My Bloody Valentine
m b v
4.5 out of 5
Kevin Shields spent 22 years painting himself into a corner, and just jumped out of it in the best possible way. There were so many questions and expectations about whatever record would follow the holiest of holies, the classic Loveless, that it amazing how many right moves he made. The first right move was releasing it suddenly online; so suddenly that even paragons of fast-response web music journalism like Pitchfork and the A.V. Club had to offer up a quick news story and semi-apology and scramble for a couple days to listen to the album, absorb it, and pen some sort of review.
The second right step was making m b v a natural extension of Loveless. I think Shields knew he’d never top the 1991 watershed, so the best thing to do would be to give fans exactly what they wanted: more Loveless. That’s probably an overstatement; m b v has the classic My Bloody Valentine sound but it’s varied enough to never come off like a simple retread.
It’ll take time for fans to fully digest this album’s place next to the Loveless legacy, but I think the general consensus is that it’s good. Damn good. Probably as good as anything that’s going to come out this year. The main thing that diminishes its impact is the fact that everyone has been copying Loveless for the past two decades.
Be Mean (single)
4 out of 5
An old college roommate and I saw Tweens a few months back at a basement show around town. The first thing we noticed was the sticker smack dab on the front of lead singer/guitarist BB Tween’s Rickenbacker guitar. Both of us knowing what an expensive and nice guitar that is, we were like, “Shit! Who would go and slap a sticker on a gorgeous Rickenbacker?!”
But then Tweens started playing and immediately shut us up. They emanated so much youthful fun and sunny vibes that we realized what ornery old men we were being. Seriously though, I’m getting obsessed with “Be Mean.” Tweens makes punkish, trashy doo-wop, and BB sounds like she’s singing through the naturally distorting can microphone of a primordial Motown record. It’s like the Shirelles picked up electric guitars and played their songs twice as fast with big slamming drums. It’s more than enough to warm my codgery heart.
Support your local Cincinnati music. Check out Tweens.
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
2.5 out of 5
A lot of people seem vaguely disappointed with this record so far. It’s pretty good and all, but I think my hip hop pleasure center has been burned out over the last few years with Kanye West, Jay Z, Clipse, Odd Future, Lupe Fiasco, Waka Flocka Flame, et al. Vicious Lies sounds just 2003 enough to be a little boring, but not 2003 enough to be what I was hoping it would be which was . . . I don’t know . . . “refined” or “vintage” or something.
I was too bored with this to have a good time.
3.5 out of 5
Can you imagine being a member of Pissed Jeans and meeting a girlfriend’s parents for the first time? Even if you were in a band called Cradle of Filth, that’s at least some sort of phrase to file under “oh, this guy’s into heavy metal.” A name like Pissed Jeans is just weird and off-putting enough to really make a later-middle-aged dad question his daughter’s choices.
Anyway, you’ll like Honeys if you liked King of Jeans, although the band does sound a little deflated, like they’re tired out from all the growling and menacing and rolling around shirtless on the floor. Still, they’ve got an idiosyncratic worldview that sets them apart from similar Jesus Lizard-inspired sludge-rockers. When Matt Korvette howls, “I’m not innocent / I’m guilty / I’m not innocent / but I’m sorry,” on “Male Gaze,” he sounds like an heartbroken alcoholic whose step dad smacked him around as a kid and who’s just finished his first semester of a women studies minor. There’s just no one else singing songs like these.
3 out of 5
Straight-on punk is so dead and refried in America that we’re just importing it now. These guys from Copenhagen put an interesting spin on the genre, in that their record sounds like you’re listening to an aged punk album while kneeling down behind your stereo speakers at three in the morning, high and sweating, trying to clean up broken glass after a party has blossomed into blackouts. It’s all blurry and gravelly and bleak – I’ve never really heard a punk band that’s made me feel this way. You might not listen to You’re Nothing more than once, but you’ve never listened to it before.