May 8th, 2001

(no subject)

so...i love music....but i tend to just listen to the same stuff, over and over...i get it ruts where i just listen to 5 bands for, i created this page to expose me and others to new please, review music and join!!!
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MadMan Mike says

here, this isn't great, but it'll pick up.

Tiffany Anders
funny cry happy gift
UP Records
Rating: 110 out of 360.

Fictional monologue in a record store:

Me: Hmm, whats this new album? Tiffany Ander--
My Imaginary Friend: Tiffany Amber Theissen??? Wow! Thats great! What is she wearing?!
Me: Uh, no man...Hey! Produced by PJ Harvey! Wow! This is great! What is she playing?!

Upon examination of the credits of Tiffany Anders funny cry happy gift (an album which fits none of these descriptions), I was really taken by a couple of things. First and foremost, the album is produced by PJ Harvey. No Shit. PJ Harvey. Knowing that she had a production role in her own excellent most recent LP, Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, I was thrilled to be allowed to hear this Tiffany chicks CD, whoever she was. Furthermore, funny cry happy gift features the one and only J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr! . . .featured on lead, uh . . . drums . . . hmmm. I would have to see about that one. . .

Still, I slid this disc into my computers CD Drive with only the greatest of expectations. But Person I Knew, the opening track, was not very satisfying. At all. Actually, it was kinda boring. The excitement of hearing J Mascis instantly got lost in the track along with his forgettable drum work. There was a nice enough build up, though, and the song, beaming with country music influence, showed a little bit of promise. But by the end of I See How Much Has Changed, a duet with Joe Hurley, I fully realized how much of my own excitement had changed into contempt. This was due in no small part to the lyrics, Girl Ive had a long journey, I look at you, I see how much has changed. And like the leaves that are now falling, our love is faded, and is now dead. Perhaps these words dont seem so bad written down, but delivered via a nearly non existent melody, and very very slowly, you really find yourself thinking of ways that they could be phrased in a more eloquent way. And youre right. Even Harveys uniquely simple vocal breaks between verses dont make this song worthwhile.

Track 7, Summer Gold, is a highlight of the disc. It features a background noise made by a copicat (def: a musical instrument known for saving songs from going straight to Hell) and some of the nicer guitar parts on the record to keep it interesting. However, these elements cant save the song from its lyrical shortcomings, and, again, a nearly complete lack of a tune. Like most of the songs on the disc, this one also plods along at a snails pace. Oh, and it doesnt bode well for Anders that the very next track, Concrete Like Quicksand, sports an identical melody. Thankfully, the following number, Solitudes Ring works better than most songs on funny cry happy gift. A slide guitar complements Anders vocals, which are nicer here than anywhere else on the disc.

If not for the major name guest stars who appear on funny cry happy gift, it would be tossed into the girl-singer-songwriters-who-do-the-girl-singer-songwriter-thing pile, and never given a second thought. Hell, it probably still will be. The fact is that Tiffany Anders is not really a bad songwriter, and she does have her moments. I am just perplexed at why she has gained the attention and support of such major league artists, not to mention the prestigious UP Records. Whatever. Just let me know when that new Tiffany Amber Theissen album comes out.
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MadMan Mike says

Calling All Kings & Queens: A Mr. Lady Compilation
Various Artists
Mr. Lady Records
Rating: 245 out of 360

Ask any cool 2nd grader about force fields, and you might just get an explanation about how an effective force field can guard against any sort of attack, be it with fists, swords, laser guns, etc. I know that as an eight year old, I often employed this device when I needed to take a break from an onslaught of Ninja Turtle training sessions. Eventually, though, I grew up, and I made peace with my friends for good, so there was no longer a need for such techniques of defense. I left the force fields, superpower tablets (SweetTarts), and my foam nunchucks behind, and entered something resembling a life in the real world.

I sometimes wish feminist rock music would do the same. When I picked up this disc, I was well aware that it might contain some stuff that would act as a force field and make me feel like a horrible, dominating white boy. Sorry, I dont care if an album is great; if it makes me feel horrible when I listen to it, Im not going to want to listen again. However, I noticed that there were tracks included from Sleater-Kinney and Le Tigre, so I figured that it would be worth the fight I might have to put up.

From the first track, Calling All Kings & Queens is all about the music. The group California Lightening kicks the whole thing off with Lugosi, a song which rocks, and rocks comfortably. By the time I was halfway into the second track, Le Tigres Sweetie, my discomfort had been replaced by the delightful lo-hop noises surrounding a song that could have been popular in the 50s.

Amy Ray puts up the first opposition to my white male-dom with a song about the inherent chauvinism of the music industry. I admit, its a little weird hearing the word boner in a song, but her proficient performance made up for most of the discomfort I felt. If anything, it was surely better than Trickys non-stop whining about record companies, which has been going on for, what, four releases now?

It wasnt long before I got to the Sleater-Kinney track, a live version of Ballad of a Ladyman. Singer Carrie Brownsteins voice has a magical way of cutting through any presuppositions one might have about a three girl rock band with no bass. Two other bands on the disc evidently use the same no-bass strategy, and consequently turn out sounding a lot like Sleater-Kinney. The more pleasing case of this is the band Oriflamme, with the song, My Own Private Ryan. The Butchies, Heart Beats Red and Origami also contribute notably good pieces to this compilation.

There are a couple other instances during Calling All Kings & Queens that made me feel just a little funny. The Sleater-Kinney written number, Im Not Waiting, performed by Kiki & Herb, comes off sounding like a joke, and not a good one. Later, PME puts down some really interesting music so that the lovely Ms.(ter) Vaginal Davis can turn the whole thing into a terrible Rocky Horror shit heap, falsettos and all. But these two bad performances werent enough to repel me from the compilation, because the music of the other groups on the disc has universal appeal that any indie rock guy like me can appreciate.

But this appreciation was severely damaged upon hearing the last track, Gretchen Phillips detestable Eau de Lesbianism, in which she lusts over her English teacher (sweet preachy teachy), and imagines having her on the subway. The entire track is spoken over the absolute worst electronic music I have ever heard, and the metaphors, (freshly mowed lawn, succulent peaches) are horrible. A few seconds after the track ends, we hear some live stage banter which includes the line, My nipples are way more hairier. Ewww.

So I am totally puzzled. What would possess the person sequencing this disc to put such an alienating track at the very end, so to remain as the taste in an outside listeners mouth? Was someone afraid that a Limp Bizkit fan out there was going to really dig the compilation? Is the idea of selling out so bad that we have to sabotage a great collection of music in an effort to keep it real for the die-hard lesbian fans?

Calling All Kings & Queens comes frustratingly close to proving that a feminist rock compilation can be really pleasing to a universal audience, but in the last seconds, it retreats back behind that familiar force field again. The world just will have to pick up its laser guns and start firing away hopelessly for a little bit longer.
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