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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Psycho Pop Vol. 1 (Various Artists)

Well, I think I've had something happen that hasn't happened in quite some time. A disc grabbed me by the balls and wouldn't let go. This release from Acidsoxx music features a multitude of artists, many of whom you probably haven't heard of. I know I haven't. Jtiom, Maise, Waxen W. Wane among others.
The best description I could think of was a lot of techno blended with so many other sounds. From crazy trippy circus music on Blind Circle to the strange lyrics of The Sandbox Legacy, there is nowhere these artists are afraid to go. One big plus is the way this thing commands your attention right off the bat with Bloated Floater. There were faint hints of familiarity throughout. The offbeat tones and rhythm of Hippopatames Sous Leau reminded me of Frank Zappa in his heydey. I also caught a couple of tunes that had a hint of Todd Rundgren in one case, and King Missile in another.
If I had to pick on one track, it would be I Like Girls. It was a bit nonsenical in the overall song structure. It just didn't blow my dress up. Conversely, No Job and I Hardly Know were two outstanding songs hiding towards the end of the disc. They are noticably different from other tunes on this disc and sort of sneak up on you just when you think you have a feel for what is going on here. As much as I like the tempo of this disc, the step to something more downtempo and casual was very welcome.
There are a couple of "FCC" tracks that contain some cursing and sexual references, but it's an otherwise great disc. I'm completely impressed for so many reasons, mostly because of the originality involved.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Acid House Kings -- Sing Along With Acid House Kings

I must admit, I really don't know where to begin this review. There is normally some feature of a disc that screams to be called out first. Maybe the lyrics are particularly deep. Maybe the guitar wails. AHK aren't the sort of band who put out that sort of music. Sing Along With is filled with tunes that keep you company as you're cleaning the house or walking the dog. It's good for those times when you want music, but you don't really want to pay attention to it.
In short, the two words that come to mind are silly and fluffy. It's pretty smooth easygoing pop, but doesn't do a lot to distinguish itself. Based on the bands influence by Burt Bachrach and the like, the tunes evoke a bit of a 60's retro feel, more in some tracks than others. Do What You Wanna Do is one of those that has a bit more of an obvious retro vibe to it. I also consider it one of the better tracks.
There aren't really too many songs that stand out, and are all very similar, for the most part. There are several I thought would be appropriate as background music in a Scooby Doo chase scene. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not, but it should give a clue as to how much my mind wandered as I listened. It wandered mostly in the latter half, but that's more than enough.
All in all, it's not a BAD disc, but a fair one. I suppose this is one I can truly write off by simply saying it might be the hot diggity bomb for some folks, but not for me.
My final grade--- B-

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Miguel Mendez -- My Girlfriend is Melting

I'm going to guess right off the bat that you have probably never heard of Miguel Mendez. Quite frankly, neither had I until I checked out this disc. When picking music to review, there are several criteria involved. Catchy name? Interesting disc title? Thoughtful track titles? And finally, I give it a quick listen at the station.
Naturally, I'm going to be attracted to a disc called "My Girlfriend is Melting". I had no idea what to expect going in. I tucked it into my computer and started up the first track. "Melancholy and Moody" I noted, along with "mostly guitar".
Those 4 words describe about 80% of this disc, but that's not necessarily bad. These songs are.... well... thoughtful. They are also solo. From what I can tell, Miguel probably did most of this himself, layering different tracks. Most consist of one or two guitar tracks, but we are occasionally treated to a piano, some tambourine, and the random maracas!
The entire disc is relatively simple, and quite transfixing to watch on Winamp.
Oddly enough, as steady and slow as the pace is, there are some tracks that slow it down even more, so don't count on this as a party disc. Think of this more as music to take in when you're lounging around without much to do.
While there are several tracks that I liked more than the rest, one in particular stands out, and that is Number Race. It's simple, hypnotic, and a bit repetitive, but in a Philip Glass sort of way.

Towards the end I found myself wondering how some of these songs would sound with either larger arrangements or backup singers. Maybe if Miguel finds some success, he'll try a few new things. Either way, I'd give him another listen
Final grade--- B