Friday, May 20, 2011

Two more at Blurt, one at Dusted

It’s raining reviews…I’ve had two up at Blurt in the last couple of days, and one more at Dusted.

Mars Classroom
New Theory of Everything

Two legendary songwriters - Guided by Voices Robert Pollard and Big Dipper's Gary Waleik -- join together here in one more swing for the fences. …New Theory of Everything is more lyrical, romantic and personal than most of Pollard's recent efforts - with Lifeguards, Boston Spaceships and on his own account - which may reflect the influence of Waleik.



Nodzzz, out of San Francisco, makes jangly, joyful one- and two-minute songs about any damned thing, evoking the jittery propulsion of early Feelies, the willful naivete of Beat Happening. Their 2008 single "I Don't Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)" - possibly the best song ever about not using drugs - was an addiction in itself, the kind of song you want to hear immediately, right now, again, the second it finishes.

Innings, the band's second album , is full of spiked and sweetened songs, anthems as artfully put together as they are casually tossed off. Instrumentation is basic. Staccato guitar lines stab and stutter, run amok on off-kilter riffs then scrabble back to strummy pop structures. Skeletal bash and pop drumming keep things moving. The whole enterprise is ramshackle, jerry-rigged, with lots of white space showing through the jangly mash.


and finally, at Dusted, my much-delayed take on the Sandwitches second album

The Sandwitches
Mrs. Jones' Cookies
(Turn Up)

….Throughout, Mrs. Jones’ Cookies is a bit less gutsy and grounded than How to Make Ambient Sad Cake, with vocals pushed mostly out of alto range and into breathy soprano territory. …Moreover, Mrs. Jones’ Cookies, despite the home-y title, seems eerier and less overtly adorable than its predecessor. Even its prettiest songs – “Black Rider,” for instance, or the doo-wop haunted “Joe Says” – have a spectral aura hanging over them. The songs are built out of well-worn, comfortable elements, down-home guitars, sepia-toned blues melodies, scratchy, regular rhythms. Still, faded to delicate hues like old photographs, they seem more ghostly than familiar. “


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