BRMC – Live in Seattle


I’m not going to fuck around here. I started really listening to BRMC about a week before the Seattle show. But man, did I bombard myself with Baby 81 and Howl during Black Rebel Motorcycle Crunch Week. I would listen to these albums in the tub, at work, on the can, at other shows, at the Seattle physic convention. I created elaborate musical mnemonics that helped me to remember song titles in sequence. I made flash cards. For instance, I would draw a cold, cold wind on one side of the card and instantly remember the corresponding BRMC song is called “Cold Wind”. None of this actually helped.

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Deerhoof – Live in Seattle

Hoof Closeup

Seattle WA
February 1, 2007
w/ Black and Black
and Leti Angel

What’s up with opening bands? I mean seriously: where do they find these people? Here I am, Thursday night, minding my own business, hanging out and waiting for Deerhoof to play. I had already endured the opener’s thirty minutes when these two girls who might be in high school and this guy who might be (and is) in the band Phantom Planet come out onto the stage. And the way they’re angular and attractive and solemn, well it’s evident that something strange is brewin’. I knew it – the crowd knew – we all knew it like animals know it when a forest is gonna burn down; we knew it but we really didn’t know what it meant. There was a VIP space on the balcony at Neumo’s this night, and there were people eating sushi, and you couldn’t go into this area unless you knew something. Something was up, oh yeah. And then I heard the people behind me mention it and the pieces fell together and it all made perfect sense: Black Black was from LA!

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Deerhoof Friend Opportunity [Kill Rock Stars]


Rating 8.25

I wouldn’t say that it’s easy to fall asleep listening to Deerhoof’s new album, but I’ve done it four times. I guess when you’re sleepy is not the greatest time to give something a good listen; laying down not the best position to do it in. But anyways, I can safely say that if you fall asleep listening to Deerhoof you will have many terrible nightmares. I recall half-waking up in the midst of the last track, which is kind of like a twelve-minute long Kubrick scene. A single guitar creaks and groans and grasps and moans like a malicious wind-chime. There are all these notes that sound out of tune, paired with these sweet little harmonics, but everything’s kind of topsy-turvy and neither feels right. And then the guitar line picks up steam, and kind of rolls over itself, gaining momentum and acting, well, like a little microbe or something, churning through some plasma or whatever a microbe might churn through. This living thing that is just roiling with creepiness gets faster and louder and then bam, it explodes and you’re on this ship now, and things are creaking and squeaking and rocking. There is a fascinating electronic wind and a portentous calm. As if from a distance, a guitar calls out: what is it saying? What does it want? The notes are sad and isolated, incomplete and yearning, angry too. Fall asleep in one of the spaces and the song could end anywhere…

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Robbers on High Street The Fatalist and Friends EP [New Line Records]

Rating: 5.0

Robbers on High Street sound exactly like Spoon; it is impossible for me to listen to the album without thinking this non-stop. When listening to Spoon, of course, it would be non-sensical to be distracted by how much they sound like Spoon. But because Robbers on High Street aren’t supposed to sound exactly like another band, it becomes an issue. With other derivative bands, like Interpol, I am casually and infrequently interrupted with the notion that they sound a lot like Joy Division. When I listen to Muse, I wax nostalgically on a blonde-haired lazy-eyed Thom Yorke for about 30 seconds before overdosing on Muse’s spacey melodrama. Most other times, when I hear a band being derivative, it’s vague and comforting: “This sounds like the Beatles” or “That harmony sounds like the Beach Boys”. It’s a not unpleasant, fleeting sensation.

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…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead So Divided


For all you …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead-heads who considered 2005’s World’s Apart a gigantic harsh to your mellow, well I’ve got some news for you….their new one, So Divided, is a tiny bit better. So shake off those bad pop vibes and get ready to rock out, kind of but not really, with the new and confused Trail of Dead!

To put things in drastically simple terms: …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead slapped the sleepy masses with 2002’s Source Tags and Codes. The album put them on the radar, and in doing so, animated their most tucked away dreams. They wanted Top 20 airplay, and why not…if people were sheep then well why couldn’t the sheep at least get good music pumped into their fields? A couple years and tours passed and the band released World’s Apart, which was their application for the mainstream. The mainstream phoned back and left a message: “Um, this message is for that band with that really long name….we’d really love to have you but there’s like a couple hundred, er, thousand….a couple hundred-thousand rock bands, you know, that are like younger and um more impressionable and stuff. Happy trails.” Shaken up about the whole thing, in 2006 AYWKUBTTOD chopped off some words from their title, leaving TOD and doing for band name’s what Metallica did for hair-styles, ready to show the world that they haven’t disappeared….they’ve just changed form. Their release, So Divided, isn’t their Golden Ticket, and they don’t expect it to be anymore.

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