Sunday, September 6, 2009

Supersuckers: DEVIL'S FOOD

The last of my recent Supersuckers downloads, Devil's Food is a collection of outtakes and rarities. It touches on what they do best: rock 'n' roll and country music. And this being a compilation, there are plenty of covers, like Outkast's "Hey Ya!", 'The Chips' "Rubber Biscuits" (doo-wop now country-fied!), and "Sail On" from Smokey and the Bandit. There is also the rockin' title track and the kick-ass closer, "End of An Era", with slightly distorted vocals. Yes!

Rating: 4 outta 5 stars

Saturday, September 5, 2009


When I was vacationing in Australia last December, I picked up The Triffids greatest hits, Australian Melodrama. Great disc! Only one throwaway track. So when I saw eMusic offering Born Sandy Devotional (BSD), I downloaded it quicker than John Cook paved the way for European colonialism. Released in '86, BSD was ironically recorded in the UK, but Aussies embraced it like an INXS album. What's cool about BSD is that all ten tracks are awesome, with "Wide Open Road" (video) being the standout. Sadly, the theme is a bit of a downer -- unrequited love -- though, it's not obvious.

The reissue of BSD includes nine bonus tracks (read: demos). Most of them are for hardcore Trifidi fans only, with singer/songwriter David McComb either reciting poetry or singing while playing an electric guitar. However, two of them are fantastic and feature a full band. "Convent Walls" has a lovely melody and "Born Sandy Devotional" doesn't appear on the actual album, but it rocks, thanks to the drummer banging the hell out of the ride cymbal.

God bless 1980s Australia!!!

Rating: 5 outta 5 stars

Friday, September 4, 2009


The phrase "it grows on you" is a hackneyed one, but it's the case of this 2003 release. Musically it sound like a continuation of The Supersuckers' 1999 full-length, Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll, but lyrically vocalist Eddie Spaghetti celebrates mostly the decadent bar scene -- drinking, fighting, fucking. On first listen, I only liked two songs, "Rock 'n' Roll Records (Ain't Selling This Year)" and "Pretty Fucked Up". But by the fifth listen, more songs swirled in my gray matter: "Rock Your Ass", "The Fight Song" and "Bubblegum and Beer". Thank you, Satan!

Rating: 3 outta 5 stars

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Japandroids: POST-NOTHING

Oh Christ, what a waste of an eMusic download! These garage rockers love their distortion and playing songs that are w-a-a-a-a-a-y too long. I think other active acts, like No Age and Times New Viking, do the whole garage-rock thang a lot better. But that's just me, who on weekends likes to dress up like a Cylon and quote lines from Rashomon.

Rating: 0 outta 5 stars

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Telekinesis: TELEKINESIS!

Holy shit on a compact disc, Merge Records just keep getting better and better! Twenty years going, and they're still putting out kick-ass gems like Arcade Fire, M. Ward, Rosebuds, and now Telekinesis. Indie-pop rock doesn't get much better than this! They have a slight mod influence, which would explain the cover art, and a bit of acoustic guitar, even where there's an electric guitar track. Plus, they're good with song titles: "Coast of Carolina", "Awkward Kisser" and "Imaginary Friend". Only downside with this debut is their sound and songwriting can't sustain a full-length. About halfway though, things start to get boring, though they do pick up near the end of the album, with songs like "All of a Sudden" and "I Saw Lightning". And I have to give them props for starting and ending the album with acoustic songs. Goddamn, can't wait to see these cats live -- would make a nice double bill with Chicago's The Office.

Rating: 4 outta 5 stars

Friday, August 28, 2009

Broken Social Scene: BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE

The last of my Metric-related releases, Broken Social Scene are a collective of Canadian musicians, which includes Metric's lead singer, Emily Haines. It's a great idea (friends getting together to make music for the fun of it); unfortunately, a great idea doesn't equal an awesome album. The problem is that the type of songs are all over the place -- too disparate. There's indie-fuzz rock, folky stuff, and a few electronic numbers. Out of 21 tracks, only three are keepers: the indie-rock "Swimmers", the quirky "Tremoloa Debut", and the acoustic "All My Friends". Oh, Canada, why must you break my music-loving heart so?

Rating: 1 outta 5 stars

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Psyclone Rangers: FEEL NICE

I caught this Philly band back in the mid-90s, when they opened for The Dickies. That weekend, I picked up their sophomore CD, The Devil May Care, whose first track, the dynamite "The Deal", they opened up with. Well, it's only taken me about 15 years to track down their debut, but it was well worth the wait. Feel Nice is a much stronger record than Devil. The latter had too many mid-tempo and slow numbers, but the former features pretty much all up-tempo songs in the garage rock vein, with "I Wanna Be Jack Kennedy" kicking things off, and the quasi title track, "I Feel Nice", popping up four tracks later. Sadly, Feel Nice isn't a great album. Holding it back from classic status are two things: too many songs (should've been 10 tracks instead of 12), and the inane vocals-only at the end of "Christie Indecision" and "You're Not Edie Sedwick". Still, well worth picking up if you're a fan of Philly music or 90s indie rock. Plus, it's out of print with selling it for a buck or two, pre-shipping. Shi-eeee-it, they're practically giving it way!

4 outta 5 stars

Friday, August 14, 2009


This is a collection of songs from Metric before their current lineup as a quartet. Grow Up and Blow Away only features singer Emily Haines and guitarist Jimmy Shaw. The sound is remarkably different from their three recent albums, which are rockin' New Wave; Blow is electronic-pop. It's painfully evident that Haines and Shaw wanted to be famous; making music for the times. The songs here -- from the late nineties and early noughties -- hardly feature any guitar and sounds as if Pink and Moby collaborated on a throwaway side project (that is if Pink was a mezzo-soprano). Nonetheless, a few tracks could find a home on your iPod, like the lead and last tracks, "Grow Up" and "Soft Rock Stars". The third song, "Rock Me Now", is good too, though, with its male co-lead vocal, sounds as if Haines and Shaw were listening too much to Duran Duran's "Breath After Breath". Overall, not atrocious, but now awesome either. Save it for the rabid Metric fans.

2 outta 5 stars

Friday, July 31, 2009

Supersuckers: GET IT TOGETHER

I used to be a huge fan of The Supersuckers (even saw 'em twice), but I lost interest around 2000 after buying Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll because the songs sounded so much better live. Fortunately, the self-proclaimed "world's greatest rock 'n' roll band" are back in the sacrilicious saddle with this 2008 release. Get It Together is the best thing they've done since their debut, 1992's Smoke of Hell. While Hell was pretty much a punk record, Together is straight rock 'n' roll. What's nice about it is that they're love for country music is present, but in a subtle way; "She Is Leaving" is probably the best example of this. And there is a 100% country number, "Breaking Honey's Heart". But it's mostly rock here, with "Listen Up", "Paid", "I'm a Fucking Genius", "I Like It All, Man" -- fuck it, the whole album's great. Hard to believe it hasn't even sold 10,000 copies. It's up to you to change that. AND DON'T DOWNLOAD IT ILLEGALLY because they put it out on their own!

Rating: 5 outta 5 stars

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Well, it took almost 30 years, but The Meatmen have finally recorded a decent album. As you probably guessed, Cover The Earth is a full-length featuring covers, hence the tile (duh). Besides having the best lineup since their early seven-inches, what makes this album work is that most of the tracks are of the rock'n'roll vein. Standouts include GG Allins' "Highest Power", Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" and ABBA's "So Long". And there's a little variety here with the funkish "Psychedelic Shack" and the country-fied "We Didn't Kill Each Other (But Didn't We Try)". Sadly, though, what holds this album back from being great are the sophomoric comedic skits, courtesy of vocalist Tesco Vee, and too many songs -- 24 tunes clocking in at an hour. Still, well worth checking out.

Rating: 4 outta 5 stars

Cage The Elephant: CAGE THE ELEPHANT

I feel like a bit of a jerk posting this review because my friend Whirls gave me this disc as a gift, but it isn't really my cup of coke. Cage The Elephant have a bar-band vibe about them. They probably would've fit in nicely with the Minneapolis scene, circa 1990. In that alternate universe, they might have opened for Soul Asylum or Titantic Love Affair. But it being 2009, Cage The Elephant remind me a tad of Dr. Dog. That said, one song on this debut is replayable: "Spoil to the Sun". Turn it up!

Rating: 1 outta 5 stars

Friday, July 17, 2009


Man, I was really looking forward to this album, since I'm a huge fan of Emily Haines' main gig, Metric, but -- Christ! -- what a major disappointment!! This solo outing should set things straight that Metric is an actual band with all four members writing the songs (which would explain why it takes four years for them to put out an album). Almost every song on Knives Don't Have Your Back sounds the same: mumbly-singing and lethargic piano-playing. More boring than a morgue populated by a bunch of constipated CPAs. It almost sounds like Mates Of State with only Kori singing and playing her keyboard sans husband Jason's drumming and background vocals. Knives Don't Have Your Back is so bad, I'm not posting an MP3 and I'm rethinking downloading another Metric side project, Bang Lime (from the bassist and drummer). On the plus side, we have several Metric albums and a few EPs for some real entertainment.

0 outta 5 stars

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Recently, a coworker lent me The Essence of Frank Sinatra, a compilation that focused on Mr. Mob-wannabe's earlier recordings, before he lost his voice for a year or two. Really good stuff. It got me thinking about the Andrews Sisters, so I picked up this collection. Amazing! It has their most famous number, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", as well as "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Elese But Me)", a tune I think I read about a long time ago in A Separate Peace. Oh, and there's "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Posive", which is kind of kick-ass because I heard The Vindictives' cover of it first a number of years ago. Glad I picked up this disc. Twelve songs is about all I can take of these USO angels, but -- good goddamn -- what a dozen ditties!!!

Rating: 5 outta 5 stars

"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I'm not even sure why I downloaded this full-length. I hardly listen to punk rock anymore -- too much unnecessary anger; I guess old habits die horrendously. That said, this black trio are more hard rock on this outing. Most of Hearts Of Hoodlums failed to entertain me, but I do like "Girlfriend Like This" (despite the borderline homophobe lyric: "I don't care what nobody say / If you don't like her you're probably gay") and "New Age Southern Baptist Nigga from da Hood" (a humourous track with the band channeling Iron Maiden or Judas Priest). And I want to say that the lead vocalist reminds me of Living Colour's Corey Glover, but I just may be making that connection for obvious reasons. Overall, not a bad album if you're into hard rock or punk rock.

Rating: 2 outta 5 stars

"Girlfriend Like This"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I caught this cat a few weeks ago opening for Metric. It just may be the first time I got an album by an opening act (kudos, Metric, for bookng a warm-upper whose sound is similar to your own!). Unfortunately, Sebastien Grainger And The Mountains isn't as great his live show -- maybe it had something to do with his backing band, especially the bassist who specialized in background vocals. On the plus side, Mr. Grainger is one talented mofo. He doesn't sound like anything else out there, past or present. Basically, it's rock'n'roll with a slight New Wave edge. You can't hate that, right?

Rating: 4 outta 5 stars

American Names

Monday, July 6, 2009


This album was well worth the wait -- four years after the lovely Live It Out. Fantasies features 10 solid songs with no filler. What's cool about Metric is they do slightly different versions of their songs live, which I found out when I saw them here in Philly at the Trocadero on June 19. Anyway, Fantasies kicks off with a perfect pop song, "Help I'm Alive"; I love how singer Emily Haines reaches near the top of her vocal range for the refrain. The superb songwriting continues with "Sick Muse". Other soon-to-be classics include "Twilight Galaxy", "Gimme Shelter", "Blindness" and "Stadium Love". Such a great, upbeat album. See, kids, you can be New Wave without being too retro. It just takes a tight rhythm section (thanks Joules Scott-Key and and Josh Winstead!) and properly placed modern-rock guitar, courtesy of Jimmie Shaw. All right, I'm off to Toronto to get this quartet inducted in the Canadian Hall of Fame.

Rating: 5 outta 5 stars

"Help I'm Alive"