Music in Brief: Part One

by Steph Duncan

Being a hugely influential and important music writer, I feel it is important to provide people with a full scope of reviews as to new albums. Unfortunately, I do not have the patience to write as much as I should. So I have comprised a brief and handy A-Z pocketbook guide to albums released over the span of 2005 – ranging from garbage to gold.

Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs: Lyrical genius he is not but he handles all instruments with great proficiency. And makes wonderful albums. Oh Andrew Bird...

Bear Vs. Shark - Terrorhawk: The only thing remotely compelling about this band is the imagery in the name. Goddammit, Bear or Shark? WHO WOULD WIN??

Beck - Guero: Still weird. Yeah. Just checking.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl: Glad to see you guys are past that weird 'Jesus and Mary Chain' obsession.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - s/t: Over-hyped. Seriously, seriously over-hyped. I can't really say much about their music but you know me, always hard-hitting I will discuss their reputation in depth.

Death Cab for Cutie - Plans: Indie darlings. If you want to feel dreamy and romantic, your best bet is to put on some Deathcab and fantasize your dream wedding with that coffee barista. But remember: it will never happen, so you should probably feel a little sad about it too.

The Fiery Furnaces - Rehearsing my Choir: Well, aren't you the indiest? Collabing with your grandmother. I never understood the appeal behind the Fiery Furnaces. I find them confusing. I find this most confusing. I couldn't sit through this garbage, actually. I don't claim to have ever listened to 'Blueberry Boat' mainly because I could find something better to do with my time, like clean the bathtub. Or something. I don't know. I'll pass, though.

Iron & Wine and Calexico - He Lays in the Reins EP: I got a hardon for this collaboration. I honestly did. I tented a little and I'm a girl. But what the hell. Way to reuse old material AGAIN, Sam Beam. And what is WITH that Spanish singer on the first track? I'm confused. And bored!

Kanye West - Late Registration: One of the more controversial artists this year, breakout hit rapper Kanye West tends to lay on the preaching. But still drops the 'n' bomb. And features that pussy, Adam Levine of Maroon 5. And talks about Jennifer Lopez and 'Benz'. Man, he's still rich isn't it. No matter how many times he shocks Mike Meyers, I still want Maroon 5 to go away forever. Also, Brandy's still around?

Louis XIV - The Best Little Secrets Are Kept: And the worst albums are still released.

The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree: Another autobiographical look into John Darnielle's fucked up childhood and horrible relationship with his stepfather. Another brilliant album.

Napalm Death - The Code is Red, Long Live the Code: Again, more music I simply don't understand. Why are you song angry, Napalm Death? Perhaps you should change your name. 'Fluffy Kitten's that Don't Die' would probably make you less angry and prone to yelling.

Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth: Goth lyrics + shitty industrial + Trent Reznor = NiN.

Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy: Emotional alt-country! Will Sheff rasps, tortured. A mix of Xiu Xiu and Bright Eyes. Like crack to them indie kids, it is. The imagery of being a black sheep in the family, it's a metaphor for being an outcast! But it's okay to love this album, do not be ashamed. See the light. You just want REAL love.

Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard: Paul McCartney could write a song about murdering birds in his backyard and he'd make millions. He never departs from the music he made in the '60s. It's not MY cup of 'English Tea' but there's a 'Certain Softness' that makes me think it will be ok. However, there's still a 'Fine Line' between his newest stuff and that of the Beatles, we're just 'At the Mercy'-- oh fuck it. You get the idea.

Petra Haden Sings - The Who Sell Out: If you like female aCapella and the Who, my aren't you in luck! I, however, only like one of the former and not a combination of.

Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze: Not quite paralyze, thankfully, because I was able to turn it off at some point but only after I felt like I had been given a frontal lobotomy. It was awful. Dave Grohl was there, just pissing on everything.

Shugo Tokumaru - L.S.T.: I'll say this now – Japanese are superior in EVERY way. If you enjoy brilliant musical prodigies and Sufjan Steven-esque expansive dreamworld music, you will love Shugo. Then you find out he's only 23. My god, what have I done with my life?

Sigur Ros - Takk: I'm sorry, what? I fell asleep.

Stephen Malkmus - Face the Truth: Yep. Still around. Keep dreaming for that Pavement reunion, oh indie one.

Sun O))) - Black One: More fuzz than Grandpa's sweater.

System of a Down - Mesmerize: If you hate yourself and enjoy pain, then clearly you need to assault your ears with this pseudo-political bullshit.

Weezer - Make Believe: They are making believe that people still GIVE A FUCK. As far as I'm concerned, they all died in a plane crash after 'Pinkerton'.

Oct. 2005