(9 out of 10)
Forget, for a moment, the circumstances that brought The Lost Tapes into existence. Forget the execrable history that most important bands have when it comes to archival releases. Forget, if it’s possible, that Can hasn’t released any new music since 1989’s middling Rite Time. Forget those things and ask yourself: If you could go out and buy a new Can album today, what would you want it to sound like?
[Originally posted July 12, 2012 on my Orlando Music News blog at OrlandoWeekly.com.]
After I posted that item yesterday asking whether Gunpowder Temple was “one of the best bands in Orlando,” the response that it got was what I expected, but not quite what I had hoped for. I mean, of courseGunpowder Temple isn’t “one of the best bands in Orlando.” They’re just a bunch of kids who are trying to play music and trying to make it work – just like every other local band everywhere. Even though the whole “modern rock” style they’ve chosen to pursue is uninspired (and uninspiring), the fact remains that they’ve made the decision to navigate the treacherous waters of club promoters, media, and whatever weird thing “the music business” is today in the hopes that they’ll get a chance to rock out in front of a crowd of appreciative fans. Which means that, unlike about the 90% of the world that exists as passive consumers, the kids in Gunpowder Temple have decided to be active creators. And that’s a good thing.
(4 out of 5)
Lars Finberg is one of the brightest and funniest dudes in the rock underground right now. He also makes great music, not just with his “main” band, the Intelligence, but also with Thee Oh Sees and … well, a lot of others. The Intelligence’s sixth album shows off a more restrained version of incisive, post-punk-y noise-pop, with cuts like “The Entertainer” and “Sunny Backyard” locking into beefy garage-tinged grooves, while more sober numbers like “Techno Tuesday” and “Dim Limelights” split the difference between XTC and Ted Leo.
First appeared June 21, 2012 in Orlando Weekly.
(9 out of 10)
For many people – especially in the United States – Neneh Cherry’s career began and ended with “Buffalo Stance,” which is why The Cherry Thing is being greeted like some sort of unexpected comeback. The thing is, Cherry never really went anywhere, and, more importantly, has spent far more time toiling on the experimental and interesting fringes of contemporary music than she ever did on MTV. The stepdaughter of Don Cherry was a bona fide founding member of the British post-punk/dub scene, working with both Rip Rig and Panic and the Slits, she released two albums after Raw Like Sushi that were incredible works of soul-pop perfection, she was a spiritual midwife to the Bristol trip-hop scene, she’s been working with her husband in the prog-funk group known as Cirkus, and, now, she’s collaborating with baritone saxophonist Mats Gustaffson’s free-jazz group, the Thing … a group that was named after, yes, a Don Cherry song. So while The Cherry Thing is definitely a new chapter, it’s in a book that Neneh Cherry’s been diligently writing for three decades now.
[Oh my god. The comments I got on this. Ultravox fans are … wow … they’re pretty dedicated. Still, this record is kinda crap, and yeah, I know what I’m talking about.]
(2 out of 5)
In a recent interview with the Spanish magazineMetropoli, former Ultravox singer John Foxx had this to say about nostalgia: “It’s an illness. It’s a kind of death. Why should anyone attempt to imitate themselves as a young man – often a foolish young man? You have to be blind, vain, and terribly insecure to do this. There is absolutely no point in looking backwards when there is still so much to investigate.” While he wasn’t being asked about the band he founded, it’s pretty clear that Foxx would think that the idea of Ultravox reuniting with his replacement (Midge Ure) is faintly ridiculous for a number of reasons – and it’s not hard to disagree with that assessment.
Taking on vintage Bollywood the same way that Dengue Fever takes on Cambodian pop, the Bombay Royale manage to evoke the bold glamour and easy swagger of R.D. Burman’s ’60s and ’70s soundtracks while adding just the right amount of cheeky, surf-rockin’ groove to get modern Western audiences to pay attention. The 11-piece band hails from Melbourne, Australia, but their covers of filmi classics like “Jaan Pehechan Ho” and the danceable, hard-swinging originals like “Dacoit’s Choice” that make up most of the record are Bombay-legit and essential party music.
First appeared May 31, 2012 in Orlando Weekly.
(9.5 out of 10)
Over the years, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake has been reissued on CD seven different times by the same label, so any skepticism regarding whether or not this most recent 3-CD “deluxe edition” by that same label is the ultimate/definitive/perfect/never-to-be-topped version is well-warranted.