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vol 9 - issue 06 (feb 2007) :: entertainmental
REVIEWS: WAYNE CHINSANG
What Wayne Chinsang is all about this month!

CDS:
 

VICTOR BERMON - ARRIVING AT NIGHT (Hefty Records)

Totally void of lyrics that could potentially ruin it, this disc layers instrument upon instrument, sound upon sound, creating a feeling that is reminiscent of both Laika and Yo La Tengo. Australian composer Victor Bermon creates a soundscape within these thirteen tracks that are both haunting yet promising, dense yet airy. As a fan of work that constantly contradicts itself-- thus reinventing itself at every turn-- Arriving At Night is a breath of fresh air amongst a mound of similar-sounding crap.

RATING: FOUR STARS

 

DOUBLE - THE INTERNET FILES VOL. 1 (Self-Released)

Double makes mixtapes better than anyone out there. Double makes more mixtapes than anyone out there. I swear to Christ, for every dump I take in a year, this twenty-something Georgian pumps out another goddamn mixtape! He's a mixtape machine! And this newest release-- just like the mixes before it-- is just as funky, just as raw, and just as playful as a mixtape should be. Now, if you're reading this, Double, please listen: knock it off! You release more albums in a year than we release issues! Then again, that ain't saying much.

RATING: FOUR STARS

 

GHOST STORIES - QUIXOTICISM (Sonic Boom Recordings)
You know, if I were a Midwest-born and bred whiteboy in my late twenties to early thirties, I might really enjoy the slightly whiney, mostly folky, and sometimes heartfelt one-man guitar-and-vocals show that is Ghost Stories (known to his parents as Ron Lewis). Wait a minute... I am all those things! There must be something fucked up with me then. Still, while I appreciate his efforts (nearly every aspect of the album was handled by Lewis himself, even the design work), it's just not my cup of tea. But if you are the aforementioned stereotype, chances are you'll probably dig it. Especially if you have an extensive tight-fitting sweater collection.
RATING: TWO STARS
 
THE HANKS - YOUR NEW ATTRACTION (Cobra Music)
This is what all those crazy kids are listening to! And by "what all those crazy kids are listening to" I mean "shitty, radio-friendly indie rock that dumb mall brats pump into their ears because they have no clue what truly good music sounds like"!
RATING: ONE STAR
 

GILL LANDRY - THE BALLAD OF LAWLESS SOIREZ (Nettwerk Records)

Caught somewhere in the cosmos between Planet Tom Waits and the Blackhole of Buck 65 lies the shooting star of Gill Landry. Born a busker, as well as a contributing member of the Old Crow Medicine Show, this disc is Landry's first attempt at a solo outing. Swamp-folk, blues, and dirges you'd expect to hear pouring out of swinging saloon doors form a dozen tracks that feel more dense, damp, and dirty than your grandfather's basement. Rather than fall into a safe haven of expected music from someone his age, Landry breaks out of the typical, and in doing so falls into the realm of the truly original.

RATING: THREE STARS

 

THE OLD CEREMONY - OUR ONE MISTAKE (Sonablast)

Yeah, this North Carolina-bred octuplet does sound like a lot of other stuff out there right now, but they've got something going for them that most other bands don't: a sweet-ass string section made up of violin, banjo, and cello. I'm a sucker for strings. Mix that with some piano, a tad bit of organ, and some bass guitar, and you've got yourself something that's not necessarily perfect, but something worth listening to over and over again.

RATING: THREE STARS

 

PATIENTZERO - INFLATABLE APE NATION (Lotus Field Records)

Don't let this album's fun title and silly cover art fool you: THIS ALBUM SUCK'S THE SHIT OFF THE BACKSIDE OF A GORILLA'S NUTSACK! If you're looking for the worst possible "indie" rock, with hilariously hushed vocals and sub-par instrumentation, STILL DON'T GET THIS ALBUM! This is so far at the bottom of the barrel that it's underneath the motherfucker! So, if you're a girl, avoid it like breast cancer. And if you're a guy, avoid it like prostate cancer. Unless you're a fat guy, in which case you can use the girl's analogy.

RATING: ZERO STARS

 
SAMAMIDON - BUT THIS CHICKEN PROVED FALSEHEARTED (Plug Research Music)

Yeah, I'm typically down with American folk music, even though a good portion of the genre teeters that fine line between folk and whiney-emo-crying-accompanied-by-screeching-guitars. Samamidon is closer to the latter than the former. Need proof? Just check out his pitiful dirge-like take on Tears For Fears' classic "Head Over Heels". Yes, I said "Tears For Fears" and "classic" in the same sentence. This is a humor publication you know.

RATING: TWO STARS

 
SAVOY BROWN - BLUES, BALLS & BOOGIE (AIM Records)
You ever see Ghost World? You know that crappy blues band called Blueshammer they check out in a bar? Well, Savoy Brown is similar, but forty years earlier. This live recording captures this supposedly legendary band at the peak of their talents and popularity. Is that a good thing? Maybe if you're in your sixties and trying to relive your drug-riddled youth. But if you're thirty and have no clue who Savoy Brown is or was, not so much.
RATING: ONE STAR
 

SOLUTION - HABITAT (Aquarium Records)

As the press release states, this is a mix of funk, blues, and soul. Unfortunately, Solution is to each of those genres what cancer is to diseases: the worst. Who would have thought that a handful of white guys from South Dakota would make watered-down funk/blues/soul? Me. If you're really interested in checking something like this out, go see your uncle's shitty cover band instead... and then smash yourself in the ears with a hammer until you're deaf.

RATING: ONE STAR
 

SONGS OF GREEN PHEASANT - AERIAL DAYS (Fat Cat/Caroline)

More snore-inducing than listening to my grandmother chug out hymnals during church, this seven-song EP feels like it's seven trillion songs long. Filled with slow and dull lyrics and sounds, I couldn't wait for: A) the album to end, or, B) myself to gather enough courage to blow my brains out. Not even a Beatles' cover of "Dear Prudence" can save this disc, which is so bad that the rotting corpse of John Lennon himself might come back just to slap the "crybaby" out of lead singer Duncan Sumpner.

RATING: ONE STAR

 

TEST YOUR REFLEX - THE BURNING HOUR (RCA Records)
The album's best feature: the glossy-on-matte finish and cover art on the cardboard cover of the advance copy. The album's worst feature: the lame, The Smiths-meets-The Killers-meets-U2 sounding radio garbage that litters the disc for eleven tracks. Nothing new here, folks. Keep moving....
RATING: ONE STAR

 
DVDS:
 

WHOLPHIN #3 (McSweeney's)

The DVD magazine Wholphin is back with their third issue, but unlike previous issues there are no surprises this time around. Do I mean that in a bad way? Absolutely not. At this point I've just come to terms with the fact that every issue of Wholphin is going to be completely mind-blowing. This issue we get the second part of the documentary The Power Of Nightmares, which made its debut last issue. Also back is Bob Odenkirk, who directed a hilarious short last issue, and now offers up something similar with The Bee & A Cigarette. But the brightest star in this digital galaxy of shining stars is A Stranger In Her Own City. Filmed in Yemen over the period of three days, this documentary follows 13-year-old Najmia, a girl hellbent on defying the traditions and customs of her homeland. Both empowering and depressing, the substance and message of this one piece makes Wholphin worth its cover price. As if that weren't enough, there are still eleven additional films that serve as more than enough reason to own it. I may be sick and tired of saying it, but I always speak the truth: Wholphin is-- once again-- perfect.

RATING: FIVE STARS


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