Monday, 5 March 2007

new release round-up

Big day for album releases - a flood, if you will: here are the ill-considered thoughts.

Three generations of clattering smack-head goth-punk howlers go head-to-head: long-faced Dickensian art-school NME faves the Horrors release their debut, ‘Strange House’; facially-foliated mid-life priapists Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos resurrect the Birthday Party with a knowing wink under the Grinderman soubriquet; and mummified punk/grunge/stoner progenitors the Stooges unveil their first original studio album in over three decades with ‘The Weirdness’.

The GMS vote is always going to go to Nick Cave, and Grinderman feed that uncritical appetite in the best possible way. Dumb fun. (A-) The Horrors are surprisingly good: the buzzsaw Cramps guitars, carnival Hammond and Addams Family melody lines are all in place, while whatsisface growls appropriately, and with enough conviction to lift this out of its strict genre limits. (B+) Why anybody would buy the Stooges’ embarrassing mall-punk effort over these two is a mystery, but in case you were considering it, don’t. (D)

Arcade Fire’s ‘Neon Bible’ is also out today. Haven’t changed my opinions, haven’t stopped playing it incessantly either. Very nice. (A-)

Patrick Wolf’s ‘Magic Position’ is much better than his live show. I preferred ‘Wind In The Wires’, but this is just as accomplished. Reminds me of Tears For Fears without the po-faced twattery. (B+)

If we ignore the Kaiser Chiefs, maybe they’ll go away. (D)

Then again, people have been ignoring Idlewild for a while, and they’re still plugging away. ‘Make Another World’ is more of Morrissey’s lyrics sung through Michael Stipe’s loudhailer. They’re pretty good at it, mind: this is one of their most consistent efforts. (B)

Explosions In The Sky’s rollicking post-rock template ain’t broke, and they haven’t fixed it on ‘All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone’. Well-constructed and pleasing in its marshalled bombast as ever, I still find them a bit contrived. Listen to The Workhouse instead, people. (B-)

I avoided !!! first time round, stung by bad dance-punk experiences with Radio 4 and the Rapture. Their second LP, ‘Myth Takes’ doesn’t do much to change my mind: it frequently seems to be on the verge of something good, but always ends up messy, irritating and uncertain of its own agenda. Reference points, as ever, Happy Mondays, ‘Housequake’ by Prince, some pun on ‘party politics’. (C)

El-P’s ‘I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead’ isn’t out for a couple of weeks, but from the leaked promo, it’s very very very good indeed. The all-star cast of guests complements rather than distracts. Early Album Of The Year contender. (A)

Consequence’s ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job’ is also out at some point soon. I know he got there first, but his flow is too close to Kanye West’s for my liking. Like Kanye, he seems unclear whether he wants to be conscious, flossing or gully, to use the parlance. Better production than ‘Food and Liquor’, worse verses than ‘Blue Collar’, then. (B-)

More fun:

Several of these streaming over at


Ekko said...

i liked the first kaiser chiefs, but this new one is fucking lame as shit.

Ass Hat said...

well said, ekko. you're right: the first kaiser chiefs wasn't bad, but over here in england their omnipresence is particularly insufferable. ditto razorlight.