Volume: Guest Review Of The Month Terrel Robinson

The Stills

Without Feathers

Vice

***

Well I’ve actually taken quality time to sit down and listen to this CD. From the sounds of it (no pun intended), I can dig it. This is iPod music for sure, ladies and gentlemen. Some of the songs were a

little too weird for me, though. I’m not a country dude, just so you know, you know? One of the songs on the album that I liked was track three, “She’s Walkin’ Out.” Come on, every guy who’s reading this has had that happen to him. You know how it goes. Just kiddin’ with y’all fools. But all jokes aside… you gotta let the music touch you in some way. And not in a Michael-Jackson-touchin’-the-kids kinda way. You know what I’m trying to say? This is a really good CD. Thank you, TransWorld, for givin’ a brotha the opportunity to listen to The Stills. I give this two thumbs up-two black thumbs up.-Terell Robinson

Morrissey

Ringleader Of The Tormentors

Sanctuary

****

Look, no matter what haters say about Morrissey, when a significant portion of the man’s fan base includes thousands of East L.A. gangbangers, that pretty much settles it-he’s a badass. Hating on him is pointless. Sure, he’s a celibate dandy and an outspoken vegan, but he was also the vocalist for The Smiths, one of greatest rock bands of the late 20th century. And, unlike numerous other frontmen who’ve chosen to go it alone, Morrissey’s post-Smiths career hasn’t been all that bad either. He’s consistently had a few brilliant songs on every album.

Ringleader Of The Tormentors is perhaps his finest solo effort since 1988’s Viva Hate. Standout tracks include “You Have Killed Me,” “The Youngest Was The Most Loved,” and “Life Is A Pigsty.” When The Mozzer belts, “There is no such thing in life as normal,” you best believe he’s speaking your language.-Arlie Carstens

The Fever

In The City Of Sleep

Kemado

***

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you find yourself running around an abandoned and probably haunted carnival in the middle of the night? Like, all the lights are on but no one’s there and that creepy organ and whistle music is coming from somewhere? The rides are going but there aren’t any riders. Maybe you hear some disembodied children’s laughter, which is maybe the creepiest thing in the world. Man, that is super scary.

The only thing that would maybe make that dream worse is if there was a dead clown somewhere or maybe a flayed horse wearing a birthday hat and a mask. Or one of those organ grinder monkeys-you know those, right? Those things are weird. Anyhow, The Fever is like that dream. Except instead of being all scary and pants-wetting, it’s pretty cool actually. What are these guys, like Nick Cave’s kids or something?-Andreas Trolf

Human Television

Look At Who You’re Talking To

Gigantic Music

****

Guess what? I moved. I live in San Francisco now. It’s pretty cool here, I guess. I’ve even got girl trouble already. I’m sure you’re asking yourselves, “But, Andreas, you only just got there. What gives?” I’ll tell you what gives, I’m an idiot.

I’m here, like, maybe a month and I’m already whining to you about how this girl I like doesn’t like me back. I really should learn to be more of a man about these things, right? It sure is a good thing I’ve got this new Human Television album to put on while I mope around my new house on these frequent rainy days. The minimalist fuzz and drone and loops make me feel pretty darn good. I almost want to dance a little bit-by which I mean swaying gently back and forth while looking out the window, while wondering if these guys know how much they sound like The Wedding Present or My Bloody Valentine (btw, that’s a good thing).-Andreas Trolf

Mr. Lif

Mo’ Mega

Def Jux

** (2.5/5)

One of the perks here at TWS is getting free CDs in the mail three months before they hit the streets. But sometimes they won’t play on computers (copy protection) or they’ll have irritating voice-overs that interrupt the music every seconds (another form of copy protection). File Mr. Lif’s new album in the latter category: Butting-in the otherwise lovely beats of fellow Def Jockey El-P was the phrase, “June 13, Mr. Lif, Mo’ Mega,” over and over and over. I know music piracy is a real pain in the ass, especially for smallish labels like Def Jux, but what’s a better scenario: Albums leaked early to fans, or 150 words of editorial space wasted by an impatient editor?

As far as a review goes, El-P’s sludgy Blade Runnery beats are on point as usual, while the NyQuil-voiced, DayQuil-brained Lif is political as usual. And I mean that in a bad way, as in a leave-the-politics-for-C-SPAN way.-Carleton Curtis

The Lovely Feathers

Hind Hind Legs

Equator

***

Damn, so is Montreal the new hotbed for musical talent? The Dears, The Stills, Stars, The Arcade Fire, and now here’s The Lovely Feathers. It’s hard to describe their music: It’s poppy, catchy, quirky, but I can’t really say they sound like any of those other bands. Their label says they’re somewhere between Modest Mouse and Broken Social Scene, and their press release calls their music “blossomy, extractive post-punk infused eccentric pop.” Huh? Anywho, they toured with fellow Canadians Metric last fall, and that band is good. Their sound varies dramatically over these thirteen tracks, so there’s probably a little jam in there for the sponsor-me or homey video that you’re working on. Because that’s all the kids listen to music for nowadays anyway.-Blair Alley

Serena Maneesh

Serena Maneesh

Playlouderecordings

****

When Carleton asked me to review the new album by Norway’s Serena Maneesh, he said it was “sort of a metal thing.” I said, “Yeah, sure. Send it my way. I love metal.” But y’know, I’ve been listening to and reviewing an awful lot of metal lately, and to be truthful, it’s starting to leave a pretty sketchy taste in my mouth. Honestly, who’d have thought metal would one day become the darling of “the scene”? Really, all of a sudden everyone from weepy indie rockers to bar-hopping West Hollywood sled dogs just love metal. Not even kidding. So boy was I relieved to discover there isn’t a metal bone in Serena Maneesh’s collective body. Lead singer/guitarist Emil Nikolaisen looks like a creepy cross between Jimi Hendrix and LeTigre’s JD (wispy mustache, headband, and all!), but don’t let that stop you.-Arlie Carstens

The Black Heart Procession

The Spell

Touch And Go

****

What would you say to The Black Heart Procession if you were hanging out with them? “Nice work, fellows, I’m going to slowly slit my wrists right now.” Maybe you want them to be a bit happier and you try to cheer them up or something. “Here, have some ice cream!” you might offer. They’d be all, “Naah, that’s cool, man,” and then do that thing where you stuff your hands deep inside your pockets and look at the ground and kick an imaginary pebble.

But what can you say about them? Beautifully orchestrated melancholy. Intelligent, lyrical gloom? All I know is that this is perfect for listening to in a darkened room with the blinds drawn and the rain gently falling outside, making a soft drone. Maybe you can smoke a couple cigarettes and drink a bunch of coffee and feel all emotional, too. That would fit. You could briefly consider learning to play the piano or you might want to write a novel and move to Europe. That all kind of fits.-Andreas Trolf

Poo Poodles

Here Comes The Future…The Future Is Now

The Quiet Life

***

A bit short, a bit abstract, and a bit strange is the only description that seems to fit the Poo Poodles. And this 25-track, best-of compilation brings together the most Pooish recordings in the band’s ten-year, five-album history, making it impossible to compare to any other recordings that are being put out today. The Poodles make music on Andy Mueller’s Quiet Life label-he also happens to be the artist behind some graphics at Girl Skateboards. The songs are short-not one is longer than about a minute-but with instruments from synthesizers to the harmonica, the music just keeps rolling. It only takes fifteen minutes of music for the Poodles to define the true meaning of punk via Freddy Mercury while holding a tribute to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist John Frusciante. Make sure to approach this album with an open mind, ’cause if you don’t, the Poo Poodles will certainly open it for you.-Ben Kelly

The Walkmen

A Hundred Miles Off

Record Collection

****

I read somewhere that the dudes in The Walkmen are all certified geniuses. Like in Mensa. I heard their drummer speaks approximately eleven languages and their singer invented electricity. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they’re all child prodigies who decided one day during recess at their genius-child school to start solving crimes in their hometown. Then later, after the thrill of solving mysteries wore a bit thin, they decided to turn their energies toward making totally decent, literate popish/rockish music that smart girls who wear glasses and sweaters but are nonetheless totally cute are into.

Anyhow, A Hundred Miles Off is a pretty damn nice album, which just so happens to meander all over the place in terms of its sound. It’s got its faults, but who among us doesn’t? There’s some Latin flair, but a minute later you’d swear it was The Pixies or something. The Walkmen can be brooding and pretentious, but sometimes, you know, that can work for you.-Andreas Trolf

Band Of Horses

Everything All The Time

Sub Pop

**** (4.5/5)

Hailing from Seattle, Band Of Horses features singer/guitarist Ben Bridwell and guitarist Mat Brooke formerly of Carissa’s Wierd (yes, intentionally misspelled). Where their previous group was an oft-hyped but hardly there exercise in awkward musicianship and overwrought melancholia, B Of H brings the goods proper. The debut Everything All The Time is an outstanding album. With pipes strikingly similar to both Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Bridwell has that rare and wonderful knack for sounding gleefully optimistic yet unwaveringly miserable all at once. The guitars sprawl, the drums crack, and the words get in your bones. If you’re a fan of Grandaddy, Brian Wilson, or The Flaming Lips, Band Of Horses will surely move you.-Arlie Carstens

UPCOMING RELEASES

The In Sound From Way Out!

May 16

Thievery Corporation, Versions

Dinosaur Jr. Where You Been and Green Mind (reissues)

Radio 4, Enemies Like This

June 6

Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped

The Bouncing Souls, The Gold Record

Boards Of Canada, Trans Canada Highway (EP)

June 13

Cut Chemist, The Audience’s Listening

Good Riddance, My Republic

Kelis, Kelis Was Here

June 20

Frank Black, Fastman/Raiderman

July 4

Polyphonic Spree, The Fragile Army

-not one is longer than about a minute-but with instruments from synthesizers to the harmonica, the music just keeps rolling. It only takes fifteen minutes of music for the Poodles to define the true meaning of punk via Freddy Mercury while holding a tribute to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist John Frusciante. Make sure to approach this album with an open mind, ’cause if you don’t, the Poo Poodles will certainly open it for you.-Ben Kelly

The Walkmen

A Hundred Miles Off

Record Collection

****

I read somewhere that the dudes in The Walkmen are all certified geniuses. Like in Mensa. I heard their drummer speaks approximately eleven languages and their singer invented electricity. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they’re all child prodigies who decided one day during recess at their genius-child school to start solving crimes in their hometown. Then later, after the thrill of solving mysteries wore a bit thin, they decided to turn their energies toward making totally decent, literate popish/rockish music that smart girls who wear glasses and sweaters but are nonetheless totally cute are into.

Anyhow, A Hundred Miles Off is a pretty damn nice album, which just so happens to meander all over the place in terms of its sound. It’s got its faults, but who among us doesn’t? There’s some Latin flair, but a minute later you’d swear it was The Pixies or something. The Walkmen can be brooding and pretentious, but sometimes, you know, that can work for you.-Andreas Trolf

Band Of Horses

Everything All The Time

Sub Pop

**** (4.5/5)

Hailing from Seattle, Band Of Horses features singer/guitarist Ben Bridwell and guitarist Mat Brooke formerly of Carissa’s Wierd (yes, intentionally misspelled). Where their previous group was an oft-hyped but hardly there exercise in awkward musicianship and overwrought melancholia, B Of H brings the goods proper. The debut Everything All The Time is an outstanding album. With pipes strikingly similar to both Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Bridwell has that rare and wonderful knack for sounding gleefully optimistic yet unwaveringly miserable all at once. The guitars sprawl, the drums crack, and the words get in your bones. If you’re a fan of Grandaddy, Brian Wilson, or The Flaming Lips, Band Of Horses will surely move you.-Arlie Carstens

UPCOMING RELEASES

The In Sound From Way Out!

May 16

Thievery Corporation, Versions

Dinosaur Jr. Where You Been and Green Mind (reissues)

Radio 4, Enemies Like This

June 6

Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped

The Bouncing Souls, The Gold Record

Boards Of Canada, Trans Canada Highway (EP)

June 13

Cut Chemist, The Audience’s Listening

Good Riddance, My Republic

Kelis, Kelis Was Here

June 20

Frank Black, Fastman/Raiderman

July 4

Polyphonic Spree, The Fragile Army