Nut Suite. Mini reviews of albums old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers [?]. Occasional smugs.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

OINGO BOINGO / Dead Man's Party [1985]


Oingo Boingo briefly broke onto the mainstream charts with 1985's Dead Man's Party.  Their massive change in sound had a lot to do with it and in turn put off a lot of longtime fans.  Gone are the kooky time signatures,  the punk up attitude, the snarky darkly humorous lyrics, frantic guitar frolics and wild offbeat vocal styles.  All of it replaced by a smoothed over sound that is reminiscent of a quirky version of Duran Duran.  Not to say it's a bad record, in fact I'm awfully fond of several of the songs, it's just I preferred the Boingos who weren't afraid to offend.

3 dead Bus-conductors out of 5


Saturday, November 24, 2012

NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS / Lawless (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[2012]

For director John Hillcoat's violent prohibition piece Lawless, regular collaborators Nick Cave & Warren Ellis pieced together quite an unexpected & interesting musical backdrop.  
While their limited score for the film goes largely ignored on the album it's the songs they've arranged that are put into the spotlight.  Cave & Ellis gather together notable acts such as Ralph Stanley, Mark Lanegan, Emmylou Harris & Willie Nelson to cover songs by Captain Beefheart, Townes Van Zandt & Velvet Undergound and tweak them to sound like genuine period pieces.  They manage to maintain the haunting canvas of their previous works while producing something completely fresh and exciting.

4 changes from meth to moonshine out of 5

LINDI ORTEGA / Cigarettes & Truckstops [2012]

Canadian country girl Lindi Ortega has been chipping away at making a name for herself for a good ten years and with her 2012 album Cigarettes & Truckstops she should receive the national recognition she rightfully deserves.
Her vocals sound close to Dolly Parton but her music sounds like a smoky bar ode to Emmylou Harris and Patsy Cline. She's got a playful, smoldering vocal style that's sultry, sad and exploding with enthusiastic soul.  It's vintage bluesy country that's hard to not like.

4 boys buried in the backyard out of 5


Friday, November 23, 2012

GREEN DAY / On The Radio [2012]

Recorded live for a New Jersey radio station in 1992 while in support of Kerplunk, Green Day's On The Radio is a wonderful little treasure for only the most dedicated of fans.  
With sound as muddy as it is, I couldn't recommend it to anybody but a fanboy.  It's great to hear the band so youthful, raw, energetic and unaware of the turbulence they were about to hit 2 years later.  

3 Fifteen covers out of 5

Songs Of Note: Paper LanternsChristie Road

Thursday, November 22, 2012

P.O.S. / We Don't Even Live Here [2012]

P.O.S. of the hip-hop collective known as Doomtree ventures into his fourth solo album, 2012's We Don't Even Live Here.
Well known for being the member that brings the punk rock elements to Doomtree, it's interesting to hear P.O.S. dive deep into the electro hip-hop sound here.  As angry and aggressive as the lyrics are, P.O.S.' vocal delivery it reserved and laidback, cleverly playing off the pulsating pianos, bouncy bass lines and skittish synth flows.  Clearly P.O.S. is just a powerful voice and producer on his own as he is as an ensemble.

4 Bon Iver's? out of 5

Songs Of Note: They Can't ComeAll Of It

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NO DOUBT / Push And Shove [2012]

After the initial shock and disappointment wore off with 2012's Push And Shove not being the nerdy ska-rocking No Doubt I was hoping for, I thought I'd come back to this album and give it a fair listen before Nutting it.
11 years after their last album, No Doubt come back in fine looking form with just the right amount of enthusiasm, confidence and drive to avoid sounding over the hill, with the exception of vocalist Gwen Stefani's groanworthy lyrics, who at times sounds like just like Madonna.  Comparisons to the Material Girl don't stop there, as the album is essentially a dance pop album.  Quality dance pop, but none the less dance pop, which simply just isn't my thing at all.  

3 hilariously banned music videos with Injuns out of 5

Songs Of Note: One More SummerPush And Shove

FAITH NO MORE / Album Of The Year [1997]

Faith No More's final album before an 18 year hiatus, 1997's Album Of The Year, is generally known as the band's weakest work with vocalist Mike Patton. 
Critics, fans and even the band members have all spoken of their displeasure with the record.  It's dragged down by a dry, dull sounding mix, lack of input from half the band and just an all around nagging feeling of repeating watered down versions of their back catalogue.  There's a few songs scattered throughout the mix that are particularly excellent but still not enough to make a great album.  Less than a year after the album's release, Faith No More called it quits for the day.

3 pravda vítězi's out of 5

Songs Of Note: StripsearchPristina


BLACK LIGHT BURNS / The Moment You Realize You're Going to Fall [2012]

5 years later, due to obligations with Limp Bizkit & Marilyn Manson, Wes Borland finally returns to his Black Light Burns project with a sophomore effort, 2012's The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall
A quirky hybrid of nu metal, industrial & punk music, BLB cranks up the distortion on the bass and doesn't take it self as seriously as on 2005's Cruel Melody.  Borland's allowed his songwriting skills to organically flow & loosen up and it really shows for the better.  Clocking in at over an hour might be a bit much for some folks but for anyone who's been anxiously waiting 5 years for a new album will be pleased.

4 chapters out of 5

WOVEN HAND / Black Of The Ink EP[2011]

10 years into their career Woven Hand (Dave Edwards to be exact) unleash their 2011 6 song EP entitled Black Of The Ink.  
What we have here are 6 songs each from one of their 6 albums, recorded with just Dave and his guitar, which serves as a compact overview of their 10 years as an act.  It doesn't sound like much but it works really, really well.  Edwards' music has always been, at the core, about the evils of the human soul, so it seems fitting it be recorded in such a powerfully intimate fashion.  
What sells the whole deal is it's packaged as a beautiful 110 page hardcover book featuring handwritten lyrics of every Woven Hand song to date coupled with some abstract drawings all by Dave Edwards.  

5 twisted human souls out of 5

Songs Of Note: Not One StoneWhistling Girl

DANNY ELFMAN / So-Lo [1984]

Officially considered a solo outing from Danny Elfman, 1984's So-Lo is really the 4th Oingo Boingo album in disguise seeing as all the band members play on the album.  Due to legalities between changing record labels, Elfman & the Boingos were unable to use the band name when they first moved to MCA records.  
It's not entirely implausible, listening to the extreme change in musical styles from Boingo's previous records. Focusing more on a down tempo synth-pop sound rather than the abrasive punked-up guitar sound of their earlier works.  It's sparks up some interesting ideas musically & lyrically but Elfman doesn't seem to know how to keep the new sound interesting like he would on the future Boingo albums.

2 missing cannibalistic monologues out of 5

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

EL-CREEPO! / Aloha [2012]

Polkadot Cadaver frontman Todd Smith aka El-Creepo! goes solo for a second time in 2012's Aloha.  Carrying the relaxed & soothing, yet strangely creepy, sound of his work with The Alter Boys, Smith sounds more sure of himself and stronger as a solo songwriter than he did on his 2009 effort.  What's nice about El-Creepo! is he puts the genre-hopping of his group projects on the back-burner and focuses more on the just writing good songs with interesting song structures.  Not to say there aren't traces of multiple styles because there is.  I think it's just naturally in Smith's songwriting blood.

4 throat gurgles out of 5

Songs Of Note: A Town Called Tribulation; Cottonwood River

Monday, November 19, 2012

PRIMUS / Frizzle Fry [1990]

Frenetic funk metal weirdos Primus make their studio album debut with 1990's Frizzle Fry.
Basically, it's a studio version of their live album Suck On This with a few minor changes in tracklisting and studio tweaking but it's just as essential as an album.  Each band member takes their instruments and gives them a demented soul of their own, making for one of the tightest loopiest unique sounds to come out of the early '90's.  Still in their early days, Primus are still more goofy than dark but with a little digging you'll find a creepy lyrical undertone with each song.  In the end, I don't have a single bad thing to say about this record.
Add it to my desert island discs.

5 puppies of war out of 5

GREEN DAY / ¡Dos! [2012]

2012's ¡Dos! is the second album in Green Day's ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy of albums.
While ¡Uno! was quick, mindless and to-the-point bubblegum pop,  ¡Dos! takes a punchier swipe at the ears with fuzzed up guitars and Ramones style rhythms in full force.  Billie & the boys sound more like the "cigarettes & booze riddled dive bar" sound of their side-band the Foxboro Hot Tubs here than they do the "shopping mall bubblegum punk" of Green Day.   Which isn't a bad thing.  In fact it's quite welcome after the "paint by numbers" feeling of the first trilogy album.  Sure there's a few misfires here but all in all it's fast-paced and a bit rough around the edges yet still easily digestible.  

3½ F-woos for the kids out of 5

Songs Of Note: NightlifeAmy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

KATE BUSH / Lionheart (1978)

Pressured into releasing a second album in the same year as her début, Kate had only a few months to work on Lionheart. As a result, it lacks the same time-necessary experimental nature of The Kick Inside. It's made up of more relaxed Folksy Pop songs that didn't catch hold of me as quickly or as tightly as before. There are still moments where her voice soars and her piano soothes, but it's hard to shake the feeling that more time would've allowed the often safe compositions to blossom further. It's still GREAT, but it could've been even better.

Songs of Note: Wow; Hammer Horror

4 skidding wheels out of 5

Monday, November 12, 2012

SAMHAIN / Initium (1984)

After disbanding The Misfits, and before becoming Danzig (the band), Glenn formed Samhain, whose music sounds exactly like you'd imagine it would: the two bands combined. It's definitely more Misfits in style, but beneath the muddy production you can hear the beginnings of the dark blues that Rick Rubin and Glenn would bring to the fore years later in the eponymous Danzig début.

Songs of Note: Black Dream; The Howl

4 business to biz out of 5

ÁRSTÍÐIR / Svefns Og Vöku Skil (2011)

Árstíðir's second album is Icelandic neo-folk that explores the magical state between waking and sleep. It's a quiet album composed of piano, acoustic guitar, soft strings and even softer six-part vocal harmonies. It can be a little too wistful at times but at others it captures the exquisite otherworldly feeling of drifting into a lushly decorated dream, with a hint of the unknown.

Songs of Note: Ljod i sand; Lost in You

3½ ways back home out of 5

Sunday, November 11, 2012

TRIBES OF NEUROT + WALKING TIME BOMBS / Static Migration (1998)

Tribes of Neurot are a side project of the band Neurosis. They retain the same intensity but shine it though a textured prism of ambient experimentalism, sound collage, mysticism and tribal percussion. There's no lyrics and there's no guarantee you'll like it even if you're a dedicated Neurosis fan.
A collaborative work with Walking Time Bombs (Scott Ayers), who together find a connection that raises the complexity levels, producing something both ambient and aggressive, listening to the Static Migration album makes me want to take a walk alone in the desert and gorge myself on peyote.

Songs of Note: Origin Unknown; March to the Sun

4½ hypnotic births out of 5

HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS / An Omen EP (2012)

An Omen is a listless composition from a band that, in trying to distance themselves from the modified NIN sound of the previous E.P., have settled for loop-based emptiness, with little other than the promise of a pay-off to sustain interest. I waited and waited, but the pay-off didn't come.
Reznor is a master of deconstruction, but when putting the separate parts back together again he appears to have lost some of them, and arguably forgotten to use any kind of glue. There's nothing cohesive beneath the surface.

Songs of Note: On the Wing; The Loop Closes

2 layers of apathy out of 5

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PUBLIC IMAGE LTD / Commercial Zone (1984)

I don't have space to document the childish events surrounding the release of Commercial Zone (Wiki has info), it's easier to say that it's guitarist Keith Levene's alternative version of the This is What You Want... (1984) album. Five of the eight tracks appear on TiWYW, but with a distinctly different mix. CZ got a semi-official release in America, but it still sounds like a half-finished demo leak. PiL fans will want to track it down, but be prepared for it to split opinion and incite argument as to the legitimacy of inclusion in the band's official discography.

Songs of Note: ...  (I'm not going to start that debate.)

2½ sandpaper editions out of 5

IRON MAIDEN / Piece of Mind (1983)

Maiden's fourth album was also Nicko McBrain's first; he added his drum skills to the existing line-up, which was a line-up that lasted for many years. It's a solid album with typical Maiden-esque riffs and breaks, but except for fan-favourite The Trooper there's few obvious stand-out moments. It requires repeated listens before it begins to impact like the previous albums did. But once it clicks, it sticks.

Songs of Note: The Trooper; Flight of Icarus

4 literary inspirations out of 5

Thursday, November 1, 2012

THERAPY? / Suicide Pact - You First (1999)

An uncompromisingly dark and angry release, fuelled by burned-out drug abuse and label trouble. It lacks the radio-friendly riffs of the previous two albums; not because they failed to deliver them, but because they no longer wanted to.
Instead, they unleashed a fuzzy, noisy tirade that made them remember why they were Therapy? in the first place. It pleased many fans of the earlier albums and E.P.s but left almost everyone else cold.
Cradled within the noise is the magnificent Six Mile Water. It's a quiet track that gets under your skin in a similar way that the ballad from Nurse (1992) did.

Songs of Note: He's Not That Kind of Girl; Six Mile Water

3½ cups of poison joy out of 5

THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH / Welcome to the Beautiful South (1989)

It's hard to dislike the Pop-friendly, Jazzy lullabies that The Beautiful South offer up. When the caustic lyrics sink into your brain after a few listens, and you realise that it's not as safe as it pertains to be, everything begins to make a strange kind of sense. Lyricist Paul Heaton sounds like a choir boy grown up, but he's the choir boy that had a well-thumbed Samuel Becket novel hidden in his songbook.

Songs of Note: Woman in the Wall; You Keep it All In

3½ corpses in the wall out of 5

DIO / Holy Diver (1983)

Dio's début album is a masterpiece that's fully deserving of its status among fans. It's without a doubt one of the finest examples of 80s metal ever made. It continued the fascination with high fantasy that Ronnie brought to Black Sabbath: the duality of love and lust, good and evil and the perceptions that are attributed to each are explored time and again. Ronnie delivers his vocals with such power and astounding self-belief that it doesn't matter if half the time his cryptic lyrics appear contradictory and make little sense on the surface. Everyone should own Holy Diver, but if you're going for the CD, make sure and get the remaster.

Songs of Note: Holy Diver; Don't Talk to Strangers

5 stars of the masquerade out of 5