28 April 2007

Tris McCall & the New Jack Trippers / I'm Assuming You're All in Bands / Jersey Beat

Tris McCall is a smart-aleck. Armed with wit and an electric harpsichord, "I'm Assuming..." takes aim at Brooklyn and the politics behind being in a band. McCall's pointed humor tackles gentrification and alcoholism over the blipping and buzzing of a Baldwin harpsichord, opting to exclude electric guitar from the entire album. Lyrical in-jokes about NYC will elicit laughs, but variance in mood and catchy rhymes will keep you listening. Vocally, McCall's style shifts between rapid delivery story-telling and more reserved melody of mid-temp electro-pop while bouncy numbers dominate the record riding drum beats both real and programmed. Recorded live and with an impressive cast of musicians, including Charles Bissell of the Wrens, the album is raw enough to sound authentic but with ideal production for eclectic instrumental layering. If Billy Joel plugged his piano in, co-opted some style and struggled in Williamsburg, he might've had half of the originality and experience that comes across in "I'm Assuming You're All In Bands." - Joseph Coscarelli


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David Bowie's High Line Festival

Summer Music Festivals!!!

What: The H&M High Line Festival curated by David Bowie
Where: From the Meatpacking District to West Chelsea to Hells Kitchen
When: May 9 to 19
How Much: Prices vary by act
More info: www.highlinefestival.com

Closer to CMJ and South by Southwest than Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, the High Line Festival (sponsored by H&M) is a chance to wear the same clothes as everyone around you (H&M?) and check out some of the hottest b(r)ands around (like H&M). Curator David Bowie has conjured up an impressive showing of his disciples, gathering some of the hottest names in music, comedy, film, performance and visual art. I know, I know, there are no hot names in visual art, but - undoubtedly with promises of mountains of blow and a chance to meet Iman - Bowie has lured neon names like the red-hot Arcade Fire (with the National), the cultish Polyphonic Spree, the wacky Deerhoof, the reclusive Daniel Johnston, the psychedelic Secret Machines and France's Wham (a.k.a. AIR). Ricky Gervais, the man behind "The Office," promises to be extremely British, representing the comedy portion of the festival. Spread across the city's finest venues (including Radio City Music Hall, Theatre at MSG and Hammerstien Ballroom) and backed by live-music behemoth Live Nation, High Line might make your pockets considerably lighter, but I hear the summer line at H&M is a steal.

- Joseph Coscarelli

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Arctic Monkeys / Favourite Worst Nightmare / Domino Records [2007]

Last set of WSN album reviews for the semester.

Arctic Monkeys
Favourite Worst Nightmare
Choice cuts:
"The Bad Thing," "505," "Teddy Picker"

Instead of going the way of the Killers and reliving the nightmare that was "Sam's Town," the youthful Brits with the inane name rewrote a page of the Strokes' handbook and did it the "Room on Fire" way. The Strokes squeezed out two solid albums, getting by on little more than squealing riffs and a healthy dose of cool. On "Favourite Worst Nightmare," the Arctic Monkeys replicate the mischievous sensation of their wildly successful debut, spewing similar stories with charm, wit and small-town sex appeal.

Like less dysfunctional Libertines or a less jaded Pulp, Arctic Monkeys rep the UK with that same signature snarl. From the leading track, the breakneck speed of "Brianstorm," complete with its distorted vocal line, resonates like the Monkeys of well, last year. It's not broke, and they sure as hell don't need to fix it. Like "Riot Van" from their debut "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not," they even drop the drums for a track, giving way to the dreamy reverb of "Only Ones Who Know."

Most vital, though, is the snarky, accented sneer of Alex Turner. Those familiar with the band know he has two modes: his higher register of drunken ecstasy and the low end of a groggy hangover. Whichever he employs, Turner has a flair for character study, giving us Anglophiles voyeuristic insight into seedy Sheffield while maintaining universality. Last time, the band relented when the sun went down, but on "Nightmare," they force you to see your mistakes by the light of the morning sun. Small-town shit or big-city hustle, Turner knows the same blokes and birds as you, from the bruisers to the heartbreakers - and it's this realization that keeps us listening the second time around.

- Joseph Coscarelli

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19 April 2007

New Website: Wireless Bollinger

Wireless Bollinger: Weekly rock webzine started late last year out of Australia

Landmark Review: My Blood Valentine's Loveless by Joseph Coscarelli

Coming Soon: Ratatat live review, Battles live review, Modest Mouse- Lonesome Crowded West (retro review)

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Blonde Redhead / 23 / 4AD [2007]

Blonde Redhead: WSN REVIEW
Choice cuts:
"Dr. Strangeluv," "Spring and by Summer Fall," "Heroine"

Avant-garde Blonde Redhead has retained its relevance for almost 15 years. By delicately shifting each album's dynamics, the band's canon is inarguably diverse, with the bass-driven "Fake Can Be Just as Good" and the synth-heavy "Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons." Blonde Redhead's latest effort, "23," takes the dreamy, orchestral route, with lush atmospherics and dense production.

Lead vocalist Kazu Makino is the band's linchpin. Her high-pitched, ghostly voice is layered for effect and weaves in and out of each song's thick noise. Like a subdued Björk, she guides the album's strongest tracks, including the epic "23," the rhythmic march of "Heroine" and the band's most accessible track to date, "Dr. Strangeluv." Makino's vocals are no longer abrasive and she rides a gentler melody, integrating soaring keyboards, chimes and cowbell. "Silently" sounds like it could be a rather straightforward Cranberries track from 1994, while Makino's husband, Amaedo Pace, assumes vocal duties for both "SW" and "Publisher," channeling Radiohead with startling accuracy.

The band's greatest strength is its malleability, playing chameleon to an array of influences including noise-rock, shoegaze, no-wave and psychedelia. While Blonde Redhead may never escape Sonic Youth comparisons, "23" exemplifies natural progression and is an acceptable addition to the band's increasingly grandiose back catalog.

- Joseph Coscarelli

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Mook / The Eggs EP / Battle of the Bands Submissions

Mook: Read about all the bands and vote HERE

Life, too often one beauty pageant after another, is best when a couple of goofy-looking, poorly dressed guys (a lá Pavement) can get their shit together and rock a little. Mook does exactly that. A spunky little four-piece, Mook displays an instrumental proficiency, but never sacrifices its indie-rock roots with a detour into prog. Instead, the start-and-stop influx of overdriven guitar and dirty organ provide the platform on which the vocals dominate. Descriptive, literate lyrics border on verbose but their sung/spoke delivery is sprinkled with carefully placed harmonies, making them sugary-sweet. Like Islands with less Paul Simon worship, the jazzy guitar work of Karate, handclaps and half-time, Mook's astute manipulation of influence give the band a familiar charm and a unique flair.

Their entry "The Eggs" EP is brimming with quirky potential and is instantly digestible thanks to the lively interplay between the keys and the six string. Their song "Quiet Sounds" is a hit, an attitude-infused foot-tapper that is not far off from the ever-so-hot pop-stomp of OK Go. Get these guys some treadmills and a choreographer and they're the next big thing.

- Joseph Coscarelli

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06 April 2007

CD of the Month: !!! Review on side bar of the Deli website

New Deli CD of the Month (April): "Myth Takes" by !!! (chk chk chk)

Sweaty club fiends need subtlety in their dance music like they need conversation in their nightlife; they prefer to just bump and grind. On the contrary, indie music dorks would rather be barraged with sonic intricacies than beaten over the head with thick bass and disco beats that might just get their hips gyrating. Fortunately for the centrist in us all, dance-punk veterans !!! cover all the bases on Myth Takes, combining Funkadelic absurdity and noisy guitars, resting them like a blanket over their knack for pop music. Deep and spastic vocals provide back-up ammunition for a percussive gun show, adding to the wall of commotion including crashing cymbals, thumping bass, and wild tambourine. !!! find the groove like X marked the spot and cause an uproar in the process- both in your speakers and on the dance floor. Myth Takes is far more cohesive than the band's back-catalog; !!! has perfected pacing as hook-laden shout-a-longs link seamlessly with ass-shaking club bangers. Tracks like "Must Be The Moon" could provide the band's launching pad and hint that it may be only a matter of time before the band leaves their contemporaries in the dust. "Infinifold" even supplies the night's final song, a tinkering piano ballad for last call, when the sweaty hipsters can grab their special someone by their skinny jeans and (slow)dance the ironic blues away.

- by Joseph Coscarelli .

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Jarvis Cocker / Jarvis / Rough Trade [2007]

Jarvis Cocker
Choice cuts: "Disney Time," "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time," "I Will Kill Again"

Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has taken his wry wit to the piano bench and crafted an expertly arranged condemnation of today's social landscape. "Jarvis" blends pessimism and bittersweet humor to produce a sardonic realism. Traditional pop arrangements of modest strings and guitar float gently around the anchor of keys.

In typical Cocker fashion, "Jarvis" is sex-infused lyrically, teetering between sensual sophistication and tawdry smut. The latter garners laughs when Cocker describes "some skinny bitch in some hot pants" on "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time." The song summons the feel-good stomp of "Instant Karma," coming off like John Lennon.

"Jarvis" is equal parts ballad and foot-tapping post-punk. "Black Magic" sounds like Spoon (which sounds like Pulp), before bursting into a Stones-y chorus ripe for a sing-a-long. "I Will Kill Again" perfects the disillusioned ballad: a portrait of a man in transition, considering the morality of pornography and expressing doubts about a new marriage.

Pessimistic uncertainty carries throughout the entire record. Cocker wrestles with internal demons (like fatherhood and celebrity) and the weight they carry. A lyricist first and foremost, Cocker isn't afraid to tackle the universal and it's timeliness, as he reminds us that indeed, "cunts are still running the world." Its eponymous title is a clear declaration. This is Jarvis' record and he proves he can stand on his own two feet, without the crutch of a band or a booming Britpop scene.
- Joseph Coscarelli

WSN Reviews

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Smore or Fire feature- Everybody's Working for the Weekend

Smoke or Fire

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