Archive for the Stupid Bands Category

Surfer Blood- Astrocoast Review

Posted in Record Reviews, Stupid Bands, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by peteymenz

Swim is catchy.  OK.  It’s very catchy.  It kind of reminds me of a song that could play in a beer commercial, but it’s catchy.  Catchiness is a hallmark of beer commercials.  That’s why you never see this song in Bud Lite commercials, even though you can’t get much more direct.  But anyway- Surfer Blood have made an album.  This album is forty and a half minutes long.  Swim is three and a third minutes long.  Thus, you should unequivocally enjoy 8.2% of the album and have mixed reactions to the rest.

Part of me thinks the biggest problem on this album is timing.  It’s January.  It’s freezing.  It’s not time for surfing.  And make no mistake- this band is all about surfing.  Fifth track “Neighbor Riffs” is their attempt to write a surf instrumental as indelible as Miserlou.  Does it succeed?  Well, let’s just say that the Quentin Tarantinos of the future won’t be using this song for their soundtracks.  However, I’m quite certain that the teen movies of the near future will be able to use Swim.  After all, it’s quite catchy.

One final thought- the cover is, like, incredibly garish.  Seriously, what were they thinking?  The cheesy shark picture would be bad by itself, but the checkerboard pattern just takes it to new levels.  Not to mention the font that the band name is written in.

Another final thought- Lyrics- “I don’t want to spin my wheels/ I don’t got no wheels to spin”- are not Surfer Blood’s strength.  “Swim… to reach the end” is pretty stupid too now that I think about it.

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Elevator Music: Two New Songs

Posted in Stupid Bands, Track Review with tags , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by peteymenz

Today, I legally downloaded the first single, Boy 1904, from Sigur Ròs frontman Jónsi Birgisson’s side project with his lover Alex Somers, listened to it, and found the absolute nadir of ambient music.  

It’s easy to see why people like Sigur Ròs; it’s absurdly beautiful music that’s also essentially meaningless.  The lyrics are sung in a nonsense language made up by Birgisson, meaning uptight parents don’t have to worry about the band spreading any messages dealing with Satan, vegetarianism, or gay lifestyles, no one has to worry about getting the words wrong (it’s all phonetic anyway), and no one has to bother looking for any artistic message whatsoever.  The good thing is that this it’s pure pleasure music, and thus pretty listenable.  Boy 1904 is listenable too.  But what makes it so much worse than Sigur Ròs is that it’s pretty much the same thing they always do; anthemic melody stretched out and slowed down, but never to mind-boggling lengths.  The Ramones had more complexity than this.  There are no layers to this music; repeated listening doesn’t reveal anything at all.  

What strikes me most about it is how it’s even more meaningless than the usual stuff from the group; it features a recording of the last castrato singer, which doesn’t add anything to the song (Jónsi sounds like his balls were cut off anyway), the title doesn’t even pretend to be something in Icelandic, and worst of all, it’s treated to sound like some old record.  The song wants the air of something antiquated and epic, but it just rings false.  The album, Riceboy Sleeps should be more of the same.

Right after that song finished, my iTunes library switched to “If I Ever Feel Better” by Phoenix, which has pretty fluffy lyrics and might be just as meaningless.  But it’s infinitely better than Boy 1904, simply because it has a beat.  

 

AIR has a new song out too, from their upcoming album Love 2; like Boy 1904, it follows the same pattern, but it’s a hell of a lot more successful, simply because AIR is more fun to listen to than Sigur Ròs.  Do The Love even indulges in B-movie synths and the cheesiest vocoding effects these Frenchmen have used yet.  It’s an immensely enjoyable and lightweight track.  

King Of The Dogs: This Song’s A B***h

Posted in Stupid Bands, Track Review with tags , , , , , , on May 21, 2009 by peteymenz

 

King of the Reasons to Die Young

King of the Reasons to Quit While You're Ahead

Iggy Pop is not the greatest singer in the world.  Yes, he is the first and foremost reason people listen to the Stooges, but what he does is not so much sing as talk loudly (as best heard on the seminal “I Wanna Be Your Dog”) or talk excitedly and scream and whoop (nearly all other songs by the Stooges).  As I see it, the only time when Iggy actually sang in a normal manner and did this successfully was on 1977’s Lust For Life, his best solo album.  

Iggy Pop does not attempt to sing in a normal manner on his newest song, “King of the Dogs”, but it pretty much sucks nonetheless.  Simply put, he sounds like a weak Disney villain cranking out his musical number.  The plausibility of this is shocking; Iggy hasn’t done anything worthwhile in years, he’s pretty much lost any aura of danger, and he voiced a baby in the Rugrats movie.  I have concluded that Iggy Pop was slated to appear in a new Disney movie until executives decided it was a horrible idea.  His next album, Préliminaires, is not an album about French philosophy; it is the scrapped soundtrack to the movie, an excerpt of which appears below.

 

THE NEW FILM FROM DISNEY: JOHNNY AND THE KING OF THE DOGS

Johnny, a nice all-American-verging-on-Aryan youth walks into a dark cave.

JOHNNY (frightened): Gee, I sure hope I don’t meet the king of the dogs!

On cue, the King of the Dogs, voiced by aging punk rocker Iggy Pop, comes out.

King of the Dogs: Muahaha!

The King of the Dogs begins singing a song, entitled “King of the Dogs”.  It should have a cheesy jazz backing track, highlight none of Mr. Pop’s talent (self-mutilation, shooting up on heroin, being ripped, being bored in a transcendent manner), and generally suck.  Lyrically it should be clichéd and uninspired, but not in any enjoyable manner.  

Johnny stands in shock.  The song finishes.

JOHNNY (confused): Didn’t you use to be really cool and stuff? And make music that started punk rock?  And make a much better song about dogs? 

KING OF THE DOGS: Well…. it’s a step up from the Weirdness, isn’t it?

 

 

If you really want to hear the song, here it is on Pitchfork Media.

An Open Letter to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Posted in Stupid Bands, Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 19, 2008 by peteymenz

Dear Flea, Chad, John, and Anthony,

I’m not a fan.  The Red Hot Chili Peppers are Gang of Four if Andy Gill thought he was better than Hendrix and Jon King eschewed leftist politics in favor of pretending he was in Animal House.  Essentially, your funk is slightly above average but useless, not because it’s “art for art’s sake”, but because it’s so mind numbingly pointless; the Red Hot Chili Peppers epitomize the rather dire flip side of pretentiousness, not aspiring to anything.  You’ve pushed the same sound for nearly 30 years (Any song of their latest studio album, Stadium Arcadium, could be exchanged for any song on their eponymous debut.  The biggest musical evolution that you’ve achieved is realizing that your rapping sucks.), even though your music is a rip off of the great Gang of Four, as mentioned already.  John Frusciante, you might say your “psychedelic-funk” (as blathered by Rolling Stone) playing is different from Gang Of Four.  That is true. Andy Gill was never stupid enough to bog down a 2 hour record with solos that take up roughly a third of the time.  Frusciante, you are talented, but ultimately boring.  Other, less “talented” (in the traditional sense) guitarists have made more interesting music; for instance, Arto Lindsay’s skronk guitar style in DNA or Keith Levene’s metallic scrapings in Public Image Ltd. 

But if your music aspires to nothing, the lyrics aspire to less, and this is the true reason you pale next to Gang of Four.  This is not to say that you should attempt leftist polemics on your new record.  Anthony Kiedis, I believe you think sexual politics is a porno film set in the White House, and when someone writes lyrics about things they don’t understand, they come off as even stupider than you when you sing “Hey o/Listen what I say o”.  But even when you try to be funny, as on Mr. Psycho Sexy (Mr. Psycho Sexy that is me/Sometimes I find I need to scream),  you lack the biting wit of LCD Soundsystem (“Sound of Silver makes you want to feel like a teenager/until you remember the feelings of a real life emotion of teenager” from Sound of Silver) or the absurd hilarity of the Dictators (“I drink Coca Cola for breakfast/I got Jackie Onassis in my pants”).  And when you try to be serious, it comes off as a joke that’s not funny.  “Death of A Martian” stands as one of the most unintentionally idiotic songs ever recorded.  Overall, stupid lyrics bode well when the band is in on the joke and intentionally stylizes and exaggerates stupidity in their lyrics, as the Ramones did, not when the band thinks they did something meaningful and wrote a Spinal Tap reject song.  

If you did not understand my letter above, let me phrase it to you as a suitably moronic verse that could fit perfectly into a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (Before you ask, it fits into your mold of sex and California):

“California oh yeah

The Red Hot Chili Peppers suck

Just like you oh yeah

Gang of Four had no luck”

Hatefully,

Petey Menz