The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukelele
Author: Joe Ragusa
Rating: 1.5 / 5
This is the kind of music my mom rebeled against in the early 60’s, and in no way has it been updated for today’s audience. Dent May tries (let me repeat that . . . tries) to bring back 50’s pop crooner music in his debut album off of Animal Collective’s record label, but falls completely flat. May’s voice sounds forced and annoying, especially on the songs “You Can’t Force a Dance Party” and “I’m an Alcoholic.” The lyrics in the song “College Town Boy” sound like too obvious an attempt to try and make this kind of music appeal to our demographic, and it’s hard to take May seriously when he croons “Get off your ass and do something” with a barbershop quartet singing “Sha la la la la” in the background. “I’m an Alcoholic” sounds like he’s trying to make a sad song, but again it’s hard to take him seriously with the annoying light-heartedness of his voice, along with the quirky backup singers “Ba ba ba”-ing in the background. The main problem with this album, though, is that every song sounds the same. “At the Academic Conference” sounds like a slower version of “Meet Me in the Garden.” “Oh Paris!” and “You Can’t Force A Dance Party” might as well be the same song. And every song from the overly showmanistic opening track “Welcome” to the awkwardly poppy “Love Song 2009” features the same consistent layout of a few repetitive ukelele chords and a tambourine to try and give Dent’s outdated style a Brazilian Tropicana feel to them. I will give him credit for that, it does sound like music you’d be able to chill out with in a hammock on a beach on some far off tropical island, if his lyrics and voice don’t completely depress and/or enrage you.
Author: Lydia Leg
Rating: 3 / 5
I was not surprised to find out that the EELS have been featured on several movie soundtracks. I can easily see a few of the songs on Shootenanny playing in the background of an indie movie as a brunette heroine bobs down an empty street in her converse all-star high-tops. The songs are catchy, and they’re not unwilling to take risks. However, overall I would not call the album anything more or less than average. The songs most worth downloading are Saturday Morning, Love of the Loveless, and Rock Hard Times. These songs are all part of the lighter side of Shootenanny. It’s possible that I could just be prejudice against the side of the album that leans more toward blues than pop/rock. One of my major problems with the album is that while the lead singer, Mark Everett AKA E, has a perfectly lovely voice he occasionally does this fake raspy voice. It sounds like he decided to wander off and smoke a pack of cigarettes before singing Dirty Girl, and a few other songs. Shootenanny is good driving music, or any kind of general background music but it’s not something that I was just lay down and listen to.
Goblin Cock: Come With Me If you Want To Live
Author: Lucas McCallister
Rating: 1.5 / 5
Bland is never a word that should be associated with your music. Goblin Cock I really wanted to like you. I honestly tried. I should never have to put effort into liking something.
Judging by samples of your previous album, this is a step down. The guitar riffs are uninteresting. The drum work is present, but lacks distinction. But the absolute worst was your vocalist. Try another style, for your own sakes. Everybody is tired of the gritty vocalist. I have a voice in this range, and so have may other musicians. Trust me, there are other ways to sing. The worst part of your entire album was the mixing. Listening to your previous album, Bagged and Boarded, I was surprised to see the exact same problems. I can’t hear or understand your singing, because it is drowned out by the guitar. (And I can’t even try to read the lyrics because you printed them in Tolkein’s elf runes. This would be awesome if it wasn’t an obstacle because of your bad mastering.) I would think that on the second go-around, you would say to yourselves, “Let’s make sure we learn from previous mistakes”. But no, you decide to make the music less interesting and make the recording just as bad. You are artists. Take control of how you sound. This is YOUR record. ‘We’ve got a Bleeder’ is the only song worth listening to on the entire album. Everything else runs together in a messy pile. You can do better, you’ve shown it in Bagged and Boarded. I don’t like to rip albums apart, but when I see wasted potential, it makes me furious.
Hot Panda: Volcano Bloody Volcano
Author: Erin Adams
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
Hot Panda is very eclectic. The mix of instruments is very interesting. I have no idea what a glockenspiele is but it sounds great with an accordion. Especially in “Afraid of the Weather”(track 5). It’s peppy. The music reminds me of something that I’d hear in a pumped up version of Juno, especially “Holes”(Track 7) and “Chinatown Bus”(Track 10). My favorite song on the album is “Gold Star Swimmer”(Track 8). The beginning of the song is “London Calling”- esque, but with a glockenspiele. There’s also a nice guitar interlude. My second favorite song is “I Tried Very Hard”(Track 4). It kepps the peppy feel of the entire album, but it slightly deviates from the norm. The two most interesting songs were “Whale Headed Girl”(Track 3) and “Sexual Frustration”(Track 12); Part of me felt as though I was on drugs when I first heard “Whale Headed Girl”, but in a good way. I found the lyrics of “Sexual Frustration” caught my attention. The instrumental part reminded me of The Killers. The lyrics reminded me of something else. Usually, an album starts to wind down towards the end, but Volcano Bloody Volcano goes out with a bang-for the lack of a better term. Overall the album was good, it was eclectic. I found it to be refreshingly different.