Archive for May, 2008

Weezer – Pork and Beans Single and Video Review

Weezer has been active for about 16 years now. I think I’ve dug most of their discography (if not all…yes Make Believe is a shameful guilty pleasure). But Weezer’s latest single has gone to epic levels of crap.

I didn’t understand what the blogosphere’s craze was with the Pork and Beans and I still don’t. I hated the song the second I heard it. It doesn’t resemble anything that they’ve done and it makes Beverly Hills sounds like a #1 hit (oh wait…). First lets dissect the music, it’s start off with a one note guitar line and the chorus is just distortion of another note. I basically can play this song if I want. Musically I don’t think people are looking for much from Weezer to begin with but lyrically is where you can argue that it was their bread and butter in the older days. I must say I’m more accustomed to older Weezer by fluke because like 5 years ago “El Scrocho” was the first track I liked and I’ll argue that it’s still their best. Lyrically, Pork and Beans also blows.

Apparently the song is supposed to be a song about them being angry for not being cool enough. Either way they use references like it’s a an advert and there is no actual flow or artistry in this song. Their rhyming ability is comparable to my high school poem abilities. It’s just downright shameful this song.

What do you get when you eat Pork and Beans? Flatulence and something resembling this song. Take a note from Weezer, eating candy with pork and beans is a terrible idea it may affect your creativity and your overall coolness.

Now onto the video:

The video has received almost 5 million views and while I can understand why…it’s almost a cheap way to get attention. Basically they gathered people who had their 15 minutes of internet fame and gave them another 3 minutes to annoy the shit out of us. From the numa numa guy, Chris Cocker, the chocolate rain guy and Kevin Federline.
KFed I HAD a lot of respect for, his appearance in WWE was actually pretty good and he was able to laugh it off with a superbowl commercial making fun of himself. Otherwise the video took an easy path to become an internet hit.

Like a major label artist knows…it doesn’t take a good track to lure people into watching your video.

The music still sucks and the video is shitty but I can understand why people are watching it.

Pork and Beans by Weezer

Dengue Fever – Venus on Earth Review

When talking to my friends I make it clear that I’m not Chinese and that I come from a Cambodian/Khmer background. Because being Chinese is 1) Not cool 2) The ladies become intrigued by the fact…like some exotic shit. Okay while I fall out favor with other Orientals, I’ll explain the history of my parents.

My parents came over to Canada in 1984 after staying in a Thailand refugee camp for 3-4 years. The birth of my oldest sister occurred during my parent’s “stay”. Anyway years before the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot decimated the country the country by slaying people with educational backgrounds and the beheading of millions. Even though I do take it for granted…I’m glad to be Canadian.

I would consider myself a “bad” Cambodian…I barely speak the language other then the customary curse words which my parents use a few too many times and whatever random words I remember from my childhood.

Dengue Fever a band out of California interested me because they mixed Cambodian pop with “psychedelic rock”. In addition, I wanted to increase this blog’s exposure to word music…ironic because we don’t cover world music at all and now is a better time to start because there’s a massive amount of world music that probably rocks and needs to be discovered.

My experience with Cambodian music is mainly through karaoke. My parents and their friends love their karaoke, which mainly consists of pop songs though well sung nonetheless. I don’t know much about the Khmer language but I know it’s difficult to read and some simple words for us are made much harder with extra syllables that don’t seem to go well with each other.

Dengue Fever’s Venus On Earth has pretty simple Khmer…I mean I think I can understand what Chhom Nimol is saying for the most part anyway. The novelty just isn’t there for me and while she’s an “alright” singer by Cambodian standards I’ve seen a much bigger range in strength and vocals from those just digging the karaoke. I think I’m one of the few that kind of dislikes listening to music in another language because sometimes I feel like I could be listening to crap and I would be too ignorant to know any better. I remember people digging that song “Gasolina” and a friend who speaks Spanish calling that song the most retarded thing ever.

To add to the hate, Chhom decides to switch interchangeably between Khmer and English trying to effortless combine the two but what fails is that Chhom does change her tone anywhere. She doesn’t show off the range expected and keeps her English in a tone where you expect someone singing in Khmer to (which is done because the words are ridiculous). This novelty wore off quickly and I think I’d rather listen to my parent’s songs then this.

Lastly, musically it’s more annoying then cool. Psychedelic rock is nothing cool in my opinion just a name for some bands who minimally use pop rock – in this case. I mean if you call Panda Bear or Of Montreal psychedelic you know you are getting your moneys worth. Musically it’s simplistic and on its own I wouldn’t like it.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Took me a long time to review this for good reason. Buy this album somewhere else!

Thanks to Thomas from AM 180 for sending me this album, a looong time ago.

Woman in The Shoes by Dengue Fever

Tiger Phone Card by Dengue Fever

No Age – Nouns Review

Oh Pitchfork and it’s unbelievable power over the internet. I wish I could drop a 4.6 out of 5 on an artist and it would be the latest craze but then again it would take years of credibility to earn and then I would have to make a 4.6 worthwhile by lowering the scores of every review I write. I’m too lazy for that and I’ll just cross my fingers and hope people check out the albums I hype.

Anyway No Age is a noise/experiment/punk rock band out of Los Angeles, California that got absolutely amazing reviews for their album Nouns not just from Pitchfork but from Tiny Mix Tapes known for being harsher (or snobbier).

I’d go straight into a review of the album but I’ll first have to talk about noise rock arguably one of my least favorite genres. Noise rock to me is personified with off-key notes, tons of distortion but intentional either to deliberately annoy or to make something beautiful with something that in all sense of music…pretty ugly. The problem for me is that when the goal is to annoy…I usually end up annoyed and having sift through the “noise” makes the music harder to listen to and my brain tends to feel exhausted after a few listens. At least my dislike for Noise is at least explainable.

Even though I do hate Noise, I don’t really hate this album. It is noise but with punk elements and good enough vocals that I can just take it all in at once and not have to worry about missing smaller details or forcing myself to ignore the noise.

I think you can tell if something is great in this fashion…I should in all sense of purposes hate No Age and their album Nouns but the way everything is layered and with all it’s randomness and weirdness it’s a pretty good experience just sitting back and listening to it. Maybe noise is the wrong word here? I’d have to say it feels hard like grunge, metal and post-punk but I guess they’ve really mastered the use of putting in dissonance all over their record without me caring that it’s there.

I still don’t think this is the perfect album…it’s a strange odyssey that I do wish to go back to and revisit all the elements over again but there are a few misses for me. The song “Things I Did While I Was Dead” feels so empty…and it actually had my head aching because there were very little elements or creativity compared to all the other tracks. It does have that annoying thriller type sound that I imagine would be for Poe’s tell-tale heart but otherwise it doesn’t have anything to offer. I would have to say the same about “Keechie” a good ambient track that I wouldn’t mind finding on a post-rock album but it just feels out of place here.

Overall: 4.3 out of 5.

Eraser by No Age

Cappo by No Age

Here Should Be My Home By No Age

Buy this album at: Insound, CD Universe and Amazon

Christa Couture – Sad Story Over

Christa Couture is a alternative folk artist from Vancouver BC. Influenced by the likes of Ani DiFranco, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve only heard material from the latter and I think the comparison holds well.

Her album “The Wedding Singer and The Undertaker” (see picture) was released on May 20th and I’ve attempted to listen to her album quite a number of times.

While the rest of the album isn’t bad…I couldn’t get myself to either A) Like it B) Listen to it enough to compile a worthwhile review.

So I’ll just concentrate on the first single which is an awesome song. I’m not one for transcribing lyrics -it’s tedious without a media kit but there is a vast amount of instruments playing in this song that make this track such a catchy tune. Almost like a one hit wonder for my computer but it’s an excellent track that can win you over and it’s expectations were quite lofty after hearing this song. Different instruments almost make this like a pop song or Arcade Fire-esque. It’s really the highlight of the album and I’d reconsider the placement as the 1st track…

Check it out.

Sad Story Over by Christa Couture

Kayo Dot – Blue Lambency Downward

The first time I heard Kayo Dot, I was kind of turned off. I had the impression they were in the post-rock genre, but their music was too chaotic, and I was just getting into the genre of “post-rock” at the time—I wanted more mainstream stuff…stuff that sounded normal. I’m not sure what drew me to have a listen to their new album, but I’m so glad I did. Kayo Dot is a two-piece multiple-instrument band from New York who released their latest album, Blue Lambency Downward last month.

Kayo Dot seriously does bridge genres; I think one could argue they can fit the post-rock schematics, but I don’t really want to give them that label, mainly because of how different they are from your regular cup o’ post-rock. They really are, at best, described as progressive psychedelic experimental. You can hear all sorts of influences—from classical, to metal, to jazz. If you really dig progressive rock, especially the more experimental bands (Gentle Giant, for example), you’ll dig Kayo Dot for sure. In fact, I actually do like progressive rock, so there was no real reason for me to outcast Kayo Dot in the first place.

Like I mentioned earlier, I used to think their music too chaotic. The instrumentation is very, very complex; it has a way of even sounding too out of tune at times. The chord progression is very disorienting; often times you expect a smooth transition, and instead get something totally dissonant. All of the tracks on Blue Lambency Downward are jam-packed with different instruments, weaving together to form some crazy ass shit. I read this study before, about how dissonant chords enhance a listener’s response in music compared to regular major/minor chords, which is absolutely appropriate in this case. Because of their eclectic sense of instrumentation, you really can’t help but pay attention. Toby Driver’s vocals are equally eclectic and he sings in a disconnecting melody, if a melody at all (in “Clelia Walking,” Driver sings, “I don’t want to be a melody/I prefer the choking sound”…word, man. Word.) One thing I like about Kayo Dot’s music is the implementation of the violin, played by Mia Matsumiya. It’s one of the band’s prime instruments, and it’s played as freaky as the rest of the instruments. On its own, it’s like music fit for a film noir.

Overall, this album is pretty good, but you may need to acquire taste for it. Again, pretty reminiscent of some of the more experimental classic progressive bands I’ve heard, lots of jazz influences…pretty good in my books. The band actually has this album streaming online for free. Click here to have a listen, or listen to some here:

Kayo Dot – Symmetrical Arizona

Kayo Dot – Right Hand is the One I Want

Buy on:
CD Universe

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