Archives for November 2003

Chris Smither – Train Home

Chris SmitherTrain Home Chris Smither has been doing what he does for years now, and what he does is pretty simple. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a well-worn boot heel, Smither spins out haunting, surprisingly melodic blues. Like the late John Lee Hooker, Smither metronomically taps out the rhythm with his foot (Smither makes sure each … [Read more...]

Mono – One More Step and You Die

MonoOne More Step and You Die It's impossible to discuss Japanese art/punk/rock/instrumental band Mono without also bringing up comparisons to both Sigur Ros and Mogwai. From the massive guitar soundwalls of the former (sans cello bow), to the nontraditional snare hits eternally warping 4/4 time of the latter, the comparisons are inevitable... yet … [Read more...]

The Dutch Flat – Ghosts

The Dutch FlatGhosts The Dutch Flat, an ever-rotating bunch of three to five guys, lives in Portland, Ore. To my knowledge, that's not really a place known for music. Their former residence was Seattle, which as we all know as the home of all things rock. But don't write The Dutch Flat off as just another rock band that thinks it's the best thing … [Read more...]

Calico System – The Duplicated Memory

Calico SystemThe Duplicated Memory I admit it: I have a bad habit. I take one look at a band's art and lyrics and instantly judge them. It's not like I mean to. It just sort of happens. Thankfully, most times the music overturns my opinion of them, and I come off relieved that I didn't actually say anything to anyone about my stupid opinion. I'm … [Read more...]

The Von Trapps – This is the Van Trapps EP

The Von TrappsThis is the Van Trapps EP The four songs included on this mini-EP are all delightful, using shiny guitars and crystalline vocals and harmonies, backed by the occasional piano, a perky though steady rhythm section, and some thoroughly crafty production. As the whole thing comes in just under 15 minutes, it can really only be considered … [Read more...]

The Lovethugs – Playground Instructors

The LovethugsPlayground Instructors The Lovethugs are yet another Rainbow Quartz offering, and like their label-mates the Jessica Fletchers and the Three4Tens, they offer the sounds of old-school rock, everything from Liverpool to lysergic. This band's particular influence seems to be the Doors (in their less heavy-handed moments), represented here … [Read more...]

Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway

Sun Kil MoonGhosts of the Great HighwaySince leaving the once benevolent bosom of 4AD after the Red House Painters' fourth long-player, Ocean Beach, way back in 1995, life hasn't been made easy for followers of Mark Kozelek's single-minded muse. Through a combination of record label misanthropy and willful contrariness, Kozelek has kept his … [Read more...]

K.C. Accidental – Captured Anthems for an Empty Bathtub

K.C. AccidentalCaptured Anthems for an Empty Bathtub The main critique of instrumental rock albums that I can discern is the fundamental disconnect that exists between performer and listener. While these albums often enjoy a positive critical support base (Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Godspeed), their appeal to the masses falls short of the … [Read more...]

Astropop 3 – Anything / Never Seen the Sun CD Single

Astropop 3Anything / Never Seen the Sun CD SingleSometimes certain types of music are just perfect for certain days. Take today, for example: where I am (Valdosta, GA), it's sunny, with a cloudless brilliant blue sky. There's a slight breeze, and the temperature is about 74 degrees (give or take). It's one of those days you just want to sit outside … [Read more...]

Tiara – The Summer of the Lion, the Summer of the Lamb

TiaraThe Summer of the Lion, the Summer of the Lamb Tiara's The Summer of the Lion, the Summer of the Lamb is much more a docile creature than a ferocious and aggressive lion. Here is an album that has been doused with melody, and as a result it often showcases dripping lush arrangements. It begins with the prophetic "Something Good to Come." … [Read more...]