Monthly Archives: May 2012

Nada Surf – Let Go / 2002

Nada Surf enjoyed a buzz-bin moment in 1996 with the high school satire “Popular,” and while the extremely groovy guitar ripples stuck in your head long after the joke was over, it wasn’t the kind of hit that suggests a long-term career, as Harvey Danger or the Primitive Radio Gods would be happy to explain to you.

So the New York guitar-rock trio hit the indie trail to earn its cred the hard way, and after the Weezer-like introspection of 2000’s startlingly great The Proximity Effect, Nada Surf get it all together on Let Go, the band’s… Read More best by a mile. Let Go is an excellent rainy-afternoon album, full of gentle and melancholic beauty, with echoes of Love and the Beach Boys. In “Blizzard of ’77,” “Blonde on Blonde” and “The Way You Wear Your Head,” Nada Surf show enough smarts and panache to leave most of their Nineties-rock peers eating hot dust. ROB SHEFFIELD

Let Go (2002)
1. Blizzard Of 77
2. The Way You Wear Your Head
3. Fruit Fly
4. Blonde On Blonde
5. Inside Of Love
6. Hi-speed Soul
7. No Quick Fix
8. Killian’s Red
9. La Pour Ca’s
10. Happy Kid
11. Treading Water
12. Paper Boats
13. If You Leave (omd Cover)


Inside of Love .mp3



Trampled by Turtles – Palomino / 2010

-] by j. poet

It’s hard to come up with a memorable band name that sticks in a listener’s head, and on that score alone Trampled by Turtles is worth your time. It’s also a moniker that doesn’t telegraph the band’s sound, nor does it paint the group into a stylistic corner. That said, this Duluth, MN quintet does have a niche, but it’s one that the band has carved out all on its own. Call it bluegrass thrash if you like, a rip-snortin’, fire-breathin’ kind of post-punk folk music that mashes up traditional country picking with a decidedly rock & roll approach. Their energy is so fierce it may take a few tracks before you realize that there’s no drummer here, just five guys playing with such driving energy that a drummer is implied by their staccato instrumental prowess. Things kick off with a couple of tunes that almost leave the speakers of your sound system smoking — “Wait So Long” starts out fast, then goes into overdrive, an angry cry of frustration from a guy who wants to be more than a best friend to his gal.

Songwriter, guitarist, and singer Dave Simonett wails his heart out while Ryan Young‘s supersonic fiddle tosses gasoline on the fire. “It’s a War” starts at a high-speed pace and doesn’t let up, with Young‘s fiddle screaming like the siren on a rampaging fire engine. “Help You” is a rock tune played bluegrass style, with Dave Carroll‘s banjo and Erik Berry‘s mandolin splitting the solos that would usually be taken by a lead guitar. The band is just as impressive on slow tunes that allow you to appreciate Simonett‘s songwriting chops. “Again” is a slow, smoky rumination on a self-destructive relationship that burns on even though both lovers know it’s a losing proposition, “Separate” is a quirky folk-pop tune with a cryptic lyric and inventive use of rhythm banjo, while “Gasoline” recalls a bluesy Appalachian lament with Carroll‘s clanging banjo and Simonett‘s defeated vocal.

Track List:
1. Wait So Long
2. Victory
3. It’s A War
4. Separate
5. Bloodshot Eyes
6. New Son/Burnt Iron
7. Help You
8. Feet And Bones
9. Gasoline
10. Sounds Like A Movie
11. New Orleans
12. Again

  Bloodshot Eyes


Third Eye Foundation – I Poo Poo On Your Juju / 2001


  1. Yann Tiersen – La Dispute (3rd Eye Foundation remix) 6:29
  2. Tarwater – To Describe You (3rd Eye Foundation mix) 5:46
  3. Urchin – Snuffed Candles (3rd Eye Foundation version) 8:57
  4. The Remote Viewer – All of the WCKWC Want to Be Abstract (3ef version) 6:42
  5. Matt Elliott vs. Chris Morris – Push Off My Wire 6:42
  6. Blonde Redhead – Four Damaged Lemons 5:08
  7. Faultline – Mute (3rd Eye Foundation remix) 6:25
  8. Glanta Vs Third Eye Foundation – When I Dance 8:55

First released in US / 2001

Length: 50:06

I Poo Poo on Your Juju — surely a more meaningful or attractive title could have been generated? — assembled hard-to-find Third Eye Foundation remixes, along with one new track. To its credit, it doesn’t sound like an odds-and-ends collection of reworkings, but strong enough to hold up on its own merits. The Third Eye Foundation, the project of Matt Elliott, has sometimes been portrayed as a drum’n’bass act. But actually this would be more aptly characterized as intelligent and eclectic electronica, only sometimes using drum’n’bass elements. It’s a diverse grouping, including a treatment of a work by French composer Yann Tiersen and a remix of a cover of Jonathan Richman‘s “When I Dance.” It’s best when it crafts hauntingly attractive yet somewhat disquieting moods with its blend of misty and wobbly textures, as on the Tiersen piece. The ones employing more common electronic percussive elements are less distinctive, and the range is wide enough that it may be hard to find many listeners who like everything here. Throughout, Elliottis adept at painting upon or adding a wealth of sounds — jungle noises, electronic tones, classical piano, spooky special effects, a female voice, wavering bell rings — into his craft. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Blonde Redhead – Four Damaged Lemons .mp3

Count Five: “Psychotic Reaction” / 1966

Count V’s “Psychotic Reaction” has been lauded as a classic example of psychedelic rock and a forerunner of punk and garage rock. What’s undeniable is the fresh, exciting sound of the San Jose, California band’s 1966 hit.

Count V were five teens, some still in high school, who formed in 1964. The band was turned down by seven record companies before newly-formed label Double Shot signed them. The band members — lead singer and rhythm guitarist John “Sean” Byrne, harmonica player Kenn Ellner, lead guitarist John “Mouse” Michalski, bassist Roy Chaney and Craig “Butch” Atkinson — shared in the writing of “Psychotic Reaction.” The song was performed without lyrics for six months until Ellner’s father Sol, the band’s manager, suggested that Byrne put words to the music.

Michalski told Mike Dugo that “Byrne was the band’s tunesmith. John was the man who came up with the songs, and we’d all add to them. That’s how we became a group. Then he’d write the lyrics, which he was good at.”

The song’s title was hatched during a lecture on psychosis and neurosis at San Jose City College when a pal of Byrne’s whispered, “Do you know what would be a great name for a song? Psychotic Reaction!”

   Psychotic Reaction

Kings of Leon “Come Around Sundown” / 2008

I’ve listened to it a couple of times, and Come Around Sundown is (unfortunately for some of us) what I expected from the Only By the Night follow-up. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a solid effort. It’s well written. It’s polished both in terms of vocals and instrumentals. It’s easy to listen to. And it’s got an expansive, big sound that will play well in any arena. If Use Somebody and Sex on Fire were my introduction to KOL, I’d probably really like it.

On the other hand, it’s a bit dirgy, safe, and predictable compared to previous records. It doesn’t have the youthful exuberance or rawness of Youth and Young Manhood, and it doesn’t have the experimental, what-will-they-do-next feel of Because of the Times. The story lines are a bit more finessed (what, no stories about grabby preachers?); the imagery a bit more mainstream (there are bloody teeth, but I didn’t hear anything about a trani on a ten); and the lyrics do a little more lamenting than previous efforts. For me, that takes away a lot of the fun that is Kings of Leon. And where is that driving bass line that roars through 7 full minutes of Knocked Up? I can’t find it anywhere on here.

Regardless, I do believe it is a solid effort. Of course, I could listen to Caleb sing Celine Dion if I had to. That voice…

If you’re favorite record is Only By the Night, then you’ll probably love this. If you’re stuck in the past (like me) and want less polish and more grit, you’ll continue to be disappointed.

         “Back Down South”


Brother Jack McDuff – Moon Rappin’ (1969)

Originally released in 1969, Moon Rappin’ is an adventurous Blue Note concept album from organist Brother Jack McDuff featuring five originals and fine support from the likes of Bill Phillips (tenor saxophone/flute), Jerry Byrd (guitar), Richard Davis (bass) and Joe Dukes (drums) among others.

Jack McDuff Moon Rappin’ Track Listing:

1. Flat Backin’
2. Oblighetto
3. Moon Rappin’
4. Made In Sweden
5. Loose Foot

Vinyl LP repressing of this 1969 album. Moon Rappin’ is one of Brother Jack Mcduff’s most ambitious efforts, a loose concept album that finds the organist exploring funky and spacy soundscapes. Unlike most McDuff records, there isn’t a steady groove that flows throughout the record: the album flies into atmospheric territory that isn’t strictly Soul Jazz, but it’s far from free. In many ways, Moon Rappin’ is a fairly typical album of its time, boasting wah-wah guitars, flutes, spacious reverb, long bluesy vamps, orchestras, and disembodied backing vocals, but it also stands out from the pack in how it offers some excellent improvisations (including a rare piano spotlight on the title track) and unpredictable moments, like the stuttering organ and nearly free interludes on ‘Made in Sweden’. It’s not strictly funky but it proves that McDuff was as adept in adventurous territory as he was with the groove. This record is well known by the vinyl diggers because of the sample used by A Tribe Called Quest.

   Moon Rappin

P.S. I Love You [Soundtrack] / 2007

track list
01. Love You ‘Till The End – The Pogues
02. Same Mistake – James Blunt
03. More Time – Needtobreathe
04. Carousel – Laura Izibor
05. Fortress – Hope
06. Last Train Home – Ryan Starr
07. Rewind – Paolo Nutini
08. My Sweet Song – Toby Lightman
09. No Other Love – Chuck Prophet
10. Everything We Had – The Academy Is…
11. In The Beginning – The Stills
12. If I Ever Leave This World Alive – Flogging Molly
13. P.S. I Love You – Nellie McKay
14. Kisses And Cake – John Powell

Needtobreathe – More Time 



Dr. Hook – Sloppy Seconds / 1972

Track Listings

1. Freakin’ at the Freaker’s Ball
2. If I’d Only Come and Gone
3. Carry Me, Carrie
4. The Things I Didn’t Say
5. Get My Rocks Off
6. The Last Morning
7. I Can’t Touch the Sun
8. Queen of the Silver Dollar
9. Turn on the World
10. Stayin’ Song
11. Cover of the Rolling Stone
12. Looking for Pussy [*]

One observation only and it applies generally to Dr. Hook’s early albums but this is the best example. For a large band singing largely about being degenerate, drunk, stoned and all the rest, they are so TIGHT. Nothing’s left to chance. Every note counts, is right on and the timing is perfect.
You’d expect the sort of loose-yet-endearing sloppiness that was commonplace, particularly in the less spectacular album tracks, by the likes of Country Joe, Big Brother & the Holding Co., and the rest. Instead, it all sounds as if it’s been deeply rehearsed by a bunch of very sober and competent musicians.
The REAL mastery here is that that tightness does not make it sound fake. They are capable of sounding authentically degenerate. I don’t know where the truth lies but, whether it’s drunk guys playing sober REALLY well, or sober guys playing drunk REALLY well, it’s still all done REALLY well!

The Cover of the Rolling Stone    mp3

Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism / 2003


by Rob Theakston

As musical lunacy goes, things have gotten as crazy as it gets for Death Cab for Cutie since 2002’s You Can Play These Songs with Chords compilation. A wildly successful tour with Dismemberment Plan, a collaboration for singer Ben Gibbard with emo-electronic guru Dntel under the Postal Service moniker, and a whole new legion of fans swooning to Gibbard’s lyrics as if he were a modern day answer to Kiss Me-era Robert Smith have all amassed considerable hype around Transatlanticism. But the group proves themselves more than equal to the task, answering the call and proving the cynics wrong with their most focused and most mature work in their entire catalog. Transatlanticism wastes absolutely no time and dives in head first with “The New Year,” one of the most melodramatic openings to an album since the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The mellow, mixed-meter percussion and dense atmosphere of “Lightness” is a brilliant lead into the pop-happy “Expo ’86” and “The Sound of Settling” before setting up the climatic and intensely dramatic title track.

Unconsciously taking a page from Blur’s “Sing,” the hypnotic drumming and guitar call and responses through the eight-minute climax of the album are backed with a singalong finale that unquestionably will have every audience on the next tour singing along and holding up their lighters. And while most albums would be left exhausted after such a track, the group keeps things moving, albeit at a much slower pace than compared to the anthems that packed the first half. Gibbard seamlessly makes the transition between songs that full out rock to songs that are comparable to Elliott Smith’s finest hour with great ease. But it’s Gibbard’s poetic lyrics and signature introspection that remain a bench mark for Death Cab; and it’s the group’s maturity as musicians as well as songwriters that make Transatlanticism such a decadently good listen from start to finish. The band has never sounded more cohesive, the track sequencing is brilliant, and it caps off a triumphant year for not only Gibbard, but a band whose time and greater recognition is finally due.


One Fine Day – Damn Right / 2006

  1. Damn Right
  2. Burn (A Fire Within)
  3. Not Ready To Go
  4. My Revolution
  5. Get Down
  6. She Bop
  7. Goodbye Reality
  8. This Dying Day
  9. Fading Gray
10. Give It All
11. Game Over
12. Alien


A pop-punk/emo rock band from Hamburg, Germany, One Fine Day (Marten Plumer vocals, Hendrik Burkhard — guitar, Roman Rossback — guitar, Marco Koehrsen — bass, and drummer Erik-Mac Essig) got their start when their demo was promoted and played on the northern German radio station Delta Radio in 2003. From there, the band went on to finish in the final five in that year’s John Lennon Talent Awards, which led them to a record deal with Rockhit Records. The label helped them record and release their 2004 debut, Faster Than the World. The band then went on the road to promote the disc, and had the honor of sharing stages with some of their genre’s best known names, including My Chemical Romance, Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy and the Bloodhound Gang. In 2007, the band released its next album, Damn Right. Featuring guest stars Henning Wehland of H-Blockx and Anne Kalstrup of Pinboys, its two singles, “Damn Right” and “Goodbye Reality” were chart hits. It also featured the band’s own take on the Cyndi Lauper homage to the art of self-love, “She Bop.”

She Bop