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Post image for Thom Yorke “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes” (2014 Self)

In the interest of continuing the pattern of releasing shit a little bit differently, Thom Yorke has released his new LP via BitTorrent. Fans use a pay gate to access a bundle of files for a total of $6. Or, you have the opportunity to shell out fifty fucking dollars for vinyl. $50. Not kidding. 8 songs. White vinyl. We’re told it is QUITE special, but we’ll probably stick with the download because we’re not Thom Yorke. A man’s gotta eat.

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is not vastly different from the sparse, electronica of Yorke’s previous solo record, The Eraser. However where The Eraser had a few stand out songs that would stick in your mind afterward, Boxes is nearly devoid of memorable content. Not to say that it is bad, by any means, just largely without hooks to speak of, thus leaving the record forgetable.

Much like Brian Eno before him, it would appear that Thom Yorke has reached an unusual plateau in his career, comfortably transitioning from inspiring creativity in listeners, to creating a perfectly unobtrusive soundtrack for them to create to. In short: Thom Yorke has begun to craft very charming audio wallpaper.

The sonic decor is not without it’s depth, however. The haunting, spacey “Interference” grabbed me as the obvious single (however, opener, “A Brain In A Bottle” was selected), maybe because, as a long time Radiohead fan, I felt more of an instant connection with the track that struck me as “most like Radiohead.” It is, of course, possible that Yorke himself recognized this and opted to avoid single release of the track for this exact reason. Or possibly it was the dark and hopeless lyrical content. Yorke gently prods at the humanity of listeners, suggesting that we are fumbling blindly toward a deeply depressing existence with lyrics like: “In the future we will change our numbers and lose contact. In the future leaves will turn brown… will we want them?” Followed by illustrating how the fault lies within ourselves for recognizing the problem and choosing not to act: “But, I don’t have a right to interfere.”

Stand out moments are the soothing “Guess Again!,” the haunting “Interference” and a lilting, fleeting interlude entitled “Pink Section” with its hard clipped loops and doomy piano shrouded in lo-fi hiss. It almost feels like Yorke is about to give in and dabble in tape decay when, sadly, it gives way to another sound-alike looped beat. Not Yorke’s finest moment, but the high points are admittedly pretty good once you give the record a handful of listens to sink it’s unusually dull hooks into you.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this release as a Thom Yorke introduction piece, as it definitely works better in the context of a complete career than it does as a stand alone. Unless super-static, minimal electronic music is your bag already, I would leave this one to the die hard fans, who will find more merit in Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes than a casual listener. – Joshua Isaac Finch

Thom Yorke – A Brain In A Bottle (OFFICIAL VIDEO) from Tommaso Colella on Vimeo.


Post image for Terror Pigeon “Live It Up Before You Die It Up!” (2014 Self)

You have a booty. Or you don’t. Maybe you were born devoid, or there was some horrible ass-thieving accident, leaving you alone and scared in a bathtub filled with ice. God, I hope not. That sounds horrible, and if that is the case, my heart goes out to you. Either way, sometimes that booty (or non-booty) just needs to shake like the amount of fucks you have left to give is thoroughly negligible. Enter Terror Pigeon.

These nashville dance/pop/synth/party monsters bring the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, pizza rolls, and dance party like Math The Band mashed up with They Might Be Giants at their most playful. This is the pure, audio, positive energy that is Terror Pigeon’s sophomore record, Live It Up Before You Die It Up!

In a very similar spirit as 2010′s obnoxiously titled I Love You! I Love You! I Love You And I’m In Love With You! Have An Awesome Day! Have The Best Day Of Your Life! this new record is a little bit more… I don’t want to say serious, but sort of. It’s more like Terror Pigeon have fine-tuned an always silly, always brutally honest approach to music.

That said, lyrics like “This world is a thousand times better because your mom and dad fucked each other” would probably have seemed decidedly more brilliant when I was 15 and stoked on Blink 182, but TP (hehe, yup, that acronym had better stick) are still a goddamned blast, and well intentioned potty humor aside, a beautiful, genuine, heartfelt thoughtfulness shines through. Even at their most serious moments (dealing with depression, frustration and thoughts of giving up) it takes a hopeful, anthemic form (“Forget Everything That Makes You Not Want To Be In This Band.”)

Terror Pigeon’s particular brand of weirdo is particularly warm and charming on this release. This is the kind of open arms “weird kid” inclusion that makes Dan Deacon so much goddamned fun. This is sweaty as hell dancing and hugging strangers music. Don’t be afraid to fall in the kind of love that leaves you judged by friends and loved ones. Also, the saxophone is pretty fucking cool. – Joshua Isaac Finch


Post image for Exclusive Leak: Mother Room “Surrogate”

Oakland noise artist, James Meuleners AKA Mother Room, has been toiling away on a follow up to his debut, Scorched.  Despite the fact that the cassette was only released a handful of months ago, via Native Sound, Meuleners, possibly better known for noise-rock two piece, Burnt Thrones Club, has a sizable collection of new tracks, ready to release in late October/Early November on Placenta Records. Mother Room, however, has seen fit to let you whet your appetite with a full stream of the record and we are more than happy to facilitate said whetting. So scratch that itch with an exclusive leak of Surrogate.


Post image for Weezer “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” (2014 Republic Records)

Everything Will Be Alright is probably the most personal Weezer record since Pinkerton, but due to the composure that often comes with age, the lyrics aren’t accompanied with the aching desperation, agony, and impatience of the band’s sophomore release. It sounds like Rivers Cuomo has done a lot of growing, a lot of learning, and is comfortable enough in his skin that he’s willing to share it with his fans, but without having to beat them over the head with it, or beg for understanding. Basically, Weezer isn’t a teenager anymore.

First single, “Back To The Shack” is a pretty blatant nod to disenchanted long time fans (“Sorry guys. I didn’t realize that I needed you so much. I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks”) and declaration of return to form (“Maybe I should play the lead guitar, and Pat should play the drums”). Living up to his own lyrics (see Pinkerton‘s “El Scorcho”) Cuomo says in song the things he can’t seem to appropriately express publicly, creating a painfully meta tune that functions as more of a fessing up to the reality of his own search for himself, his niche, his fanbase, and inevitably realizing that Weezer is indeed supposed to be a garage-rooted rock and roll band. Check out the whole song at the end of this review.

The guys even brought back “Weezer” and “Weezer” (imagine those titles in blue and green font, respectively) producer, Ric Ocasek (The Cars), much to the excitement of old fans still clinging to hope, though at this point, most early Weezer fans are hesitant, and they wouldn’t be wrong to be. After years of “non-Weezer” Weezer records, rife with an obvious desperate groping for a sense of identity. You know, the kind that leads to collaborating with Lil Wayne, or donning cowboy hats. It’s this very hesitation that, like a splinter, starts to ache and fester at fifth track, and turning point, “I’ve Had It Up To Here,” which rages against the fear of disapproval, while in fear of becoming a commodity.

The record ventures into territory best described not as “Non-Weezer” but “Band influenced by Weezer.” The afore mentioned “I’ve Had It Up To Here” and following track “The British Are Coming” are obviously Cuomo’s voice, but sound as if he’s been teamed with a less interesting, 90′s alterna-rock sound-alike act. However, as “Da Vinci” incorporates an all-too-familiar signature build, the record returns to classic Weezer form, however momentarily…

“Go Away” features guest vocals by Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast and a little bit on the campy, sing-songy side, is still a hands-down champ over previous guest vocalists, and an obvious pick for second single after the ooey-gooey apologies of “Back To The Shack.”

“Foolish Father” seems to be a long time coming. Cuomo touches on rebuilding his relationship with his father early in the game, but it is thoroughly laid out here. Rivers stresses forgiveness and letting one’s parents become fallible human beings, which is a difficult part of adulthood for many, but an important lesson he’s apparently learning in his personal life, as made evident here.

The record’s finest moment is the three track closer, “The Futurescope Trilogy”; A less-than-subtle, tastefully grandiose homage to the prog-rock, guitar gods and rock operas the band cut their teeth on in their youth. Imagine Weezer, Yes, and early Queen in a blender, but less… gory.

As someone who grew up on Weezer, Everything feels like part vindication and part acceptance. Nothing will ever be what it was when you were 14 years old, and that’s good. It shouldn’t be. Yeah, things aren’t new and shiny the way that they were, a new album might not ferociously, passionately fill a void the way it once did, but you don’t have the aching desperation that comes with being young and confused, and neither do your idols. It’s pretty reassuring to see the artists you grew up on finding themselves too. Don’t for a second think that this is a shining review, there’s still about 1/3 of this record that I’ll be skipping on repeat listens, I’m just saying that the Weez’ and I are on decent terms again. I suppose everything WILL be alright in the end. (Wah wah wah) – Joshua Isaac Finch