Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Ettes – Shake the Dust (SFTRI)

Jonk’s Music Blog

“The Ettes are a band you'll love to love, bringing with them a magical story, a great look, and a killer sound.”

I was surprised at some of the side information this little piece was offering, but then I got to the end, read this quote, and saw that this was the press release off of BMI. You couldn’t just say two lines in your own words? Christ. What’s the point?

Review Rating: n/a


Big Stereo
Writer: Travis

"I’ve hated The Ettes for about one year now. To be honest it is totally not fair. Easy now, I’m working it out. You know when you hate the prettiest girl in the room just because she’s hot? And you kind of just want her to trip up because you’re a little bit envious or jealous or whatever. It’s kind of like that. The Ettes are hot, and I kind of want them to trip.

A year ago their music was sloppy in a bad way. They sounded like a high school band at their first battle of the bands. But. Ok.They had a change of bass players and have totally 100% pulled it together. I’m glad. Their new single “No More Surprises” is totally worth checking out. They are so much tighter as a band… like they’re listening to each other play. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the production is totally top notch. The Ettes have found perfect pop rock."

Did you hate them because they were popular or because their music was “sloppy”? I’m guessing this isn’t really supposed to be a review...or even writing. The odd thing is that The Ettes quote this. Yes, totally.

Review Rating: 8%


The Beacon (Florida Int’l University Newspaper)
Writer: Samanta Qui’on

“Blending Nancy Sinatra style with the fiery swagger of the Stooges, the Ettes are the latest band to hit garage punk.

The trio formed just two years ago in L.A. and nabbed a record deal with Sympathy for the Record Industry through live shows and the support of local radio.

Shortly thereafter, their debut album, Shake the Dust, was recorded with renowned London garage rock producer Liam Watson.

With most songs averaging around two and a half minutes, there's no room to get bored.”

It reads like something from a college newspaper, but at least she’s covering a band nobody knows about, while doing a decent job at comparing the band’s sound.

Review Rating: 50%


Conclusion From Reviews:
The Ettes are said to sound like...The Stooges, The Ramones, Nancy Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Shangri-Las, Holly Golightly, The Rolling Stones, The Slits...and they’re garage rock...pop. And everyone digs it.

We barely found anything on The Ettes – nobody covered this band, even though they made it to 15 on CMJ’s top 200. They did indeed move from NY to LA, but might have benefited from a stay in Memphis along the way to get a little fried chicken grease into their sound. They have all the logistics in place - recording with Liam Watson, being on Sympathy, and getting a natural buzz - but like their cover of Reigning Sound’s “We Repel Each Other”, The Ettes’ inclination to over-polish their sound will leave fans of their influences skeptical. We definitely give them credit for the effort, and we certainly recommend this over a lot that is out there, but if you find yourself loving this, do yourself a favor and have a taste of a female-led band that has a little more bite to it, such as Miss Alex White and the Red Orchestra. The Ettes are worth a listen, but they haven't earned any invitations to bed.

Found Ettes Tracks:
No More Surprises

Reputation (live at Cinespace)
You can actually find this entire Cinespace set at YouTube. Just search on The Ettes.

Additional Listening:
Reigning SoundWe Repel Each Other (live at Goner Fest '05)
Miss Alex White and the Red OrchestraOut of Style
The Stooges – Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
The Slits – So Tough
Nancy Sinatra – Lightning’s Girl
Patsy Cline – Walkin’ After Midnight
The Shangri-Las – Sophisticated Boom Boom
Holly Golightly – Virtually Happy

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monte's New Music Supplement #1

Here's some rock and roll that you won't hear on the radio, see on MTV, or find reviews of in major magazines. Suckers don't know what they're missing.

Carbonas - Cold Waste (S/T - Raw Deluxe)
Miss Alex White & Chris Playboy - Makeout/Breakout (Live at Double Door - In the Red)
Fe Fi Fo Fums - In the Summertime (In the Summertime 7" - Boom Boom)
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions (Blood Visions - In the Red)
The King Khan & BBQ Show - Treat Me Like a Dog (What's For Dinner? - In the Red)
River City Tanlines - I'm Your Negative (I'm Your Negative - Dirtnap)
Dead Brothers - Trust in Me (Wunderkammer - Voodoo Rhythm)
The Nevermores - I Lost Lenore (Live at KDHX - 2006)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Comets On Fire – Avatar (Sub Pop)

Village Voice
Writer: Nikhil Swaminathan

“Over three albums, Comets on Fire proved themselves the type of band that compelled you to check the volume on your Discman/iPod before pressing play. Their take on psychedelia paired standard, bright organ tones and meandering guitar lines, furiously stirring them into a dusty typhoon of whirring Echoplex delay loops and inscrutable, near-hoarse vocals drifting by in ghostly waves. Or, for the crowd that craves conciseness: The band sounds like entropy put to CD.”

* If you don’t know your audience, you shouldn’t be writing the review. The writer wastes this half of their short review trying to be cute. I’m not reading Henry James – if you can be economical, do so.

“In terms of sheer intensity of sound, it's as if the Comets of old have been miniaturized and are looking up at you from inside a Grateful Dead lunch box.”

* This is so far off base that we laughed at the absurdity of this statement.

A completely wasted first paragraph, and some drastic misdirection in regards to the band’s sound, leaves this review impotent and hardly worth the data storage space it takes up on the Village Voice server.

Review Rating: 18%


Austin Chronicle
Writer: Audra Schroeder
Chronicle Rating: 4 stars

“Comets on Fire have finally gotten a handle on their big, hot noise.”

* Powerful jab in the first line, and it’s only potent because the writer successfully supports this statement throughout the rest of the review.

“And then, abruptly, it's over. Solid and gaseous, dark and light in all the right places, this is the Comets' brightest so far.”

* Straight-shooting, encapsulating concluding line.

This is a wonderful piece of writing. The writer backs up the statements, manages to include comparisons to previous releases, gives a lyric example, and talks a bit about the background of the band’s members…in a 255-word review! If you want to know about Comets on Fire’s Avatar, read this review. It’s a near-perfect review.

Review Rating: 96%


Stylus Magazine
Writer: Andrew Gaerig
Stylus Rating: B

“Comets on Fire have been underground rock’s best big-dick band since 2001; all of the psycho-sexual analysis about boys and their huge, noisy guitars, their missionary drum beatings, and their ritualistic raping/pillaging/chest-thumping: all true. K-K-K-K-Katmandu or bust, motherfuckers.”

* Did he just compare Comets On Fire to Bob Seger?

“At the center of this new focus, unfairly lost in the coming-to-a-hipster-near-you “they changed!” tempest, is not only some pretty worthwhile songwriting, but what are unquestionably the most nuanced and skillful compositions the Comets have ever conceived. Quivering prisms, gathered moss, motorik tension all mole their way into the strata; where once was a short, brutish master now lies a patient captain.”

* This is a valuable statement, but it comes more than halfway into the review, which is to say it comes too late.

“It is, instead, the band’s shimmering, addled mastery that propels the album, their arrangements more complex, their pop crate-digging more subtle. Avatar shows Comets capable of a level of sophistication and skill previously unconsidered. Their inner rock beasts may be screaming for Bob Seger, but a push toward their druggier, blustery work could yield the loutish classic they’ve been threatening for half a decade.”

* He did liken them to Bob Seger. Fuck. It’s a gratifying conclusion, but the Bob Seger references have to go.

It’s not an awful review, but it simply takes too long to get to the meat of what the writer is saying. It sounds like the writer is trying too hard to sound like a music critic – if he would’ve just written the review without all the clever flare, he would have had more success. The information is in there, but there’s too much the reader has to get through in order to extract it.

Review Rating: 55%


Conclusion From Reviews:
Everyone seems to agree that Comets On Fire have improved upon their foundations and have finally reached the potential they’ve shown they had in the past. The vocals are clearer and the music is more concise and focused. Almost everyone recommended this Sub Pop release (and we agree).

The psychedelic backdrop of Comets On Fire is unavoidable, but didn’t anyone recognize the jazz-like musical rants that beg some Allman Brothers comparisons? Although producer Tim Green is no Tom Dowd, he does a notable job on Avatar, bringing out the best of COF – taking out the masturbation jams and ushering in the artistic dynamics that made the Allman Brothers, and even the MC5, important.

Found Comets On Fire Tracks:
1. Dogwood Rust
2. Jaybird
3. Lucifer's Memory
4. The Swallow's Eye
5. Holy Teeth
6. Sour Smoke
7. Hatched Upon the Age

Additional Listening:
Howlin' Rain - In Sand and Dirt
Howlin' Rain - Roll on the Rusted Days
Colossal Yes - Just Like a Mademoiselle
Colossal Yes - The Honeycreeper Smiles
Six Organs of Admittance - Bless Your Blood
Six Organs of Admittance - The Desert is a Circle
Six Organs of Admittance - Wolves Pup
Six Organs of Admittance - Black Wall

Monday, October 02, 2006

Archie Bronson Outfit – Derdang Derdang (Domino)

Stylus Magazine
Writer: Justin Cober-Lake
Stylus Rating: B+

“The songwriting and composition makes the frequent garage/blues-rock comparisons shortsighted. While the UK band has tapped into the Southern gothic tradition, they resist becoming a part of it. Part of the joy of listening to the new album comes from the rush of near-relations that prove irrelevant just as the ABO train knocks them off the tracks.”

* Forceful correction of common misinterpretations by other media outlets is very much needed in criticism, and when it’s spot on, as this one is, it’s important that the reader gets the most accurate information and perspective.

“Even with its use of repetition and cross-reference, the album doesn't have a moment of excess. Windett may sing that he's "just dust and lust," but he and his band have put some craft into elevating, not that truth, but that fear. In doing so, they've sacrificed neither skill nor feeling, allowing the combination to feed into something bigger.”

* Another confident statement – excellent, especially coming in the concluding paragraph.

This writer has listened to this album through and through. His in-depth look at the lyrics shows he wasn’t cleaning his apartment while spinning the record – he displays an intimacy that every writer should strive for in a review. Everything is direct and to the point, without fluffing, and more importantly, sans the obligatory knockdowns that writers feel they need to include to sound objective.

Review Rating: 91%

Writer: Alan Baban
Cokemachineglow Rating: 65%

“Twenty puckered assholes crushed like mangos against the ramp -- if my memory serves me well, the peroxide bozo who had flagrantly disrupted Yo La Tengo’s set with requests for “MR. TOUGHHH!!” collapsed in a laughing sweat. The water cooler fountain had turned to steam; the Archie Bronson outfit executed coup after coup of bone vibrato, eschewing the Picnic and just plugging into the mainline. Those who bothered to turn up for their noontime Electric Picnic session in Dublin were treated to three south Londoners somehow evincing the embryonic murmur of Viking conquerors.”

* Awful introduction. Nobody knows what the hell you’re talking about, and as a quarter of the review, this is a waste of space, time, and energy – and it deters the reader from moving forward to hear what you have to say.

“Ultimately, there is enough great material here to keep a solid fanbase interested, and Derdang Derdang will no doubt attract new followers. The revolution, however, will have to wait: this recorded sound comes nowhere near their full-throttle potential; this album introduces the Archie Bronson Outfit minus their desensitising party trick; this collection disguises the fact that its better songs could swing like nooses on fire, titillating the tainted love of over-embellished Franz-a-likes if they were swimming a bit more left of the dial. The actual results simply leave this debut as a promising pamphlet manifesto, and not the Maenad-swarming rally cries their live show would have you expect.”

* First, use spellcheck (writer's fault just as much as the editor's). Secondly, again with the incoherent ranting. Thirdly, this isn’t their debut. The actual results of this review are conclusive: it's shit.

Read the remark above regarding shit. He rips the production – the producer is Jacquire King, who engineered most of Tom Waits’ 21st Century albums, Kings of Leon’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, and Modest Mouses’ acclaimed Good News... Not a bad resume, but the point is that King has proven he is able to give the proper sound to the specific artist. On a side note, Hotel, one half of The Kills, produced their first album, Fur.

Review Rating: 16%

Writer: Lee Fullington
Prefixmag Rating: 4 stars

“Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, the band's second full-length is the juddering result of what happens when you lock three English guys in an old and possibly decaying farmhouse with just their instruments and then thrust them off to the American South to see what kind of feral voodoo claws its way into a record. This album is so dirty you can see the filth caked under its fingernails. It's garage rock, sure, but it's so much bigger and heavier and totally bloody-knuckled from a bar fight.”

* A few statements that end up not having a lot of support, but to the writer’s credit, it’s a short review, and he makes statements like he knows what he’s talking about…

“It's all the frustration of wanting to be with your lover when she's not there, a feeling that's heightened because the taste of her lips is still on yours -- probably because you bit hers and drew blood.”

* …and though the review lacks specific examples from the lyrics, the writer obviously understands the spirit and meaning of the album. Regarding examples, again, it’s a brief review, so you can get by without them.

“Jacquire King is a beast of a producer. The drums on "Dart for My Sweetheart" are heavy and hollow, as if they're in a huge warehouse and all the air is getting swallowed up in the toms. "Got to Get Your Eyes" is sinister, a contusion of noise. It's so heavy that it made me queasy.”

* That last line is perfectly simple, bringing home his point.

Decent mid-length review, but it’s missing a solid conclusion, and as stated before, that will hurt any review. However, the writer gives the basics so well that it’s difficult not to praise his efforts, and the reader will not have a problem understanding what this album is about and whether they should pick it up or not.

Review Rating: 76%


Conclusion From Reviews:
This album is catchy, is about unrequited love, combined with the desperate teeter-totter of wanting it back and wanting to get over it, and is heavily laced with sexual desire. The Archie Bronson Outfit do not fall into any one hole of sound – they have created a style they can call their own. There’s no doubt it’s good, but it is apparent that it’ll come down to individual taste to determine whether you’ll like it, like-like it, or love it. Sample and see.

The actually has a nice little bio on Archie Bronson Outfit. Being on Domino has been a curse just as much as its been a blessing, with Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys overshadowing ABO the last couple years. The kicker is that ABO may be the best of the bunch.

Found Archie Bronson Outfit Tracks:
1. Cherry Lips
2. Kink
3. Dart for My Sweetheart
4. Got to Get (Your Eyes)
5. Dead Funny
6. Modern Lovers
7. Cuckoo
8. Jab Jab
9. How I Sang Dang
10. Rituals
11. Harp for My Sweetheart

Cherry Lips (this video is definitely rated R)
Dart For My Sweetheart
Dead Funny

ABO is touring the United States at the end of October. They're hitting LA, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, D.C., Philly, Cambridge, and NYC.

Additional Listening:
Tom Waits - Coney Island Baby (from Blood Money)
Kings of Leon - The Bucket (from Aha Shake Heartbreak)
Kings of Leon - King of the Rodeo (from Aha Shake Heartbreak)
Modest Mouse - Float On (from Good News For People Who Love Bad News)