White Lung channel galvanic and immensely unobstructable energy on Paradise. They take that feeling of being unspoken for, pump it up manifold and scream it to the skies. The music extends into your female consciousness. Lyrics evoke a superstratum. Your banal existence becomes suspect. You are felt, seen and heard when Mish sings about female hysteria, cruelty, pride, and the preservation of beauty.
Drought over, here are America’s tears.
Pill sound like Hall and Oates, if Hall were trying to sell you coke and Oates were trying to talk you into a threesome with them. They are sexy and cool and abrasive and danceable and dangerous. All at once. And when Brook saw them at Union Pool, a few weeks ago, he felt like his skin was coming off in sheets.
For an album about childlike innocence, it’s the opposite of kid-friendly, and that’s exactly what Manson intended. Smells Like Children is the sonic equivalent of a slasher flick in that destroys all things innocent with reckless abandon.
Everyone, including Ruby, loves a quirky love song about getting high in a tree. But Greys (even if they can’t be pegged down by a single nondescript descriptor like “indie”) are doing an obvious about-face with their new album Outer Heaven. It’s not so much a rejection of the typical indie rock fare (girls, lonely nights, etc.) as it is confronting difficult topics like, say, terrorism.
By June of 1995, the casual rock and roll listener was, indeed, stressed out. Worn out on the promise of the Alternative Nation, general ennui flowed in to fill the demigod-sized hole left by the death of Kurt Cobain. Grunge was over, a fad that had long since passed into parody. Like a bolt of neurotic, clingy light, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill stepped in to fill the gap between Generations X and Y.
What can you say about a twenty-three year old boy who walks out on the biggest boy band in the world? That he’s finally had enough? That he’s been pushed and shoved by the corporate machine to a place where all he yearns for is to make music that doesn’t “influence” anyone, anymore? That he is ready to be a man?
What if your passion is for something terrible? Neil Hamburger, a painfully inept comedian, asks that very question on his 1999 album, Left For Dead in Malaysia. The album, recorded on a real, ill-advised booking in Kuala Lumpur, is in essence a perfect capsule of a show gone horribly awry. Hamburger, who is famous despite being terrible at comedy, takes the stage with a shaky “Selamat malam!,” before quickly reverting to English for the remainder of the act. An initial series of poorly-delivered jokes falls flat on the disinterested, Bahasa Malaysia-speaking crowd.
Do you spend a lot of time on the Internet? Do you habitually indulge in superficial, gin-and-juice introspection? Do you have smug subtweets about your social circle hidden in your drafts because you’re afraid your boldness might be met with a lack of consensus? Congratulations! This is the album for you!