The Tender Idols
One-fifth English and four-fifths American, The Tender Idols suffer from a bit of identity crisis. Their bio cites seventeen (!) artists they feel they sound like. Ironically, the one band they sound most like, Oasis, isn’t even mentioned.
Distressor is broken up into two sides; side one has about three songs that are based on variations of the chord progression for Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” “Freefall” is a poor man’s “Bring it on Down.” The second side, however, hints at less trite power pop styles; some highlights are “Give Us Wings,” and “The Two of Us (Parts 1 and 2),” the latter having nothing to do with the Beatles song.
The Tender Idols have about as much sincerity as Hurricane #1 or any of those other disappointing “next Oasis” bands held up by NME and Melody Maker during the mid-90s. If they are indeed trying to cash in on the popularity of Oasis – well, they are about, oh, five years too late. The worst part is Distressor is The Tender Idols’ third album. You’d think they’d have grown out of the wannabe stage by now, but apparently they are either desperate or have some more living to do.
Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes
(Fat Wreck Chords)
The first release from Propagandhi in five years is exactly what you would expect from a bunch of anti-corporate, hockey playing Canucks. The bass player has changed, but the politics and attitude are the same.
Don’t expect any long, intricate tracks or long intros, either. Just straight to the point with no frivolous fluff. The style of music fits in with the politics made so famous by their past albums and antics, such as not allowing bar codes on their last release. This is what makes Propagandhi such a great band. None of the songs appeal to corporate audiences in any way, which is a tribute to the independent label behind all the chaos.
Plus, you get an enhanced CD featuring interviews with the band members explaining where the political attitudes of the band come from. Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes won’t go down as the greatest album of the year, but it is a fairly good meld of old school punk attitude with a new school hardcore punk sound.
Tommorow Comes Today EP
Gorillaz is a band made up of cartoon characters. Noodle is a 10-year-old guitar-playing monkey, 2D is the empty-headed frontman from West Sussex, Murdoc is the green-eyed bassist, and Russel is the MC whose influences are Farrahkhan and Chaka Khan. The characters were created by Jamie Hewlett (the man behind Tank Girl) to represent a loose collective of musicians. With Damon Albarn of Blur on vocals, Del the Funkee Homosapien taking up rapping duties, Dan Nakamura and Kid Koala DJ-ing, and Cibo Matto’s Miho Hatori on back-up vocals/guitar, Gorillaz are certainly different.
Those who have heard Albarn and Nakamura’s previous work, “Time Keeps on Slippin’,” will recognize similar ideas elaborated on Tomorrow. The title track is a re-writing of the Blur demo “I Got Law,” and Albarn also lends his talents to “Latin Simone,” which mixes hip-hop, Latin arrangements and a style similar to his band’s 13. The other two tracks on this EP are pure rap: “Rock the House,” has an “old skool” flavor while “12D3” is more along the hardcore style.
Look for Gorillaz full-length debut on Virgin Records in April. Until then the band’s website (www.gorillaz.com), featuring Atari games and virtual 5-track mixers, should keep you busy.
A sampled voice at the outset of Arrived Phoenix declares “I came to understand that I had found peace through sound.” No other phrase could more appropriately sum up this brilliant album.
The bulk of Mount Florida’s debut flows with atmospheric pieces with an Orb-esque ambience. “Jamaica Street” is a lulling song with soft beats and the right dose of synth to easily guide you through its 7+ minutes. The ethereal “Don’t do DaDa” is reminiscent of Moby’s lesser-known ambient work.
A few songs break from the album’s continuum. Two examples are the almost industrial “Yo La Kinski,” the album’s only truly vocal piece, and the unexpected rocker “Postal,” which borderlines on some of Girls Against Boys’ twin-bass work.
But the album’s final three tracks flow together in such a serene climax that it nearly blows the rest of the disc away. The string-laden “Static Airwaves” flows into the majestic “Radio Ocean” and the soothing loop of a buoy chime clangs its way into the orchestral crescendo of “Out There.” “Out There” dissolves into a reverb echo, ending the triptych on a note that the word “beautiful” can’t even begin to describe.
Multiple Personality Disorder
Crossover musician Zane is upping the ante on the face of music with his debut album Multiple Personality Disorder. Drawing from different genres of music on each track Multiple Personality Disorder is the perfect title for this creative album.
The album is a mix of broad musical influences and its twelve tracks show a reflection on normal everyday situations. Zane’s sound is comparable to Eminem and Insane Clown Posse or the aggression of Rage Against the Machine, but this young Californian’s tone is less severe and at points is almost peaceful and relaxing.
Zane’s rapping talents bleed through on “New Shit” and prove that he can easily hang with Everlast and Eminem. A rough entrance and bad ass beat dominate “God,” while the album’s single “Falling Down” hooks listeners with its melodic sound. Zane drives home the message of his album on “I Hate Being” and “Deal With It” conveying society’s sickness through his aggressive beats.