to my attention.
Flowers Forever - '60s garage rock, '70s glam rock, '80s art-punk and British music hall thrown into a Terrible Blender and pureed into a Shit Shake.
Flying Lotus - Turntablism, modern r'n'b through a billion effects, woofly swoofly I don't understand this - are these old records he's screwing with, or new music he's making on a computer? IDM, I guess. Like Ipecac would release to annoy me.
Foals - More neu-post-punk. Good, though a bit samey in (dark, minor-key) mood. The ringing guitar interplay, harmonics and such remind me of Minus The Bear, but these guys don't try to be all romantic and sexy. Plus they also have swishly electronics, and the singer's accent is thicker than Mick Jagger's!
Foot Village - Screaming and drumming. And THAT'S IT. Invite over the neighborhood kids to bang on the air conditioner, release it as a Foot Village record, and probably not even the band will be able to tell the difference.
Forever The Sickest Kids - WTF is wrong with Alternative Press? Didn't they used to be a punk magazine? Why are they pushing all this sissyboy power pop now? Shame on today's young people for sucking all the aggression out of an entire subgenre. This band is the Backstreet Boys with loud guitars. They even use vocal tuners!
Foxboro Hot Tubs - Pricks stole my album title "Stop, Drop & Roll." I'm told that this is Green Day playing garage rock? I guess that explains why it's so boring.
Foxy Shazam - Piano-heavy glam-disco a la Andrew WK, but with a much more annoying singer whose voice keeps cracking. Bad songs. TERRIBLE!
Franz Ferdinand - I HATE THIS BAND. Scottish hookless disco-rock with arrogant, weedy vocals. To me, they represent everything that's wrong with today's so-called "rock" music, and it boggles my mind that ANYBODY IN THE WORLD finds this shit appealing. I have their first album. I've listened to it twice. It's fucking HORRIBLE.
Friendly Fires - Nostalgic dancey disco/synth-pop stuff with melodic vocals. Some Caribbeany beats too.
Frightened Rabbit - Scottish positive-toned indie rock band with Scottish flavor, optimistic feel, ringing guitars, occasional piano and accordion and thick accent. If you're feeling down, their major chords will perk you right up! If you're in a normal mood, it will get on your nerves though.
Frontier Ruckus - I'd like to congratulate the man with the most repulsive singing voice in the world for finding himself a band. Slow tiresome country-folk sung by what appears to be a tone-deaf hermaphroditic black redneck going through puberty. And where's this 'ruckus' you speak of, assholes? More like "Frontier NAP," if you ask me!!! I'm sorry I called you assholes though; that was mean. I don't even know you.
Fuck Buttons - Instrumental fuzzy splinky new age relaxation post-rock with a screaming singer. Stupefyingly repetitive.
Fucked Up - Epic punk-influenced heavy anthemic rock with screaming manly singer.
Fujiya & Myagi - Two slanty-eyed chinks? Shit no, RACIST -- four British men who sound like a more dance-oriented Can! Their calm understated vocals, diverse percussive elements and blurbling electronics mark them as Krautrock fans galore and, although they certainly don't have a very unique sound, they'll do a fine job of tiding you over until Neu! and Faust start ripping out the hits again.
Funeral For A Friend - Welsh emo-metal. Less sickening than American emo-boy-band-pop, but not by much. Still, compared to Fall Out Boy, these guys are fucken Napalm Death.
Future Clouds And Radar - Texas-based band whose singer sounds like he's in the Beatles. This music (with guitar arpeggios, pianos and keyboards) would've been radio-friendly in 1967, but now sounds anachronistic. It's pretty good though! Folks who enjoy Guided By Voices' more hi-fi products might like it quite a bit.
Future Of The Left - Welsh band with a Roland Juno-60 keyboard, distorted bass, heavy chord-focused guitar and singer who seems pretty fond of himself. I'm told two of these people used to be in McLusky, but I don't remember McLusky sucking like this. This is just attitude-driven shit music.
Futureheads - British pop-rock band. So unremarkable that I'm at a loss what else to say here. They claim to be influenced by Fugazi and Shellac, but sound a lot more like Elvis Costello or XTC, so I don't know what's up with that.
Gallows - Angry British metal/hardcore band with a couple decent riffs but few innovative ideas. Plus, the appeal of the menacing, pissed-off guitar tones are negated by the vocalist's annoying hoarse screaming.
Gallows - British screamo. Nice screaming, but the music is wimpy, predictable punk rock.
Gang Gang Dance - Electronic music with Indian ethnic exotic touches. I'll take Duck Duck Goose, thanks. Ha ha! Touche'! Zing! SNAP!
Gay Witch Abortion - An instrumental Minneapolis duo (drums/guitar) performing headbangy noise rock. A fan described them to me as "a drummer on Keith Moon pills and shit ton of effects on guitar," and I suppose that's not inaccurate. It feels a little empty to me (no bass OR vocals?) but it's alright.
Genghis Tron - Prog/extreme metal band merging distorted guitars with electronics (including an entirely fake rhythm section!) and hoarse screaming vocals. Their high-speed sicko guitar runs and insane screaming are reminiscent of Today Is The Day in places, but they also love to throw in corny soft prog passages, which sound pretty goofy and out of place. I admire their technical skill, but their songs only occasionally spark my interest.
Giant Squid - Bleak music played on both metallic distorted angry instruments and acoustic cello instruments. The vocals range from enraged screaming to Olde Folkey Man sing-wailing. Either way, it's punishing, depressing and not nearly as fun as an actual giant squid would be. All dancing around with an umbrella and polka-dots.
Girl Talk - Samples samples samples. "Mashups," they call them. The Police, Beastie Boys, Busta Rhymes, Faith No More, AC/DC, Argent, Queen and much more -- all in one song! Others feature Journey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Harrison, Kenny Loggins, Michael Sembello, Big Country, Heart, Hot Chocolate, Tears For Fears, Britney Spears, Tom Petty and pretty much anybody else you can think of -- all with rap samples planted on top. My wife loves this stuff, but I see it as novelty music -- worth one game of "Name That Tune" and that's about it.
Girls Aloud - Prefabricated British glamour quintet singing synth-driven dance-pop. Loud and energetic with the occasional standout vocal hook ("Something kinda oooh/Jumpin' on my too-too"), but just as inconsistent as the Spice Girls before them. Not nearly as bad as you'd expect, but when they're not loud and dance-thumpin', they're just characterless and dull.
Girugamesh - A Japanese band that plays ClearChannel metal (i.e. so heavy and digitally processed that you can't make out any of the chords, vocals alternating between screaming and boy band singing). Come on, the Japanese -- stick to your weirdo music and leave the tuneless redneck garbage to those who do it best.
Giveamanakick - Irish duo on guitars, drums and vocals. Switches quickly from quiet indie rock to loud shouty noise rock. There's some great noise-rock on their MySpace page, but the indie stuff isn't very strong.
Glasvegas - Boring Scottish band trying to sound like U2 or Coldplay or some other self-important midtempo alt-rock throwaway band.
Gnarls Barkley - Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo performing '60s-styled r'n'b. Most of the songs are sub-Stax/Motown whatevers, but Cee-Lo has an excellent voice for this kind of music. I have to wonder if all the people who rave about this band have ever even heard Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, The Four Tops and so forth. If so, what is new here? The electronic beats?
Go! Team - First album was recorded by one guy on his computer and is lots of fun - just a bunch of cheerleader routines and songs built from samples. Second album is by a full band and sounds like Gwen Stefani (awful).
Goblin Cock - Pleaseeeasaur is one of their top MySpace Friends! They just sound like basic stoner metal to me though. Maybe the lyrics are funny or something? They do a nice cover of the Monkees' "Porpoise Song," I'll give them that. But dude, with a name like "Goblin Cock" (get it? GOBBLIN' COCK!? LIKE A HOMERSEXUAL!?), I was expecting something over-the-top. But this music, even when it ROXXX, is still pretty much under-the-top.
God Fodder - Old-school hardcore punk! Catchy, '80sy, whee! Trebly guitar, speedy drums, cool shouty vocals, minute-long songs - fun! Sounds straight off of "This Is Boston, Not LA."
Gojira - French black metal with heavy guitars, occasional goth keyboards, hoarsely screamed vocals and midtempo rhythms. None too exciting.
Goldfrapp - Duo, with female vocals. Some sounds like '70s Fleetwood Mac balladary; others like Portishead hip-hop. Relaxing, but not my type of music.
Gorillaz - Eclectic Blur side project! Electro-Pop, rap, quirkiness synth bloopery, acoustic balladry with Indian instruments - interesting mixture!
Grails - Pink Floyd, a stoner metal band and a guy from the Middle East share a "toke" (or "magic mushroom') in the desert. Slow, atmospheric and kinda boring.
Grand Duchy - Frank Black and his wife trade off vocals on sweet guitar/synth rock and romantic lounge-pop with the sorts of hooky (and occasionally oddball) chord changes you've come to expect from America's Pixie. Honestly I prefer his voice to hers, but hey it's his wife! What's he gonna say, "Shuddupayouface"? The important thing is that Frank Black/Black Francis' post-Americana comeback continues - these are good songs! Some of the bass lines are awfully Kim Deal-esque too.
Graveyard - Swedish. sounds like 70's hard rock! like Spooky Tooth or something. Not bad!
Grizzly Bear - Brooklyn indie rock quartet whose first album was the work of one member. A DICK! No no, I'm just making "member" jokes for you. This early stuff is kind of annoying and cutesy, throwing in raps and samples out of nowhere (including the intro drums to Tears For Fears' "Shout"), drenched in dreamy reverb etc. The full-band stuff is much more melodic, with acoustic guitars, organ, mandolin and such. You have to be pretty mellow to enjoy it though, because THEY certainly are!
Grouper - Quiet acoustic strumming and reverbed female vocals. Ethereal. Seems to be one person.
Growing - Experimental instrumental Brooklyn trio with swoopy noises and electronically manipulated guitar sounds and such, just droning along on one or two chords for hours on end. Ungodily slow, tuneless and boring.
Gutter Twins - Afghan Whigs and Screaming Trees 2getha. Good solid dark rock music!
Gym Class Heroes - Dull hip-hop with horns, synth washes, soulful guitar licks and TERRIBLE sexual double-entendres. This is the kind of shit they're constantly playing at my local Arriba Arriba Mexican Restaurant. I'm drunk every time we eat there though so it's okay.
Handsome Furs - Montreal indie rock that only has two songs on their MySpace page. One is very cool with echoey drums, creepy minor chords, electric and acoustic guitars, martial beats, and a singer. The other is nostalgic-sounding and kinda corny with a synthesizer and singer. Who knows what the rest of their material sounds like, but one thing's for certain: they have a singer.
Har Mar Superstar - Dumpy white guy singing sexy soul-dance-pop. Sorta like Prince as a dumpy white guy. He appears to be sort of kidding (his lyrics sometimes approach Ween's in ridiculousness -- "Deeper deeper, I can feel your beeper"?), but the music itself sounds serious!
Hard-Fi - Dark British dance-rock band. A couple songs are cool and bitter in that mid-period Gang Of Four way, but they seem more concerned with romancing the ladies.
Harlem Shakes - NYC indie rock band specializing for light-hearted happy music with horns, pianos and nerdy nasally vocals. I'll pass. SIX THOUSAND TIMES.
Hauschka - German "prepared piano" player. May be of interest to Philip Glass fans or something, I don't know. Sometimes there are horns and violins and crap in there too.
Have A Nice Life - Lo-fi, heavily reverbed shoegaze-art-pop. Judging from the ONE SINGLE SONG they put on Myspace anyway.
Hayes Carll - Country/western. "She Left Me For Jesus" is a cute idea ("If I ever find Jesus, I'm-a kick his ass!"), but I'm not a fan of the genre.
Health - Calamitous guitars, crazy synth noises, feedback, loud stomping/rollocking drums and eerie disembodied vocals. Reminiscent of early Sonic Youth and fuzz-synthy Kraftwerk, but with a larger, stranger collection of noises going on. Worth hearing, even if their 'sound' is better than their 'songs.'
Heartless Bastards - Thick Crazy Horse-style guitar rock and acoustic strummery led by a female singer with a peculiar accent. I like their sound, but the riffs are too predictable and repetitive. With such a great name and interesting voice, I wish I could say they're good, but they're not talented enough to be good. One of their songs uses the "Blitzkrieg Bop" riff, for Christ's sake! Come on, young people. Work on your "chops"!
Hella - Load Recordsy experimental instrumental noise-math-rock duo who recently became a 5-piece with vocals. Speedy guitar notin' and chordin', insane manic drums, and also some overdistorted chintzy keyboards for fun. Some of it's great Lightning Bolty stuff; others are just noisy joke or atmospheric things. Worth checking out, even if some of their stuff is completely half-assed novelty music.
Hepa-Titus - Experimental project featuring former Cows/Melvins/Tomahawk bassist Kevin Rutmanis and several contributors, including former members of God Bullies, The Weirdos and Hammerhead. Their work ranges from uptempo guitar rock and screaming psych-dirge metal to menacing music noir and bongo-driven distorted bass noise to eerie female-voiced keyboard racket and '60s blooze-groove to just utter piss-off noise. If you like Teenage Larvae, you'll probably be into this stuff too. If you tend towards actual 'music,' you may want to hold off.
Hercules And Love Affair - Dance and disco music with a singer who could be a man or a woman. Who knows? My wife likes it. That makes one of us.
High Places - Brooklyn experimental music with guy on music and gal on vocals. Melodies created from noises and odd little notes from various instruments. Features strange rhythmic noises, ambient clinky tones, tribal beats, moody drones, chimy notes and melodic vocals. Bizarre and pretty, but the novelty wears thin quickly.
Ho-Ag - Boston quartet that combines aggressive noise-rock with pessimistic indie rock. The guitars sound like they're strung with barbed wire, and some of the songs are so ugly and offputting that they'll literally lure dark rainclouds into your apartment. Still, a few of their piercing, intertwining guitar lines will absolutely floor you, where you will then beat your head against said floor.
Holy Fuck - Canadian instrumental electronic band that apparently "uses live instrumentation and miscellaneous instruments and non-instruments (including a 35 mm film synchronizer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns) to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops or programmed backing tracks." They create cute little pop, e-z listening and disco-rock tunes filled with whooshes, squizzles and beeps. It's fun, and the live drums keep it nice and propulsive, but a little of this stuff goes a long way. Most of the melodies just aren't strong enough to warrant being played over and over and over for five minutes at a stretch, no matter how many neat noises they pile on top.
Homostupids - Overdistorted lo-fi screamy drunk/fun/hardcore/punk. Okay, but I'm unemployed.
Hooded Menace - Finnish doom metal with growly death metal vocals. Not much to it.
Horse Feathers - Cello, violin, banjo and guitar playing folk music so relaxed that it can't be more than 1 BPM. The singer sounds like an American Nick Drake, with a voice so shy and high-pitched that it's in danger of floating away and hiding behind a cloud. Are there seriously people who can listen to music this mellow without their heart rates stopping dead? If so, don't be surprised when they start using shitty bands like this to kill off the rest of us.
Hot Chip - Electro-pop. Why are so many bands playing this '80s nostalgia music these days? Dull songwriting.
Hot Cross - Well, they're gone NOW. But when they were around, they played emo/screamo punk with skilled, note-full guitar lines. Good stuff! The singer sounds 16, and may have been for all I know. On the "Cryonics" album, they do the dumb Linkin Park "one dramatic guy sings while the other screams" schtick too often, but 2007's "Risk Revival" is very much worth a listen if you don't mind a one-trick vocalist who sounds unhappy 100% of the time.
Hot Lava - Cutesy indie pop with clean guitars, female vocals and purposely hissy recording. Reminds me of the childish glee-pop that K Records was putting out in the early '90s. Teen girls might like it; I sure don't.
Howlin Rain - '70s-style hippie-boogie-rock, with Deep Purple organ, fuzzed-out acid guitar, and gravelly Free/Faces/Black Crowes shouty-sing vocals. Actually, I guess Black Crowes would be the best comparison. I'm not particularly blown away by these guys' songs, but the last Black Crowes album sucked too.
Human Highway - Canadian duo. Some lovely Simon & Garfunkely harmony vocals, but the songs are mostly fey strummy/picky things. As opposed to the manly power metal of Simon & Garfunkel.
Hunchback - Cymbal-heavy garage/psych/noise rock with '60s organ, shrieky Doc Corbin Dart-style vocals and lots of phase and echo effects. Not a favorite.
Hypernova - A loud-guitared punky poppy fuzz rock band from IRAN!!! I can't promise I would give their Strokes-meets-radio-punk sound a second listen if they were American or British, but holy crap! IRANIAN!? And they don't even suck! The lyrics present a point of view and cultural background that Westerners rarely get a change to hear in popular music ("I will not bow down to your God/This is not who I am!"), and the singer has a really low serious voice too, as if he's determined to defy the Ayatollah Khomeini to the death. Stick that gas up your ass, Ayatollah Khomeini! President Reagan will get you yet!
I Am The World Trade Center - Sissy shit college pop garbage duo with cutesy keyboards and a lazy off-key girl singer. A more insensitive reviewer might exclaim, "If only they'd been IN the World Trade Center!" But I would be very disappointed in that reviewer. "Egads, the heel," I would privately think.
I Set My Friends On Fire - Miami screamo duo whose first album got notoriously awful reviews for its meld of metal guitars, fruity synths, incomprehensibly shrieked and/or Cookie Monstered vocals and girly autotuned emo choruses. Watch out, Attack Attack! ISMFOF is hot on your trail!
Ida Maria - Norwegian woman and band playing indie rock with a Kim Deal feel. "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" is a lot more playful than you'd expect. It still stinks though.
I'm From Barcelona - A THIRTY-PERSON Swedish band specializing in cutesy "I'm so clever" pop, with lyrics like "What do we care/If good old Britney wants to shave her hair?" Choir vocals, banjos, clarinet, xylophone and all kinds of other crazy instruments. Sickeningly happy and la-de-da singalongable.
Intronaut - Tight L.A. progressive metal quartet plays creative riffs both heavy and melodic, but falls into Tool-esque longwindedness at times, and deserves better vocals than this inappropriate one-note screaming . I definitely recommend giving them a listen, though the critical tagline "thinking man's metal" is really pushing it. This stuff is a billion times easier to follow than your average death metal album, for example.
Invincible - More boring hip-hop, this time by a woman. The background music is dark and broody.
Iron And Wine - A hippy with a big ol' beard! Mostly calm music centered around acoustic guitar picking. Alternately uptempo, folksy, or slow and sad. Accompanying instruments include violins, banjo, piano, slide guitars. Peace, my brother. Hard to hate, but I certainly never need to hear them again!
Islands - Canadian sissy dance-rock with violin, saxophone and Carribean rhythmic touches. "Swans" is actually an adorable little tune, but even that one has no BALLS! Come on, band with the same name as a terrible King Crimson album - where are the BALLS!? Why, rock and roll without BALLS is like a game of baseball without.... hell, I don't know.
J. Tillman - Acoustic guitar/piano guy from Seattle who also apparently drums for Saxon Shore and Fleet Foxes too. A regular Renaissance Guy! Very mellow and rainy-day. Honestly not bad at all, and his voice kinda sounds like Kcuierdt Ckobaine!
Jack Johnson - A singer-songwriter every bit as exciting as his name. Bland acoustic boredom and light cheesy funk-pop for frat boys and their sorority girlfriends.
Jack Rose - Very pretty and/or eerie acoustic picking and/or bottleneckery. Instrumental. For acoustic guitar fans only! For example, if you like John Fahey, this fellow might appeal to you. He sure can play!
Jackie-O Motherfucker - Calm hippy psychedelia with shimmering shimmeriness, acoustic guitars and squiggling synths. By the name, I always assumed they were aggressive, but I've been sorely corrected! They're a bunch of pot-smoking slowpokes boring me to nappery.
Jacuzzi Boys - Miami trio playing reverb-drenched '60s garage rock, like all those bands on the Pebbles compilations. Passable.
James Blackshaw - Beautiful instrumental 12-string guitar/piano compositions. The 12-string guitar is a gorgeous-sounding instrument to begin with, but this guy writes good songs with it too. It's hard to take a lot of it in one sitting though; it all starts to sound the same quite quickly.
Jamey Johnson - '70s style country music, like I'd hear at Waffle House when I was a kid. Syrupy Southern accent. I don't like it though. Pretty much the only country artists I like are Johnny Cash and Neil Hamburger. Good anti-drug song though: "The high cost of living ain't nothing like the cost of living high."
Jamie T - White British guy rapping and singing over reggae-inflected pot smoking music, dance music, happy alt-rock, famous old classical riffs or whatever else occurs to him. You might like him if you liked "Tubthumping" 15 years ago; it's that same kind of super-English overexcited bullshit.
Japandroids - Canadian duo (guitar/vox, drums/vox) plays loud emotional rock music. Just basic guitar chords, but energetic and moving. Reminiscent of the old Sebadoh/Superchunk days of my youth. This is what emo SHOULD sound like -- emotional! Not pansyish and awful!
Japanther - Brooklyn duo playing lo-fi pop-punk with distorted double-tracked vocals, loud drums and cheap Casio keyboards. The two songs on MySpace are fun and bubblegummy, but not super-innovative.
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unite - Rootsy Eagles-sounding country-rock by a former Drive-By Trucker, with the occasional foray into power pop. These latter moments sound like Matthew Sweet and the Black Crowes, and I absolutely mean that in a bad way.
Jason Mraz - Vomitous sissy sings like Paul Simon and plays wretched girly-pansy happy bullshit crap of feeling good. Reggae and ballads and clean guitars and BLEARRGH. No wonder he's up for a Grammy! He SUCKS!
Jay-Z - Radio rap. "Brooklyn We Go Hard" I've certainly heard at our local Mexican restaurant. And we heard "Swagga Like Us" about four billion times on vacation. I didn't know that either of these songs were Jay-Z. I like the former, but can't stand the latter. Every other song I can find by him sucks.
Jazmine Sullivan - Philadelphian r'n'b singer with varied backing (reggae, cello intrigue, warm piano pop, classical weepery). Some good lyrics: "I busted the windows out your car... Left my initials with a crowbar." But you know me - I'm not an r'n'b listener by trade.
Jazzanova - A Berlin band that plays '60s/'70s-style r'n'b, lounge and soul, with guest vocalists. Not bad!
Jens Lekman - Swedish indie singer-songwriter keeps it sissyish and light, like the worst the 1970's had to offer. His music features sampled horns, accordions, strings, pianos, Caribbean percussion and all kinds of other terrible things. I was going to compare him to David Byrne's fruity late-period stuff and Jonathan Richman's post-Modern Lovers crap, but then I checked Wikipedia and discovered that he is already compared to both of those artists. So instead I'll just compare him to a pile of dog shit.
Jeremy Jay - Guitarist/keyboardist alternates between fey oldtimey music, '70s power-pop and '80s synth-pop. His weak voice wavers in and out of tune, and most of his songs are corny and silly. Shockingly, he's on K Records! I know what you're thinking: "No way, Mark. K Records would never sign a corny, sissyish act." Yet somehow....
Jessica Lea Mayfield - Depressed, boring rock poetess sings and strums sluggish, drab acoustic guitar as her band does whatever. Godawful production makes the record sound like a cheap demo.
Jex Thoth - Bassy fuzzy heavy rock with really high Geddy Lee guy singing. No hang on, it's a girl. Boring songs.
Joan As Police Woman - Singer/guitarist/pianist/violinist Joan Wasser and her rhythm section. She sounds like a full-grown woman, and seems to fancy herself a '70s singer-songwriter. Pardon me while I VOMIT IN THE COMMODITY!!!
Joanna Newsom - A harp-playin' pianist woman with a ludicrously childlike voice. Might appeal to "Juno" fans. Sounds like a mixture of vomit and shit to me.
John Maus - Man with very low voice overdubs his voice several times, sings over cheap keyboards and adds lots of reverb. Cute!
Johnny Foreigner - Imagine a sub-Superchunk '90s indie rock band led by a whiny Robert Smith soundalike and tone-deaf girl. Now imagine the Pixies with more distortion, fewer hooks and even more annoying vocals. The energy is punky, but the distorted guitarwork is too loose and messy to be punk rock. Dump the "Johnny" though and you've got some ASS-KICKIN' GOING ON!!!!
Jonas Brothers - Crap pop.
Juana Molina - Argentine woman with pretty voice sings over acoustic guitar and/or strange repetitive looped backgrounds. Interesting and lovely!
Judgement Day - If you liked Stringellica, you'll love Judgement Day! Two brothers rip out orchestral metal on violin and cello as their friend bashes the traps in the flapjack. Apocalyptica - that's what I meant. Not "Stringellica." I'm not getting much out of it, myself.
Justin Townes Earle - The son of Steve Earle, a country-western balladeer his own self. Acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, organ, female backup vocal, pedal steel, ukulele, boredom.
Justice - French Electronic Danceyness. What is this, 1988? If so, AUGH I'M FIFTEEN!
Kaiser Chiefs - British rock. Some of their songs are a bit too British hipster-y for me (like Blur's "Woo-hoo" song; that kind of attitude); others are like less memorable XTC. Not for me, I'm afraid.
Kallsup - Swedish guy making minimalist ambient music with piano, static, wind noises, propellers, machine pulses, backwards effects, etc. Kinda creepy, but so is a weird-looking bug and you don't see me putting THAT on the turntable.
Kanye West - He STINKS! He's a boring rapper and a terrible Auto-Tuned singer.
Kasabian - Arrogant British dance-rock. Imagine a cross between Sweet, Oasis and Happy Mondays, then take all the good songs out of their catalog. (I admit to liking "Lab Twat" though; that's the only song on MySpace that doesn't make me want to see the smug singer get punched in the face.)
Kasai Allstars - 25 people from five different African ethnic groups combine traditional gamelan-sounding chimey/rock-beating music with chant-vocals and electric guitars. If you like African music, you'll be all over it! Not my favorite genre, but the songs are surprisingly melodic. Don't tell Paul Simon about this album or he'll just sing over it and call it "Dollywood."
Kassin + 2 - Brazilian feel-good acoustic guitar music with the horns and the foreigners and everything. Not offensive, but then neither is shitting in your hat and eating it on the subway.
Kate Nash - Ugly British accent - she sounds like David Bowie as a woman. Playful piano music, little kid music (oh excuse me, "60's r'n'b") with curse words. Cutesy 'witty' lyrics.
Kathleen Edwards - Tori Amos and John Mellencamp living together in the body of a Canadian woman.
Kayo Dot - Shambling weird mess of vocals, guitars, violins, woodwinds, smashing drums and strange melodies. A unique sound, but extremely slow.
Khanate - Side project of Atomsmasher/Scorn/Sunn O))) guys. Ambient bass drone, heavy slow chords and shrieking vocals. Punishing or just dull? Maybe both.
Killers - Extremely boring.
Killswitch Engage - Brutally loud corny '80s metal riffin' with a vocalist who switches between screaming at the top of his lungs and singing like Mike Patton. Lots of cheeseball false (or "pinched") harmonics and double kick-drum attacks. The last time I listened to a ClearChannel 'metal' station, every single song sounded like this. As such, I changed the station.
King Khan and His Shrines - Welcome to Mitch Ryder & His Detroit Wheels!
Kings of Leon - The newest stuff sounded like U2 with a terrible singer. I kinda liked two older songs though! They sounded like good old 70s classic rock (with a terrible singer).
Klaxons - Fruity and obnoxious British dance-rock-pop with lots of gross falsetto vocals. Truly awful. Just fucking awful.
Kleerup - Swedish electronic dance music with female and male vocals. Very soft and effeminate. Oh, and boring. Also, one song is a guy singing dully while plucking an acoustic guitar. No clue how that fits in.
K'Naan - A rapper from Somalia!?! Okay, he moved out when he was 13. But still! Somalia!!! And he sings about the problems in Somalia!!! Who cares whether or not he's any good? (He is, though -- especially for a guy who learned English as a second language). I don't find his backup music very compelling, but then I'm not exactly "Bill Hip-Hop." If you are, check him out! One warning though: he's Muslim, so don't be surprised if he flies an airplane into your building.
Knyfe Hyts - Lo-fi overdistorted Brooklyn fuzz-rock band influenced by '70s hard rock, Krautrock, psych and noise-rock. Not terrible, but certainly underwritten, repetitive and tedious. Actually, I guess that does sound pretty terrible. Their sister band Ex Models isn't bad though.
Korpiklaani - "Pure Finnish Folk Metal"!? Nice! Catchy metal chords accompanied by accordion, violin and group vocals! Folk songs played metal, and metal songs played folky! Never mind, I'm bored now.
Krallice - Another Mick Barr project (he's the Orthrelm/Ocrilim guy). But he actually plays MUSIC this time rather than just doodly guitar racket! Good black metal of the original Mayhem/Burzum variety (before bands like Cradle of Filth brought in all the keyboards and goth shit).
Kurt Vile - This Philadelphian is a member of The War On Drugs (micro-reviewed below). He's a talented guitarist who creates homemade psych-folk-pop with acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards, trumpets, odd noises, etc. Unfortunately, he has a very hicky voice and only writes a great song every once in a while. Also, and I realize this is off the topic, but am I nuts or does Kristen Stewart have a gigantic chin?
La Roux - British woman singing '80sy synth-pop of the Michael Jackson/Sheila E school. Bad attitude, bad music.
Lady Antebellum - Countrified rock/pop with guy and gal Southern accents. I'm horrified and ashamed to admit that I actually like a couple of their guitar hooks. Luckily, most of their songs are adult contemporary horseshit and their voices make me want to vomit down their throats.
Lady GaGa - Another terrible female pop/dance artist. This one at least dresses funny, even though all her songs stink. A lot of her choruses are melodic along the lines of Pink or even old bands like Go-Gos or Bangles, but her verses are just modern attitude shit. My wife is a huge fan of "Pokerface" though, so if you're my wife, you might like "Pokerface."
Lady Sovereign - A 5 ft 1 pixie with giant passion, ambition and sheer raw talent, if there is one theme running through the magical existence of Lady Sovereign, then it’s that of being a fiercely independent creative spirit who, one way or another, was born to be different. Unfortunately, she's fucking awful. Most of her songs are just obnoxious trying-really-hard-to-sound-black horse piss, but "So Human" is notable in that she raps in her gross pinched-nose voice over The Cure's "Close To Me" - in its entirety. Wow! That's "fiercely independent" and "creative"! People like this should be working at Hardee's, not invited into recording studios to create their terrible music.
Ladyhawke - New Zealand one-woman-band playing '80s-sounding music with guitars and synths. Some melodramatic Berliny stuff, some playful Bananaramay stuff, some straight-up dance music. Not my chosen genre(s), but she's certainly adept at what she does.
Land of Talk - Canadian trio with a female singer, whose songs alternately remind one of '70s Fleetwood Mac, '80s folk college rock, '90s indie rock and even timeless punky rock. I'm not blown away by the songs, but at least the singer can actually sing, instead of just making weird mouth noises like that up-and-coming Alanis Morrisette novice.
Last Good Tooth - Formerly known as "Doggie Hi! Yippie," this Rhode Island duo plays acoustic, electric and slide guitar, banjo, and shambling percussion to create an oldtimey folk-rag-country music with modern-day lyrics. I have neither good nor bad to say about them; they simply are. If that sounds like the band for you, then this is the band for you!
Late Of The Pier - British fellows singing with annoying energy over synth-pop, disco and some the dumbest electronic squiggles and frooptones I've ever heard in my life. ENOUGH OF THIS '80S NOSTALGIA SYNTH SHIT! I blame you, Trans Am.
Lau Nau - "Lau Nau is free spirited Finnish artist Laura Naukkarinen." Dark fuzzed-out synths, foreboding guitar picking, scratchy violins, sad organ, overdubbed vocal harmonies, ambient outdoor sounds, handclaps, Eastern stringed instruments, sitar, harmonica, clip-clop noises and high non-English vocals all make appearances in her MySpace songs. The songs are sparse, but interesting and moody!
Laura Jean - Australian classically-inspired folk singer-songwriter keeps it sad, cold and grim like a good folk song should be. Her music features acoustic guitar, viola, clarinet and innocence lost.
Laura Marling - Shitty boring new British Joni Mitchell.
Lauren Flax - NYC DJ dance woman. Welcome to 1989 and some shitty rave a girl wants you to go to.
Lavender Diamond - Gentle L.A. folk-country-pop quartet with female vocalist. Their songs include Patsy Cline-esque syrup, mellow bachelor pad ballads, cheerful hippy pop and even some stuff that sounds like ABBA. This really isn't my kind of music; otherwise I'd bold the hell out of them. They have a lot of songs on MySpace, and not all are great, but the best ones (including "You Broke My Heart" and the five-word "Like An Arrow") are a very lovely reminder that folk-country-pop doesn't have to sound like The Eagles.
LCD Soundsystem - Dance-rock music with crisp drumming, guitars, synths, piano, vocals and whatever. Very simplistic and repetitive. Some songs are warm and poppy; others cold and Front 242y; others funky, falsettoed and annoying. Interesting mix of styles, but horribly inconsistent.
Leftover Crack - They have a few hardcore songs that kick so much ass, it's absolutely astonishing. But then they start in with the ska bullshit and it's like "Come on, you assholes."
Lenka - Australian woman sings basic female radio pop/rock that ranges from bland to excruciatingly cutesy. I hate "The Show" so much, I can taste her blood between my teeth.
Leona Lewis - Adult contemporary balladry and r'n'b/dance. I've simply never heard anything like it. Because I'm a newborn baby.
Libertines - Trying to be the Beatles and Buzzcocks. Melodic pop-punk with raw guitar sound. Not bad at all, but certainly no Beatles or Buzzcocks.
Lil' Mama - A young African-American woman who raps in a high voice over generic hip-hop beats, synths and men saying "Hey! Hey! Hey!". As Death Angel once sang, "I'm Bored."
Lil' Wayne - Rap. Boring. Lots of corny voice-tuner like Cher.
Lily Allen - British pop woman. Not really my type of music, but I like the chorus of "smile"!
Lindstrom - Boring mostly-instrumental electro, dance and adult contemporary crap. Some Kraftwerk ripoffery too.
Liquor Store - New Jersey overdistorted filthy fuzzed-to-death punk/garage/slop rock. The riffs are centuries old, it sounds like it was recorded on a '70s handheld tape recorder, and the singer appears to be eight years old.
Lissy Trullie - Female NYC singer who sounds shockingly like a man with her low, stuffed-nose voice. Her band plays double-guitar rock reminiscent of such bands as Television, The Strokes, early Pretenders and the Patti Smith Group. A couple of her songs are gripping, but most are just basic indie rock or mawkish '70sish crap.
Little Boots - "Caligula" reference, I take it? British disco-pop woman. Humorless and unexceptionable.
Living Things - Quartet with three brothers plays heavily-produced radio-ready rock. They're not the worst band I've ever heard, but they definitely seem geared toward people who think the Foo Fighters are on the 'cutting edge' of modern rock. Christ, is that "Bom Bom Bom" riff supposed to be such an obvious rip-off of "Brown Sugar"!? (Not that the song sounds at all like "Brown Sugar," but man! Listen to that guitar riff!)
Locksley - Strokes guitars with harmony vocals, in an obvious attempt to imitate early Beatles. Not bad, but kinda pointless. I'll stick with the Rutles!
Los Campesinos! - British new wave/indie rock with thickly-accented guy and girl singers, buzzy synths, guitars, energy and extremely happy riffs. A little too cutesy for me.
Los Llamarada - Mexico's finest throws out one-part killer '60s garage rock and one-part non-music so abstruse it sounds like Mark E. Smith's least lucid home recordings. Good? Bad? Both and neither!
Lotus Plaza - A member of Deerhunter goes solo to bring the world another album of reverb-drenched shoegazer dreampop. Welcome to 2009, people - STOP LIVING IN THE PAST. (Not that I don't like the Jethro Tull compilation "Living In The Past," because I do.) Lotus Plaza's music is so hopeful and lovely that it's impossible to hate unless you're a dragon lady with no fucken heart, but the world probably has enough of this lazy reverb-washed music already. Somebody invent a new subgenre. Until you think of one though, listen to all these beautiful songs that Lotus Plaza has recorded.
LSD And The Search For God - Nostalgic shoegazer music of the Slowdive/My Bloody Valentine variety. None too innovative.
Lupe Fiasco - The rapper behind "Superstar." Nice young voice, fast at the mouth, melodic background. Radio-friendly, but not bad at all! "Dumb It Down" is a particularly good one, backed by a hooky prog-pop synth line. The Grammy Judges have certainly picked worse contenders this year (and every other).
Lykke Li - Swedish woman. Weird accent, high voice. Piano, synths, beats, sparklydust. Some dark, some lovey, some seXXXy. Not great.
M.I.A. - Not for me, thanks! Nice Clash ripoff, lady.
M83 - French guy who plays early '90s-style shoegazer music, with collaborators. "Kim and Jessy" is a nice retro-MBV/early Smashing Pumpkins gaze-at-your-shoe song, but the others on MySpace are pretty bland and keyboard-driven.
Maccabees - British band that alternates between earnest U2 melodramatics and playful English how's-your-mother fey tea time music. Might appeal to the British, but we Americans are a heartier breed who demand more robust musical fare. And by "we Americans," I mean "me personally - the rest of the country loves Coldplay, for Christ's sake."
Made Out Of Babies - Pissed-off-sounding Brooklyn metal/noise rock band with high-voiced female vocalist. I have a friend who loves this band, but for some reason their songs don't stand out for me melodically. They kinda remind me of Tragic Mulatto, but more metallic. Give them a try though, because my friend has good taste!
Madlib - Boring hip-hop. WAIT A MINUTE! HE JUST SAMPLED SHOOBY TAYLOR!!!! HOLY LIVING PISS BONER!!!! Boring hip-hop that samples Shooby Taylor.
Magik Markers - Boring, simplistic Velvet Underground/Doors-inspired "art" songs with feedback breaks, noise freakouts and a 'cool' female vocalist who takes it all WAY too seriously. Apparently nobody in the band can play piano or guitar at all, but that doesn't stop them from creating their own amateurish brand of late '60s Dionysian idiocy. Lee Ranaldo produced their CD and Thurston Moore released it on his label, which is appropriate because if Sonic Youth had no talent or vision at all, they'd sound exactly like this.
Magnolia Electric Co. - Country-tinged piano rock. Or, alternately, piano-tinged country rock. If you're a fan of the Marshall Tucker Band and Poco, here's another hot new band with that tasty '70s Southern sound. Make sure to punch them up on the jukebox next time you're at the Waffle House!
Magrudergrind - Washington DC grindcore band with great chainsaw guitar tone that is too often buried by the drums. Blastbeats, slow parts, thrash parts. Growls, screams and funny voices. Song titles like "Emo Holocaust," "Zero Substance" and "Lyrical Ammunition For Scene Warfare." Fun and aggressive, but not exactly reinventing the genre.
Make Believe - Featuring former members of Joan Of Arc, Owls and Cap'n Jazz, this band plays a neat mixture of strange high-pitched guitar lines, wurlitzer and emo-melodic singing. The vocals are mixed a bit high, but I really like the odd note progressions a lot. A guitar fan's indie band!
Man Man - Silly Philadelphia band with growly vocals performing playful sea shanties, hurdy-gurdy music and oompah music. Imagine Tom Waits singing for Spike Jones' band, and keep it the hell away from me!
Manchester Orchestra - This Manchester-based symphony orchestra is a rock band from Atlanta, GA. The singer is very young (and sounds it), but hits the notes well. The music has elements of '90s radio grunge (Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots), as well as melodic Radiohead/Flaming Lips emotionalism and even (strangely enough) what sounds like a Cheap Trick influence. They have some great melodies, but also an unfortunate habit of getting way too slow and plodding. At very least, they're not another goddamned emo band!
Man Will Destroy Himself - This Raleigh metal band plays heavy and mean while screeching at you. Unfortunately, their songs aren't very creative. Also, the singer sounds like he's been drinking bleach with broken glass in it, and the broken glass was covered in flesh-eating bacteria that were wearing little tuxedos made from razor blades.
Maps & Atlases - Clean, awesomely technical guitar interplay (a la Minus The Bear) in the service of hokey tropical-inflected pop music with ridiculously loud drums and vocals that sound like the Fine Young Cannibals guy (not his falsetto, his normal wheezy voice). Kudos for the guitaring, YECH! for everything else!
Marnie Stern - Crazy woman! Plays speedy guitar note runs with nutty Japanese-style synths and vocals. Really cool stuff!
Maruta - Florida grindcore trio with screaming/Cookie Monster vocals and loud but insufficiently bassy guitars (in fact, I don't think they have a bassist!). The guitarist definitely possesses technical skill and occasionally comes up with some unique riffs (I'm particularly fond of the high-pitched chords in "Chemical Tomb" and low-end backward-strums at the end of "In Perpetual Narcolepsy"), but too much of the music is uncompelling and/or buried under a wall of blastbeats. However, isn't it amazing that a subgenre this stylistically limited is still attracting new players? Take THAT, Dixieland Jazz!
Mary Hampton - Oldtymey British folk music. Cold and bitter remnants of a thankfully long-gone age of ignorance, poverty and dying of scurvy at age 14. It takes a certain type of person to appreciate this kind of music, and his name isn't me.
Matt And Kim - Is Matt British? He sings like an '80s British gay-pop star (Culture Club, Wham, etc). This Brooklyn duo play drums and synths (including synth orchestration) to create big jubilant bombastic pop. When they sing in harmony, it's gorgeous. When they don't, he sounds British and gay.
Mavado - Jamaican rap-reggae with hip-hop beats, samples and synths. I can't understand a word this guy says.
Max Tundra - A British guy who makes electronic pop songs but occasionally really quirky ones. At his best, he uses strange chord changes, cartoony hooks, sped-up voices, abrupt tonal and rhythm changes, etc. At his worst, he sounds like The Human League.
Maximo Park - British band with a clean-sounding singer whose songs mix '80s pop rock, modern alt-rock and new wave punk. I don't mind their punkier, more energetic songs (ex. "Wraithlike," "Our Velocity"), but the midtempo ones sound too much like the blah British music that stunk up MTV in the mid '80s. (as opposed to the garbage American music that stunk it up in the late '80s) (or the asshole reality shows that stunk it up for the next 20 years)
Menomena! - Portland trio plays post-Flaming Lips/Neutral Milk Hotel indie rock with a high-pitched male singer, acoustic guitars, synths, piano, xylophones, saxophones and whatever other "colorful" bullshit instruments they can find -- as if to compensate for their sluggish tempos and uncompelling melodies. You can put lipstick on a pit bull, and it's pretty adorable. This band stinks though.
Metro Station - Hollywood sissies playing electro-girlpop. Any man who enjoys this band might as well cut his testicles off and throw them out the window because they're broken.
Metronomy - Nostalgic shitty mid-80s British synth-pop with girl and guy vox. Vomitous. LET THIS SHIT DIE!
MGMT - Some good sounds, but didn't thrill me per se.
Mi Ami - Two guys from Black Eyes and a third person play percussion-heavy stomp music with falsetto wailing. Some is moody dub music, other parts are funky, still others Krautrocky, and still further others some are just tribal drums galore! Unfortunately, the vocals are unbelievably irritating. Someone needs to tell all these young bands to cut out the falsetto shit. It's not funny or hip; it's STUPID and RUINS YOUR MUSIC.
Micachu - Classically trained British woman creating experimental pop-dance music with fuzz, synths, noise, toys and her weird smooshed-mouth voice. Do I plan to buy her CD and listen to it everyday? No. Do I appreciate and enjoy her determination to create music that sounds like nobody but her? I absolutely do. She deserves your greatest support for that reason alone!
Mika Miko - 4/5th-female L.A. combo sounds like a '79 punk band fronted by a snarling roller derby girl. They play a mix of poppy punkers and angrier stompers, with garage-level production (very loud cymbals and lots of reverb). All the songs are short - some are very catchy, others more nondescript. They also have an organ, which is surprising considering they're mostly women.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Strummy acoustic, piano, smoky bar music, singer with godawful voice. Wheezy smoky voice, and the occasional dumbest-sounding scream EVER. Bland songwriting, sluggish tempos.
Modern Life Is War - A kid screaming over basic angry punk-metal (post-hardcore) chords. I love that metalcore stuff, but these riffs are too simple and straightforward to qualify. It's not awful though. Doesn't matter anyway - they broke up last year.
Monotonix - An Israeli band playing loud, dumb, fuzzed-out, shouty, raw and bluesy hard rock. Like a Jewish Blue Cheer with forced military service.
Monotract - Dark drum-focused art-noise band with mostly-spoken female vocals. Their music ranges from seemingly random drumblasting noise to eerie quiet mood pieces to electronic squiggly tribal stomp to grinding underground rock music. The band members are all of Hispanic origin, but they come into your town, they help you party down; they're an American band. Not bad at all, but probably a better fit for percussion freaks than music fans -- the loud, heavily reverbed drums threaten to drown out everything else!
Mount Eerie - The guy from The Microphones. Moody acoustic plucking, sad chintzy keyboard and subdued 'college guy' vocals. Lo-fi, drab and bland.
Mount Olympus - Brooklyn trio (two guitars and drums) plays fuzzed-out cliche-riddled '70s-style hard/stoner/blues-rock. They do realize they're never going to sound heavy without a bass player, right?
Mouthus - Brooklyn duo who create old school fuzz-drone industrial noise, with the occasional foray into simmering strummy echoing booming experimental acoustic dark music. I've been around the world and I can tell you this: Mouthus isn't the most melodic band you'll ever hear.
Moutpiece - Irish punk rock band with no "h" in their name. The music is as rough, mean and heavy as Poison Idea, but the singer sounds like a gentle young lad of melodic sensibilities! Enjoyable song title: "Battle Hymn Of The Alcoholic." Breaking no new ground, but certainly hard and fun!
MSTRKRFT - Supposedly their name is pronounced "Master Craft," but I prefer "Mr. Kerfart" so it's their own darn fault for not spelling it out. Mr. Kerfart is a Canadian electronic duo featuring a guy from Death From Above 1979. They're loud, fuzzed-out, dancey and repetitive. I adore their creepy ascending instrumental "Vuvuvu," but their others (at least on MySpace) totally waste their cool fuzzed-out instrumental tone on boring three-note pieces of crap. Granted, I still love Laid Back's "White Horse," so maybe I'm not the best person to ask about electronic music. I'll say this about Mr. Kerfart -- their beats are very danceable and they have a great synth tone. If I were forced to dance, I'd much rather dance to Mr. Kerfart than 90% of the other dance music I've heard. I just wish they'd write more weirdo songs like "Vuvuvu"!
Mute Math - Grammy-nominated New Orleans quartet. The singer sounds like an American Idol winner (smooth pretty voice) and the music is an echoey guitars'n'electronics major label U2/Coldplay/Radiohead hybrid. Easier on the ears than most of today's radio bands, but that says more about the worthlessness of today's radio than anything else.
My Chemical Romance - I expected goth/black metal from the name. Instead it's wimpy bullshit emo!
Mystery Jets - This British band lists their influences as "Hall and Oates." And by gum, it kinda shows in their music! Corny fake-funky/fake-soulful pop '80s cheer. Sorta reminiscent of '80s Paul McCartney's and The Cure's dippy "Japanese Whispers" period too.
N*E*R*D - African-American gentlemen who are equally comfortable with '70s r'n'b, Philly Soul, funk and hip-hop. Their best songs sound like a serious version of Ween; their worst songs sound like a terrible hip-hop band.
N.A.S.A. - A DJ collaborative group with a billion guest artists (David Byrne, Chuck D, George Clinton, Tom Waits, etc) playing the dancey hippity-hop rhythms. When we first started drinking, my wife (the resident hippity-hop fan) said, "THIS ROCKS!" But the drunker we got, the shittier it sounded.
Nachtmystium - Extreme metal band from Chicago who began as straightforward high-speed black metal and grew to incorporate more melodic and death metal influences. Their early songs kick ass, and their new ones have some nice eerie guitar lines. Based on their MySpace songs, I'd definitely have to say thumbs up if you're a metal fan.
Navvy - This British quartet (2 men, 2 women) seem enamored of the late-70s post-punk sound (The Fall, Wire, Swell Maps and scratchy-guitar bands like that). They unfortunately only have three songs posted on MySpace, so I can't tell you definitively whether they're bad or just inconsistent. However, I will tell you that, though I enjoy the adorable carnival-pop "Plastic Bag," their other two samples are exercises in irritation (stop-start "Time") and disco (disco "Disco"). So don't be sad; two out of three suck bad.
Neon Hunk - Gone now, but apparently they were a husband-wife noise duo whose music involved (a) drums, (b) simple little riffs performed on exceedingly high-pitched synthesizers and ring modulators, and (c) vocals so manipulated that they just sound like an angry wind passing through. Silly fun, but tough on the ears!
Neon Neon - Super Furry Animals side project. Sounds like '80s MTV pop-rock! Keyboards and guitars together like in the old days. Singer reminiscent of Men At Work. Mostly tedious.
Ne-Yo - R&B. Yech.
Nicola Conte - Bossa nova/lounge jazz with different female and male singers. Not my chosen genre, so I shouldn't comment. If Miles Davis had played on it, I'd call it a piece of shit though, if that's any help.
Nine Black Alps - Like The Vines, this British band switches between grunge, punk and melodic pop-rock and seems to love Nirvana and the Beatles equally. They lean towards generic 'tough guy' riffs a bit much for my liking, but their good songs are hooky galore and evocative more! I quite like 4 of their 6 MySpace songs, so I'll give them a bold. Don't blame me if it turns out they only have four good songs though, because the other 2 completely suck dick balls!
Nite Jewel - Lo-fi cheapass synth-pop with female vocals that tend to waver off-key.
No Age - Hissy lo-fi indie rock. Early '90s nostalgia. Not bad, but not too innovative.
Nodzzz - Wimpy '60s garage rock. Wife says, "It sounds like 81 Mulberry and a bunch of other early 90's Chapel Hill bands." Neither visionary nor ball-filled.
Nomo - This sextet plays "Afro-beat world jazz," I'm told. Pretty good stuff, if you don't mind horns and a funky beat. Sometimes they sound like the theme for a '70s action TV show, other times like a nice trumpet combo playing at a wedding reception, still other times like an African gamelan tribe, and finally even sometimes like a noise-riddled Krautrock band! I wish they sucked though, so I could make a hilarious and unique joke about their name.
Norma Jean - Another fine Christian screamo/metalcore band. Heavy angst-ridden chord changes, one screaming vocalist, one singing vocalist, terrible songs - come on, somebody put this terrible genre out of its misery. If it ain't CRABCORE, it ain't NUTHIN'!
Nought - Very cool British instrumental band. Loud, aggressive noisy rock with bizarre riff decisions. Tight, mathy, loud and smart!
Novel - Yet another Atlanta hip-hopper who spends half his time singing autotuned r'n'b for the ladies. What the hell is going on in Atlanta to make all the hip-hoppers play such sissyass music!? To his credit, he's not a bad rapper; he has a smooth, fast-paced delivery. His backup music sure is effeminate though.
Off Minor - NYC band with hardcore attitude but math-rock chops. The hoarse shouty vocals may turn some listeners off, but the intricate notey riffs should turn them right back on. Be warned though: the mood of their music is unceasingly cold and bitter.
Off With Their Heads - Minneapolis cheerful Oi!-inspired punk rock down the pub with the mates. Hit singles include "Until The Day I Die," "Die Today" and "Your Child Is Dead." It's all big major chords and anthemic group chants though - feelin' good like an Oi! band should!
Okkervil River - Terrible over-emotional wiggly-voiced singer, trying to do roots/bar rock, I guess? Boring American rock music.
Om - Duo focused on vocals, bass and drums, with occasional other instruments thrown in. Eerie mood, like late '60s Pink Floyd ("Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun," that sort of thing). The bass is often left undistorted, and it's as busy as a lead guitar. Pretty good, but the mood gets oppressive after a while.
OneRepublic - The first ten times I heard "Apologize," I could've sworn he was singing "It's too late to call a judge!" Unfortunately, the rest of their output is by-the-numbers easy-listening bland-pop with piano and strings. The singer sounds like he's in a boy band, the chord changes are rote, and the music has all the energy of a soft rock ballad. Call them a Survivor for the '00s, but don't call me late for dinner!
Orchestra Baobab - Senegal world music of the sort Paul Simon would like. They formed in 1970 though so fuck 'em.
Otep - Nu-metally simple metal with female singer. The non-metal songs are cool and gothy, but the metal ones are simplistic rap-metally stuff.
Our Brother The Native - Experimental duo using effected keyboards, found sound/dialogue, occasional guitar and sometime vocals. Slow, moody, filled with ambient sound and speech. Sometimes it connects ("Trees Part II" is certainly dramatic, whatever the hell it's about), other times it's pretty bland.
Oxford Collapse - Guided By Voices fans, I'd wager. Tuneful ones though! Brooklyn indie rock kids with strummy guitars in their hands and cheery post-Pavement melodies in their mouths. They probably won't change your life, but their obvious love for music is infectious and a joy to listen to. Until you get sick of their fucking happiness, the pricks.
Paavoharju - Finnish. Ethereal with pianos, ambient noises, female vox, electronics, strange plucking noises, coldness, air, ethereal and pretty creepy!
Panda Bear - Solo project by an Animal Collective guy. Heavily reverbed indie rock guy with chimy Brian Wilson instrumentation and hooky vocal melodies. Not bad! Sounds like something Shimmy Disc would have released in the late '80s.
Panic at the Disco - Terrible! Sissies!
Paramore - Rotten mainstream alt-grunge-rock-emo-pop band with an orange-haired female singer (who was SIXTEEN when they recorded their first album!). They have a song on the Twilight soundtrack, and I mean that as an insult. It's radio-ready, derivative throwaway music that is ALL negatively-toned. In other words, it's depressing without being any fucking good AT ALL.
Parenthetical Girls - If these men aren't gay, they're doing an awfully good impression. Theatrical show tune music with harps and horns and old-timey musical themes and girly vocals (including a GIRL, but also girly guys). Don't get me wrong: I love the homosexuals of the world. But this band makes me choke on my ball gag and then vomit it back up.
Part Chimp - London noise rock band that would've fit on AmRep nicely. Their best songs are simple but pummelling; their worst are ugly and boring. Not super-consistent, but then neither were Hammerhead at first and they turned out pretty great.
Parts & Labor - Extremely anthemic and uplifting punk rock with lots of chiming guitar and keyboard noises running through it. Sort of a Husker Du-y mood, but with more strange squiggly noises. They have some really good songs, but man you feel like listening to something depressing when it's all over.
Pasadena Napalm Division - DRI vocalist Kurt Brecht and the guys from Dead Horse! Thrash metal with Kurt's awesome sing-shout and always honest lyrics (ex: "I'm a singer who has never sung/On the ladder on the bottom rung....I wrote some books, sold some t-shirts and sang -- I'm a failure! Fuck fuck fuckin' failure!"). I love it!
Passion Pit - This electronic Massachusetts band creates schmaltzy pop music with a ridiculously high-voiced singer, disco beats, string and horn samples, and synthesizers galore. It almost sounds like a cross between The Arcade Fire and Electric Light Orchestra. Worth hearing for its anachronistic sound; worth never listening to again afterwards.
Patrick Watson & The Wooden Arms - Looks like SOMEBODY'S been listening to too much Radiohead!!! Me. Seriously, every time I hear a band with a high-pitched singer now, it just sounds like Radiohead to me. Patrick Wilson is yet another singer with a Thom Yorke voice, which the Wooden Arms accompany with speedy piano work, gentle banjo playing, eerie mood rock, dark folk or whatever else rolls up and down the line. They often lean towards that eerie Radiohead mood, but with greater reliance on acoustic instruments and occasional inclusion of female back-up vocals. There also seems to be a bit of ramshackle Tom Waits and sensitive Nick Drake influence in there too. All in all, not bad. If you like Radiohead, that is!
Patrick Wolf - Yet another band with "Wolf" in the title. Ha ha! No, but I'm kidding. Patrick is a British guy singing sad or "tuff" songs over piano, strings, accordion, mandolin and/or distorted beats. Imagine a British Nick Cave, but one that's not any good.
Pelican - Instrumental rock band that plays slow, dark and heavy - sort of doomy, but not exactly 'metal' in the traditional sense. You could put them in the same category as Isis and Neurosis, I guess. (the "well-written but depressing" category) Also their songs are nine million years long.
Peter, Bjorn and John - Swedish post-punk/indie rock. Quirky! Funny noises, spacey instrumentals, some punky spite, some funny orchestra-sample melodies. The singer has a high ugly nasally voice though, so the instrumentals are better.
Pg. 99 (or "pageninetynine") - Defunct metalcore band. They were good! Crazy strangled chords, speedy time signature changes and screaming galore. For some reason they had eight band members, and every single one of their releases - singles, split-singles, EPs and albums - were entitled "Document"s. "Document 1" was their first release and "Document 14" their last. Thanks to a sleazy file sharer, I acquired every one of them except #6 in about 20 minutes today!
pg.lost - Swedish instrumental post-rock. Long draggy songs and concise good ones. If they'd dump the Godspeed You Black Emperor tedium and stick to the ones with actual melodies... well, then they'd clearly be lacking a vocalist, I guess.
Phoenix - This French band tried to fool you by playing two pieces of melodic Strokesy alt-rock on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, but most of their songs are grotesque seXXXy funk-pop, gentle love ballads and garbage for garbage people.
Pink And Brown - Another already-broken up noise duo, but this one played ROCK music. Noise-ROCK! One loud distorted blasting trebly guitar, one drummer and one nearly inaudible vocalist, for a total of two people. I'd swear to Christ I hear a bass guitar in these songs though! Maybe he replaced his low E with a bass string? No clue. Either way, I like their energy, ear-piercing amplification and unhinged hooky riffs (if you can even call them "riffs"). Fans of Hella and Lightning Bolt, here's a new band for you. A new DEFUNCT band, that is!
Pink Mountaintops - A Canadian band with 18 members? Seems excessive. Peaceful folksy reefer-smoking music with sweet vocals, reverbed drums, girls, and big hippy beards. The melodies are a bit too commonplace to thrill my bones off; however, a lot of it is VERY pretty, so you should check them out even though I didn't bold them.
Pipettes - British girl-band reviving '60s girl-group music. It's cute for a second, but then the novelty wears off and you realize they're just ripping off Phil Spector and sucking.
Polly Scattergood - Young British woman singing fragile dark piano songs and emotional full-band pieces. Her normal delivery is fine, but she keeps lapsing into this irritating 'scared' whispery voice that reeks of Tori Amos theatricality. I do enjoy her full-band songs though, for I am an emotional man with feelings of my own.
Ponytail - Exuberant loud guitars and female yelped vocals. They call themselves "experimental" and sort of are, if "rock" is experimental. Fun! Loud! But also not very good.
Portugal. The Man. - Indie soul-rock quartet for Jamiroquai fans with full beards. Present company far, far excluded.
PRE - British noise-rock-punk quartet with high-pitched trebly guitars and higher-pitched Japanese female singer. Even though some of their songs are just tinny and ugly, they have enough catchy high-energy treble-punkers to win me over. They don't sound like Melt-Banana, but I bet if you like Melt-Banana, you'll like them. They're on Skin Graft!
Protest The Hero - Protest The Singer! This technically impressive Canadian prog-metal band is ruined by a high-pitched vocalist who reeks of '70s stadium rock. Check 'em out for the speedy guitarists, but don't blame me if the singer has you declaring Geddy Lee an understated baritone.
Psychedelic Horseshit - Lo-fi folk-blues-trash-rock buffoonery with loud special effects and godawful tone-deaf stuff-nosed vocalist. Fun party atmosphere, but hooee does that singer stink!
Psycho & The Birds - Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard and Todd Tobias send tapes back and forth and add components until songs are created. Trebly guitars, high-pitched keyboards, smash-bashin' drums and buried vocals make rock music occur. And sure there's some half-baked crap on there too, but much less than you'd expect! It's mostly medium-fi GBV-style rockyroll! The band is named after two Hitchcock films (Rear Window and Strangers On A Train).
Pterodactyl - Brooklyn band that plays psych and hyper clangy experimental pop-rock with very busy drums. I could do without the falsetto, but if you want to hear music that sounds like the sun jumping around inside your bedroom and activating all your battery-powered toys, here you go!
Quasimoto - Madlib with his voice sped up, lazily rapping over stoner bass grooves from scratchy old records. Ridiculous! He sounds about eight years old!
Ra Ra Riot - Indie rock with a violinist, cellist and a male singer who sounds straight out of American Idol. Alternately rocky, funky and folky. Very commercial-sounding, like something I'd hear at Pizza Uno between "Hey Jealousy" and Maroon 5. The strings and female backup vocals are a nice collegey touch, but the chord changes are too calculated and obvious.
Racebannon - Murderous grind-death-screamy-doom-funky-metal. Judging from the three songs on MySpace, they're not very good though -- mostly just repetitive with an annoying sub-Mike Patton shout-singer.
Raphael Saadiq - Christ! He sounds JUST LIKE a '60s r'n'b guy. Why are '60s r'n'b and '80s electro-pop so popular these days!? At any rate, the first two songs on his MySpace are terrific; the others didn't appeal to me as much.
Razorlight - Over-earnest piano-based British band playing piano power ballads, galloping serious-rock and show-tune-esque piano pop. The singer keeps jumping from a low register to a high one in order to convey corny theatrical emotions.
Red Bacteria Vacuum - Japanese garage-punk-metal trio with two girls and a guy. Some cute female vocals, but predictable post-Ramones/Sex Pistols riffs.
Regina Spektor - Extremely irritating Russian-born singer/pianist living in NYC and writing overconfident pop-rock songs. Kinda like Tori Amos with a Russian accent instead of a fake Southern drawl. I wish nothing but success to every person on Earth, but I pray to God I never have to hear this woman's affected bullshit again. My wife concurs, "This is annoying."
Regulations - Swedish high-speed punk rock. 500 billion bands already wrote these songs 25 years ago.
Reigning Sound - Gentle country-rock. Gram Parsons fans, go to town.
Religious Knives - Brooklyn rock quartet with female guitarist/vocalist and Ray Manzareky keyboards. Droney, dark and bitter '60s Dionysian art garage psych - like the VU or Doors. In fact, a large portion of "The Sun" is a rip-off of The Doors' "Five To One"! Mostly slow and tedious.
Republic Of Loose - Funky Irish rap-soulsters! It's 1982 all over again! The Gap Band is down with that sweet Irish soul-funk! Watch your laydeez -- The Republic of LOOSE is on the LOOSE! And their pants are LOOSE! And your laydee is LOOSE! And their connection with the African-American culture they're imitating is LOOSE! So get out your shamrocks and groove! Having said that, I'd rather dip my head in a bucket of shit than purchase an album by them.
Revolution Mother - Redneck metal band like Antiseen, Nashville Pussy, Speedealer, that kind of thing. One guy even has a ZZ Top beard! Their music isn't very interesting though.
Rilo Kiley - Generic alternative music. Girl and guy both sing. Songs alternate between TUFFnMEAN(wimpy), chimey/pretty and happy/SherylCrowey. Always derivative and obvious though.
Ringo Deathstarr - Loud shoegazer fuzz rock with bendy notes, and ethereal female and male vocals. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, etc. Easy on the ears, but not the most groundbreaking thing you're ever going to hear.
Rise Against - Generic radio-punk and slickly produced hardcore punk. The world already has The Offspring and Propagandhi, so we're all covered on this front.
Robyn - Swedish dance-pop woman. Not awful, aside from the lyric, "I don't press people button." Nice little synth bleeps and some harmony vocals.
Rodrigo y Gabriela - Talented Mexican couple who met while playing in a metal band and now use acoustic guitars to perform speedy-picked classical originals and killer arrangements of metal classics like "Stairway To Heaven" and "Orion." They now reside in Ireland, where they continue to have no vocals. If you are a fan of acoustic instrumental music, you MUST check them out. I don't lean towards this type of music myself, but even I can tell they're excellent.
Rosemary Krust - Experimental guy/girl duo from Maryland combining rudimentary guitar and synths with drones, loops, violin scrapings, speed manipulated sounds, samples, and a lilting female voice through heavy reverb (or is that light delay?). Lazy rainy day music, but more sonically intriguing than most. Still, ultimately tedious and heroin-sounding.
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - L.A. hip-hop/r'n'b trio that uses the word "creative" a bit loosely. ("And If" is kinda cool though)
Sam Sparro - Portuguese/Australian/Los Angeleno r'n'b singer peddling his soulful voice wares atop pumpin' electronic love disco and/or Gap Band funk. It's certainly not geared towards me, but it's all got a good beat! If you like to dance, you could do much, MUCH worse. (Pink, for example. Or the supposed new 'dance' album by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that only has like two dance songs on it)
Santogold - Brooklyn woman who sings "Brooklyn We Go Hard" for Jay-Z. Very good voice and strong diverse collection of dark electro, warm indie and fast punkish rock. My wife and I both like the whole album!
Sara Bareilles - Piano woman playing boring ballads, bland pop and that "I'm Not Gonna Write You A Love Song" piano rock thing, which isn't bad. No wonder she's up for a Grammy! She has one song that's NOT BAD!
Saxon Shore - Heartwarming instrumental post-rock for people who like to fall asleep with a smile on their face. Which I admit is kind of an insult, but it's better than falling asleep angry!
Say Anything - Shitty emo pussy music for 4-year-olds. I'd really have to question the gender of any male who enjoys music this faggotassity.
School of Seven Bells - Pretty, but not really my thing. Women singing; sounds like you're in a disco church.
Screaming Females - Singer screams and sings (with British accent) through distortion. Garage punk rock. Mediocre.
Screen Vinyl Image - Electro-psych-postpunk-shoegaze band with fake drums, cool shoegazer vocals, echoey buzzsaw guitars, dark hooky bass lines, melodic keyboards and washes of noise. Not bad! At least they sound like several different subgenres put together, rather than just a ripoff of one style. I prefer the noisier Loop-esque ones ("Cathode Ray," "Fever") to the gothier post-punkish ones.
Seasick - Screaming angry hardcore. Speedy and yelling at you. To quote Black Flag, "I've heard it before." Similarly, to quote Paul McCartney, "Simply having a wonderful Christmastime."
Senses Fail - According to Wikipedia, this New Jersey quartet "took their musical influences of punk and hardcore and mixed them with poetry, emotion, literature, religion, eastern philosophy and spirituality to create their own sound and image." Funny, I was going to say the same thing -- except replacing "poetry, emotion, literature, religion, eastern philosophy and spirituality" with "the most cliche'd and godawful emo dogshit in the universe." Sample lyric: "Calling all cars, we've got another victim/Because my love has become an affliction." That's right -- a terrible metaphor and lousy rhyme within the first two lines of the song! Presumably they included the word "FAIL" in their name to supersede the critics.
Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings - Brooklyn funk/soul revivalists with horns galore. It's fine, but whatever. Stop living in the past, people. Come up with something new. Alternately, play really fast with a lot of guitars.
She & Him - What is this, The Carpenters? Yech! Easy listening 70s music.
Shearwater - Dramatic, mature (slow, depressing) music with pianos, horns, strings, acoustic guitars, etc. A downer!
Shit And Shine - Load Records experimental "shitgaze" noise. Lo-fi recording with the mic cranked so high that everything is distorted. Booming drums, echoey strange guitar chords, noodling and a guy talking. Or loud fuzzy guitars over fast electronic drums. Or a growling tiger, auto racing noises and church organ. Or buzzy synth fuzz. Nothing too musical though.
Shitstorm - Alright, who's requesting all the Florida grindcore bands!? Thank you Napalm Death for inventing this genre and then moving on. Grindcore is a dead end. Dump the blastbeats and write some audible riffs. Then change your name to "Shoestorm" and sign to Warner Brothers.
Shook Ones - This Washington band plays Superchunky high-energy fuzz rock and speedy poppy NOFX-style hardcore. They probably won't blow your mind, but it's nice to hear a modern pop-punk band with a hoarse screamy singer instead of a snotty Green Day asshole for a change.
Shout Out Louds - Swedish indie love songs for sensitive boys and poetry girls. They actually sound a lot like The Cure's happier lovey-dovey material. In fact, my wife just interjected, "It's like a sucky Cure!" I don't think these guys are sucky though. Just very sweetsy. Can't we all just be happy and in love for once?
Shugo Tokumaru - Japanese fellow playing melodic guitar, vibes, organ, foreign stringed instruments, etc. and singing in a high, gentle voice. Fairly pretty, if you like pretty.
Silver Daggers - Jazz and rock instruments come together to make tight herky-jerk noise-rock with a one-note female shouter. Very trebly distorted guitar, heavy bass, keyboard, saxophone, hyperactive drums -- music that sounds pissed off and pushes you away. They're definitely talented (aside from the terrible vocalist), but the music they choose to make is not to my particular tastes. It's just too pissy and negative-sounding.
Silverstein - More godawful emo/screamo, with the one guy screaming and the other singing like he's in a boy band. Basically Linkin Park without the hip-hop. Every issue of Alternative Press features about 50 bands that sound exactly like this. My only consolation is that when their current readership graduates from high school, they will never again sell a single copy.
Silversun Pickups - Fuzzed out alt-rock, like Smashing Pumpkins but with a human singer instead of a pig. Still dumbed-down and uncompelling though.
Skeletonwitch - Ohio band playing a hybrid of thrash, death metal and black metal, with both hoarse whispery Nordic vocals and growly Death grunting. Some great thrash riffs, but the death and black moments aren't very unique.
Sleepy Sun - Psych-blues-space-rock with effected female vocals. Fine. Did I mention I had a job interview today for a job that DOESN'T EXIST? Fuck you, the economy.
Snowman - An Australian four-piece featuring members from England, Indonesia, Iceland and Italy -- making a veritable SNOWMAN of infl never mind. Angry droning reverbed guitar-driven crash-bash death-rock reminiscent of early Nick Cave (in Aussie-gothic tone, booming drums and western guitar approach). When the girl sings, they sound shoegazery too, which is weird. Let's face it -- every new band I hear just reminds me of something I've already heard. These guys certainly aren't bad, but they're not breaking any new ground either.
Sparta Locals - Japanese quartet imitates Gang of Four, Smashing Pumpkins or whatever other Western band they can find lying around. Pointless.
Spinnerette - Harmless pop-rock band helmed by female vocalist Brody Dalle from The Distillers. Pretty bland whether they're trying to sound mean or poppy. At times they resemble that old band Garbage. They're not offensive or irritating; there's just not much to grab onto. (except the singer's TITS, of course!!!! Heh heh HA!) (Hay who wrote that)
St. Vincent - This Brooklyn woman sings and harmonizes over accordions, guitars, keyboards, electronic drums and about five billion other instruments she plays. She used to perform with The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, and now she's playing her own mix of ugly woman music and whimsically strange light-and-dark nursery rock songs. Her best songs are full of all kinds of wonderful instrumental tones and unexpected stylistic shifts, but her worst are just mediocre singer-songwriter bores.
Star Fucking Hipsters - NYC band with girl singer and former members of Choking Victim/Leftover Crack. The two songs on MySpace are (a) awesome high-speed emotional punk (not emo), and (b) slow pop-ska-punk with a harpsichord. I imagine they're similar to Choking Victim/Leftover Crack, in that some of their songs are incredibly intense hardcore masterpieces and others are cutesy ska garbage.
Stefano Pilia - Italian guy more concerned about sound than song. Distorted guitars, feedback, drones, minor musical motifs. No drums. Sounds improvisational. Might work as a film soundtrack; hella doesn't work as standalone music!
Stnnng - 5-piece Minneapolis rock band who would've fit in perfectly with Touch & Go's '80s artist roster. Two loud guitars kranging, flicking, picking and sprangling, distorted bass, well-rounded punk/tribal/noise drummer, and a singer who admittedly can't sing but sounds intense and VERY upset when he screams (less so in the songs he just SPEAKS). Like a cross between Naked Raygun, The Jesus Lizard and several other very good bands.
Streetlight Manifesto - New Jersey ska band. I'll give you one guess how much complete ass they suck.
Sufjan Stevens - I'm told that he's recorded albums of electronica and folk, but the only one I've heard ("Illinois") is symphonic pop of the Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks variety. Some of the songs are really great and emotional; others are whimsical and hokey. Too inconsistent for me.
Suishou No Fune - Japanese improv-psych feedback and gentle hippy psychedelia band. Not of much interest.
Sunset Rubdown - Montreal indie rock band led by a Wolf Parade guy. He has a strange voice -- everything he says seems to rhyme with 'ew,' as if he's constantly doing a hilarious Gordon Lightfoot impression. However, the music is an intriguing and haunting blend of dark guitar lines, shambling drums and occasional keyboards, xylophones and whatnot. Actually, I imagine some of their songs are happy too, but most of their MySpace songs are dark. There's some really good songwriting going on here, if you can deal with the idiosyncratic vocals.
Sword Heaven - Just noise. A pummelling heavy drumbeat, feedback, electronics and screaming. Repetitive and tiresome. "Sword Heaven"? Yeah, more like "Sword... can't think of a joke here
Taking Back Sunday - Boring emo band from Amityville, NY. Oh no! Stay away from that scary house!
Talibam! - An extremely intense and talented improvisational noise-jazz-rock band. As a person who hates jazz, I found my head kicked in by the manic Lightning Bolt-style drumming and change-on-a-dime musical shifts undertaken by the keyboardist, saxophonist and their guest friend star people. Some sections are even POPPY, for Christ's sake! The CD "Ordination of the Globetrotting Conscripts" is recommended for all fans of free violence.
Tapes 'N Tapes - Minneapolis indie rock band that Maxim describes them as "the Pixies drunkenly lurching through the Modest Mouse back catalog." This makes sense, because the singer does sorta resemble a less frantic Frank Black, and their music is as bland and forgettable as Modest Mouse. I like them fine when they're ramshackle and bluesy, but they're much less interesting when they play plain old indie rock, and downright AWFUL when they try to 'get funky.'
Taylor Swift - Nashville shit music adult-contemporary country-western ballad shit.
Team Robespierre - Fuzzy-synth-focused Brooklyn indie band with vocals that sound like male cheerleaders. They might be fun live, but their songs sound like sugary emo/pop-punk performed by Mannheim Steamroller and sung by tone-deaf 13-year-olds.
Teddy Thompson - He writes songs and plays an acoustic guitar, and there's a band with him and sometimes a horn or whatever. For fans of singer-songwriters, I guess. I certainly wouldn't have given him a record contract, but then I hate music.
Telekinesis - This young Seattle man plays fuzzy pop rock and acoustic strummies. The fuzzy stuff rules jubilant cheer, but the acoustic strummies are for girls and pussy-ass wimp pusses.
Terrordactyls - Irish rock band featuring Mick and Lar from Adebishi Shank, as well as two others. This band has vocals and keyboards though, and aren't quite as neat as Adebisi Shank. They're okay though. Nice tough and tight sound of the Fugazi vein (not that they sound like Fugazi, but their songs have that same tight tough sound).
That Handsome Devil - Self-proclaimed "fringe pop" band led by a man who calls himself "Godforbid." Like Foetus without the classical or industrial influences, they play a dark but fun concoction of sleaze encompassing Hell's Angel vocals, '60s lounge jazz, electro, rockabilly, dub reggae, polka, radio punk, porn music and God knows what else. I don't enjoy every single one of their billion influences, but I love their quirkiness and at least some of their songs. One of them references "the dog on Frasier"! I have a song called "That Dog On Frasier"!
The Academy Is... - Emo (wimpy radio pop-punk). Apparently for teenaged girls - certainly not for me!
The Advisory Circle - Instrumental, keyboard-oriented. New wave and new age. Hardly something you'd turn to for entertainment.
The Amorphous Androgynous - Modern-day hippie music! 'Bwee!' guitar licks, Jimmy Pagey acoustic riffin', sitar, peaceful sound effects, Eastern-tinged riffs, slinky slide guitar, echo, reverb, piano, keyboard freakouts, occasional British vocals. Not bad, but I'll stick with Helios Creed for 21st century pSyChEdElIa.
The Angelic Process - Georgia-based black metal/ambient drone metal duo. Bassy, fuzzy and sorrowful with tons of reverb, layered guitars and superfast Norwegian-style drumming. They have a cool sound (sort of My Bloody Valentine meets Swans meets Burzum), but the songs all strike the same depressing mood which, in the absence of Swansy beauty/torture, wears a bit thin after a while.
The Avett Brothers - Bearded country-folk-rock trio from Concord, NC augmented by piano, violin, banjo and Southern accents. They play a mix of uptempo country rock, angry Neil Young hickstomp, Jackson Browney piano ballads, Randy Newmany Tin Pan Alley jalopies, syrupy early '70s acoustic strummers and even some awful hick-rap. Honestly I should've predicted that the recent "full beard" renaissance would lead to a resurgence in laidback pot-smoking hippie shitmusic like this. More like The AVOID Brothers, if you ask me!
The Bad Plus - This jazz trio (acoustic bass, piano, brush drums - though I certainly hear a female singer in there too, so whatever) does write some of its own material, but is better known for its reinterpretations of rock classics like "Comfortably Numb," "Lithium," "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Long Distance Runaround." The pianist is fond of throwing in ridiculously atonal chords to ruin the melodies. Like he could do any better, the prick!
The Bird And The Bee - Woman sings while man plays bachelor pad lounge jazz and danceable pop music. Their best songs are too mature for me to enjoy; their worst are too boring for me to bear.
The Black Angels - Texas psych with dark bass lines, druggy guitar twiddling, effected vocals and tons of reverb all over everything. They're friends with Roky Erickson, and I have the craziest notion that they don't follow our nation's drug laws. Good tunes though! Anachronistic but hypnotic.
The Books - Cello guy and acoustic guitar/electric bass fellow create soft and oddly-percussed arty music with samples. They sound like they've been hanging out with David Byrne of "The" Talking Heads, and reading "Books" -- hence their name "The" "Books". Their work is gentle and sensitively-vocaled like Simon & Garfunkel's finest folk-rock, yet blurply and blooply like Paul Simon's finest stolen world music. It's not really for me, but they definitely don't suck so if the above description sounds appealing to you, HEAR THEM 2DAY!
The Broken West - Melodic indie rock/power pop of the (early) New Pornographers variety, with guitars, pianos and organs. Uptempo and hooky, warm and likable! It's just music, but it hits the ears in a very nice way. Check their MySpace page and see what you think.
The Bronx - A mix of midtempo punk rock and thick hard rock riffs with excited '70s hard rock vocals. Not great, but fun!
The Bug - Slow awful British Jamaican-accented club reggae.
The Caretaker - Are these just old records he found? Run through various effects? If so, that's just downright LAZY!
The Chapman Family - A British rock band that actually plays rock instead of ego-driven pussy music. Sometimes it's hard and noisy, sometimes soft and melodic, and sometimes long and drony. Their songs aren't always thrilling, but at least they're not just another bunch of arrogant assholes!
The Coathangers - All-girl Atlanta punk rock band whose members (NO PUN INTENDED! HA HA! GIRLS DON'T HAVE MEMBERS!) go by such pseudonyms as "Crook Kid Coathanger" and "Rusty Coathanger," and mix amateurish stinging guitar, competent keyboards and crisp drums. I've no clue how many of them sing, but one sounds like a shrieking junkie being smothered with a pillow and at least one other sounds like the brattiest, most obnoxious teenaged girl in the universe. It's 'punk' in the original 'loose, DYI, raw, messy' sense - not in the 'sounds like Bad Religion' sense. I like their attitude more than their songs, but I'm glad they exist and wish them well in their many endeavors. Plus, "Shake Shake" and "Pussywillow" are actually very catchy if you can deal with the bratty vocals.
The Cool Kids - Two Illinois old-school rappers. Minimalist, with just a few bassy keyboard noises in the back. Pretty empty and anachronistic.
The Coral - '60s-loving British band plays garage rock, folk-pop and psych. Not awful, but not great.
The Cribs - British young rock - three Jarmans and Johnny Marr! "Men's Needs" has a catchy little guitar hook, but the other three tracks on MySpace are (a) some guy talking, (b) a cover, and (c) a shitty song.
The Dears - Canadian Romantic "Couples" Rock. If the teenaged version of myself wasn't such a puss, it would jump in a time machine and come kick my 35-year-old ass for enjoying any of this, but sometimes romantic is a nice mood (as long as guitars are somehow involved). This band's singer is apparently often compared to Morrissey, but that's fucking insane. Morrissey's voice is a one-of-a-kind love-it-or-hate-it freak of fruity nature. This guy just sounds like some guy.
The Depreciation Guild - What's with all these fucken shoegazer bands? Let's move on, people.
The Devil Wears Prada - Great band name, guys! How did you THINK of that!? This band with the extremely creative name unlike anything you've ever heard is a Christian metalcore six-piece from Guided By Voices' Dayton, OH. The singer screams at the top of his lungs, the guitarists play heavy chords and generic leads, the drummer hits his double-kick drum a lot, and at some point a little boy Linkin Park fan sings a heartfelt emo part. In other words, a band every bit as unique as their name!
The Dodos - SF duo that would basically sound like normal melodic indie rock except that (a) the acoustic guitarist used to be in a metal band so he strums the guitar really hard and loud, and (b) the drummer is trained in West African drumming and hiked so loud in the mix that he sounds like an industrial machine incessantly pounding the guitar chords into tiny spaces of open air. The melodies themselves are pretty basic indie folky rock things though, so don't get too excited. Stick with Lightning Bolt. God, this drumming gets annoying. It's far too busy and nerve-wracking to go with such simple happy music.
The Drones - Australian band of playful hurdy-gurdy drunkenness, slimey blues-rock and rah-tah-tah guitar strum simplicity. Something about this band really turns me off. For some reason they hit me like a cross between the Pogues and mainstream-period Captain Beefheart, but with an Australian sensibility. Or maybe it's that the singer sounds like he wants to be fronting an insane and dangerous group, but he's stuck with an uninspired bar band.
The Dudley Corporation - Irish indie rock band with melodic guitarwork and a tight rhythm section, but what's with the falsetto vocals? Get those the hell out of there, Irishies.
The Duke Spirit - UK alt-rock band with girl singer that appears to specialize in (a) very pretty love songs, (b) dark bluesy rock, and (c) depressingly obvious TUFF alt-rock garbage. And by "garbage," I mean "Garbage." (But less dancey.)
The Dutchess And The Duke - Barely tuned acoustic guitars, flute, tambourine and harmony boy-and-girl-next-door vocals.. Sort of a cross between emotional indie folk for college boys and Birkenstock patchouli treehugger granola music for college girls who don't shave their underarm hair. "I Am Just A Ghost" reminds me of late '60s Stones; the others remind me not to buy anything by them.
The Enemy - Passable British rock trio. They kinda remind me of The Jam's poppier, more melodic material. But that might just be because the singer's voice grosses me out as much as Paul Weller's.
The Exploding Hearts - A 21st-century American rock'n'roll band nostalgic for the '70s British punk bands who were nostalgic for '60s American rock'n'roll. In other words, a copy of a copy. COME UP WITH A NEW IDEA JERKS THIS ISN'T '70S NIGHT AT THE ROLLER RINK.. (Post-script) Oh Jesus, maybe I should've checked Wikipedia before I wrote this entry. Nobody should have to die in such a senseless, horrible way - especially people so young. It's both tragic and terrifying. I was actually going to make some snotty comment like "hopefully their hearts will explode and we won't have to listen to their music anymore," but somehow that doesn't seem at all clever or biting now that I know the story of the band. Real life is so much more important than music.
The Fall Of Troy - Washington State trio plays decent emo-streaked metal with speedy fingering and polyrhythms, then adds sissy high-pitched boy band vocals to render it completely unlistenable. God, and just wait til you hear the pansy scream. Come on young people, think these things through before you commit them to tape.
The Feeling - As if power pop wasn't wimpy enough, these guys take it to a new level of pansiness. More like "PUSSY pop," except that's kind of a gross image. If you're a Matthew Sweet fan but wish his music had even fewer balls, The Feeling is right up your alley. Your BROWN alley, that is!
The Field - Swedish techno artist who makes a beat go "thump thump thump" and puts some electronic noises on top of it. "Truly an exciting and innovative new sound!" I might exclaim if this were 1963.
The Foreign Exchange - North Carolina r'n'b group with nice group harmonies. Some of the melodies are surprisingly hooky, but others just sound like Lionel Richie.
The Fratellis - UK band mixing modern punky and glam sounds with Merseybeat-inspired songwriting -- predictable happy melodies that could've been Hollies songs three decades ago. They mostly stink though. Or, as one of their MySpace fans puts it, "Hey I love your music! Your music is awesome! I love your new album too! I would love to see you live sometime but you haven't come to Utah yet!:( Please come here! Utah loves you! Please come play here sometime and at an all ages venue!:) There are quite a few people that would love to see you live here!:] I would love to meet you sometime too! Well I hope you are doing good and are safe and having lots of fun!:) I hope to see you live sometime! <3 <3 <3 Tiffany"
The Fray - Mainstream piano-rock band who seem to take things pretty seriously. Reminds me of Live, Coldplay and several other radio bands I find boring. The guitarist occasionally appears to be playing some interesting Edge-like stuff, but it's buried under the piano and the guy's dramatic voice. They were nominated for a Grammy, if that gives you any indication of how middle-of-the-road they are.
The Gaslight Anthem - Bruce Springsteen singing uptempo emo? Likable sound, but the chord changes are ridiculously predictable.
The Gay Blades - Shitty emo band with the guy's terrible pussy-assed voice mixed a gabillion times louder than the equally terrible music.
The Gimps - This pair of mellow home recorder guys play rock, New Romantic dance-pop, country-western waltz, indie folk, pop-rock and whatever other subgenres jump into their brains. The singer sounds half-asleep, but you know young people and their fatigue.
The Goslings - Florida noise sludge rock with female vocals. Overdistorted recording, slow and sick music.
The Helio Sequence - Apparently this duo has been around since 1996, but don't get mad at me for not hearing them until 2009 because their music sounds like it came out in 1985! Post-punky. Sorta Joy Divisiony or Psychedelic Furry or something. Nice ringing guitars and tuneful vocals, as well as keyboards. Some of their songs are very pretty; others just sit there.
The High Strung - Detroit indie rock band that plays a mix of twee indie pop and happy Brian Wilson homages. Some of it's pretty, but it all has a 'me too' vibe (Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips and of course Wilson himself). Their claim to be influenced by the Minutemen, Deerhoof and Joy Division is surely a joke.
The Hold Steady - Bar band music. Reverbed guitar, piano, low-voiced stuffed-nose singer. Some rockers, some ballads. Fine if you like that sort of thing.
The Horrors - These British lads play reverbed garage rock with a regal organ, along with forays into Kraut-rock, shoegaze and post-punk. The singer definitely has a melodic post-punk/New Romantic approach, which clashes funnily with the noisier material. I'm not rushing out to buy their album or anything, but I'd much, MUCH rather hear this type of music coming out of Britain than more of that hateful dance-rock crap.
The Jimmy Cake - Instrumental Irish nine-piece with piano, guitars, banjo, accordion, strings and horns playing epic emotional rock music. Very strong - and the best songs are EXCELLENT - but at times it feels too much like watching Braveheart or leaving home on an epic adventure or something.
The Kills - Corny shitty glam metal with male and female vocals.
The King Blues - Lovey-dovey British protest folk-ska-reggae or some bullshit. Maybe they should put less time into fighting war-mongering politicians and more time into writing songs that don't sound like Tracy Chapman and Smash Mouth. It's interesting that they have a song bemoaning "What If Punk Never Happened" considering the fact that their music would sound the same either way.
The Knife - Swedish electronic-pop duo (girl singer). Minimalist, slow and dull, like a Kraftwerk tribute band geared towards 40-year-old women.
The Knux - "I need a fresh cappucino with a mocha twist!" Fun hip-hop tune! I wouldn't be surprised to hear it's their only good song though. I didn't like the other one on MySpace at all.
The Kooks - Kinks fans who display all the songwriting talent of Ray Davies (circa "UK Jive"). Just uncompelling British rock. They don't even TRY to be "kooky"! Their songs are completely straight-faced!
The Last Shadow Puppets - Side project of Arctic Monkeys singer. Toys with Beatles pop, bachelor pad exotica, orchestral flourishes, etc. Certainly doesn't give me a boner, but then I don't like the Arctic Monkeys either. Plus, music doesn't usually give me a boner.
The Lonely Island - These are the SNL guys (Andy Samberg and two I don't know) who perform the comedy r'n'b/rap songs "Lazy Sunday," "Dick In A Box," "I'm On A Boat," "Like A Boss," "Natalie's Rap," "Just 2 Guyz" and "Jizz In My Pants." Like their predecessor and spiritual guide "Weird Al" Yankovic, their songs are funny but their videos are hilarious. I'm glad somebody told me to check these guys out, because their videos have had me in tears of laughter for the last couple days.
The Long Blondes - British five-piece (2 male, 3 female) playing dance-rock with clangy guitars, Kraftwerk synths, big disco beats and woman vocals that at times remind me of that B-52s woman. Unremarkable, but they broke up in late 2008 anyway.
The Mae Shi - Uptempo guitar/electronic/billion voices music, ranging from heavenly spiritual beauty to dopey disco-rock to stomping blues-rock. Some of the music is fuzzy, uplifting and wonderful, but it's hard to tell from MySpace what their main focus is, plus one of the vocalists has a very thin weedy voice.
The Maine - Emotional radio-ready pop-grunge. My wife says, "This sounds like the shit they play on the radio." It's mixed like an Everclear record, with the singer way out in front so you can hear how sensitive he is. It actually sounds a lot like Everclear too! As obvious as this music is, I'm just gullible enough to not hate it at all. HOWEVER: fool me once (with Everclear), shame on me. Fool me twice (The Maine), won't get fooled again. Particularly if this MySpace fact is true: "The Maine was actually a post-screamo band, but decided to change their image to Alternative '90's."
The Marked Men - Pop-punk-rock band from Denton, TX plays Screeching Weasel-type stuff with the occasional Tom Pettyish rocker. I really, really do not like Screeching Weasel at all..
The Mars Volta - Horrifyingly rank prog-metal-Latin-funk band formed by two former At The Drive-In guys. The first time I heard the De-Loused In The Comatorium album, I thought, "Wow! A PROG band! Sure, that guy's oversinging, but a PROG band!" But then Francis The Mute came out, and quickly became one of the most loathsome albums I've ever sat through. The more recent tracks on their MySpace page suggest that they haven't become any less annoying over the years. Imagine an overly compressed Rush/Prince/Ricky Martin jam session played at 78 RPM. BEYOND VOMITOUS.
The Music Tapes - Annoying lo-fi banjo-playing indie shit noisemaker with high wimpy voice. From Elephant 6, naturally.
The National - Mopey rock with piano, violins, horns, acoustic strumming, electric chiming/droning guitars and a low-voiced vocalist who sounds half-asleep. Even the happy songs sound like a cold rainy day. Pretty good, but dreary!
The New Year - Ex-Bedhead guys. Decent college rock! Reminiscent of mid-80s stuff. Some good hooks, bad moods, interesting time signatures, skinny 'guy next door' vocals. A little slow at times though.
The Night Marchers - The latest band for John Reis from Drive Like Jesu, Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes. I prefer Froberg's voice, but beggars can't be banquet. Every once in a while, the Marchers will slip into that suave soul-rock or greaser-rock that ruined Rocket From The Crypt for me (when I finally got around to listening to them maybe a month ago), but when they stick to straight-up ROCK, the hooks cannot be stopped!
The Number Twelve Looks Like You - If you loved all those metalcore bands with the screaming singers, you'll LOVE these guys -- they have TWO screaming singers! Just SCREAMING SCREAMING SCREAMING away as the band tools around with death metal, math metal, and screamo. The guitarists spend a bit too much time thwacking away at repetitive ugly chords, but when they decide to get technical, they pull off the speedy sicko guitar runs and time-signature changes well. Plus they're named after an old Twilight Zone episode, which is fun. How a band this abrasive became Hot Topic poster boys is beyond me though - I guess because they SING every once in a while?
The Obits - The latest band for Rick Froberg from Drive Like Jesu and Hot Snakes. You know you can trust Rick Froberg. Great hooky guitar rock! (even though one song is kind of a "Lucifer Sam" ripoff)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Slumberland shoegaze pop with male and female singers. They're sort of a cross between The Smiths and mid-period My Bloody Valentine -- happy, strummy, girly, intermittently pretty and occasionally super-loud. It's not a particularly creative sound, and the singer sounds like a fey British '80s boy even though they're apparently from NYC.
The Phantom Family Halo - Lo-fi psych hate-rock with pissed-off garage riffs and a high-voiced '70s hard rock singer guy. Oh, they'll play a hippy acoustic song every once in a while, but don't let that fool you; they're filled with psych, hate and rock. And garage. I don't know. Look, they're not very good.
The Polyphonic Spree - This 22-person Texas band has eight fewer members than I'm From Barcelona. They're pretty happy too though. Some might say TOO happy. Plus, the main guy used to be in Tripping Daisy, and those assholes put their goddamned stickers all over every building in Chapel Hill right before they came to town in 1993 and the stickers were still there like fifteen years later! So FUCK YOU, The Polyphonic Spree!
The Psychic Paramount - Instrumental psych-rock NYC trio. There's some cool notey/delay guitar lines here or there, but it mostly sounds made up on the spot. Loud though! Plus, I once saw the guitarist and bassist's previous band Laddio Bolocko live, and they kicked my ass up the ass!!! So this band probably kicks some total buttock live too. I remember the guitarist having a cool Syd Barrett vibe.
The Raconteurs - I can't stand Jack White, so it's probably no surprise that I think this stinks. Pseudo-swampy blues-rock that ranges from generic to embarrassingly shitty. My wife says from behind me, "This sucks. It sounds like a reincarnation of Steve Miller." Difference being that Steve Miller was actually GOOD at one time.
The Red Chord - Massachusetts "deathcore" (death metal/grindcore/metalcore) band with an angry growling/screaming vocalist. Both punishing and tedious, the band offers up chugging chords, lots of tempo changes and some speedy lead note riffs, but very little memorable material. Every time they finally come up with something technically impressive and viscerally exciting, they almost immediately replace it with either slow boring chord trudging or indiscernible blastbeat mayhem. Instrumental skill: plenty. Songwriting skill: their 6 MySpace songs would suggest "not much."
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Sweet Christ, do I hate emo. IT'S SO FRUITY AND EMASCULATED! There is NO WAY these men have peni! Not even rudimentary ones! Why do all these bands' singers sound 13 years old!?
The Red Romance - Apparently three of these guys used to be Ambulance Ltd., but now they've chosen to imitate The Strokes. Unfortunately The Strokes already have this sound sealed up. Like, EXACTLY.
The Secret Machines - Slow Coldplay-ish alt-rock, synth-driven new wave throwbacks, and a singer who doesn't exactly scream "I'm interesting." The music is too sedate without being beautiful or hypnotic or even very melodic.
The Shins - Gentle guitar pop for young people. Too happy for me.
The Soft Pack - California band that sounds British. Trebly clangy Fall-esque guitar tone, bouncy bass and peppy drums, but not terribly compelling mod-garage-pop riffs. Also, the singer just sounds like some guy in a college town.
The Sounds - Swedish '80sy electro-pop with girl and guy singers. Sounds like Pat Benatar or the Thompson Twins or some crap. Come on assholes it's 2009. You're supposed to be playing '60s r'n'b.
The Spits - Seattle punk band assisted by fuzzy cheap keyboards and faux-British vocals. Mostly reminiscent of the Dickies and Ramines, but one song ("Black and Blue") sounds like a cross between Guided By Voices and Rancid Hell Spawn! Ultimately a throwaway band, but not a bad one.
The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock - Irish band that sounds like they want you to kiss the Blarney Stone. Well I don't WANNA kiss the fucken Blarney Stone! FUCK YOU!
The Stabs - Australian rockers who -- shocker of shockers -- sound kinda like the Birthday Party! They have the same outback gothic mood anyway. I guess you could just as well say they resemble the Gun Club or early Lubricated Goat though, for that matter. Unfortunately they don't bring anything new to the mix and the singer sounds like a normal well-adjusted human being, which sucks all the menace out of it.
The Streets - The WORST RAPPER IN HISTORY. A bored, boring, nerdy-sounding British man. Just GODAWFUL!
The Sword - Trying to sound like early Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer and whatnot, but their riffs are pretty weak.
The Tallest Man On Earth - Swedish acoustic guitar picker who sings like a raspy Southerner. It's been compared to early Dylan, and I wouldn't disagree. Granted, that's probably exactly what he's going for!
The Teeth - Shambolic but boring Philadelphia rock'n'roll band who sound like they've been listening to early Elvis Costello. Weak singing and no melodies that appeal to me at all.
The Thermals - Christ! "Kill Rock Stars" still exists!? I see that their musical taste hasn't improved. This Portland trio plays unimaginative midtempo rock with overly playful vocals (ex: "Oh-way-oh-oo-whoa-oh!/Oh-way-oh-oo-whoa-oh!/Oh-way-oh-oo-whoa-oh!") and has 'local band' written all over it.
The Unicorns - Defunct Canadian indie rock band that seems to have been Big Star-influenced. Low-key but melodic vocals, crisp live drums, and very loud jangly electric guitars. Nice '70s pop-rock, though some songs are more memorable than others.
The Used - Worthless major-label emo/alt-rock quartet from Utah. The singer sounds extremely emo, the chugging guitarwork is loud but predictable, the choruses are angst-ridden and crafted-for-radio-success, and the production is filled with modern gimmicks. If you consider The Killers a creative and innovative young band, you'll go absolutely dickboner over The Used. And just wait until you hear their Talking Heads cover!
The Veils - London band with a singer who seems to take himself quite seriously whether he's singing or whine-screaming. The music ranges from Nick Cave-style piano croonerism to Irish jig rock to dark pissy anger brooding to straight alternative rock. Some of the songs are strong; others just overwrought. Check them out if you like serious bands with pianos in them. Everybody else points out that the singer's father used to be in XTC, so I'll point that out too. The singer's father used to do Ecstacy.
The Very Best - Traditional Malawi music, electro, hip-hop, and yet ANOTHER rip-off of The Clash's "Straight To Hell"! (Bite your TONGUE off, M.I.A.!) An interesting diversion from rock music, but not interesting enough for me to ever, ever, EVER listen to it again.
The View - Happy Scottish rock band with a singer who sounds 11 years old. Yech. Sickeningly sweet and feeling good.
The Walkmen - Heavily reverbed NYC band with high-pitched jangly electric guitar, reverbed cool guy singer and dark mood. Seems as influenced by old nightclub jazz (the same kind that influenced early Tom Waits) as rock. Not bad!
The War On Drugs - Lovely pop/psych/drone/folk-rock with a vocal intonation reminiscent of Tom Petty or Jim McGuinn. Their "Wagonwheel Blues" album has some gorgeous songs on it - sort of a cross between mid-'60s Dylan and Eno at his prettiest. Quite frankly, this is what Neutral Milk Hotel should've sounded like.
The Week That Was - Suave danceable British pop-rock band with heavy piano emphasis. Sound like they grew up listening to The Power Station, Tears For Fears and other melodic '80s MTV pop. Not bad at all!
The Whigs - All-American rock music. Its "normal guys playing music in a club with a pool table" feel reminds me of Soul Asylum's "Hang Time," but without that album's killer hooks. The guitar is distorted orange and the singer's voice is fine. It's hard to hate a band this down-to-earth and American, but I think you'd have to be pretty desperate to get excited by their music.
The Whip - This Manchester dance-rock band will give you disco balls with their dark moods, swoopy synths and funky bass. If your favorite Gang of Four song is "I Love A Man In A Uniform," you'll probably like these guys. They'll get your ass dancing, alright!
The Wombats - Another trebly British rock band with a wimpy singer and no good songs. "Let's Dance to Joy Division" is cute for one listen, but not two.
The World Record - This unexceptional L.A. indie rock band plays everything from Big Star/Weezer-tinged pop rock and indie ballads to redneck FM rock, They Might Be Giant cutesy-pop and electronic-pulsed emo. But the most remarkable thing is that their singer sounds just like Buck Dharma from Blue Oyster Cult!
The Zutons - British guys who play '70s good time rock music with a saxophone. If you love Edgar Winter's "Free Ride" and Grand Funk's version of "Some Kind Of Wonderful," you'll be all over the sweaty weed-smokin' sound of The Zutons. I'd be too, if so many of their songs didn't sound like a frat band playing Spin Doctors covers. This band is terrible.
The-Dream - Boring R&B/hip-hop for women.
Thee Oh Sees - '60sy nostalgic jangle-rock, garage-rock, psych and folk. Most of it's pretty standard garage rock, but none of it's bad. If you already have every Pebbles compilation, try these guys. Apparently the main fellow is also in Coachwhips, Pink and Brown, Landed, Yikes, Burmese and The Hospitals.
TheNewNo2 - George Harrison's son! And some guy! Playing a sort of dark electronic rock thing that's heavy on the spacey keyboards and tasty blues-rock licks, but light on the memorable tunes. To call him a chip off the old block would be to acknowledge that most of George Harrison's solo albums are depressingly hit-or-miss (with the notable exception of the excellent All Things Must Pass). Dhani's music isn't bad or embarrassing, mind you; it's just very low-key and more vinegar than honey. Imagine Massive Attack covering "Taxman" or "Think For Yourself" and you're on the right track. But hey, we can't all be Julian "Valotte" Lennon of "Too Late For Goodbyes" fame!. And don't even get me STARTED about Stella "Designing Fashion Or Something" McCartney of "Figuring Out How Dresses Go Or Some Crap" fame!
Theresa Andersson - She sounds like a '60s girl group! Singing old-time r'n'b and pretty ballads with a lovely voice. Big booming reverbed drums, backup chorus (all her) and fake strings, as if Phil Spector had something to do with it! Not bad at all, by gum. Not that I'd buy anything by her, but that shouldn't stop you, the American people!
These Are Powers - Experimental art-rock trio creating strange electronic rhythms, odd treated-bass blurblings and female vocals. Unique, but also minimalist and cold. "Cockles" is a nice song though.
These New Puritans - This British band combines electronic beats, bitter guitar chord sequences, synth noises and mostly spoken vocals into a sound that doesn't appeal to me at all. Fans of rhythm will probably like them; their songs are certainly rhythmic. And they definitely don't sound unintelligent; it's just a bit too pissy-sounding for me personally. I love angry music if it kicks ass, but these guys just sound like angry dancers. You might want to check them out if you have a higher tolerance for non-ass-kicking bad-mood music than I do.
TH3YN3V3RSL33P - Three quarters of the legendary God Bullies return for more creepy, psychotic and sample-riddled '70s hard rock. And it's produced so that you can actually hear what they're doing! I realize that's a negative for some people; certainly the God Bullies records had a brash trashy hissy sound all their own. But if you enjoyed the '70s rock riffs and idiosyncratic vocals of that band, you should definitely be into the irritatingly-spelled TH3YN3V3RSL33P (They Never Sleep).
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb - Jangly Florida folk-pop-punk band. Generic old folk chord changes played with the doop-chick punk rock beat. If you've never heard folk music in your life, maybe they'll appeal to you. For a similar sound but catchier tunes, check out some early Dead Milkmen. I just got in a big fight with my dog and am in no mood for this zero-creativity music. Also, sometimes they have a violin.
Tim Fite - I went to high school with a guy named Tim Fite, but this isn't him. This is an IMPOSTER! He has a low smoker's voice and is apparently Brooklyn-based even though he has a Southern accent. He plays cute, funny little pop, folk and rap songs (ex. a piano waltz about running over a girl's garden, a rap song praising consumerism), and uses banjo, guitar, organ, samples, yodeling, handclaps and whatever other crud he can find. Imagine a cross between Tom Waits, Eminem and They Might Be Giants. You'd think that would be godawful, but it's actually kind of adorable! I'd think Beck fans would like this guy.
Time Of Orchids - Mr. Bungle fans might like these guys. They broke up in 2007, but their songs ranged from screwball Captain Beefheart jazz-rock to screaming thrash to bizarre haunted house mood music to... just WRONG-sounding ballads. To give you some indication how all-over-the-map they are, they have albums out on Tzadik, Cuneiform and Relapse! I don't love all of it (some of it's real draggy), but they certainly weren't predictable.
Times New Viking - Poorly recorded Indie-rock with guy/girl singers. Very loud guitars, cutesy happy melodies, an organ. They sound like little kids trying to be early Beat Happening, pre-S&E Pavement or the Vaselines. I can't believe this isn't from 1991. It's not good at all.
Ting Tings - British dance-pop-rock attitude duo with woman singer. Reminds me of the Spice Girls, though I get the feeling they're not supposed to. "That's Not My Name" is adorable like a great Spice Girls song! Their others are less interesting, but every bit as cheerleader-influenced.
Titus Andronicus - Overly anthemic and happy mix of '70s punk rock, Poguesy drinking music, and reverb-drenched garage rock. Passionate vocals, but extremely cliche'd chord changes.
Tobacco - Vocoder vocals and swizzly electronic hooks like Kraftwerk for the Nu Generation. Why are young people so enamored with synthesizers these days? Back in my day, if you wasn't playin' the GUITAH, you was Nowheresville!
Toe Tag - When the entire Accused line-up left guitarist Tommy Niemeyer, they formed this fuzzed-up punk/metal/hardcore band. It's not splatter rock, but the songs are raw, bassy, fast and intermittently catchy. Plus, they do a cover of Black Sabbath's "Junior's Eyes"! (from Never Say Die!)
Tokyo Police Club - More like "Ontario Strokes Rip-Off"! Okay, that's simplifying it. They're not so much a Strokes rip-off (though, make no mistake, their songwriting is similar to that of the second Strokes album) than a generic indie rock band with the occasional uptempo drumbeat. They're not awful, but I've heard way too many songs in my life, and these don't hold a candle to The Grass Roots' "Let's Live For Today."
Tombs - An American band that takes the black metal sound of classic Burzum and Mayhem, and ties it to some noise rock and death metal. It's aggressive and pretty good, but if you want to hear the original riffs they're emulating, pick up some of the stuff I just mentioned, earlier in this note.
Torche - Loud fuzzed-out guitars in the service of uptempo headbanging metal, AmRep noise rock and Superchunky melodic indie rock. The tuneful vocals sound like Page Hamilton with Sting's old vocal accent! Recommended!
Total Fucking Destruction - "Let The Children Name Themselves"? "Kill The Jocks And Eat Their Brains"!? Consider it done! This Philadelphia band mixes lo-fi grindcore with other elements to create an extreme hardcore/metal experience of entertainment. Their sense of humor reminds me a bit of Macabre -- they throw in the same sort of funny voices and musical jokes. Recommended! So's your old man!
Trapped Under Ice - Presumably named after the Metallica song, though I'm not sure why. This is boring NYHC (played by a Maryland band) with all the slow generic chord changes and army-style group shouts you could hope for. Actually, can you even call this "hardcore"? It never speeds up! It's like they're caught in a slow mosh the entire time.
Trash Talk - This Sacramento band plays raw, angry and speedy hardcore/metal with Born Againsty screaming. Likably crusty and unpolished, but unfortunately not very interesting in the grand scheme of the subgenre. However, their songs are very short so there's not much to complain about.
Trophy Scars - Slow tedious New Jersey rock sextet with high-pitched guitars, piano, minor keys, thick melodrama and a hoarse smoker's-voiced singer who sounds godawful whether singing, over-emoting or screaming. Their songs are overwrought, mindnumbing and far far too long. Are there honestly people who want to hear music like this? If so, what the fuck is their problem?
Tub Ring - What at first sounds like "Weird Al" Yankovic singing for Mr. Bungle soon reveals itself as sounding more like "Weird Al" Yankovic singing for Faith No More.
TV On The Radio - I liked the last one, but the new one is REALLY not for me. Not a hint of rock; just soul, r’n’b, funk, rap and balladry.
Tweak Bird - L.A. power duo (bass/drum) with high voices. Heavy distorted bass, hard-hitting drums. Good mean sound, but the high voices kill any possible enjoyment I might get from it.
Two Gallants - San Francisco duo finger-picks lovely gentle country-folk melodies, then ruins them with booming drums and overdone '70s glam vocals. Two Gallants? More like Two GOOFUSES, if you ask me!
Tyvek - Uptempo garage-blues-punk-rock with a singer who sounds like a high school dork. Fun and speedy! They sure could use a stronger singer though; this emasculated stuffed-nose guy undercuts the bulky construction worker rural-punk they're playing. Still, heck yeah!
Uh Oh! Explosion - Party music for idiots. Andrew WK dumbed down to the one-billionth degree. If you need any proof that Idiocracy is coming true, listen to these morons sing crowd-pleasing, lowest common denominator shit like "I Do It Like A Porn Star," "Party Retarded" and "Balls In Your Ass." The music is electro-fuzz dance-rock, the haircuts are emo, the vocals range from sissy pop to whiteboy rap, and the melodies are cliches. These are the kind of guys who go on the Internet and type 'dribble' when they mean 'drivel.'
USSA - Guitarist Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk), bassist Paul Barker (Ministry) and two other guys play dark rock music. The music is tight, brooding and very cool, but the stuffed-nose greaser-voiced singer should make like a tree and branch off into some other band.
Valient Thorr - Southern motorcycle metal from... Chapel Hill, NC!? The same sort of long-beard '70s-tinged punk metal that Nashville Pussy and Antiseen play, but from a college town!? MY old college town!? I wish the songs were more interesting though. The guitarist comes up with some great speedy note riffs, but they're always relegated to the intros and breaks. The songs themselves are just dull chord changes. Maybe they're too busy hanging out in "The Pit" and attending concerts at the "Cat's Cradle" to write better material? Or maybe they're spending too much time buying "Tar Heel" memorabilia at the "Shrunken Head Boutique"? Or eating Mexican food at the "Burrito Bunker" or "Armadillo Grill"? I don't know about you, but maybe they're attending too many alternative parties at "St. A's"? Am I crazy or are they eating too many meals at "The Rathskellar" and watching "Beverly Hills 90210" with all those girls at "Debbie Boxill"'s house? Okay, I guess we've established that the members of Valient Thorr spend so much time hanging out with the members of "Wiggle," "Pipe" and "Small-23" that their own songwriting has suffered as a result. Come on, members of Valient Thorr! Stop eating those greasy chicken biscuits at "Time Out" and hanging out with "Mac MacCaughn" of "Superchunk" at "Schoolkids Records" and concentrate on your craft!
Vampire Weekend - Baroque-ska!? Like a hellish mix of UB40 and The Left Banke.
Varsovia - Kentucky-based band whose singer sounds astonishingly Morrisey-esque. Two clean guitars play chords and arpeggios for a sound that seems geared towards couples; it's neither masculine nor overly feminine, but sorta daytime romantic/nighttime sexy. They're a serious band with well-recorded material, but the songs themselves just remind me of various late-'80s local Atlanta bands that I never got into. It's just not unique enough for me personally. If you're a member of a daytime romantic/nighttime sexy couple though, check 'em out!
Venetian Snares - Another irritating IDM artist. I never thought I'd find a subgenre too abrasive to enjoy, but IDM nails it. Those high-speed electronic drums are so fucking ANNOYING! Some of this guy's stuff has violins though, which is nice. Plus he's Canadian, like Burton Cummings.
Vetiver - It's possible I met this guy once or twice back in college. He was in The Raymond Brake, whose bassist Peder Hollinghurst I definitely met a bunch of times, because my friends were old high school buddies of his. So that's my claim to fame: I may or may not have met the Vetiver guy once or twice. Back then he was copying Superchunk and Polvo. These days he's playing '60sy folk and rock and singing with a gentle melodic tenor. If you intend to listen to any of these bearded pothead new relaxed folk acts, make it Vetiver -- not just because his music is more melodic than the others, but also because I may have met him once or twice so we're pretty close.
Violens - Melodic pop-rock music with guitars and keyboards. Some good '60sy tunes, some dull '80sy tunes.
Virus - Norwegian metal band. Very neat screwy Voivody-style sick-riffs, with some Jesus Lizardy parts too. The singer's voice is kinda cornball Teutonic-gothy, but the music is good!
Vivian Girls - Reverbed garage rock with female harmony vocals. Some punky, some Crampsy, some pretty and girl-groupy! All reverbed to high hell The album isn't genius, but what a cool sound they have.
Wale - Yet another boring rapper. Christ, when is this genre going to DIE!? Has there EVER been a more limited form of music? And don't say "bluegrass" because those guys play all kinds of different things in the exact same way at the exact same speed.
Warpaint - A 3/4-female guitar-focused band that alternates between haunting quiet songs and bitter danceable loud ones. They sound pretty good, but as far as I can tell they haven't even released a record yet. So thank you, person who recommended them to me as a 'hip new band the kids dig.' I could've been reviewing Goblin Cock this whole time, you asshole.
Wavves - Lo-fi overdistorted indie-pop-rock. Ridiculously shittily recorded. Too happy too, most of the time. Damn happy shittily-recorded people.
We Are Scientists - Two Brooklyn guys play guitar rock and '80s-style post-punk. Some of the songs are warm and hooky; others are attitude-driven and shitty. So hunt down the good ones and treat your brain to an ear-treat of sugary delights! Or don't. What the hell do I care.
We Insist! - Parisian quintet with a lead singing drummer, electric guitars, and occasional synth, xylophone, saxophone or whatever. Their quirky rock compositions remind me of The Ex at times, Victims' Family at other times. They're definitely trying to create new and previously unheard rock songs, and I appreciate that. Unfortunately, the vocals are nondescript at best and some of the songs are so herky-jerky they make my stomach churn.
We Versus The Shark - Athens, GA trio playing loud Surgery-style noise/blues rock. The great raw guitar tone allows strong playing personality to shine through. And even if not all their songs strike a chord with me, at least they're playing with power, aggression and personality. They even cover Tears For Fears' awesome "Head Over Heels"! As such, I heartily support their endeavor.
White Lies - Another British band imitating Joy Division-era post-punk, but with prominent keyboard presence and less melodic ingenuity. The three songs on MySpace aren't compelling at all.
Who's Your Favorite Son God - This California trio plays noisy overblown guitar madness, both loose and tight, disciplined and frayed-wiry, with a crazy-nuts drummer and high-pitched male vocalist. Quirky yet ass-kicking! Psychotic yet Jam Bandy! Cerebral yet a complete mess! Fans of Hella, apply here for a job in today's economy.
Withered - This bearded Atlanta metal band plays a mix of black metal and death metal. They sound great when playing a creepy intro or ripping out some high-speed old school Black Metal, but too often revert to slow and non-descript death metal parts. If you're a Nordic Horseman based in the Atlanta area, you may want to give them a chance. I can't hear their name without saying "penis" after it though.
Why? - Godawful Indie rock with curse words. Annoyingly 'clever' lyrics, cocky vocals and unremarkable melodies. Guitars, keyboards, piano, whatever. The world has enough indie rock, I've decided. Pass the news around.
Wilderness - Baltimore art-rock band with pretty, chimey guitars like early U2 and a bearded hippy vocalist who seems to deliberately sing the wrong notes. Basically if you're looking for "Unforgettable Fire" outtakes sung by a cult leader, here you go.
Witch Hats - Australian dark punk/psychoblues band that seems to have heard the Birthday Party at some point. They don't SOUND like the Birthday Party per se, but the same threatening outback feel is there. I like that mood. And I kinda like this band too!
Witchcraft - Swedish. Sounds like '70s hard rock! not too interesting though.
Wolf Parade - Melodic indie rock with piano, synths, guitars and singer with a wiggly voice. Some really good songs, some just okay. But it's melodic!
Wolfmother - Australian hard rockers who dearly miss the 1970's. What better way to say "I have no musical ideas" than simply imitating those of an earlier generation? Still, if you're going to be nostalgic, better it be for killer '70s hard rock than '60s r'n'b or '80s electro-pop. Check out "Woman" - that's a boogie rock explosion! And "Mind's Eye" with that Robert Plant coldness and Deep Purple keyboard solo? Duuude!!! Turn it up! Get the Wolf out! (Then when those two songs are over, THROW the Wolf out!)
Wolves In The Throne Room - Washington-based black metal band with typical whisper-shrieking vocals and Isis/Neurosis-style emotional armageddon chord changes. No wait, sorrowful female vocals over slow evocative keyboard and ringing guitar notes. No, I was right the first time. This is sad music that makes me feel sad inside, where sorrow dwells.
Women - Indie rock performed by men. Might as well be women though, by how fey and ball-less their music is. What happened to rock music, I ask you, today in the 21st Century? I think they're even playing a xylophone! Lots of reverb, but it's still boring. Shame on Pitchfork Media for influencing so many young people to play music with no guts or energy at all. Btw, this band shares members with Azeda Booth.
Wooden Shjips - SF psych. Heavy phase and fuzz on the guitar, plus an organ and singer with lots of delay/repeat. Essentially a throwback not just to '60s bands like the 13th Floor Elevators and The Seeds, but to 80s bands like Spacemen 3 and (early) Dwarves who were ALREADY throwbacks to those bands. Nevertheless, they've got some catchy garage riffs going on here! Lo-fi and muffled, but it's sure hard not to tap your footie during the long, druggy but uptempo jams.
Woods - Amateurish folksy music with acoustic guitar, lead guitar not quite tuned to the acoustic, and weird high-pitched vocals. Are they men? Women? Babies!? Either way, too cutesy for me.
Wovenhand - New band by 16 Horsepower guy! A mix of dark western blues, Native American stomp, church music and grim hypnotic rock - with banjos, concertina, violins and all these other crazy things.. If you like 16 Horsepower, you'll probably like this too. Actually they've been around since 2002, but I just found out about them today so off my back. To be honest, I only heard about 16 Horsepower like three months ago.
Wussy - Decent indie/folk rock with male and female vocals. Some of their songs have a xylophone and are unforgivably la-de-da, but the guitar-driven ones are melodically strong and quite enjoyable!
Xiu Xiu - Experimental trio with strummy guitars, xylophones, Chinese instruments, sax, synth blurbles, unrecognizable noises and EXTREMELY ANNOYING sub-David Byrne 'nervous' vocals. They seem to think that if you cram enough different sounds into the mix, it doesn't matter that your songs are boring and directionless. I hate this band.
Yeasayer - Boring!
Yellow Swans - Industrial noise, pulsebeat and feedback. If this is music, then my dick's a blueberry.
YMCK - Japanese trio playing "8-bit Nintendo meets jazz and pops!" It is indeed 8-bit Nintendo music with adorable jazzy ("shoobedoobedoo") female vocals on top. I honestly haven't heard much 8-bit music so I don't know how this compares, but it's certainly odd to hear such suave, smoky melodies being created with such ridiculously cheap electronic tones!
YOB - Doom metal. Heavy and slow chord changes with growly death metal vocals. Extremely long songs. I'm not really into the slow heavy chord changes that typify doom metal, but these guys also work in some creepy Neurosis-style riffs, so that helps.
Young Jeezy - Hip-hop guy with an insanely gravelly dope-smoking voice. The background music alternates between boring R&B and boring orchestral melodrama. Great voice though!
Young Widows - This Kentucky trio plays AmRep noise rock with Helmet/Tar vocals. Those of my generation miss such sounds of yesteryear, and welcome them with open ears. Thank you, Young Widows, for the nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. Augh! I dropped my cane! (*falls over; dies of old age*)
Zazen Boys - Japanese post-punk new wave synth-pop disco with cheesy synths. It's corny and smooth jazzy, but also Japanese-weird in places.
Zombi - This Pittsburgh "space rock" duo plays over-earnest instrumental sci-fi music for Star Trek fans (losers) and spooky doom-laden music for horror movie fans (winners, and the Presidents of the world).
Zoroaster - This bearded Atlanta metal band generally likes it slow and sludgey, but then they throw in a beautiful piano section or melodic organ accompaniment when you least expect such a thing. Cool heavy riffage too! Vocals range from black metal hoarse whisper-intoning to raucous shouting. I endorse!
Zu - Italian band on Ipecac. Song title: "Tom Araya Is Our Elvis"! Tight heavy bass/drum/sax instrumentals. If you like a good distorted bass and don't mind a squeaky brappy sax, there's a new band called Zu that might interest you.
Owl City - A Minnesota emo pop sissy with the pussyassiest wimp voice in the world. Why are today's young people growing into such estrogen-addled panty boys? I realize I wasn't the manliest fellow back in middle school, but at least I listened to Van Halen, for Christ's sake.
Person L - Side project of a guy from The Starting Line, a Philadelphia pop-punk band I've never heard. However, these songs are split between energetic rockers and moody emotional numbers, almost all of which are guitar-driven and well-written. He has a nice voice too. Should I try the Starting Line too? Are they any good?
Ramona Falls - This Portland indie rock project helmed by a Menomena guy offers well-written but awfully melancholy songs built from acoustic and electric guitars, piano, strings, horns and whatever else he can find out in the street. It's a bit too samey and depressing for me to fully recommend, but I certainly enjoy it more than boring old Menomena. If you don't mind feeling blue, definitely check him out!
Rick Ross - A big bald bearded ex-correctional officer rapper with a cool manly voice and a feud with 50 Cent. The beats are reminiscent of '70s soul music, which is appropriate since he looks like Isaac Hayes. I hate a lot of hip-hop, and I don't hate this; that alone is pretty remarkable! I won't bold him because I don't care if I never hear him again, but if you like the idea of soulful manly hip-hop, consider giving him the time of day.
Rihanna - Barbadian dance/pop/r'n'b/hip-hop singer and model who sings about an umbrella. Apparently she's hugely famous, but I don't follow this kind of shit music so I wouldn't know. My wife likes her a lot though, so if you're a wife, go nuts.
RJD2 - Philadelphia turntablist producer guy making boring songs to dance or smoke dope to. Some instrumental and others with gentle male vocals. Many with piano, several with a '70s funk-soul feel, a few with scratching, none with exceptional melodies. Reminds me of Fatboy Slim, whom I also find dull. Reminds my wife of Gnarls Barkley, whom I also also find dull.
Russian Circles - Boring and cheerless instrumental Chicago trio playing lugubrious and overly melodramatic midtempo rock. In dire need of some party hearty sunglasses and a beach ball.
Surfer Blood - Their '60s-styled MySpace tracks demonstrate a love for Animal Collective and early Weezer, and their tagline is "Condoleezza Rice, secretary of weed." Plenty melodic and poppy, though certainly not the most creative style. If this description makes you want to hear them, you will likely enjoy them.
The Big Pink - This British electronic pop-rock duo plays a mixture of '80s 120 Minutes-style New Romance and '90s shoegaze prettiness. Nice melodic vocals and warm gentle loving feel. I don't intend to purchase anything by them, but it's always great to have people out there who bother writing vocal melodies.
The Watson Twins - L.A. identical twin female alt-folk-pop duo reminds me of Joni Mitchell (hippy), Christine McVie (laidback) and Kim Deal (hip) all thrown together in one pleasantly melodic two-person person. They also do a cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" that slows it down to langorous marijuana euphoria. They don't kick enough grindcore ass for me to bold them, but I wouldn't throw them out of Lilith Fair for eating crackers.
Therefore I Am - This Boston post-hardcore (i.e. crybaby emo-metal) band is a tedious cliche'd joke to anybody outside Alternative Press's weepy 12-year-old readership. This entire subgenre really needs to consider adding a second emotion to its terrible repertoire.
Tune-Yards - This manly-voiced Oakland woman uses her ukulele to create child-friendly folk/reggae/Jamaican/African music, and then piles crazy noises, voices and samples on top of it. Imagine a cross between early '70s Sesame Street and The Fall. (Who's that in the garbage can? Why, it's Mark E. The Grouch!) Not even the slightest bit similar to 'my kind of music,' but I love the fact that she clutters up all her songs with extraneous ridiculousness.
Zomby - British Dubstep artist. Do you know what "Dubstep" is? HORSE SHIT IN A CAN! This latest regression in electronic music apparently involves repeating a simplistic quarter-melody over a basic stoned beat over and over and over again. If you're incapable of creating music like this by age five, it's time to separate into sperm and egg and go back where you came from.
2010 MICRO-REVIEWS OF HIP NEW BANDS THAT THE KIDS DIG
A Sunny Day In Glasgow - This Philadelphia band with six members and seven ex-members plays trebly, reverbed dreampop with pretty female vocals. Puts me in the mind of Galaxie 500. Gentle and occasionally lovely, but mostly tedious. Just go buy a My Bloody Valentine EP and be done with it.
A.A. Bondy - Alabama alt-folk-country artist with lovely lo-fi acoustic/electric guitar tones and pleasant voice. Not exactly my kind of music (very mellow), but at least he doesn't have a Southern accent. I'm a racist about that sort of thing.
Acid Witch - ScaaAaaAaaAry doom/thrash band on Razorback brings you super-heavy guitars, super-low growly vocals, 'eerie' keyboards and witch-oriented songs like "Witch House," "The Black Witch" and "Witchblood Cult." Not the most innovative music in the world, but a lot of you kids today like the 'doom metal,' so you might enjoy it.
Andrew Jackson Jihad - Foul-mouthed cracking-voice Arizona acoustic folk college music wimps. I was warned that they had their worst songs posted on MySpace, and sweet Christ do I hope that's true. Because THEY FUCKING SUCK.
As I Lay Dying - This San Diego metal band combines cool old school thrash riffs, super-heavy chug-a-chugging and dull vocals by a gruff screamer and an emo singer. They might consider chugging a different chord on occasion so every song wouldn't sound so similar, but I gotta give them "Props" for the old school thrash riffs! Yay, Megadeth! (speaking of poor vocals)
Baroness - Georgia band that sounds like a Boston/Soundgarden supergroup with Tony Iommi on lead guitar and harmony vocals by Andrew WK and Rivers Cuomo. In other words, smooth warm distorted guitar tone playing grungey metal with '70s lead licks and melodic but scratched-throat vocals. It's a nice sound, but the songs themselves aren't very interesting -- sorta like weaker CKY material. Incidentally, they have an album called "The Blue Album," but I swear that's not why I thought to mention Rivers Cuomo!
Bear In Heaven - This Brooklyn band seems equally influenced by psych, prog and synthpop. As such, most of their music is haunting and mesmeric rock, and then all of a sudden they'll toss something out that sounds like a wimpier Depeche Mode. The proggy stuff is great though! Dark, moody, loud, excellent!
Beat Circus - This Boston band mixes old-timey music with modern rock and rural gothic sickness by combining normal rock instrumentation with harmonica, Farfisa, accordion, trumpet, trombone, viola, saw, violin and banjo. Their more straightforward songs can get a bit too Squirrel Nut Zipper cutesy for me, but their darker material is delightfully creepy.
Black Feelings - Loud Canadian psych trio with organ, distorted bass, busy Keith Moon drums, soulless tenor vocals and cacophonous goodness. A bit reminiscent of THEUSAISAMONSTER, if you know them. Loud, druggy and enjoyable!
Black Tide - Corny Miami band that sounds like Skid Row or something with their 'tuff boyz' hair metal. Hilariously anachronistic, especially considering they aren't aging '80s vets -- they all look about 15 years old!
Blessthefall - Heavy Arizona emo/screamo with the usual screaming/sensitive-singing dichotomy. Judging from their haircuts, they might just be Attack Attack! under a different name (good work, stereotypes). Every single song is plodding and whiny, with high-pitched trebly minor chords. Like a dumbed-down Isis. One of the guitarists can play pretty fast note runs, but he chooses to do so for only about 10 seconds per song.
Blu & Exile - Oakland hip hop duo whose beats incorporate jazzy loops, '60s soul, horns and such. If you are thoroughly excited by the idea of somebody SPEAKING IN RHYME, then by Christ how can you live without this. I tried and my duodenum fell out.
Brand New - This major-label alt-rock band from Long Island has a problematic split personality. Their best songs are slow pretty pieces of emotion built upon piano, guitar arpeggios and multiple voices singing in harmony -- a delight and treat for the ears of love! Unfortunately, their other songs are an atrocious mix of generic pop-punk and godawful screaming emo shit garbage. Give the ballads a listen; tie the others in a bag and throw them off a bridge.
Brutal Knights - High-speed Canadian punkers with a raspy vocalist. Fun mid-'80s sound and good energy! It's nothing you haven't heard from a million other punk bands, but at least it's REAL punk rock and not that radio-friendly pop-punk trash. And can you beat song titles like "I Do Nothing" and "Why The Beard?" My assessment: No.
Cage The Elephant - This Kentucky fried chicken band has mastered everything from radio-ready alt-rock and White Stripes sloppy bottleneckery to funky Spin Doctors potsmokery and blooze guitar wankery -- all without writing a single decent riff! Also the singer sounds far too cocky for somebody from Kentucky.
Cale Parks - Brooklyn drummer goes solo to perform boring '80s-style synth-drenched New Romantic pop. I can't believe Generation Z feels so much nostalgia for one of the most stultifying subgenres in musical history. A couple of his songs are kinda pretty, but seriously -- Spandau Ballet's "True" is not something to aspire to.
Cartel - Radio-ready Georgia emo power-pop band for little girls, blissfully unburdened by creative ideas. Green Day is responsible for this tidal wave of ballless shit our radio is drowning in today. May God damn all three of you to Hell, members of Green Day. And don't try to argue "Hey don't blame Green Day for their imitators" or I'll just ask God to damn them to hell for SUCKING SO MUCH ASS.
Cecil Otter - Boring white rapper and member of Minneapolis "Doomtree Hip-Hop Collective" dully raps dull rhymes over dull hip-hop cliches and dull sub-Beastie Boys funk beats. If you told me this was a solo record by Linkin Park's boring white rapper, I'd probably answer, "Yeah, I know."
Clockcleaner - Everybody seems to think I'll love this Philadelphia noise-rock trio, but to me they just sound like an ugly reverb-heavy AmRep retread. Maybe I just haven't found the right record yet? I don't like "Nevermind" at all -- it just sounds like bad '90s Flipper or something. And their (few) MySpace tracks are equally unexceptional - just sleazy post-Halo of Flies/Boss Hog/Lubricated Goat greaser stuff with bad vocals and a hint of Fang/Feederz hatefulness. Oh well.
Cobalt - Swiss electro-pop quartet with viola, female vocals, and a cool dark mood. The viola is a great touch, but otherwise it sorta just sounds like Garbage for the new millennium. But with a lot more watches and chocolate. Ha ha! I've made a Switzerland joke! Also, I compare every female-fronted band to Garbage. That's life, and there's nothing any of us can do about it.
Davila 666 - Puerto Rican band that plays '60sy melodic garage pop with Spanish vocals. Choosing nostalgia over innovation obviously, but doing so in a very warm and pretty manner. If you like the poppier stuff on Nuggets II, this band should put a smile on your "puss," which is apparently an Old People term for "mouth," even though it sounds suspiciously like a common term for "vagina."
Dear Landlord - Illinois la-de-da pop-punkers of the Screeching Weasel/Fat Records school of aggressively played but annoyingly cutesy sing-songiness. Defeater's too sad; Dear Landlord's too happy -- aren't there any ANGRY punk rockers anymore?
Defeater - Sad and boring Massachusetts post-hardcore band led by a nondescript screamer. All their songs are unpleasant minor-key drags shouted at you in a single note.
Dessa - Another boring member of Minneapolis' "Doomtree Hip-Hop Collective," this one a woman whose delivery is as cocky as her material is shitty. Could somebody please tell these people they're white? It is possible to perform hip-hop without blackfacing your voicebox, I'm nearly sure of it. My wife likes it though, and she's much more into the "people talking over somebody else's music" genre than I am. Actually Dessa sings too, so that's not a very good argument. Let me just put it simply: she bores me, as do most hip-hop artists.
Drake - Generic auto-tuned Canadian soul/hip-hopper from "DeGrassi: The Next Generation" who raps and auto-sings about having sex with the ladies. The artist asks, "Is anything I'm doing brand new?" The reviewer responds, "You're joking, right?"
El Ten Eleven - This instrumental L.A. post-rock duo (drums and double-neck guitar/bass) is sort of a cross between Trans Am and Minus The Bear with its shining clean-toned activities and hammer-on playing. Lovely harmonics, enjoyable melodies, diverse guitar/bass tones and neat instrumental overplay all help to augment their sound, but their endless optimism and happy vibes eventually render every song interchangeable, which might grate on your nerves if you're a dark brooder. So feel good or GET FUCKED!
Errors - Instrumental Scottish electronic disco-rock quartet. Sort of Kraftwerky but with a greater lead guitar presence. Or Trans Ammy with less humor. Either way, they're not bad at all - especially if you like to boogie!
Execration - Insane Colorado grindcore band with the usual "Cookie Monster" vocalist and a brutal blunt attack of brutality and attacking bluntery. Half the time you can't hear anything but the drums and vocals though, and that hardly helps the budding melodicists among us. Still, I like what I can hear!
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - This quartet plays high-spirited '80s college rock that sounds an awful lot like early Violent Femmes, with the fast acoustic strumming and wiggly voice. I loathe the Violent Femmes, but if you miss their fast, fey and folksy brand of '80s indie rock, the Harpoons should be right up your assey. Sample quirky titles include "I Wanna Be Ignored" and "God Is A Middle-Aged Woman." Tee-hee! Can you IMAGINE!?
Fool's Gold - L.A. collective that weaves together western pop aesthetics with African rhythms and melodies. Sounds like something David Byrne would like! Melodic pop-rock, but full of world music percussion, diverse instrumentation, and (get THIS) lyrics in Hebrew! It's upbeat and good for the spirit, and honestly I'm not generally into this type of music at all, but Fool's Gold is excellent at it! Perhaps it's because one of their members used to be in The Fall?
Forget Cassettes - Nashville alt-rock band led by a woman who wishes she were early PJ Harvey but she ISN'T and she NEVER WILL BE. Not that it matters because early PJ Harvey was terrible.
fun. - NYC indie pop trio with a high-pitched male singer, clean guitars, silly percussive noises, occasional piano, synths and strings and a truly grating style of light-hearted quirkiness. Fey, gay and very Broadway.
Gary War - Probably influenced by Hawkwind, Mr. War plays an anxious and echoey brand of lo-fi sci-fi psych-rock distinguished by its swirly synths, effects-ridden guitars, strange chord changes and incomprehensible multi-track vocals in the background. One or two songs are great; any more and I feel like I've fallen into an aquarium aboard a space rocket. The coolest thing about him is that he can sign his checks as "G.WAR."
Girls - Reverb-heavy San Francisco band whose singer was raised in the Children Of God cult. Their Myspace songs include (a) a dreamy chamber pop Animal Collective/Beach Boys peace cloud, (b) Elvis Costello pop, (c) fuzzed-out beach music, (d) mellow arpeggio instrumental and (e) friendly power pop. The singer has a gross voice that sounds like he has a bunch of pimples, and the songs are overwhelmingly underwhelming. Never again will I be able to say "I like girls" without feeling the need to qualify "No no, the ones with tits."
Goldie Lookin Chain - Welsh comedic hip-hop has that great Half Man Half Biscuit/TISM sense of humor. Recommended! "Who will be next to be pushing daisies?/I've got my cash on Patrick Swayze/There's one thing in life on which you can rely/One day Bono is going to die." Classy! Fun backup music (or "beats" too). My wife loves them too! "They really sound like a young Beastie Boys," she says. Right now we're enjoying the track, "I woke up today; everybody was a DJ/Every motherfucker in the world was a DJ." A few of their songs suck, but certainly not "Your Mother's Got A Penis"!
Handsome Deville - American band whose goal is to "make music fun again" by playing generic Green Day pop-punk and STP grunge. Ironically, I was having plenty of fun before I turned this shit on.
Hot Seconds - This Brooklyn quintet plays predictable chord-driven radio-ready slicked-up slightly dancey modern rock. The songs all sound specifically designed to sell units -- and probably will, since their songs are less irritating than most of today's horrific ClearChannel bands. But I've heard too much music to hear anything new here, and when the singer tries to sound 'tuff,' I feel like hiring somebody to smack him.
Jay Reatard - Memphis rocker who just died of a cocaine/alcohol combination at age 29. The first time I heard him, I thought I was listening to early Wire outtakes, but I soon realized I don't much care for his songwriting He mostly played happy-sounding punk-inspired rock and sang with a high warbly voice. A lot of people love his work though, and he definitely died way too young.
Jeffree Star - L.A. androgyne plays sleazy but musically cliche'd dance-rock-pop with heavily autotuned vocals. "Sucked off Kanye West, now I'm one of the pros/Ain't no bitch who can do it like me/I got a Ph.D. in faggotry"!? My wife would probably love this dogshit, so do me a favor and don't play it for her.
Jesu - Justin Broadrick's latest experimental rock band is slow, heavy and guitar-driven but also surpisingly melodic. It's like Godflesh gone shoegaze! Call me a sucker for Justin Broadrick, but these are lovely heavy songs, consarnit!
Jesus H. Christ & the Four Hornsmen Of The Apocalypse - NYC octet that combines Americana rock, angry punk rock, fey acoustic folk, a horn section, novelty gags, lost-love sorrow and female vocals in songs like "Connecticut's For Fucking" and "Alcoholics In My Town." A bit too cutesy and collegey for my tastes, but people who graduated in the '80s might like it.
Job For A Cowboy - Formulaic Arizona death metal band. Very heavy guitars, tight riffs, lots of time signature changes, and vocals that range from Sore Throat growly to hoarse 'n' high screaming. I quite enjoy the two "new tracks" they have on MySpace, but all the older material is just standard death metal with almost no memorable passages.
Jon Hopkins - British electronic music composer who flits from Eno-ey drones and piano ballads to moody Radiohead electronica and dancey goodness. He has a few stirring melodies, but much of it strikes me as kinda boring. Then again, I have the attention sp
Katy Perry - California pop singer who uses the same breathless voice-cracking gimmick in every goddamned song she sings. I love "Hot & Cold" more than any man with hair on his chest should, but "I Kissed A Girl" sucks a bi-curious dick compared to the adorable 1995 Jill Sobule hit of the same title. Still, as far as music for eight-year-old girls goes, I've definitely heard worse. Specifically, Britney Spears.
Laura Barrett - Canadian woman who sings while playing the thumb piano. She coaxes some pretty creepy melodies out of that thing when she tries, but the more prosaic songs just sound like an old woman singing lullabies to her grandchildren in the 1920s. She apparently also plays piano, kazoo, bass pedals and banjo. Although I tire of the thumb piano sound, Laura definitely seems like an odd and interesting songwriter.
Madvillain - MF Doom and Madlib together, creating woozy dope-smoking hip-hop with dull TV sample/sound collages where the stupid skits usually go. The beats and voices aren't blatantly commercial, but they also aren't particularly interesting. Then again, I never claimed to be "Steve Breakdance Music."
Major Lazer - Ths British collaborative musical project from DJ/producers Diplo and Switch performs a mixture of bad dub reggae, tedious hip-hop, bland electro and terrible autotuned soul. One song samples Black Flag's "Six Pack," and they do a funny bit where a baby is born with ingrained autotune, but otherwise it's just patois-drenched doldrums so sluggish you can't even dance to them. A dope-smoking bore, Ron. Don't make me yawn!
Math The Band - Brain-piercingly happy Massachusetts electronic duo with an excitable boy singer-guitarist and Moog/Korg/Arp/Yamaha-playing girl. I could deal with the glee if the melodies weren't simplistic little kids' music, but they are. These two definitely need a bit less sugar in their diet.
Mayday Parade - Vomit-inducing Tallahassee radio emo pop la-de-da shit crybaby music for girls and pussies. I'll stick with my ass-kicking, ball-busting Everclear, thanks.
Megafaun - Durham, NC country-folk band with a banjo and lots of Southern accented men singing in harmony. It's amazing how people with such nauseating individual voices can sound so incredible when vocalizing together. Their songs alternate between sleepy ballads, dark banjo folk and gross early '70s country-rock. The dark songs are very evocative and you can't beat those multiple harmonies, but I'm just not a fan of country-rock. I keep expecting them to bust out into the chorus of "Elvira."
Memory Tapes - A New Jersey guy who plays a lo-fi take on 80s New Romantic electronic pop. There are no words for how much I hate this music. Having said that, it's still 500 times better than Mayday Parade.
Mimas - Danish band that combines moody post-rock with bland indie rock, then tops it with annoyingly energetic, high-pitched and yelly college-student-next-door vocals. Get it together Mr. Assvoice, or you'll never be a Great Dane.
Miranda Lambert - Terrible country-pop woman with thick rednecky hick accent. What is UP with this big country music resurgence in the U.S.? This music is SO GENERIC! Hey Miranda - learn to speak English or GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY!
Misery Signals - I could've sworn this Wisconsin band started out as metalcore, but they seem to be making a disconcerting move towards screamo with its usual boring minor-key chords and alternating screaming/emo singing vocalists. They're still plenty heavy and continue to throw in tight time-signature changes every now and then, but I certainly won't be buying any of their newer records. Granted, that's mainly because I've been unemployed for over a year.
Mondo Drag - Iowa Quartet plays '70s blues-influenced hard rock, with funky riffs and organs. I hope they're having fun, because they're certainly not contributing anything new to the musical universe.
Monsters Of Folk - "Supergroup" featuring M. Ward, two Bright Eyes guys and the My Morning Jacket singer rips off Lou Barlow's "Folk Explosion" band name and records enjoyable (if traditional) country-folk, bland indie rock, and even a bit of sub-Radiohead electronic music. Nowhere near as annoying as Bright Eyes, but their best songs are just variations on age-old country and folk themes (and their worst are DULL AS DIRTINESS).
Mungolian Jet Set - This Norwegian electronic music duo creates long dancey club tracks with layered male and female vocals and clickity-plickity-filled electro-beats that slowly fill up with dozens of different noises, instruments and melodies. At times quite very much enjoyable and dance-tastic! At other times slow, ambient and boring. But when they keep the tempo up and the weird noises coming in, it's like Meat Beat Manifesto got GOOD again!
Nekrogoblikon - This silly California metal band focuses their songwriting chiefly on goblins (sample titles: "Goblins Ahoy," "In The Hall of the Goblin King," ""Goblins Are Better Than Trolls"). The singer uses high-pitched whispery black metal vocals, the riffs combine NWOBHM bombast, thrash chugging and what sound like old sea shanty and polka melodies, and the production is enhanced with accordions, pianos, keyboards, strings, dance breaks and other silly things. They're great at their instruments and always put lots of fun trickles and trinkets into the mix, but personally it too often makes me feel like I'm back listening to Lawnmower Deth, which is not something I wish to EVER be reminded of.
Neon Indian - This Texas man/band uses the goofiest synthesizer tones available to play corny '70s ballads and lifeless disco. It sounds like Thomas Dolby doing a Todd Rundgren tribute, and makes a great gift for fans of exceedingly bad music. "Should Have Taken Acid With You" is very pretty though, so check that one out. It could be a Jesus and Mary Chain song!
Noisettes - London alt-rock band with a female singer of Zimbabwe descent. Neither "noise"y nor "ttes," they instead play bland dance music, middle-of-the-road alt-rock and '60s soul nostalgia with extremely professional vocals. She also pronounces "mischievous" as a four-syllable word, which drives me up the fucking wall. LOOK AT THE WORD, ASSHOLE -- THERE'S NO 'E' AFTER THE 'V'.
Obscura - This German progressive death metal band plays very quickly, screams/growls hoarsely, and interjects lots of great sicko riffs, unexpected chord changes and time signature shiftaroos throughout. Highly recommended to metal people with their metal ideas! They're on Relapse, like most good metal bands of today.
Polar Bear Club - Upstate New York band that plays a promising but extremely frustrating cross between mid-'80s emo and late-'00s emo. Every time they whip up a tuneful emotional brew with gravelly sing-shouting that has you exclaiming, "Hey! It's Embrace Jr.! It's Rites Of Spring UK!," they then let the singer with the sissyboy voice take over and it all devolves into Fall Out Boy garbage. More like "Polar UNBEARABLE Club" if you ask me! Heh heh. Well, except for the good parts.
Real Estate - Brooklyn-via-New Jersey surf-pop band. Two of their MySpace songs are beautiful, but the other two are boring. Perhaps the band is both good AND bad!!!!
Set Your Goals - NOFX-y Bay Area pop-punk band completely destroyed by two whiny emo vocalists.
Shooting At Unarmed Men - Former McLusky guy formed band, then moved to Australia and formed new version of band (now defunct). He screams in his warbly voice, the band plays loud trebly instruments and nothing is taken too seriously. They play hooky and clever treble-rock of both light and dark varieties -- and it beats the HELL out of Future Of The Left.
Sondre Lerche - Norwegian Brooklyn songwriter who writes awful, cloying pop-rock songs. Nauseatingly breezy garbage with guitars, piano and strings. He has a nice Julian Casablancas/Ray Davies voice, but his songs induce diarrhea.
Stardeath And White Dwarfs - Oklahoma band whose lead singer is the nephew of Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne. The CD artwork looks just like the Flaming Lips, the mix sounds just like the Flaming Lips, and the music sucks just like the Flaming Lips (would if they sucked). Seriously, they're just a substandard Flaming Lips tribute band. They can forget about ripping off Zaireeka though; I can't imagine anyone wanting to play ONE of their CDs at the same time.
Subtle - Oakland hip-hop/shit-rock sextet that plays synths, guitars and occasionally winds and strings too. They describe themselves as "Tool meets P.M. Dawn, but with an excited Ice-T doing vocals," but to me they sound more like Linkin Park, Radiohead, Steve Miller's synth player and the Fu-Schnickens fighting over a recording studio. My wife's assessment: "Now THIS sucks." I actually like the slower and more evocative melodies, but ALL the vocals are annoying because the main guy has a disgusting high-pitched voice. And how on Earth did they come up with the name "Subtle"? This is some of the most annoyingly IN-YOUR-FACE music I've ever heard!
Tera Melos - This California trio combines intricate Minus The Beary guitar lines and math-rock rhythm changes with basic indie rock, long dull jams and occasional electronics. They're tight as hell, but the songs are pretty draggy.
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - San Francisco alt-rock trio with a thick-tongued high-pitched female vocalist who "often cites Lilith Fair as an inspiration for her desire to become a singer/songwriter." The singer sounds like Perry Farrell and Shannon Hoon mixed together and converted into a fat lesbian, and the music is pleasant but not terribly innovative folk-tinged 'eh.' Too friendly to hate, but not interesting enough to like.
The Antlers - Originally a one-man project, this Brooklyn trio plays slow, sophisticated 'chamber pop' with piano, organ, strummy guitars, pretty falsettos, well-written vocal melodies and melancholy galore. Apparently their latest disc ("Hospice") is a concept album about a nurse falling in love with an abusive bone cancer patient. So get ready to party down! The earlier material I've heard isn't super-exciting, but this Hospice stuff sounds great.
The Black Dahlia Murder - Annoying Michigan death/black metal band with an overactive drummer and a vocalist who raspily whisper-wails as high as he can and then swoops down to a low growl. Most of the riffs are generic minor-key also-rans, and the drummer is incapable of letting 1/16th of a second pass without interjecting a thumping noise. Every once in a while they come up with a decent ass-kicking riff, but it's impossible to enjoy under the Norwegian Sammy Hagar vocals and impenetrable wall of THUBBA-THUBBA-THUBBA-THUBBA-THUBBA.
The Cave Singers - Seattle indie folk rock trio plays predominantly acoustic arpeggio tunes with an annoying vocalist who pronounces every word as if he were a rock star ("talking" as "tah-ow-kin'," etc.). The guitarist is good with his fingers, but the music seems geared towards laidback college students who hang out at the coffee shop -- if they're girls, they don't shave their legs.
The Death Set - This Brooklyn-via-Australia band plays bouncy, childlike lo-fi new wave pop-punk with guitars, silly keyboards and electronic beats. It's an adorable sound, but one of the main guys was tragically found dead about five tragic months ago.
The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster - British "psychosis rock" (!?) band combines Elvis-style rockabilly vocals with brooding attitude, hard rock riffs, goth keyboards and punk energy. Hey, this is DEATH ROCK! Sort of like The Gun Club, The Cramps, The Cult, Foetus and The Damned all thrown in a blender and converted into a delightful smoothie. The guy's voice is too high in the mix, but I like the gritty sound and angry swampy riffs a lot. Song titles include "Whack Of Shit" and "Celebrate Your Mother."
The Intelligence - This lo-fi band has an over-reverbed '60s garage rock aesthetic and some great material to go with it. The sonics are nostalgic, but the songwriting sure isn't. These songs are clever! Electric guitars, cheap electronics, male vocals and cheap cheap goodness. I'll compare them to The Fall, but only in the sense that their songs are simple and noisy yet creative and hooky. I was all prepared to hate them for their arrogant band name, but what do you know? It FITS!
The Ocean - This German band plays "Epic, Orchestral" metal, which is to say they mix violins and shitty alt-rock in with their slow, endless metal songs. Some of their chord changes are beautiful in their sorrow and hopelessness, but most of the songs just drag on and on and on with all the energy of a sleeping old man. But what do I know? I don't even like Porcupine Tree.
The Secret Handshake - Texas-based Canadian who plays terrible autotuned happy girl pop on his piano, drum machine and autotuner. If any straight male over the age of 12 enjoys this music, he should probably check his testicles to make sure they've fallen.
The Swell Season - Folk-rock duo featuring an Irish man and Czech woman playing acoustic guitar and piano. If you miss that lazy singer-songwriter acoustic feel of the early '70s, gross. You'd might as well just listen to Gordon Lightfoot if you're excited by music this bland.
The Swellers - Overly earnest Michigan emo punk rockers. There are currently 500,000 other bands that sound just like this. Go see the Warped Tour and prove me right.
The XX - This British band plays sexy electro-pop and post-punk with male and female vocals. Sort of like an Interpol or Editors geared towards soulful fucking people. The male singer sounds like one of those worthless drug-addled morons that look good so women sleep with them. PRICKS! Sorry if I seem overly angry this week; I'm still suffering with this headache that Mayday Parade gave me earlier.
Them Crooked Vultures - Josh Homme, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl collaborate on hard rock that is uglier than Queens of the Stone Age, stupider than Led Zeppelin and less melodic than Foo Fighters. There are a couple of good riffs, I guess. I like "Bandoliers." But honestly, most of the songs just suck.
These United States - Large collective based in DC and Kentucky plays bouncy indie pop-rock with keyboards, country-lickin' rock guitars and a lazy slacker singer who ruins even the best songs with his tuneless half-asleep approach. Hey you're not J Mascis ASSHOLE put some effort into it! Some of the (overly happy) music isn't bad, but Christ this singer is a piss-off.
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? - Quirky but defunct Canadian septet played darkly fun, oddball tunes highlighted by horn sections, group vocals, organ and rollicking drums. I usually hate horns, but these guys used them in a smart and melodic way. They broke up though, so never mind.
Thou - Very heavy doom metal with whisper-shriek black metal vocals and occasional forays into Neurosis-style "unfathomably beautiful hopelessness." The guitar tone is of course godlike and when they add emotional guitar lines, it sounds incredible. On the down side, the one-note vocals add nothing and the main chord sequences -- though certainly not BAD -- aren't much different from what other doom bands have been doing for ages.
Title Fight - Pennsylvania band plays fast melodic hardcore and pop-punk songs predominantly based on melancholy chords and vocals. It's not awful, but who listens to hardcore to feel sad!? Goths with ADHD?
TV Ghost - This Indiana quartet plays '60s-tinged piss-off noise rock with trebly skrankly guitars, heavy distorted bass, treated vocals, '60s organ and reverb all over everything. Sort of The Monks meets Crime meets AmRep? Thank God there are still bands like this out there. Not metal or indie or punk or emo -- just aggressive, slightly twisted ROCK!!!
U.S.E. (United State of Electronica) - Seattle "dance-rock" band that specializes in puke-drinking auto-tuned shit pop and retread disco. But then you can't spell "USED CONDOM" without "U.S.E."
White Denim - This Austin trio is all over the place. Sloppy trash rock, driving psych, British music hall, reggae-rock, Sun City Girls-style wailing, Minutemen bass action, Meat Puppets desert guitar noodling, melodic indie rock, acoustic strumming, Irish jigging, skrangy wah-wah guitars, pretty vibes and organs, saxophone, clanking industrial percussion, banjo, Hell's Angels vocals -- all produced rough, raw and real. I'm not too fond of the lead vocals (kind of ugly), but it's always nice to hear a creative rock band that isn't afraid to try anything. Hear them!
Wild Beasts - Sissy English disco-pop-rock band with wiggly lead vocals that keep leaping into horrifying screamy falsetto. I love gay people, but this music is a fucken fagit.
Winds Of Plague - California black metal/deathcore band with a mohawked tattooed growler, bland guitar lines and sad goth keyboards that drown everything out anyway. Because nothing kicks ass like a keyboard. "Winds Of Plague"!? More like "Winds of FAGue," if you ask me!!! Heh heh, that was a good one. I really stuck it to 'fags' with that one.
Yakuza - This Chicago quartet mixes tight pummelling screaming metal with overdramatic Tool-esque atmospheric alt-metal crap, then further muddies the waterslide with corny light jazz saxophone and clarinet. I approve of the screaming metal portions, for sure -- the drummer pounds faster and meaner than a tree! But the cheeseball 'dynamic' passages can make like Paul Reubens and beat it. (ZING!) (if this were 1991)
You Me At Six - This British quintet plays obvious radio-ready modern rock full of '90s production gimmicks, and would fit perfectly between The Killers and One Republic in your garbage can.
ONE: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for saying Kings Of Leon has a terrible singer. He is so awful. Absolutely awful. You are the only other person I've ever come across that thinks that particular style of vocalization (i.e. "white guy imitating a stereotypical homeless black man from the 1920's") just totally sucks. I had a friend burn me a couple of their albums and even if I would happen to enjoy a few of the songs from a musical standpoint, the singer just tanks the whole thing. Terrible.
TWO: The Killers. I can totally see why you find them extremely boring. I do like them, but I find myself using them as a pallet cleanser. For instance, I listen to a bunch of "weird" stuff for a straight month and on my next trip to and from work (where I listen to most of my music) I need something mellow. What do I do? I pop in one of my Killers albums (yes, I own all their studio albums). What can I say? I like the Killers. I have no idea why. There is no reason in the world I should enjoy their music but I do. I enjoy it very much. Again, every functioning part of my brain says I shouldn't, yet I do. I love "Hot Fuss" I love "Sams Town" I love "Day and Age." They relax me. I can't explain it beyond that, but they do.
THIRD (and last): THANK YOU (AGAIN) for convincing me to listen to the Melvins. They are my absolute favorite "heavy" band. Nobody does it like they do (for years and years and years) and no matter what I listen to in the future, they will always be on my "top 5 bands of all time" list. And I have you, Mr. Mark "man responsible for markprindle.com, that one website that gave Madonna a very well deserved zero out of ten" Prindle to thank for it. Again, thank you. So very much. Your site has done more for me musically than anything else. You are "da Man" as all those stupid people would have probably said a decade ago.
Fucked Up - Kicks ass.
Marnie Stern - I've only heard her second album. I've got mixed feelings. She is probably the second most talented current guitarist after Agata of Melt Banana. Watch a video of her on YouTube - her playing style is just crazy. But her songs definitely have a Lightning Bolt sound to them. The problem is that it is a very tiring listen and I can't make it through the whole album in one sitting even though the individual songs are enjoyable. Right now, I'll take Melt Banana, Deerhoof or Buttersprites for Japanese/American crossover. However, it took Melt Banana and Deerhoof each a decade to learn how to write good songs so Marnie might just need time as I have the exact complaint about the early days of the other two bands.
M.I.A. - Her first album was one of the most original and interesting pieces of music in the past 5 years. Note: I'm not saying good (well, it's not bad either).
Otep - How many times have I heard this exact music by different artists? 100? 1000? 10,000?
Santogold - It is a well done album, but one that doesn't connect for me. "Creator" is a complete and total ripoff of M.I.A. I prefer her earlier band Stiffed even though it has a Missing Persons 20 years later vibe.
Vivian Girls - God, they sound like they took LuMP's recording equipment and then put a mattress between them and the Mic. No Thanks!
Carbon / Silicon - I don't think kids these days know who Mick Jones is and probably would give a fuck about him or his boring band.
Fuck buttons - Kinda like the music I improvise with some friends. Noisy yet atmospherical. The kinda music you'd like to make but not to listen to.
Gorillaz - Nahh... next...
Hot chip - I agree... fuck the 80's nostalgia
Killers - "Hot fuss" has some decent tunes, but that's it. The other albums do not deserve any attention.
Marnie Stern - She's awesome! Great Melt banana-like kinda of music. And she's HOT!
No age - They kick ass! Their first album is great, I don't care much for the second one. I think they're innovative in a way, people tend to praise "animal colective" for innovation as well and they're pretty boring. No age just write good songs, that's it.
Santogold - I really like her approach. Her album is pretty consistent and some of the hookier melodies I've heard in a long time.
The hold steady - They have some great great songs. "Almost killed me" is a very good album, I think it's the first one. The singer reminds me of Costello. That's not a very good reference, is it?
Vivian girls - Are you serious? They're just reverbering everything to cover up their terrible music and poor technique. We don't need bands like these, seriously.
I suggest, a Chilean instrumental band "Familea Miranda" they have some cool "indie-prog" tunes, "Built to spill" has an album called "you in reverse" it reminds to Pink Floyd at moments but it's just indie rock with really cool riffs and sissy melodies. And I'm trying to like "Foals" but the Robert Smith-sing-a-like and the constant dance beat makes me want throw the record outta my window at times. Have a great 2009.
Fuck you, that was fucking ME!!! Anyway, I don't find his debut to be all that fantastic, but the album he did with 7 Hertz is great! You should listen to that before I kick your fucking ass all around the room! OK, so his voice isn't great, but neither is Dylan's, and it's nice if you get used to it. The guy really reminds me of Nick Drake, but I know you don't find much interest in anything of his outside Pink Moon...
Foxboro Hot Tubs - "Mother Mary" totally steals the hook from "Are You Gonna Be My Girl". Guys next time - try to not steal a song they use in iPod commercials everybody has heard, okay? I discovered that this isn't the first time they pulled this. They had a *REALLY* awful New Wave Band called "The Network" a few years ago. FHT is on par with Green Day's non-hit album tracks (that should answer anybody's question on whether they will like it). I may be a Green Day fan, but STE's overly sugary review of this album makes me puke.
The Raconteurs - Aren't them, the Foo Fighters and Audioslave the same band? All of them I enjoy on the radio, but can not sit down and actually listen to a whole album.
Los Campesinos! - Please. I'm admittedly biased against bouncy keyboard-filled indie pop (TMBG being a very notable exception), but this is just terrible.
The Mae Shi - Get a fucking singer guys, Jesus. You would probably be a pretty cool little band if you did. For now, you're pretty much unlistenable. Also, I'm not sure which tracks are on their Myspace, but the album they got all this attention for, HLLLYH, is pretty unified in style. Spazzy, 8-bit electronics with occasional no wave guitars thrown in for good measure.
The Walkmen - Good band! Their new album in particular is really strong. These guys have really shown a lot of growth over the course of their career. After something as mature and restrained as You and Me, it's pretty incredible to go back and listen to a garage-punk dealio like "The Rat."
try THE SPITS - 19 Million AC or REGULATIONS - Electric Guitar, just as ripped off and half hearted as every other new myspace band but I can actually listen to it over and over again without detecting any gayness. Alternative Tentacles still releases good shit, to my surprise, Fish Karma, Triclops, Disaster Strikes, New Knights of The Templar (or whatever they're called) surprisingly good.
Oh wait nevermind, he likes them. Still, he's batty.
Mark, BUDDY. You're paying about a billion times too much attention to his rapping technique. Believe me, he KNOWS he's just boredly talking over a beat. That's the POINT (see "Sharp Darts"). The MUCH MORE RELEVANT point is the beats--speedy and catchy for once in a goddamn century (contrasted with everything the Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Tupac, and Jay-Z ever recorded). So he's nerdy--does EVERYTHING with heavy DJ beats have to be violent (or violently funny)? Ryan Atkinson, don't answer that.
Plus, you have to admit, he's hilarious from time to time. "The Irony of it All"--politically priceless. Of course, I identify with Terry, but let's not get technical here.
Actually, his second and third albums kinda suck. But that first one--HOTCHA!
Sorry about the Streets-fanboyish-ness. It's just kinda unexpected for people to use RAP to address college-age white kid issues, instead of the usual indie rock and lounge jazz parodies. Of course, there are no "gats" "blunts" or "bitches", but boo frigging hoo.
So what are your super bowl picks? I have Pittsburgh winning the AFC and the Cardinals winning the NFC and the whole damn thing in the Super Bowl.
1). Fleet Foxes: you got these guys about right. But, I'm surprised that you don't like them--they are the closest thing to the Moody Blues you'll get anymore. Now, THIS is sissy... but you need to get in touch w/yer inner sissy sometime, no?
2). Killers: boring yes, and stupid as well. Very popular in Britain, for some odd reason.
3). Hold Steady: to me, sounds like a very weird anagram of Springsteen, Thin Lizzy, and 80's Minneapolis bands like The Replacements and Husker Du. I'm really starting to like 'em!
Agree regarding the Killers - they're probably the most British-sounding hip indie band I've ever heard. Enough said.
Also agree regarding the Kings Of Leon - they used to be at least SOMEWHAT interesting (back in 2003). Then I forgot about them until I heard them again in 2008: this time they were all over the radio singing ultra-generic "rock ballads" and before I knew it folks were coming up to me going, "Hey, do you like the Kings Of Leon? Aren't they great?!". Lame.
The only recent album I own is the Fleet Foxes' debut, and I like it - it's really nice! I was never expecting it to change the face of music or anything, so it's as good as I could have realistically hoped for. Other than that, humbug.
As a dedicated reader of the reviews on your site, I'm glad to see that you are attempting to keep up with today's hip new bands in your own interesting way. As a 19-year old college sophomore with a college radio show who is essentially growing up with a lot of the bands you list here, I feel like I might as well offer my opinions on whatever bands you've got here that I'm familiar with. So, here it goes...
Beach House - Bores me. One or two songs may be nice every once in a while, but an entire album is a great sleep-inducer.
Crystal Castles - No idea what the hell is going on here.
Frightened Rabbit - Very good group, and when seeing them live, they came off as just a group of really nice fellows.
Iron and Wine - I don't know how hard it really is to hate Sam Beam, but personally I love him.
Los Campesinos! - One of my favorite modern bands. Extremely catchy hooks, affecting lyrics, energy to spare. Gareth Campesinos! may be one of the most modest and timid frontmen in history.
Titus Andronicus - Saw them open up for LC! and they put on a hell of a show. The album is a little bit of a letdown, but still suitably anthemic.
All-American Rejects - Why even bother? I'm ashamed my radio station was even in any position to get their latest single in the mail... and I'll be damned if anyone actually plays it.
Band of Horses - You're pretty right on with that analysis. Only problem is that their singer sounds almost exactly like Jim James from My Morning Jacket, and to an extent I guess, Robin Pecknold from Fleet Foxes. Still a great indie group though.
Be Your Own Pet - I like 'em. And I'm seen some terrible opening bands.
Black Kids - Heard the EP. Didn't impress me.
Blitzen Trapper - Good stuff although it often escapes me. Fun live act.
Broken Social Scene - Haven't overwhelmed me in the way they have many of my indie-minded peers, but select songs ("7/4," "It's All Gonna Break") are incredible.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - On most days I like the singer. Except when he sounds too much like David Byrne
Coheed and Cambria - Terrible. Just terrible.
Cut Copy - Don't get the hype.
Deerhunter - Gave "Cryptograms" a listen a while ago and it did nothing for me. Maybe I should hear the new one but I'm in no real rush to do so.
Feist - Eh. I dunno. Pretty good. Whatever.
Fleet Foxes - Here we go. Fantastic group with some beautiful music and seeing them live (right before the album dropped too, so the crowd wasn't huge) was a thoroughly moving experience.
Foxboro Hot Tubs - Lame Green Day garbage.
Fucked Up - Good group, although not the sort of thing I'd go back and listen to a lot.
Gorillaz - Only know a few songs, but I like what I hear.
Kaiser Chiefs - Blehhhh
Killers - Suck.
Korpiklaani - A friend of mine likes them and for what it's worth, it's pretty entertaining. Particularly the song "Keep on Galloping" where they mispronounce the word as "Gah-lope-ing." Couldn't imagine listening to a full album of it though.
M83 - Only know a few songs but I really love what I hear. "Don't Save Us From the Flames" is a great track, especially gorgeous for late night driving, although not so much when food poisoning is settling in your stomach on that night.
My Chemical Romance - Admittedly a few tracks off of "The Black Parade" hooked me for a bit and then I realized that even those songs sucked.
No Age - Didn't impress me for a while until I revisited "Nouns," when it then proceeded to blow me away. Loudest band I've ever seen live too. Guitarist drowned out the drums.
Okkervil River - It does get overwrought on a regular basis but I find it kinda charming.
The Gaslight Anthem - It's not bad by any means, just a bit derivative. Still, it could get a billion times worse than deriving from Bruce Springsteen. Good luck to this band in their inevitable future attempts to cast off that shadow!
The Hold Steady - Another favorite of mine. Very sincere, likable frontman backed by a really meaty, talented group.
The National - Great group, although with each Tindersticks song I hear, I can't help but notice the uncanny resemblances...
The Raconteurs - Now, I love Jack White, although this band does get pretty boring too often for them to really merit repeated listens.
The Shins - Indie-rock poster children. Not my favorites, although I do like the first two albums. Their most recent one though was very underwhelming.
Times New Viking - Maybe if they turned down the levels of distortion and irony I could form an opinion on what their songs sound like. I dig noise but it's tough to get past one or two songs.
TV on the Radio - Very interesting things going on with their music, and while I don't know if the "Best album of the year" claims are totally justified, they've written some great songs.
Vampire Weekend - Wonderful first album. Let's hope the hype machine hasn't erased their ability to write songs.
Vivian Girls - Good sound.
Wolf Parade - Glad to see you liked them to a degree. The "Apologies to the Queen Mary" album is pretty fantastic.
Okay that's all. Perhaps a bit too much but do what you want with it.
also, the muslims' "parasite" 7" (with a cover of "walking with jesus" on the b-side) is very fun.
These hip bands reviews are a great idea. Here are some comments:
- Vivian Girls are really great. I agree they do not have much of a talent, but their music is simply irresistible. Simple pleasure. And I love the reverb.
- Jex Thoth is really good. They have a killer guitar sound. And I don't really expect great songwriting from a doom band.
- Try Jay Reatard. I wonder what would you say about him.
- Yeah, Dan Melchior is also good. Check Billy Childish. He has about five hundred albums, though.
- For good recent punk check Sex/Vid (they are not on myspace), Clockleaner, Pissed Jeans, Mayyors, Invasion (from Spain!), Darvocets, Homostupids, Acid Reflux. And Hunchback, they did a song with the vocalist of Killdozer recently.
- Check Eddy Current Suppression Ring. They play the simplest songs, but they work somehow! And, also from Australia, Witch Hats.
- And try Harvey Milk! Their first two albums are great for sadder times. The newest one is not that good, unfortunately.
ANYway, I'm writing cuz you're mini-review of Raphael Something made me think of the lead singer of Tony Tone Toni, Raphael Something. Maybe they're one and the same.
I wish you the best regarding employment, and getting your past earnings paid to you.
Lastly, if half of these bands were as good as your reviews of them, the future looks bright.
Go Obama! Go Steelers! Go Mets!
I really like Kings of Leon and I don't hate their singer at all. I think it gives the music character, even if it's strange character. It makes the genre hard to place, and I like that.
Coheed is another band with a strange singer. I like the bombasticity (bombastity? hehehehe titty...) of their music, at least the first two albums. The other two really lost me, they're not tuneful and they seem to just plod.
Editors is not exceptionally great, but the mood they create is. "Blood" and "Fingers in the Factories" from "The Back Room" really have an urgency to them that I think is hard to deny.
Now review Army of Anyone's only (kickass) album!!
1. suishou no fune - prayer for chibi
2. thank you - terrible two
3. extra life - secular works
4. james blackshaw - litany of echoes
5. krallice - krallice
6. fire on fire - the orchard
7. robbie basho - bonn ist supreme
8. stereolab - chemical chords
9. kasai allstars - in the 7th moon, the chief turned into a swimming fish and ate the head of his enemy by magic
10. secret chiefs 3 - xaphan
11. autistic daughters - uneasy flowers
12. fennesz - black sea
13. collections of colonies of bees - birds
14. dengue fever - venus on earth
15. david grubbs - an optimist notes the dusk
16. sic alps - u.s. ez
17. christina carter - original darkness
18. marc ribot - exercises in futility
19. ponytail - ice cream spiritual
20. zazen boys - 4
21. farmers market - surfin ussr
22. kayo dot - blue lambency downward
23. daemian frost - spirito di daemo
24. phillip jeck - sand
25. heroine sheiks - journey to the end of the knife
26. autechre - quarstice
27. jim o'rourke - long night
28. zdis?aw piernik and piotr zabrodzki - namanga
29. sunn o))) - domkirke
30. zs - the hard
31. lsd march - nikutai no tubomi
32. ocrillim - annwn
33. oren ambarchi - a final kiss on poisoned cheeks
34. jack rose - i do play rock and roll
35. melvins - nude with boots
36. kallsup - above the mountains
37. the fall - imperial wax solvent
38. jandek - myth of blue icicles
39. experimental dental school - jane doe loves me
40. ryoji ikeda - test pattern
41. the hospitals - hairdryer peace
42. hum of the druid - frozen tropics
43. joe grimm - brain cloud
44. lsd pond - lsd pond
45. women - women
46. zach hill - astrological straits
47. squarepusher - just a souvenir
48. brown wing overdrive - esp organism
49. boris - smile
50. harvey milk - life
51. john zorn - dreamers
52. grouper - dragging a dead deer up a hill
53. the residents - bunny boy
54. vivian girls - self-titled
55. john adams - a flowering tree
56. cheveu - s/t
57. the goslings - occassion
58. kazuki tomokawa - blue water, red water
59. birchville cat motel - gunpowder temple of heaven
60. guapo - elixirs
61. jimmy cake - spectre and crown
62. sun city girls - brothers unconnected tour disc
63. rhys chatham - guitar trio is my life
64. deerhoof - offend maggie
65. big blood - +the grove
66. lsd and the search for god - ep
67. phantom orchard - orra
68. motorpsycho - little lucid moments
69. burning star core - challenger
70. eat skull - sick to death
71. shit and shine - cherry
72. bill dixon - 17 musicians in search of a sound
73. metallica - death magnetic
74. ymck - family genesis
75. legendary pink dots - plutonium blonde
76. maps and atlases - you and me and the mountain
77. elf power - in a cave
78. excepter - debt dept
79. earth - bees made honey in the mouths of lions
80. the mae shi - hlllly h
81. crow tongue - ghost eye seeker
82. sparta locals - leecher
83. grails - take refuge in clean living
84. religious knives - the door
85. brethren of the free spirit - all things are from Him, through Him and in Him
86. snowman - the bird the bee the horse
87. sir richard bishop - knucklehead freefall
88. islands - arms way
89. red krayola - fingerpointing
90. growing - all the way
91. don caballero - punkgasm
92. venetian snares - detrimentalogist
93. opeth - watershed
94. we versus the shark - dirty versions
95. our brother the native - make amends, for we are merely vessels
96. parenthetical girls - entanglement
97. joji yuasa - music for experimental films
98. flood - here we are in texts already written in the sky
99. alva noto - unitxt
100. lau nau - nukkuu
Take care!! After you get done listening to all those artists, check out CERBERUS SHOAL!!
In response to your mini review of Off Minor:
Indeed, they are a fantastic band, albiet painfully humorless and dark in their subject matter. The band features at least one member of Saetia, who are considered by many to be the definitive pre-commericialized screamo band. If you haven't heard them, your description of Off Minor suites them well (screamy, punk anger and mathy insturmentation), although I'd say that Off Minor is generally more agressive, less melodic, and generally speaking, a bit more sparse. When I saw them a few years back, the singer threw me for a loop as, to my shock at expecting some scrawny hipster-ish looking young person, he instead came on stage dressed as a SKINHEAD, with a shaved head, Ben Sherman shirt, boots and all. He even made a Sham 69 reference on stage! They kind of sucked intitially, playing rather sloppily (which kind of defeats the purpose of math-rock informed music), but kicked in really strong after warming up through a few songs. On the whole, I didn't leave dissapointed.
Say, speaking of pre-commericialized screamo, have you heard much of it? Besides the previously mentioned Saetia, you may want to check out Heroin, Angel Hair, Maximillian, Sleepy Time Trio, Anasarca, Yaphet Kotto, and such. Lots of it is very stark and serious (and thus not the kind of thing you'd necesserilly want to listen to around the clock), but there's some pretty interesting stuff going on there nonetheless. Bands such as Off Minor and Hot Cross have continued foward developing (or at least continuing largely) the art form, although the bulk of their music takes place post Emo becoming the most recent fad in popular music.
Hope things are going better now then when you wrote those Mission Of Berma reviews, and regards.
I am all for hating on Be Your Own Pet. I listened to one of their albums (apparently there are more for some god awful reason) on the recommendation of a friend and immediately wanted to kill myself, but first kill my friend. My first thought was "Oh these kid must be like 10 and they think they're so tough, how cute! This is a gimmmick band, right?" Then reading the liner notes that came with the cd, I realized to my horror that they were all in their 20's and still writing songs about food fights and zombies. Singer also seems to be trying WAAAAAAAAY too hard.
Fucked Up is absolutely amazing and the Chemistry of Common Life was one of my favorites this year. FUN FACT: The Vivian Girls sing back ups on a few songs on that album. Also check out Pissed Jeans if you like Fucked Up. They've got an extremely creepy song about scrapbooking (seriously). Maybe Clockcleaner too, even though I don't think they're that great.
I loved Santogold's album. She's got a great voice. BUT "My Superman" is a complete rip-off of the song "Red Light" by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Listen to them back to back, they are the same song! I think SATB might actually be taking legal action against this.
Also, Times New Viking suck. What the fuck is this? I'm all for distortion and noise in music, but this is just absolutely ridiculous. They are often compared to another band Eat Skull, but I think Eat Skull is much, much better and their album "Sick to Death" was another one of my favorites this year. I'd be curious to know what you think of it. check out their myspace, I think they've got a pretty good sound. Less distortion than Times New Viking and way more talented.
It all went into a newish band called Fucked Up, that's where. I'm talking every last watt of rock'n'roll power.
GG Allin vocals, My Bloody Valentine guitars, Fugazi songwriting and overall epic-ness. And they're Canadian! The only proper ass-kickery from that country since NoMeansNo. They even play in f%#$&&ing toilets:
"The Chemistry of Common Life" is this decade's In On The Kill Taker and by far last year's best album.
Oh, and by not including Deerhoof on your 'Hip New Bands' list (my favorite band of this decade), I'm only assuming Deerhoof is way above being some crappy "hip-new-dug-by-kids"-thing, and only being listened to by fine music affectionados - such as you and I...eh?
"The Polyphonic Spree - This 22-person Texas band has eight fewer members than I'm From Barcelona. They're pretty happy too though. Some might say TOO happy. Plus, the main guy used to be in Tripping Daisy, and those assholes put their goddamned stickers all over every building in Chapel Hill right before they came to town in 1993 and the stickers were still there like fifteen years later! So FUCK YOU, The Polyphonic Spree!"
I too lived in Chapel Hill at the time, and I know what you're talking about. Seems like Tripping Daisy's name was everywhere, and I just said, "WHO?", like I cared. Same goes for Dillon Fence. I was neck-deep in Zappa's music at the time, so I would have otherwise remained blissfully unaware of these indie bands.
I like a lot of the 80s undegrond as well, but the comments you and many of your readers make about new bands are exactly what jaded 30 somethings would of said about Husker Du, The Replacements & Black Flag in the 80s.
Say! Did you see the inauguration? Something AWESOME happened! You know how Aretha did the singy thing halfway through? By some unfathomable coincidence, she was my schedule of albums to listen to that very day! AND. . . one of the albums made my list! BUTTONS!
Actually, her most famous album (the one with Respect on it) is pretty boring--too many dull slow ballads that "show off her voice." It's her Lady Soul album--the one that has 'Chain of Fools' and 'You Make Me Feel Like a Natural etc.'--that rocks. You would like the basslines on that one--it's mostly late-'60's bouncy booty stuff. Like most of the stuff in the Blues Brothers, but with a loud chick singing.
"Nicola Conte - Bossa nova/lounge jazz with different female and male singers. Not my chosen genre, so I shouldn't comment. If Miles Davis had played on it, I'd call it a piece of shit though, if that's any help."
For the good of mankind, do not ever stop writing things on your website.
But I'll nominate Tim Fite. I saw the fucker life last year and hated him. 3 months later out of the blue I decided I LOVED him!
Hella is awesome! Kinda like Lightning Bolt, it's a little difficult to listen to a whole lot of it in one sitting, but it's good for a quick fix. Their drummer Zach Hill just came out with a solo album called Astrological Straits that's pretty nuts. Different from Hella, and yet not. Marnie Stern guests on a few tracks on it, I believe. I don't like her, though. She kinda sounds like Hella except not good. Oh, and if the idea of math-rock covers of 80s video game songs sounds cool to you, the other half of Hella, Spencer Seim, is part of a band called The Advantage that does just that.
I kinda like A Place to Bury Strangers. Not the most original sound in the world, no, but they write good songs. Same with Man Man. They might just be Zappa/Beefheart/Waits rehash, but it's pretty good rehash! I also like Jackie-O Motherfucker, but I'm also the kind of guy that doesn't get bored by twenty minute songs with four notes.
Love the new section...you continue to be on the cutting edge of things.
Silversun Pickups make me want to close a car window on my head. Yet my friend who loves the Smashing Pumpkins can't get enough of them. Weird people. And no, you're not nuts...Coldplay is boring as hell, and has been the whole decade. Who knew my generation needed to be bored to that extent?
The Hold Steady rock too.
I don’t know if you reviewed Star Fucking Hipsters in there. Check it out.
Young Widows rule hard as well. Check out their old band, Breather Resist. Very Botch-y but it has its own sound.
Also, have you heard the band Behold... The Arctopus, yet? Because Krallice is also a side-project for Behold...'s Warr Guitarist, who's name escapes me at the moment. They're an instrumental tech-metal power-trio, and sound like pure insanity. You might enjoy them on the same level as Hella.
The Redneck Manifesto
The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock (A bit diddley aye, but worth a look)
The Dudley Corporation
I'm from Dallas and Polyphonic Spree blows. Now about Tripping Daisy, their original CD Bill is quite good and I had high hopes for the band. Then Bill got picked up by a national label and remixed to be worse and had a good song dropped. Then the rest of their career is a complete embarrassment. I mean how could Blender give "We Built This City" the worst song of all times when "I've Got a Girl" exists.
Bloc Party - they are not my type of music, but damn "Silent Alarm" is a really great album. The stuff they have up on MySpace can't compare.
Extra Life - From your description, I thought that sounded bad. The reality was worse.
Hot Cross - they are too math rocky. Everything sounds so pre-planned and it sucks the life out of it.
Darvocets - great find. Good for a laugh (with them not at them).
Just wanted to say I was happy to see Parts & Labor get a positive mention on your list. They are an amazing band capable of producing strange, unearthly and transcendent little tunes that haunt the memory. If you, or anyone reading this, ever gets a chance to see them live, TAKE IT! Their live sound is a bazillion times more amazing than their recorded work. The first time I ever saw them live, I had never heard of them before and was just struck by this shimmering, shiny, glittering, noisy mass of awesomeness I witnessed. It was like a choir of loud-as-hell angels rocking the hell out. I wish they could somehow capture that on album, but luckily it resonates in the mind for all time. The recorded work is plenty excellent too, don't get me wrong.
I knew eventually I'd suggest something you'd actually like! ;)
We Versus the Shark is the only good band on the latest list, but damn it, can't they do something about that lame band name?
It's a mess, but I love it!
I need to recommend you two neat bands. Saxon Shore, an instrumental post-rock is one and the other Polly Scattergood. She's a female singer, kinda like a cross between Bjork and Tori Amos but without them. That means she's sometimes very very good.
Sufjan Stevens - He's got talent for his genre. It's the genre that I have issue with. I will that "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." is excellent. I was going to say it was the best song ever about a serial killer but then I remember Judas Priest's "The Ripper" and probably forgetting other songs.
Honestly I'm not surprised, and I respect your hatred.
On the other hand, I do like them, quite a bit in fact. I'm not going to argue anything you've said, though I'll agree with one thing and disagree with another:
I AGREE ON: It is incorrect that people refer to them as a ROCK band, since I'll never think of Franz Ferdinand when I think of rock n roll. DANCE band, well, there we go.
I DISAGREE ON: They're FAR from hookless, I get their songs stuck in my head all the time.
But no matter, since I don't take any personal investment in the musical tastes of others. Glad you dug Civet though, they are pretty great. You should check out Danko Jones too. He rules.
And keep doing the Micro Reviews, I love them!
Great Micro-reviews, I love ‘em. Just a few notes of my own though:
- Deerhunter: Yeah, their new album was kind of boring, but great nonetheless, especially in wintertime. As it’s been said already, their previous one, “Cryptograms”, had a lot more edge.
- No Age: Love this band. Adore them. I interviewed these guys when they came to Belgium, turned out to be really nice guys, then saw them blow away 25 or so indie snobs with an aural attack so loud I didn’t hear that well for the next few days. Sure, it’s not very groundbreaking, but this music makes me want to trash stuff and just go absolutely wild. Both of their albums burn. Like an Australian wildfire.
- El Guincho: Annoying piece of crap. I’m supposed to love this stuff; Carribean music, samba, Afrobeat, all kinds of great non-Western genres that make me dance like a paraplegic David Byrne after three bottles of Vat 69. But this just bores the hell out of me! Maybe it’s the Spanish that pisses me off so much?
- Foals: Totally agree. Good band. They’re better live, even.
- Santogold: Don’t agree at all. What’s the big deal?
- The National: Sure, they’re dreary, but man, this band conjures one hell of an atmosphere, especially live.
- Zu: Loud! Kickass! “Balls To The Wall”! And when they teamed up with Dälek: mushroom clouds in my brain!
- Editors: I really do not get this band. A lot of grand, sweeping melodies, sure, but they’re just an AOR-version of Interpol.
- Eagles Of Death Metal: A Soviet nuke up my ass if these guys were ever serious.
Those were my comments. Yes, they suck. Leave me alone.
I'm a "kid" and the Constantines are one the bands that I "dig" the most, so it's nice to see you gave them a passing grade. I don't know what you've heard by them but their 2003 album "Shine A Light" is generally considered to be their best. Lots of hit songs with great melodies, some lighter moments but also lots of loud, abrasive rocking. The rest of their discography is good, too, though their latest album "Kensingtion Heights" was somewhat polarizing among their fanbase.
Keep the micro-reviews coming, and don't neglect to make fun of all those shitty band names.
you're a fuckin elitist bully who tries not to look like one by dismissing new bands with surface listens.
picking on mentally ill kids whose only goal is to enjoy and have some insight in their own miserable life. the mentally ill kid asked me to say
go fuck yourself while your wife chokes you with your blackbelt demanding you to make another (presumably) free appearance on red eye ignoring a chance to work for the cooperation while multitasking an apology to steve albini on a mysterious wiretap
please post what i wrote here on yr site. i'd love more unwanted attention
Now, Prindle, you may hate whoever you want, of course - you've put down enough Blonde On Blondes and Quadrophenias and praised enough Born In The USAs and Joshua Trees for me to care anymore. As long as you don't say anything really far-off, I can even close my eyes on your snide dismissals of Bon Iver and the Libertines (I like both, but whatever; I almost understand). Just stay away from macro-reviewing Kate Bush, Go-Betweens and Robyn Hitchcock (big chance, I know), and I will be fine with your openly enjoyable site.
Likewise, you are free to hate Franz Ferdinand - that's none of anybody's business, even though I believe that kind of hatred does involve some fucking barriers that are clearly artificial. But all right, all right. You see, it's usually one word, and there you go. "Hookless", you say? The fuck do you mean? Trying to be hip the other way around? Is that used in some terribly loose sense? Come on, Prindle, now that's inconsistent (the Strokes, for Christ's sake!) You mean you seriously listened to something like "Take Me Out", "Walk Away" or "This Fire" (or whatever they have on MySpace) and then thought: hey, shitty melodies, no hooks, for kids, I hate the bastards. (?) Jesus, Prindle, that's far-off, that's laughable. Now I have my own reservations about FF (using figures, two first albums are fat eights, while the latest one a fat seven - and they needed four goddamn years to record the exact same thing?), and their limitations are there on display: diversity, maturity and, to some extent, wit. But why deny effortless, irresistible melodies that shine through and through? Mark, just how fucked-up are you? The evident strength, seeming ease of those tunes (I believe, the very thing that attracted the Mael brothers to them) make your "hate you" remark all the more unsubstantial and immature.
Which finally brings me to the point of my comment: this whole "cute old man" page makes little sense. You simply don't concentrate. Yes, people tend to have short attention spans these days, which means praise-wise you're okay with this thing. But considering your present quick, half-assed, spasmatic ways (one-liners don't go well with remotely decent bands), you completely miss the whole point so often. Take time, it helps. You see, the goddamn FF is not the issue here. Just why half-do things?
Prindle, P.S. I'm grateful to you for Ween and all, but sometimes even Americans have to grow up. A fucking bit. Hmm.
Eagles of Death Metal are so tongue-in-cheek, their tongues are bursting right through. I personally love them, but I guess I could understand you not digging it.
I HATE Joanna Newsom. That accent, or quirk, or whatever it is she uses with her voice instantly makes it a joke. Any argument otherwise is just flat out wrong. Thanks for getting it right.
On Girl Talk, I consider "Night Ripper" to be one of the two best mashup album released by far. The other is Mike DeFabio/The Other Leading Brand "Milkshake x Infinity" (see Mark's review for more info). Both are 10s for me. However, while DeFabio decided to try something completely different with his next album, Girl Talk just tried to put out the same album with different samples. It felt forced and lame. Still I expected the whole mashup genre to take their game to the next level after Girl Talk exploded, but I'm still finding most everybody cranking out lame A/B type mashups (see Danger Mouse's "The Grey Album" as the most famous example). Pure and simple laziness.
It's the latter. They put on a hell of a live show, though, except for the EDGY, CONFRONTATIONAL stuff they do. Their singer kept being annoying and getting up in the audience's faces. At one point she started grinding against me, so I reached out and mussed up her hair. She looked stupid for the rest of the set (well, even stupider I guess, since she came out in a black catsuit and war paint). Haha! Similarly, the chick from Evangelista called me a dick once because I pushed her back when she pushed me. I wasn't being a dick that time, though. I just figured she was doing the whole "break down the performer/audience barrier" thing, so I was playing along. I'm so misunderstood.
So I get that you don't get Quas. It's pretty out there.
But Madlib himself? "Boring hip-hop"??
The man makes massively sublime sound collages (often out of amazing rare music that most of us would never get to hear otherwise). His beat tapes (alias Beat Konducta) offer a huge range of consistently solid work. Oh, and hey, the man can rhyme, too.
As a longtime reader of markprindle.gov I am aware that you have expressed an appreciation for Miles Davis. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you purchase Madlib's 'Shades of Blue' immediately and educate yourself!
(Though, really. Franz Ferdinand tuneless? Hard to see how anyone could come to that conclusion.)
no one from arab on radar is in this band.
they're ripoffs, and bad ones at that.
Who cares? Music or not, Yellow Swans fucking rock! They were one of the very best in the drone/noise genre (they broke up pretty recently). Beautiful, complex, epic noise symphonies. I'm glad that you at least you liked my other recommendations. I feel exactly the same way about Lotus Plaza that you do, though sometimes I wonder if I like it more than I should just because it's affiliated with Deerhunter...
Actually, they can be tolerated when they get off the proverbial menstrual rag and make generic positive anthem music (roughly one song out of fucking four). Predictably, my girlfriend likes them because she "saw them live."
Note to self: Avoid all modern concerts from now on except for educational purposes. They make you mistake shit for roses.
Avenged Sevenfold - They fall into that never-never land of a band who I love to listen when they are on the radio, but I won't own and sit through an album. I'll agree they are nothing original though.
Business Lady - I'm completely into the Japanese girl-led noise band genre. This is like a really, really, really, really, really bad version of that.
Make Believe - Sounds like they are trying to make indie music math rock. A really awful combination. Plus they get deducted points for writing a song with Pat Tillman's name in the title, who was no better than any other soldier in the US Army but only got endlessly hyped because he was an NFL player. What's stranger is that this song seems to be about evolution.
Rise Against - Give them a break a little bit. With the Offspring and even Green Day, I would have never enter the world of real punk. These bridge bands do help the harder core ones and since the other ones are the previous generation, Rise Against has a place.
The Fray - The wife really likes them. They are okay background music for me.
Battles – Astoundingly overrated, but only because they’re so very much acclaimed. They’re good, but no more than that.
Future Of The Left – Not as good as Mclusky (few bands are), but when they hit the mark (The Lord Hates A Coward, Fingers Become Thumbs), hoo-boy. I reckon they need time to gel more though.
Johnny Foreigner – I really ought to hate this band, but I love them for some reason. The singing is absolutely awful, some of the lyrics are the sort of thing that should make me want to put a fist through my speaker… but I don’t know, for some reason I love them. I think it’s just the messiness and the energy. And the sense of fun. They’re very good live, too.
The King Blues – When they’re good, they’re good. When they’re bad? Fuck me, don’t even ask. Annoyingly self-important, too. The ‘What If Punk Never Happened?’ song is absolutely terrible, yes, but then they have ‘Mr. Music Man’, ‘Come Fi Di Youth’ and ‘My Boulder’, too…
The Mars Volta – I got into these guys circa De-Loused, mostly cus I liked ‘Inertiatic ESP’ when I saw it on TV. Saw them live around the time Frances the Mute came out. The combination of seeing them live and buying that piece of shit second album put me off them for life. Impossibly tedious.
The Night Marchers – As a die-hard Rocket From The Crypt fan (the tattoo-sporting kind), anything John Reis does I’m going to love. I think the Night Marchers are a bit of a ‘slow-burner’ band, but they’ll get you in the end. People who like this should check out one of his million other bands, the Sultans. They’re very similar to this on their second album.
The Obits – Just brilliant. I tend to underrate Rick Froberg, being primarily geared toward RFTC, but after these guys I won’t be doing that for a long while.
From the older bands:
Avenged Sevenfold I hate with a passion that cannot be tamed.
Bon Iver I kinda like, but I don’t think it’s quite the moving masterpiece a lot of the press seem to think.
British Sea Power I saw live at a festival once. My God, they’re dull. I fell asleep.
Dresden Dolls have some good songs but not enough.
Fucked Up are brilliant, their Year Of The Pig single is a true work of art.
Gallows aren’t anything special, they’re only getting acclaimed because they’re coming into a vacuum it seems. Not bad, just not the most wild band ever as the British press seems to tell me.
Kasabian come from Leicester, where I go to University. I’ve been told by people who, like me, were not born there but now live there, that I have to like them out of some sense of ‘loyalty’. I have ears and therefore disagree.
Razorlight are just one of many reasons why I hate the drug cocaine. Can’t wait until Johnny Borrell OD’s on the shit.
The Bronx are fantastic.
As always, loving this feature!
Comparing them to Ricky Martin is just... beyond hilarious
Their last two albums SUCK SO MUCH... they're the kinda band like you stop respecting after the years, like a bad teacher or a full-of-shit girlfriend... my comparisons reflect who I am.
Seems theres a trend in "indie-ish" type music that if you're really really folksy and organic, your album should be drenched in reverb, like good old fashioned canyon folk or whatever. I liked Fleet Foxes live, but their debut is a fatiguing listen because of the head-in-bucket production. Bon Iver is OK as far as folksy goes, but they're very sedate. Shearwater is capable of dynamic bursts of drama in their writing, they just need to include more of that to contrast the poetry. All of these folky, organic rock bands need to remember they its OK to rock every now and then, and lay the fuck off the reverb. Did Peter Paul and Mary with buckets over their heads...well, maybe they shoulda used sacks, but still...
And when are you gonna knuckle down and listen to some Porcupine Tree?
I guess i enjoy the Om and Yob a little more but maybe i just actually like 10 - 20 minute songs and repitition of them all. Guess i dont want em to end or something. Not for everybody, but then again Avenged Sevenfold and My Chemical Romance shouldnt be for everybody either. Om got me fixated on the bass and drum duo concept (though my current drummer is a machine); Yob just rocks, in the slowest doomy early 70s Sabbathy way possible and like Mark i appreciate the Neurosis-isms too. Good bands, they are... but i am more doom-fixated than the average prindle.com reader. Check em out if you have at least a slight inclination towards doom though.
Cog - I find it hilarious they list "experimental" on their MySpace page.
Rodrigo y Gabriela - I agree they are not bad though it isn't my thing. However, when listening to their "Stairway to Heaven", they sounded like they were on the verge of breaking out into "Classic Gas".
ChickenFoot - this is best work Van Halen has done since 1984. Really, don't these sound like VH tracks??? Well, except that they have Satch style solos instead of Eddie solos. And Sammy hasn't sucked the life out of Satch the way he did Eddie. I was a huge Satch fan, but his recent albums have gotten stale so I'm glad he is doing something different. Chad Smith is an underrated drummer. I like this quit a bit. I'm predicting they are going to be huge though I wonder how much better they would sound if they dumped Sammy for David Lee Roth.
After I wrote the above, I googled other reviews. The first one I found said "Sounds like really good Van Halen but with great drumming and a guitarist that didn’t stop innovating 20 years ago. ... Van Halen is back! Surprisingly Eddie and Alex are not in the band anymore. This is hands down better than anything Van Halen has produced in the past 20 years." So I'm not alone in my opinion.
Coachwhips - Pussy Galore's "full of shit" is what made them interesting. Coachwhips isn't.
Foot Village - If you like OOIOO and early Boredoms, it sounds like something they might do. I like it.
Nine Black Alps/Talibam! - They were worth checking out.
Yes, John from Pink and Brown used a Bass string instead of a low e. He also had two different lines running out of his guitar to two different amps one a bass amp. Also a telephone receiver mic built into his "pink" mask. Made for a real chaotic mess of cables at times. They were fantastic. Definitely my favorite John Dwyer band. He also had a band called Dig that Body Up... It's Alive! Who were fantastic. They were pretty much a death metal band. John on Guitar. Oran from Child Abuse on drums and Nate from total shutdown on vocals. Rock is Hell released a posthumous record. John only played drums on the first Burmese record back in like 2000 or so.
Sure AIDS wolf is sort of a AOR rip off but I seems to me there should be more music in that style these days, so why not?
"Black Milk - A Detroit rapper who says every word on the same note. He has some hooky background music (organ lines, soul horn blasts, weirdo guitar sounds, suspicious bass lines, etc), but his voice just isn't very gripping."
Black Milk is a producer first, rapper second. He is known for his beats. He can flip a sample like few others can, his beats sound great on a good system and he is a perfectionist when he wants to be. He produces for a lot of other people like Elzhi and Slum Village. It's obvious that "give the drummer some" is one of the few songs of his you've listened to by the phrases you chose like "organ lines, soul horn blasts" but if that is one of the ones you heard, you failed to pick up on the odd rhythm that is supposed to be the highlight of that song. Plus he can definitely spit (at least on his newer stuff) and it's a shame that you took the whole of his rap game including his rhyme schemes, flow, wordplay, etc... and turned it into " A Detroit rapper who says every word on the same note".
"Flying Lotus - Turntablism, modern r'n'b through a billion effects, woofly swoofly I don't understand this - are these old records he's screwing with, or new music he's making on a computer?"
Ever hear of sampling?
"Madlib - Boring hip-hop. WAIT A MINUTE! HE JUST SAMPLED SHOOBY TAYLOR!!!! HOLY LIVING PISS BONER!!!! Boring hip-hop that samples Shooby Taylor."
You are CRAZY. Or you've only flipped through one of his new releases that came out under his name. He produces for dozens of artists and the albums won't say 'Madlib' as the artist. He is one of the greatest and most innovative producers ever. He is also all 5 members of Yesterday's New Quintet. The producer for Madvillain. Half of Jaylib. A third (more than half) of Lootpack. etc...etc...etc...
"Jazzanova - A Berlin band that plays '60s/'70s-style r'n'b, lounge and soul, with guest vocalists. Not bad! "
I know you're not supposed to be taken seriously but, man...you claim to dislike radio music but it's obvious you only skip through these artist's most accessible tracks. Come on man...
Asher Roth - The embodiment of everything that I hate about college lifestyles and middle class white people in one person! I have to appreciate him for managing to accomplish that!
Brokencyde - A near picture perfect snapshot of everything that's wrong with our culture. This is to real music as a bucket of dirt is to food.
Dirty Projectors - Some of their old material is pretty good, some of it is a bit out there for my taste, but I especially like Rise Above and the new one, Bitte Orca.
Escape The Fate and Gallows - CRAP ON A PLATE!!!!!
Genghis Tron - Ask me a few years ago, and I would've been into them when I was going through my "Loud, Noisy Punk/Pseudo-Grindcore" phase. They're not bad, but not to my tastes any more.
Jack Johnson - Frat shit. The only artist I can think of that's more uninspired than Dave Matthews, Coldplay, and U2.
Magik Markers - Not to my taste, but I don't dislike it.
Matt & Kim - Fun live, but their music is kind of boring. They can't play their mid-tempo songs live worth a damn either, but it's not like anyone would want to hear those live! Plus, they are the most shameless Mates Of State rip off ever.
Behold...The Arctopus - I agree with your opinion. Last week I was googling on worst band ever and they showed up in a youtube clip - I may not like them but they are not really bad. I did find this awful rap clip (you may have seen it but it was new to me) that has been making me laugh for days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-b6uN7SUio
Human League - Human League is your benchmark??? I give them a break because "Don't You Want Me" is an absolutely great song even if they otherwise suck.
Girugamesh - Avenged Sevenfold with a Japanese accent.
Devil Wears Prada - Wow, what an awesome band. Part of their sound is from Enter Shiraki and Test Iscles, but since one of those bands broke up and the other sucks now, this is great.
Are you seriously running that low on "hip new bands that the kids dig" that you have resorted to doing micro-reviews of Christian rock bands? Jesus! That's like the lowest common denominator of rock music. Honestly-- if you really want to praise your imaginary holy man in the sky through music, stick to gospel music, country & western ballads, Gregorian chants, or at least pussy-ass acoustic folk. What I want to know is, how the hell did you manage to get through all those Myspace songs without projectile-vomiting?
Also, Made Out of Babies? I was hoping to see them here. Some great grindcore mixed in with more alternative tracks. And a female vocalist that does some of strangest things since Daisy Chainsaw put out Eleventeen. Check em out if you will.
I loved your micro-review of newer bands. I'm a bit disappointed you didn't like She & Him. I find their music refreshingly melodic and real, and I love Zooey Deschanel's voice. 'Volume 1' reminds me more of Geroge Harrison's 'All Things Must Pass' than The Carpenters. It is rather too sweet at times though, I agree. Awfully uninspired name, too.
Anyway, it's clear after reading through all your comments that what the music world needs is the following type of band:
- Are influenced by anything other than rock or its sub-genres.
-Spends the majority of their time at least trying to work out NEW melodies and sounds.
-Has more than one contributor within the band. And no outside writing help from the producer or anyone else!
-Has a singer who, if male, sounds like Johnny Cash (how I'm sick of these high-pitched male vocalists!) or, if female, Candice Night (check her out, she's a fantastic singer, but 'Blackmore’s Night' is probably not up your alley).
-Or better yet, has three or four lead singers who each sound unique. What was the last band that had that many lead singers in it?
-Works PROLIFICALLY on their material! These days, every band seems to take a year between albums AT LEAST. What drove bands like The Beatles, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, and The Moody Blues to release one album (or more) a year? Personally, I'm going to have to go with passion and sense of purpose. Those bands were like the Apollo astronauts. Modern bands hitch rides on space shuttles. Just like NASA needs a new space program to rejuvenate itself, modern bands need to redefine what their music MEANS and how they FEEL about it and see where that takes it.
-Do NOT "feature" guest artists!
-Do NOT sample older, well-known songs!
-Do NOT curse or use vulgarities in their lyrics! It's not shocking anymore! (How's that for irony, Tipper Gore?)
By the way Mark, please check out Muse and The High Strung (in particular their album 'Get the Guests').
Have a good day!
I saw Awesome Color open for Sonic Youth a few years ago and it must have been an off night for them because they were very much the vein of the typical 'shitty opening band that you wish would just get the fuck off the stage and let Sonic Youth come out and play.'
Because Sonic Youth are old enough and have played enough shows for that category to have been officially established for them.
But yeah, Awesome Color sucked and I have hated them ever since.
But yeah, good to see the return of micro reviews and such... always fun.
Amy Winehouse - Overrated druggy with shit for brains and a goaty voice. And we're supposed to care when she's got health problems (namely Emphysema...) as if she's a victim!?!
Foxboro Hottubs - Yes. Boring. Green Day's other side project 'The Network' is better, and I've only heard one song. And it's a cover.
Franz Ferdinand - Funny you should say you hate them. If I saw that about 2 months ago I would've probably stopped visiting your website BALLBAG!! I have all three of their albums and uhh I've seen them live. I never listen to them now, which is why your review made me reconsider. I don't hate them, but there's something missing from the music, a big hole that echoes throughout their music. Emotion? Soul?
The Streets - Much loved by my friend, who lent me the latest album. Half-assed to say the best. The only British rappers I trust are Goldie Lookin Chain, and they're a joke band! Thankfully The Streets' album got washed away by accident in a mass computer clear out. SHAME!
Cool reviews, keep em coming.
Ignore the music. Their Q&A videos crank me up though.
awesome quote. keep up the good work
Shins - Deserve more than a one-liner - listen again! Classic grower songs and not as happy as they seem. They are (were) the real deal. James Mercer (Lead Singer) + Danger Mouse (Producer of Gnarls Barkely) should be good. Mercer has the gifted genius attitude and rightly so.
TV On The Radio - Has the right stuff..their fourth or fifth album will be great.
Ting Tings - My eight year old turned me on to "That's Not My Name"....love it!
Kings of Leon - Puke..."Sex on Fire" and not even a joke. WTF?
Anyway, I've known about PRE for a couple of years. They are one of those bands that drives me nuts. They definitely don't suck but yet I never find anything that hooks me.
Maybe this is the best way to explain. Listen to "Fudging On Our Folks"
Now imagine if Melt Banana got ahold of this song - first Yasuko (the singer) wouldn't let herself get outclassed by the music. Second, Agata (who I rate as the best guitarist of the past 10 years) could take the riff two levels beyond where it is.
The Used - from another review "The Used are a pretty terrible emo-rock band that are most famous for the fact that their lead singer once dated Kelly Osbourne while The Osbournes was taping." After listening to that horrid cover, I had to listen to a good Heads cover ("Memories Can't Wait" by Living Colour) to wipe it out.
First album has some power and a lot less polish. Not sure why they wanted to become a second rate Amy Winehouse affair. Oh right, money.
Shingai, their singer/bassist, will become a superstar someday, and without this band.
I've always been into Black Dahlia Murder, but much more live than on record. After about five songs, it all just starts running together and you can't distinguish anything.
And yes, Winds of Plague is fucking terrible. I worked a show they played and you'd be shocked at how many people, not just 15-year old kids, are obsessed with them.
Neon Indian was all over the best of 2009 lists in our alternative weekly but your review is dead on about how awful it is. Most of the rest of their choices sucked as well, but I found one surprising gem from it - Mos Def's "The Ecstatic".
I gotta break the news to you...I like Cartel. Kind of a lot. Not sure what it is, since I'll fully admit that they're pretty girly. But they're not quite as girly as say, Mayday Parade, who most definitely suck. I think the Green Day thing doesn't quite apply to Cartel, because it doesn't seem they're going for anything even resembling punk. It's just really poppy rock music, and I dunno, I guess I can't fight it. It's kinda like junk food.
P.s Thanks for reviewing Thou. They’re fucking sick as hell.
I've heard of They Shoot Horses, Don't They? At least I think I have. I'm fairly certain they were on the label Kill Rock Stars and I got a sampler with them on it when I purchased a Comet Gain album. I remember liking them. And I remember looking at videos online and liking those too. And I remember looking for free albums of theirs (hey, a guy's gotta eat, too) on slimy filesharing sites and coming up dry. Same with the band the Lucksmiths (same label), but that was more of a whim search based on ONE good review I heard.
I may try to find both for free again. If I fail, I may actually, legally buy their albums!
. . . hopefully its free.
As for Goldie Lookin' Chain, I haven't heard much but can definitely agree that "your mother's got a penis" is a work of major importance.
Subtle has two redeeming qualities:
1. They are trying to do something unique.
2. They are very high on the Unintentional Comedy Scale.
I also think the band picture on MySpace is hilarious. Have you seen 6 people who less like they are in the same band and actually don't look like musicians at all?
But like that Obscura though (both the band and the Gorguts album).
Major Lazer - I was like cool name - thought they are probably good. Then you said "terrible autotuned" and there is no way I'm going to check it out. Now that HealthCare Reform is passed, can Congress get to the most pressing item in front of the country? Make a mandatory death penalty for using auto-tune. :-)
And I gotta tell you that Russian Circles are an amazing live band. I agree that it's pretty dour and doesn't make you wanna jump off your couch or anything, but they really turn it on live. Big and loud and perfectly played.
Anyways, keep up the great work Mark, I really like this section of the site.
If you're going to buy something by any of these hip new bands that the kids dig, PLEASE DO IT AT THIS LINK so I'll get a percentage of your payment! Thank you!
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