Love the albums byline/disclaimer: “All harmonies are real. Self-produced and self-released. No politics and nothing corporate.” Music industry, this is a big call-out from one of the more important independent groups out there writing pop music that, given the chance, could easily act as a trash compactor to all the drivel that you’d “hear” on American Idol. (If you ask why I put hear in quotes, it’s because the whole damn thing is a farce of over-dubbing and effects). The Kimberly Trip has over the years been one of the best female-fronted outfits that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. To review them, is like to critique gods and goddesses from age-old mythology; there’s simply not enough you could write to justify their influence and awesomeness let alone their legendary status. How could a band possibly not be awesome when they have a song called “There’s No ‘I’ in ‘Team’ (but there’s a ‘u’ in ‘stupid’)”? Love-struck pop melodies from this Sacramento pop outfit are unleashed with nary a care of ensuring that they fit within the cookie cutters known as today’s pop-rock – guess that makes their album title “Generation Stereotype” that much more ironic, eh? You can’t go wrong with a single track on this album, easily the group strongest, which is saying a lot. I declare that The Kimberly Trip has officially made my Top Ten Pop Bands I’d Love to Eat Pizza with. This is a coveted list, for sure!
Posts tagged modern alternative
The second this band loses their lame-o image (do we really need more scenesters that look plastic?), you’ll see them propel themselves even farther than they have already gone thus far. “The Continental Divide” is a magical ride of a melodic alternative rock album that is populated by cynical lyrics with a dash of angst, heavy and catchy harmonies, and a vocal talent just this side of Morrissey. If you could imagine the Smashing Pumpkins playing The Cure songs with Morrissey at the helm, adding a dash of London punk, you’ll have War Tapes on tap. Look for these guys to become really big in the next couple of years.
It’s as if dance-punk went all indie-pop on us. “The Woo-Hoo-Hoo” by Los Angeles-based Globes on Remote constructs each song with sinewy synths and rangy guitars completing the equation with plenty of handclaps, steady rhythms with high use of hi-hats, and vocal harmonies. But just when you think you’ve yourself a hand basket full of clichés, they shift gears. Thankfully there’s a lot in store in each song whether it be a wistful melody, a nifty lyrical twist, or a club beat that no one would have anticipated. Keeping you on your toes the whole album is what Globes on Remote does fantastically; plus if you’re a Ziggy Stardust fan, I dare you not to blink during “D.T. Lipps and the Paperback Porn Writer”.
Mew – No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away
Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame, eat your heart out bro. Mew is everything you ever wanted to be and never got to – and Mew hasn’t even plateaued yet as their latest album professes. Danish pop sorcerers Mew reveal their fifth studio album “No More Stories…” and much like the two stanza story-like title, it’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle as the old cliché goes. Jonas and the gang lifted the album’s moniker from the stirring “Hawaii Dream”. The album is so intense, so glorious, and so gifted that it is beyond words. Indeed, the album was recorded with such intensity and attention to detail that the song “New Terrain” if played backwards is an entirely different song called “Nervous”. The first single, “Introducing Palace Players” has a frenetic and kinetic approach with pop harmonies and giant overtures. Stunningly melodic vocals once again spotlight the tremendous talent that this now trio – bassist Johan Wohlert left the group to spend more time with his family and girlfriend (Swan Lee‘s vocalist) – from Denmark. “Repeaterbeater” is the second single and promises that the band will not abandon their harder-edged tunes for pure pop opuses. Rhythmically this album is extremely challenging, offering up challenging percussion that oddly still manages to be pretty danceable. Though I was unfortunate enough not to be able to see them, it would prove to be very interesting to see how their tour with industrial-strength dynamos Nine Inch Nails went over with the decidedly NIN-fan-heavy crowds. Anyone silly enough to dismiss this group because they don’t feature “the yell” on vocals would be mistakenly. Indeed some of the epics that Mew pens on this giant rocker could easily be distinguished as the soundtrack to the apocalypse (see: two minutes into “Reprise” as a healthy example). “Beach” is extremely approachable with verses of guitar and bass right out of The Cure’s early to mid career. “Hawaii” follows the shorter intro track “Hawaii Dream” with sparse tropical instrumentals peppered into a backdrop of hushing harmonies and gorgeous soundscapes. Mew may be the very first band ever to use a xylophone instead of a synth effect within their vocoded vocal effects. “Vaccine” is bubbly and smart with a danceable dream popsicle seemingly licked and nibbled from the magical land of Candyland. Sugary vocals traverse the majority of the album with off-kilter English language lyrics that while written in my native tongue, seem foreign and exotic with romantic and tantalizing awesomeness. In addition to the main vocals, there are children choirs and brief other vocal noises and samples mixed expertly with piano and keyboard.
Folks this is the most important Album of the Year, yes capitalized because it should win that award from everyone giving it out in 2009. Note: if you purchase the album on iTunes, you can grab up the three b-sides, “Owl”, “Start”, and “Swimmer’s Chant”.
I completely despised Miss Autopsy’s last effort “Ruhr” and go figure, “The Hill” is almost (emphasis on almost) a complete 180. While I could do without Steve Beyerink’s insistent and often grating vocals, the contributions and the return of the producer/engineer/mixer John Congleton (The Polyphonic Spree, Explosions in the Sky) is no doubt what brought about this abrupt about face. Perhaps fittingly the major contributions of Beyerink could be very easily questioned as he disparages the listener with almost amateurish lyrical nuisance and songwriting that is at times questionable at best. While it’s far from a winner, it’s far from outright fail too.
British slop punkers XX Teens had their latest produced by the U.K.’s own Sheffield-based Ross Orton (Fat Truckers, MIA). Swampy melodies are smelted with Lemmy-oriented hymns and stripped down rhythms. The guitars are often quite dense but yet somewhat poppy still. Churning rock ‘n’ roll that will appeal to late 40-somethings as well as their kids.