The Raveonettes, Bon Iver, Destroy Tokyo, & Sebastien Tellier

The Raveonettes – Lust Lust Lust

Maybe it’s just us, but it almost seems like The Raveonettes’ music actually sounded better back when it was featured in 2004 K-Mart commercials. We guess it’s just something to do with blue light specials, cafeteria food and the smell of senior citizens. That stuff just makes music sound better in general. Either way, this album is boring. Don’t buy it. Unless you’re a gay. (Just kidding. Only loves gays and wouldn’t ever inflict this album upon them).

Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Meg: You know how sometimes when someone dies young, you can look back at old pictures of them and something in their eyes looks like they always knew they would never live to get old? This album kind of sounds like one of those pictures.

Jeph: No. I am not familiar with that experience. What kind of freaky pictures have you been looking at? All I thought about while listening to this is that I hate the sound of a guy singing while he plays an acoustic guitar. Unless it’s that dreamy Justin Nozuka. A Canadian and a charmer, that Justin Nozuka.

Meg: I would probably lend this album to my dead second cousin. I don’t really know what kind of music he likes ‘cos he died when I was nine, but I know that they played that song from the movie, Beaches at his funeral. Who knows, though. Maybe he would totally hate this album.

Destroy Tokyo – Shapes

Before even listening to a second of this, we were praying that there were no lyrics at all on here. The band name and album title are so corny and typical that we knew that any lyrics on here would be equally bad. We were pleasantly surprised when we listened to it and found it to be a perfectly nice sounding instrumental album. There are four tracks, but really only two songs on here. It works fine for an EP, though. But, really? “Destroy Tokyo”? “Shapes”? These guys should have just let their record label come up with their band name.

Sebastien Tellier – Sexuality

Jeph: In France everyone thinks that it’s sexy when a white guy talks slowly over mellow music. In real life (North America), that is probably one of the least sexy things there is.

Meg: Yeah, probably the most sexy thing would be a collaboration between Salt’N‘Pepa and Steve Buscemi. They actually understand music and sex appeal.


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Bizzy Bone and Layzie Bone, Sons and Daughters, Re-up Gang & The Mae Shi

Bizzy Bone and Layzie Bone – Bone Brothers III
You just know an album is going to be good when the intro is a one minute recording of Bone Thugs~N~Harmony winning an award for “Favourite Act, Duo or Group in Rap and Hip Hop”. Actual documented evidence of being the best is always more effective than just telling people you’re the best. Of course, they could have just told us and we’d believe them. Don’t you remember crying when Eazy-E’s face was in the sky in “Tha Crossroads” video? And even though it kind of sucks that the best Bone Brother is absent here (you know we’re talking about Krazy Bone), it’s nice to hear their trademark really fast rapping from start to finish on this album.

Sons and Daughters – This Gift
Meg: A group formed backstage at an Arab Strap concert named after some Bob Dylan lyrics? Sounds kind of suspect if you ask me.

Jeph: Fair assessment. But you might have overlooked that these guys are from Glasgow. I’ll give any band from Glasgow a fighting chance. Mind you, I would like to find out whether they support Rangers or Celtic. I’m not going to go giving a good review to a band that likes the Glasgow Rangers.

Meg: I just want to know if they’ll have my back in an Orange March.

Jeph: I’m guessing not. These guys are Bob Dylan fans. Come to think of it, I’m not even going to review a Bob Dylan fan.

Meg: Fucking weedgies.

Re-up Gang – We Got it For Cheap Vol. 3
Not that we love name-dropping The Wire every single time we write for Only, or anything like that (See here, here and here), but we totally know what “re-up” means because of The Wire. But we’re pretty sure if we listen close we’ll learn some new slang on here, since pretty much every song seems to be about crack dealing. You’ll definitely learn something about working on the corner if you listen to “Show You How to Hustle” followed by “20k” and “Dey Know Yayo”. We’re moving an extra bird a month since we started listening to this.

The Mae Shi – Hlllyh
Jeph: On the Wikipedia page for this band, they’re described as “experimental punk”.

Meg: I thought experimenting was supposed to be cool like making out with people that are the same gender as you. Pop punk is about the last thing I would want to experiment with.

Jeph: For sure. If I was coming up with a genre for these guys, I would call them “post-Treble Charger”. The song “Kingdom Come” on here is over 11 minutes. Who the heck told these guys that they could make an 11 minute song?!

Meg: Probably some asshole from Treble Charger.

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Hot Chip, Dead Meadow, This Will Destroy You & Xiu Xiu

Hot Chip – Made in the Dark

We hadn’t heard of these guys before this album. With them being from the UK and their name being what it is, we were mostly just glad that they don’t sound exactly like Franz Ferdinand. The dance songs are dancey, so there’s not much to say about those. We listened to them while walking through the snow in gumboots and that was pretty fun. Just kidding! Only Jeph had gumboots on. The slow ballads (such as the title track) are pretty despicable. We recommend that you take some masking tape and cover up those tracks on the record so that they don’t ever accidentally come on and ruin your day.

Dead Meadow – Old Growth

Meg: Isn’t it just perfect when music sounds exactly the way you would expect it to, based off its album title and band name?

Jeph: Yeah. It makes me feel a lot better about judging other bands by their name without listening to them. We could have easily reviewed this just by its name. There are a lot of local bands with names like this that I always assumed sounded like this, and I now feel better about the fact that I’ll never give them a chance. Not that these guys sound bad. They’re good at what they do.

Meg: Totally. They’re the best at making boring tree music.

This Will Destroy You – This Will Destroy You

No fucking way. This album won’t destroy you. This album won’t even scratch you. Unless, of course, you always get destroyed by the background noise in your grandma’s laundry room. We’d love to meet the person that is destroyed every time they hear instrumental post-rock.

Xiu Xiu – Women as Lovers

Meg: I can’t fucking wait to hear what kind of snobby opinion you have about the cover of “Under Pressure.” This is going to be so good.

Jeph: Thanks. Glad to see you have so much sarcastic faith in me. You’re right anyway. I thought the album itself is fine. The percussion is excellent and the singing is not too annoying most of the time. Most Xiu Xiu fans will probably continue being Xiu Xiu fans when they hear this. But I did think the Bowie/Queen cover failed. I think the two tests for a cover are whether you choose a good song to cover and then if you do something interesting with it. First off, “Under Pressure” is not an interesting song to cover. Second, though some people might think the dynamic is interesting because they bring Michael Gira into the mix, I think it would have been much better if they brought in Michael Cera. That kid is hilarious!

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Miss Kittin, These New Puritans, Brasstronaut & Vampire Weekend

Miss Kittin – Batbox

A staff member at a New Jersey radio station recently did an experiment that proved that if Britney Spears’s latest album had been packaged as a German electro-clash album, it would get a lot more respect. Obviously. This album by Miss Kittin goes further to prove the point. It sounds almost like an exact replica of Britney’s “Blackout”, but you wouldn’t guess that from what people have written about it. It’s almost impossible not to imagine these songs being performed by some Amy Poehler character on Deep House Dish. And for the record, we do not think this album is deep house. We know it isn’t deep house. It just sounds like an act that would play on SNL‘s Deep House Dish, OK?

These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid

Jeph: I was really glad to see that these guys really are British. When I heard the really stereotypical British accent I was really worried these guys would be from New York or Boston, but then the accent ended up being real.

Meg: These guys’ accents are the least of my worries.

Jeph: I like how these guys talk so much about numbers. Usually rappers from the Nation of Gods and Earths (like Brand Nubian or Gang Starr) seem to have a monopoly on numerology in music. It’s about time some dorky British kids tried their hand at it.

Meg: I bet that’s not all they try their hands at.

Brasstronaut – Old World Lies EP

It is always funny when a band uses some sort of pun in their band name that is related to the music they play. Funnier yet, if you put your style of music in your band name: like Papa Surf or Skabba the Hut. Fucking hilarious, actually. In any case, Brasstronaut still ranks up there as one of the best of these kinds of names. But don’t let the name fool you. If you were expecting a barrel of laughs to help you get over Heath Ledger’s mysterious and tragic death, this is not the album. In fact, after listening to this album, we were both found naked, lying face down on our apartment floor, surrounded by scattered pills. Actually, they were just prescription sleeping pills, and they were still in the bottle. I guess we just fell asleep, really.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Jeph: This is the second band that I’ve heard that is inspired by African soukous music. I’ve still never heard a soukous band with an African guy in it. Even though I kind of like this album, I think it is funny how white people these days are so bored of stealing African-American music that they are just going straight to the source and stealing music from the Africans themselves.

Meg: Are you sure these guys aren’t African?

Jeph: The keyboardist is named Rostam Batmanglij. So that might mean they’re not all WASPs. But they all just look like white guys from New York.

Meg: You look like a white guy from New York. Literally.

Jeph: Hey, you know full well that I’m one quarter ethnic.

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Black Mountain, MGMT, Hello, Blue Roses & Blood on the Wall

Black Mountain – In the Future
Jeph: I like this album. Most of it just sounds like good rock. Can’t complain about that. I don’t like that part in “Bright Lights” where they’re like: “Light bright light bright light bright…” for 16 minutes. That just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Meg: That’s just you, though. You’re the kind of guy who likes “good rock” and is deathly afraid of repetitive singing.

Jeph: I dunno. It’s all about how they say it. It gives me the spooks something awful — as if evil spirits are trying to get down my throat and into my heart. Yikes! Good album, though. I might lend it to my brother.

Meg: Good idea. I just hope this album doesn’t give your brother “the spooks something awful”.

MGMT – Oracular Spectacualr
Whenever we have to review albums that are entirely instrumental, Jeph usually complains about the lack of singing and makes some long-winded statement about how instrumentals are boring. This album is one of those cases where we both agree that the absence of lyrics and singing would have been a bonus. The music and recording both succeed (they sound pretty good, in fact), but the lyrics would have been more appropriate if they were written on some junior high student’s binder or jeans. And the singing is as obnoxious as the band’s bio (on their website).

Hello, Blue Roses – The Portrait is Finished and I Have Failed to Capture Your Beauty…
Meg: One thing I can say for sure about this album is that the band is called Hello, Blue Roses and they also have a song called “Hello, Blue Roses.” Interesting.

Jeph: I noticed something too. The singer (the person in the band that isn’t Dan Bejar) is a visual artist, and the album title is about painting a portrait. I guess that’s something. Some sort of coincidence maybe. Or it might be an intention of some sort. Either way, I noticed it.

Meg: Another thing I can say for sure is that I think I heard a xylophone on at least one of the songs. That is about all I can say for sure. There just aren’t a lot of things to be sure of in life.

Jeph: That’s for sure.

Blood on the Wall – Liferz
Nobody needs to make this music. It’s just not called for.

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Jackie-O Motherfucker, HBO's The Wire, Tenniscoats & Wu-Tang Clan

Jackie-O Motherfucker – Valley of Fire
Meg: Listening to this album reminded me of how psyched I was in grade nine when I first got into the Misfits and listened to “Bullet”. I thought Glen Danzig telling Jackie Kennedy Onassis to masturbate him was the punkest thing in the world. Now I just feel like if I were to hang out with Glen Danzig right now, we probably wouldn’t be very good friends.

Jeph: Oddly enough, I think you and Danzig would be really good friends if you ever met. Seriously. Speaking of this EP, though, I don’t think it really sounds like something that should be called “Valley of Fire” and by a band called “Jackie-O Motherfucker”. It’s so mellow that it should be called “California Sunrise – Self-Titled”. That’s just my two cents.

Meg: That opinion is not even worth two cents. If me and Glen Danzig did hang out, it would be so annoying. Every two seconds, I’d have to be like: “Eyes up here, buddy.” Gross.

Various Artists – The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter – - Five Years of Music from The Wire
We all love The Wire, but is it worth owning a compilation featuring four of the show’s theme songs and a bunch of songs that played in the background of some of the most amazing scenes ever televised? Of course it is. One of the coolest things about The Wire is that the show doesn’t play any non-diagetic sound (look it up, smarty-pants). Possible downfall? This means that sometimes you might have to put up listening to the kind of music a white cop would listen to, but if that means you get to hear what Omar listens to in his car, it is totally worth it. Indeeeeyeed.

Tenniscoats – Tan Tan Therapy
Jeph: Bands that make music like this must get tired of people always saying that it sounds like movie soundtrack music, but it’s true. Unless you’re a ketamine addict, when else are you going to listen to this? It sounds awesome, but it’s too laid-back and textured to be anything except soundtrack music.

Meg: I guess if I was going to use this as a soundtrack, the movie would probably be about a tiny, English-speaking meerkat that runs away from home to follow a band of gypsies. It would be kind of sad, because one of the gypsies would steal the meerkat’s locket which contained the only picture she had left of her family.

Jeph: Sounds about right. You know, this is my second time mentioning ketamine in these reviews we do. I gotta get some new material.

Meg: Word.

Wu-Tang Clan – Lost Anthology
The best thing about this album is that if you are not very knowledgeable about French rap, then this album gives you a chance to hear the best Wu-related song ever recorded without the ODB: “La Saga”. Those of you that are old enough to have watched Much Music’s French channel (Musique Plus) in the ’90s might remember this one, but for the rest of you, this is the ocean-crossing collaboration between French rap heroes IAM and Wu-buddies Dreddy Krueger, Timbo King, and Prodigal Sunn. “Never ate ham/ Never gave a damn.” Words to live by.

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Suggestions for a Winter Holiday Mixtape

Some of you might have noticed that for our first Christmas as a married-person-reviewing couple, we have deviated from our standard reviewing format and have chosen to make a holiday mix-tape instead of reviewing four holiday albums. This is because the idea of listening to one entire Christmas album, let alone listening to three more and having to think and write about them, is excruciating.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Burl Ives – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Meg: Just the other day, I was showing twenty eight year-olds how to make candy-cane mice and ornaments out of recycled Christmas cards and I totally pretended I didn’t remember the words to this song. I swear to god, I didn’t prompt these kids at all, they just broke into song and started singing it. They fucking LOVE Rudolph. In case you didn’t know, that means this song has stood the test of time.

“I am a Street Person”
The Mustard Seed Street Church – May You See Jesus This Christmas

Jeph: This is from my favourite Christmas album of all time. I bought it at Value-Village solely because the picture on the record sleeve is so great. It’s a photo of a street person, with a turtleneck sweater on, looking at a cheap doll in a cradle which is supposed to be the baby Jesus. And baby Jesus has a cigarette pack on him for some reason.

“Is It Because I’m Black?”
Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black

Meg: Don’t even get me started on how this isn’t a Christmas song. Some of you might want to use Christmas as an excuse to forget about the oppression of this world, but not me. If you’re not sure if this applies to you, you just have to ask yourself one question: Do you watch The Shield, or do you watch The Wire?

“Christmas Bop”
Marc Bolan & T.Rex – Work in Progress

Jeph: Yeah, it is true: This is not one of Marc’s best songs and he knew it. He recorded this song just two years before he died and chose not to put it out. But if you know a better glam-rock Christmas song, then make your own mix-tape.

“Fat Daddy”
Fat Daddy – A John Waters Christmas

Meg: You would be lucky as hell to spend Christmas in Baltimore with John Waters, and you know it.

“White Christmas”
Boney M. – Christmas with Boney M.

Jeph: I had to add this, even though I’ve only heard part of this song. Just because I always walk by this album at Wal-Mart and wish that I had it. I chose this particular track because when white people sing this song, it sometimes sounds kind of racist, but if black people like the band Boney M. sing it, it’s all fine.

Any Song by Leonard Nimoy

Meg: This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can pretty much listen to any song by Leonard Nimoy. I was trying to find the perfect Hanukkah song by him, but then I remembered that all of his songs are genius, and Hanukkah is the perfect excuse to listen to them all. And contrary to what a few people who work with me might think, I’m not just putting this on here ‘cos of that guy that thought I was racist just because I didn’t know all about lighting a menorah. In fact, I happen to LOVE Hanukkah songs. “Dreidle, Dreidle, Dreidle” slays “Jingle Bells” every time.

“I Have A Little Dreidle”

Meg: See above.

“Carol of the Bells”
Rockapella – Home Alone (Soundtrack)

Jeph: This is the best Christmas song and Home Alone used it best. I usually don’t like people that have a favourite version of this song, but when I saw on IMDb that this version was by Rockapella, it’s fair to say that I was impressed.

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Pylon, Wu-Tang Clan, Taxes & There Will Be Blood

Pylon – Gyrate Plus
Meg: Hmmm… This band makes me think of the fictional band, Ivan and the Terribles from the movie, Motel Hell. I guess the main differences would be that this band is more new-wave and doesn’t feature a leather-clad John Ratzenberger as their drummer. Also, Pylon is a lot less fictional than Ivan and the Terribles.

Jeph: Wow. That’s way better than my initial thoughts on this album. I just don’t see why so many people are so excited about this getting re-released now. I get that this is some seminal band that influenced everybody, but that just means that today a billion bands sound like this. So the album is awesome for everyone that heard it before all the new bands, but it’s pretty boring if you’ve already listened to the thirty Vancouver bands that sound like this getting played on CJSF or CiTR or playing live at any shitty East Van pub.

Meg: I really hope the Motel Hell remake doesn’t suck.

Wu-Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams
The Wu-Tang Clan has finally recovered. We are so glad to hear this album. Their last two albums (The W and Iron Flag) were better than a lot of people give them credit for, but they were nothing compared to their first two classics. This brings the group back to their former glory. Except for the horrible re-imagining of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. This song really proves why John Frusciante is not an official member of the Wu-Tang Clan. While we wish we were reviewing four different versions of 8 Diagrams this week (seriously, it’s that good), the fact that this album comes minus ODB makes it a little bittersweet. By the way, Cappadonna, one less member of the Wu-Tang Clan does not make you an official member. For those of you down with the supreme mathematics, nine members minus one equals just 32 chambers!

TAXES – Crystal Gravy EP
Jeph: I love how much work these guys put into the cover of this EP. It looks kind of like a Martha Stewart craft. The album sounds kind of like it was recorded in an out-house though.

Meg: You are so mean. They probably wanted it to sound like that.

Jeph: I’m mean? I didn’t say there was anything bad about recording in an out-house. Perhaps you are just projecting your own opinions onto my words. Maybe you took offense to the song “The Suburbs are Killing Us”, because of how me and you live in and love the suburbs?

Meg: Is Little Korea a suburb?

Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood Original Soundtrack
By this point, most people seem to be on the same page about P.T. Anderson kind of being a genius when it comes to his movie soundtracks (although one of us [Jeph] totally hated Aimee Mann’s contribution to Magnolia). And even though Jonny Greenwood’s score may very well be seamless when played over the new P.T. Anderson movie, right now it just sounds like some boring classical album that a guy from Radiohead would make.

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All Rap Edition: Too $hort, Ghostface Killah, Styles P & Scarface

Too $hort – Get Off The Stage
Jeph: Even though there are a bunch of really great songs on here, I kind of get the impression that Too $hort wasn’t really trying. Usually rap albums are either energetic, smooth or reflective (in my humble opinion). This one is none of those things, which means it’s really just a guy talking about stuff for a while.

Meg: I think every song in the world is just a guy talking about stuff. But let’s be serious, here. While Too $hort does seem to raise some valid points about groupies interfering with his job, I feel like he’s being a little unfair. I mean, only letting ladies strip on stage if they have a certain bra size? I’m not mad at him, it’s his own opinion, but I can certainly see why Tipper Gore wouldn’t like this album. I think she’s only a B-cup.

Jeph: Yeah. Tipper would probably prefer the song “Pull Your Panties Down”. As a wise man once told me: “the beaver is the essence of a woman.”

Meg: Actually, if I remember correctly, he was actually telling me about the essence of a woman. He was just trying to get you to back him up.

Ghostface Killah – The Big Doe Rehab
Ghostface is on a winning streak. Everything he puts out these days gets tons of critical respect and we’re pretty sure it sells some copies too. The production on this album is a little weirder than his last couple albums and the lyrics are a little more accessible. That’s OK though, ‘cos if there’s one thing we’re not against, it’s having access. Access to Ghostface Killah! However, one thing we are against is bad skits on hip-hop albums. We don’t care if there is a writer’s strike going on or not, just don’t do it. Don’t write your own bad skits about you stealing some guy’s wife at the Cabana and then shooting a bunch of people… Trust us, the idea of this kind of skit is a lot cooler than the reality of this kind of skit.

Styles P – Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman)
Meg: This guy seriously is a gangster and a gentleman. He can rap, he has the best skits, and he loves Malcom X, which pretty much makes him the perfect guy. You know, like, the kind of guy that makes you want to slip off your wedding ring when you talk to him.

Jeph: I don’t know about that, but this album was a pretty nice surprise. I usually don’t listen to albums that have Jadakiss on them, just because I think the name Jadakiss is one of the lamest rapper names of all time. Oh, and if you want to get with Styles P, you should check out his song “Look at Her”, where he describes what he likes in a lady: small with a lot of bang (like a .22), and reminding one of a car (perhaps an Audi).

Meg: Yeah, I guess it doesn’t really sound like me and Styles P are all that compatible. Plus, he claims that “Look at Her” is for the ladies, but I feel like it’s really more about the ladies than for the ladies. Or, maybe it’s just for some ladies that happen to look like cars?

Scarface – Made
One of the great things about this album is that it really could have come out in the mid-nineties. There are a couple modern southern rap influences in some of the beats, but overall the rapping and a lot of the beats sound like old Geto Boys and old Scarface. In case you didn’t hear, that means this album is good. And not to be insensitive or anything, because it really sucks when one of your friends kills themselves, but does that merit a four minute song? He wasn’t our friend, Scarface, so next time why don’t you just write a three minute song about your dead friend and save us a minute of being bored.

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Freeway, Daft Punk, Citay & Health

Freeway – Free At Last
Back when we first started going out, we remember all this hype about Freeway and how he was going to reinvent hip-hop. He put out one album and then we didn’t hear a thing about him for years. Now he’s all bragging about having $30 mil in the bank and we just don’t buy it. I mean, we totally hope you have $30 mil in the bank, Freeway, ‘cos in this game (the game of rapping and album reviewing), you have to be smart with your money because you can lose everything in a second. Why do you think we save every single dollar we earn from writing this column? In any case, this album is genius. For instance, did you know that Freeway actually used to make his own knock-off Le Tigre shirts back before he was a famous Rockafella Billionaire? No, you didn’t know that? Then I\we guess you just didn’t bother to listen to “Reppin’ the Streets.” Too bad for you. The long wait between albums was worth it. Congrats, Freeway!

Daft Punk – Alive 2007
Jeph: When I first heard a significant portion of these guys’ Homework album, I was getting to be too snobby of a raver to buy their CD, which I later regretted, because it was a really great album and being a raver was really stupid. But then I felt vindicated when these guys started putting on those ridiculous robot suits and being retro disco robots. This album is kinda fun though.

Meg: You’re right, you were ridiculous then. It’s not robot suits though – it’s actual robots and they’re amazing.

Jeph: Nah, it’s just these two French jerk-offs, but they know their way around a sequencer, so that’s good. I think this would be a fun album to throw on Christmas morning when you’re opening presents. I don’t know why. It’s just so positive and invigorating.

Meg: Seriously, you couldn’t sound more like a French jerk-off if you tried. “Positive… invigorating.” I can’t wait until Christmas. You’re totally not going to play this album.

Citay – Little Kingdom
It’s always nice to give every song a chance and listen to it from start to finish before judging it. But sometimes that’s just not possible. If a song just keeps repeating the same loop over and over for three minutes, we’ll often be tempted to skip to the next song. For this reason, we didn’t realize until half-way through this album that any of these songs actually had singing on them. Often the singing on these songs doesn’t come until thirteen or fourteen minutes into a repetitive sleigh-bell solo. These songs aren’t bad to listen to on the fast-forward setting of your music player, but you probably don’t want to listen to them in their entirety. Unless, of course, you are this band’s dad. If you are this band’s dad, you are going to be so proud.

Health – Health
Jeph: There’s not much to say about these guys. It’s always easier to criticize a bad band than to compliment a good one, unless you want to just say a bunch of boring stuff about how efficient the production on a band’s album is or how perfectly the layers in someone’s songs go together or something. This album is just some really good noisy rock and I would certainly recommend it to people that like that sort of thing.

Meg: Yeah. I totally wish your band sounded like this. A +.

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