More two sentence album reviews:
- Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Hearts of Oak. Pleasant "indie" (whatever the hell that vague and unsubstantial term means) rock. Nothing groundbreaking or surprising, just solid songs decently performed. (I have to admit that, while this is good, it's not a great commentary on the state of la musica de la rock if this is the vanguard of the movement.)
- Rilo Kiley, The Execution of All Things. Pleasant "indie" rock. Nothing groundbreaking or surprising, just solid songs decently performed. I wonder if my opinion of this record is colored by my nostalgic childhood memories of Brooklyn Bridge, though.
- White Stripes, Elephant. I'm kind of underwhelmed thus far. I liked White Blood Cells and all, but it wasn't the I-have-seen-the-future-of-rock-and-roll type of album that people hyped it to be, just a solid reworking of the Stooges/MC5 late-60's Detroit vibe. This is even less inspired. It's always a bad sign when the best song on an album is a cover ("I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself"). Anyway, the White Stripes clearly aren't the next great life-altering thing or what have you, but it's disappointing to hear them go south so quick.
- Rocket from the Tombs, The Day the Earth Met The.... Holy hell, these guys should've been a great band. It's a damn shame that they didn't get to record a real album, but the stuff that was left behind here is pretty damn impressive in its own right. "Amphetamine" deserves to be ranked up there with "Desolation Row" and "Marquee Moon" in the pantheon of Great Epic Rock Songs. The versions of "Ain't it Fun" and "Life Stinks" smoke the versions by the Dead Boys and Pere Ubu, respectively - there was a darkness and malevolence in the performances of David Thomas and Peter Laughner here that they never really recaptured in later performances. While you can't help but wonder what would've happened if they hadn't imploded, this is amazing stuff to hear nevertheless.
- Radio 4, Gotham!. Radio 4 is so derivative of the Gang of Four, one wonders if they'll start a touring production a la Beatlemania. ("That's Entertainment!" maybe?) But despite the unoriginality, they still manage to kick out some convincing leftist white guy funk here. Docked a point for the really stupid, simpering lyrics. "I really sorry but we've got to start resisting / It's no request, we really are insisting on this now"? Way to stick it to the Man convincingly there, guys. Fuck the Police! (although individually, I'm sure they're wonderful people) Smash the State! (if it's OK with everyone else)