Deftones White Pony (Maverick) The third album by the Deftones sees them reaching that point in their career known as “maturation.” While their previous work echoed the rap-rock fusion of bands like Korn, White Pony

White Pony

The third album by the Deftones sees them reaching that point in their career known as “maturation.”

While their previous work echoed the rap-rock fusion of bands like Korn, White Pony has more of a prog-metal edge to it: longer songs with a greater emphasis on melody and an overall spacey sound.

“Elite” is the only track on the album reminiscent of the fierce, screaming nature of the band’s past. The rest has them travelling sonically in new directions while not sacrificing their trademark intensity.

“Digital Bath” and “Change” are two standout songs exhibiting the Deftones’ knack for repressing their rage just enough that it’s on the verge of explosion, but still remains structured. “Teenager” is a beautiful number in which the guitars remain clean but the drums keep it from becoming a ballad.

But truly the album’s centerpiece is the amazing “Passenger”, a harsh, driving number featuring backup from Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle, contributing what is arguably the best vocal performance of his career.

A few forgettable tracks notwithstanding (“Street Carp,” “Korea”), White Pony is pure brilliance…and a fantastic surprise coming out of the current mainstream musical climate. Here’s hoping we see a lot more stuff like this in the future.

Grade: A-
-John Vettese

The Gossip
(K Records)

After hearing the Gossip for the first time the only words that came to mind are raw, dirty, blues, and energy. This is the first release from the young trio from Arkansas. They will have a full-length album out in October on Kill Rock Stars.

A slap in the face to teen-pop, the singer, Beth, is more Janis Joplin than Britney Spears. The EP contains just 4 songs, but hit repeat and they could maintain an all night party, especially with the last track, “Dressed in Black.”

This makes sense since the reason they started the band was out of sheer boredom. Having only been together for less than a year, the Gossip are proving to be one of the best new acts of the year.

Beth (vocals, 19), Kathi (drums, 22), and Nathan (guitar, 20) pour everything into their music, making one want to dance along just as hard as they play.

Grade: A-

The Modernist

This minimalist techno album is truly minimal. Transcending even the realm of what I call background music, The Modernist manages to create 13 subdued tracks of looped beats, blips, and beeps so starkly repetitious and similar that one tends to wonder why individual names were created for each track.

Seriously…it all sounds like my aspiring-DJ next door neighbors in an extended rehearsal session. Some techno, like Underworld and Autechre, truly breaks new ground and blows the listener’s mind. Other techno, like Breakbeat Era and The Crystal Method, makes for an okay background while the listener is doing something else. The Modernist is good only as an absolute last resort to silence.

Grade: D
-John Vettese


If aliens tried to make contact with the Earth, these would be the sounds they’d be sending. Yes, the title of the record may be unoriginal (3 because it is Pole’s 3rd release); the music however is not.

The German artist Pole, A.K.A Stefan Betke, uses a “Waldorf 4-Pole” filter to create a mix of crackles and off-kilter rhythms. The album brings to mind groups like Tortoise and the Sea and Cake. However Betke’s use of repetition in Jamaican dub form sets Pole apart. This technique is most noticeable on track four “Uberfahrt,” translated “crossing.”

3 would be hard for most to listen to on a regular basis. Many would be frustrated at the idea of hard to detect melodies and the fact that the songs are so similar to one another. But if you’re in search of an otherworldly trance, 3 is ideal.

Grade: B

The Twilight Singers
Twilight as Played by the Twilight Singers

This much-anticipated side project from Afghan Whigs front man Greg Dulli proves that experimentation doesn’t always work, and polish and production sometimes aren’t the best ways to go.

The album is bookended by two great tunes; “The Twilite Kid” draws you in as a piano and strings build up to a fantastic rock crescendo, and “Twilight” is a wonderful celebratory closer. However, the ten tracks in between feature a few memorable songs, and a greater number of throwaways…failed attempts at creating something cutting edge.

The Twilight Singers incorporates Dulli’s love of Motown and R&B more than his work with the Whigs allow. It also, for some reason, incorporates techno beats, so several tracks wind up sounding like “King Only”, which begins with a wonderful mellow vibe that is quickly killed by a raucous loop.

The refined version of “Love,” previously heard in the closing credits of the film Monument Ave, lacks the raw emotion of the movie’s piano and organ version. What remains can best be described as a weak remix complete with random breakbeats and all.

Even more disappointing is “Verti-Marte”, which instrumentally is right on point, but is brought down by an irritating “Ooh-Ah! Ooh-Ah!” sample looped to the point of ridiculousness.

A few songs manage to redeem the disc somewhat. “Clyde” is a great creeping number, combining themes of crime and love / lust in a way that only Dulli can. Also worthwhile is “Last Temptation”: a sweaty, rollicking listen.

But on the whole, the album goes to show that New Orleans soul and New York house just don’t mix.

Grade: C+
-John Vettese

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