Four fast and furious record reviews
Wednesday 27 August @ 15:32:08
by Donny Doane
Choplogic - Everything and Less
Diligence - A Star is Born: My Word and My Nuts From the Heart
The Kinks - BBC Sessions 1964-1977
Brassy - Gettin’ Wise
Everything and Less
Recorded by the venerable Mike Wisti, local pop/punk outfit Choplogic’s sophomore album Everything and Less does a fine job of capturing the carnival that is rock ’n’ roll, not only in how it sounds, but also in the variety of the compositions. Where their last album, Arco Iris, was more or less a straight up garage rumble, the new one finds them spreading their wings and sweeping up the detritus of said dwelling after all loose objects have shaken free to fall to the floor. The guitars provide exhbit A in demonstrating this cleaning up process, ringing refreshingly rather than always depending on clear-the-throat distortion. Add a generous helping of Wisti’s in-studio organ and a touch of his trumpet and Choplogic appears to be intent on creating an altogether more whimsical record than its debut effort. Though there are some similarities, which can easily be chalked up as the “house sound,” the boys realize that if you don’t grow in this business, you just don’t go in this business.
A Star is Born: My Word and My Nuts From the Heart
(Rekindle the Spark Records)
I picked up this one right where I should’ve gotten it—on the street from an old cat trying to sell his younger nephew or grandson’s art. Seems to me that our family values are quite intact. Though not earth-shatteringly remarkable, A Star is Born is far from being bad, but who the hell am I, anyway? The musical accompaniment is rather spare and pretty much sticks to the beats, which are straightforward with some minimal keyboard diddlin’. This, however, can be seen as a virtue instead of a complete lack, because it allows the songs to revolve primarily around their strengths, namely the rapping and the rhymes. The poetry is memorable enough to stick in the craw for some time, where at once it displays the ghetto verité with the indictment of “fake niggas,” it also goes toward the transcendent like Talib Kweli in thanking our favorite hippie, Jesus, in the Intro, and in the second song that puts forth the proclomation to “settle it like gentlemen”. The rapping is solid and smooth, and for the most part, considerably laid back. Included is a cover of Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us,” which I’d have to say is the throwaway track here, its weakness being the singing, which is, well…weak (Ed Note: Plus Will Smith and his kid already rocked the fuck out of that dope track). Other than that, this is an above average effort, and as the liner notes would testify, comes straight from the heart. Keep your ears peeled.
BBC Sessions 1964-1977
In a parallel universe, the Kinks as well as the MC5 would have been as huge as the Beatles or Stones. And though many wouldn’t agree, just shut the hell up anyway, because I have the floor. You really have to hand it to the Brits for how seriously they take quality sound reproduction, and for how professional the band is as well. The Kinks we get to hear on these live radio broadcasts are a crack outfit in total command of their art. Spanning the entirety of their relevant years, from snarling punk hits to the beautifully lilting “Waterloo Sunset,” the BBC sessions is one joyous ride through rock ‘n’ roll heaven, where years ago these transmissions began their journey to that very same place. An added bonus is the in-studio chatter that will easily induce a warm smile, as their accents are impossibly charming, bad boy Dave Davies is funny and demure and you can tell that the stuffy host doesn’t use his jaw whatsoever when he speaks. Highly recommended.
(Wiiija/ Beggars Group)
“Languor rises reaching,” sings Fugazi on Repeater’s opening track, and this is exactly what hip-hop rock outfit Brassy’s latest album does—it’s reaching, and quite in vain, to attain the fire and momentum generated by their first album Got It Made. Call it the old sophomore slump, or simply a band imploding under its own formulaic limitations. Sure, there’s still the wry, sly, smart-assed girls singing with an arrogance they can’t back up. But even though they sound like they think they’re miles ahead, this offering is, nevertheless, several strides behind. Everything sounds the same as the tracks just slur and blur together with no real marked distinction between them. Whereas Got It Made earned my own mark of distinction, their latest just leaves me dubious and not so curious, which tends to be the natural reaction elicited by a musical one trick pony.