Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review Round Up! ~ Puddle of Mudd, Bon Jovi, Slayer, Ke$ha, The Disengagement, Bob Dylan, am/fm dreams, Pathological Lovers, Dead Language,

Whoops! I haven't done this in awhile. Here's all The Scope music reviews I've done since the Last review Round-up. I'm starting with this review of Puddle Of Mudd's horrible new album: "Volume 4: Songs In The Key of Love and Hate". This was rejected by The Scope for being too obscene or something. Whatever! Pansies! Onward the reviews!

Puddle of Mudd
Volume 4: Songs In The Key of Love and Hate
Oh God... So it's come to this? This is what mainstream modern rock music has come to? This despicable 36 minute audio tumor? Puddle of Mudd have sold 7 million CDs! In this day and age that's equivalent to around 70 million 1980's albums. Their horrible song "Blurry" is one of the most played songs on the radio of the last 10 years! Wes Scantlin's voice is like shitting sandpaper. Listening to his strained nasal mewl spew out poetry like "Let’s get it over and just get naked with sweat dripping down your little back" is enough to make your genitals recede all the way back into your body. This album is like a hundred screaming colonoscopies in a building on fire. It's like having a catheter inserted in you and ripped out again over and over and over by a very angry orangutan, or maybe a very angry Fred Durst.

Bon Jovi
The Circle
Jon Bon Jovi is here to help you America! His grand ageing carapace keeps his hand on his heart (which is swaddled in the American flag) while he Rides into town on the back of a majestic unicorn soaring through the sky on clouds formed from the purest, gossamer nebula of cheese. Jon Bon Jovi woke up from his giant platinum bed in the sky and through the power of his magic douche goggles he saw that America was in trouble. Instantly he knew that only his retarded over produced power balladry could save the day for all the soccer moms out there in desperate need of his ridiculous, grandiloquent, throat-ripping choruses. With anthems like "Work for the Working man", "We weren't born to follow" and "Brokenpromiseland" he clearly is at heart a true working class hero and clearly not a vapid, ultra-processed, piece of auditory vomit with a thousand dollar hairdo and cadre of image consultants.

The Disengagement
Masters in Escapism
You ignore the west coast long enough and eventually they try to sneak some awesome albums by you without you noticing. The sophomore release "Masters in Escapism" from Stephenville native band The Disengagement is a tasty slab of guitar driven rock with a distinct 90's indie throwback edge to it. The album is busy with the sounds densely layered with great inventive guitar lines and rambunctious drum work throughout. The songs are full and rich but are thankfully left natural and unpolished with the just right level of murk present to ease your head in pillow of guitar fuzz as you listen through your headphones. If I had to be a boring music reviewer and compare them to other bands I'd say their kinda reminiscent to a poppier sounding Built to Spill with some "Washing Machine" era Sonic Youth thrown in for good measure. A thoroughly enjoyable hard plastic disc from out of left field.

World Painted Blood
What's wrong with prepositions? Why couldn't they call the album "World Painted in Blood"? All their other album titles make sense grammatically. But I digress. Slayer, if they didn't invent the genre of thrash metal they certainly perfected it 23 years ago with 1986's Reign in Blood and their fans have pretty much looked disapprovingly at everything else they've put out since then. But metal fans are mostly assholes when you get down to it. Slayer's signature sound and quality haven't really changed at all in the 9 albums since "Reign" and when your catalogue is that consistent or in other words totally interchangeable, fans will always value the first album they got into above the others. Pretty much every Slayer fan starts out with "Reign in Blood". So is World Painted Blood heavy? Hell yes it's fuckin' Slayer! Is it identical to every other album they've put out? Hell yes it's fuckin' Slayer!

Bob Dylan
Christmas In The Heart
I'm pretty sure Bob Dylan could record himself raping a llama for 45 minutes and a certain ageing section of the population would hail it as "an amazing display of evocative and confrontational songwriting prowess". I know it's not really kosher to be overly critical of charity albums (all profits go to help the World Food Programme which sounds like a fine charity) and I know you gotta set the bar lower when criticizing Christmas records and I've had a long history of barely tolerating mister Dylan; but honestly, was anybody (not obsessed with irony) really begging for 45 minutes of Bob gargling his intestines through 15 ancient, cornball Christmas standards? Everything on the album is so syrupy and over produced Dylan's presence is like throwing a dying horse into thedebutante's ball. Hearing Dylan sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing is like listening to a pit-bull choke on a bag of marbles, it's totally hilarious.

am/fm dreams
Whistle and Sing
With this being their third full length release this year I don't think anyone will call am/fm dreams a lazy band anytime soon. Maybe lazy in terms of gigging and promotion but certainly not in terms of writing and recording. On Whistle and Sing am/fm dreams change stylistic gears again turning away from the retro grunge of last February's "Plaid Album" and the synth-pop of January's "Suburban Teenage Riot". This time around they opt for a stripped down, strictly acoustic sound with 17 short and sweet, banjo and harmony rich tunes all concerned with mortality and matters domestic. The recording and production is as tasteful and rich as always with delicately balanced arrangements that are simple but inventive and really help to highlight the songwriting which is some of their strongest yet. And Just think, the February RPM is just 2 months away, that ain't much time before they kick your ass with another full length!
listen to it here.

Pathological Lovers
Calling All Favours
The Pathological Lovers' debut album Calling All Favours is an hour long propulsive blast of high energy rock ambition. Jody Richardson with his miracle pipes (voted best local rockstar two years in a row don'tcha know) sounds as passionate and powerful as he ever has and the production sparkles and snaps as it should. The thing is The Lovers seem to be suffering from a bit of ADD nowadays. Very few songs are played straight. Big left turns, sudden change ups and complicated wordplay are paramount throughout a lot of the album and can make it a bit of a challenge to absorb at times. It would risk being too much to take if it weren't for the fact that everyone involved is givin' it their all and playing at the height of their game. But when Jody hits on the vocal hooks and keeps everything as direct as possible like on songs "Wednesday", "Change is Good" or the beautiful closer "Parking lot in life" the album really soars.

Dead Language
Local pickers and crooners the Dead Language's debut self-titled album proves a fine display of their spare and delicate arrangements and a showcase for singer/songwriter Katie Baggs rich and enchanting vocals. The songs have a direct rustic simplicity to them with a surprising amount of restraint shown in the guitar, banjo, mandolin and violin combinations with no one player dominating the spotlight, choosing instead to subtly fill in the empty space with their understated pluckings while Katie's voice seduces you. Obvious standouts are the ballads "Breath by Breath" and the album opener "The Dance" which are just total heart rippers. This is a CD that falls into the rare list of albums where the hidden end track is one of the most compelling on the record, the sprightly and energetic instrumental would've been better placed somewhere in the second half where the pace starts to drag. All in all a truly lovely set of ballads and lullabies.

Am I a 14 year old girl?
Not the last time I checked.
I have no business listening to this album. Mainstream pop music has always been run by an evil consortium of Hollywood Svengali, Freemasons and Swedish engineers but now in 2010 it's reached the point where I feel like I'm reviewing a Reebok sneaker. No there's definitely more honest artistic expression in a typical sneaker then what I hear here. The Milli Vanilli scandal would never have happened nowadays, why bother hiring nameless studio singers to cover up for your VH1 drone's total lack of talent when you can just drench a shit ton of autotune over every worthless syllable they drunkenly mutter? I guess all the stupid Hot Topic kids who grew up watching "The Hills" or "Paris Hiltons New BFF" looking for role models need something to reaffirm their worthless lives before the real world inevitably crushes their dreams. I've always hated teenagers and I always will.