The Raveonettes "Pretty in Black" Review

I was well aware of "Chain Gang of Love" but I wasn't all that interested in checking out "Pretty in Black" until I saw the group perform on Late Night with Conan O"Brien. I don't recall which song the group played, but it was excellent.

"Chain Gand of Love" doesn't begin by following my dreams of a Conan-esque album. The first two tracks "The Heavens" & "The Seductress of Bums" go back to that retro-slowed-down Raveonettes that I had previously known. Bums includes the electronic beat, but doesn't reveal the best example of it on this album.

"Love in a Trashcan" begins to pick up the pace and brings out the slicker styled sounding Raveonettes that I much prefer to the soft ballad playing group. "Sleepwalking" delivers along these same lines.

"Uncertain Times" introduces an acoustic sound accompanied by a great 50's riff on electric. But as the law of averages suggests, with the good comes the bad. A rendition of The Angels's "My Boyfriend's Back" misses. With an electric backbeat and a medium at best pace, this song fails to introduce a new flavor to the already available mix of covers.

"Here Comes Mary" furthers the slow 50's style that initially pushed me away from Te Raveonettes. They do it well, in fact they do an excellent job of replicating this sound. But it doesn't suit my tastes; during the era that the group is replicating I much prefer Little Richard to Roy Orbison or the Everly Brothers; to each his own I suppose. "Red Tan" follows, sounding much the same.

"Twilight" might be my favorite recording on this album. There's an introduction (with the exception of the beat in "My Boyfriend's Back) of a newer sound. Starting of with a Batman-ish groove, the song transforms into an electro-pop smash with just the right amount of fuzz. I Highly recommend it; enjoyable from beginning to end.

"Somewhere in Texas" keeps the pace going, with a neo-outlaw-love-song. I much prefer songs such as this and "Twilight" because they represent what the group is about without staying in that stagnant rut. They progress their sound by introducing modern elements that compliment the classic music. "You Say You Lie" is another prime example of how the group sounds better when including fresher elements; it just works for the group, giving them a truly distinct sound in my opinion.

"Ode to L.A." finds itself in the middle. I wasn't sure what to make of the song to begin with, but it grew on me. By using Christmas bells, the moderate-tempo of the track really compliments itself; not asking more out of the song than it can give.

In true Raveonettes fashion the group ends with "If I Was Young," another slow Western sapper. This song takes exception with the feeling that it is the ending credits for this album. In that regard, it puts the capstone on a diverse, rockalicious album.

Weezer "Make Believe" Review

I must admit that I have been a Weezer fan since the first album...I saw them on tour when they were supporting Pinkerton...but...ouch, this album...not soo good..here's my 63 word review.

Beverly Hills: Meh. Perfect Situation: Not Really. This is Such a Pity: Yes it is. Hold Me: No. Peace: Not Likely. We Are All On Drugs: Apparently. The Damage in Your Heart: You Have No Idea. Pardon Me: No! Pardon Me! My Bestfriend: Unlikely. The Other Way: Try it Next Time. Freak Me Out: Bad Song. Haunt You Every Day: Cut it Out.

I actually listened to this a few (5-ish) times through, though I wanted to skip many tracks...7 of the 12 to be exact. Because I like Weezer, they sound good to me...PERIOD. I like them, PERIOD. I'll probably like all they're music in some form or another, PERIOD. If they made a Dub-influence Trip-Hop album, I'd probably like it, PERIOD. But, with that being said, I don't like most of the songs on this album.

Key tracks:
"Beverly Hills" (this time the jokes on you God, I don't watch Weezer on TV or listen to them on the radio, so this song is still fresh for me, SUCK IT!)
"Perfect Situation" (kind of...let's call it a half-key-track)
"This is Such a Pity"
"We Are All On Drugs" (a little repetitive, but...when Rivers is all like "Give it to me," Oh man, that hits the spot)
"My Best Friend" (once again, not the full-on key track thing)

The Reverend Horton Heat, Supersuckers & Murphy's Law at The High Dive (Champaign, IL)

This is the first show I’ve seen in seriously (it IS time to get serious, people) a year. The last show I saw was The (International) Noise Conspiracy & The Rogers Sisters & The Boss Martians play at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. Believe you and me sailor man, the 8 hour drive was well worth it!

I had never heard of Murphy’s Law before seeing them on the bill. I talked with the swag-man for a while and he said they’ve been around the New York scene for quite a while…touring with the Beastie Boys and the band that was on my shirt (getting the conversation going) NOFX. They had one of the kool-issst things I’ve seen in a while incorporated into their act. A “Jagermeister cow-bell.” Explanation? Sure thing! The band was enjoying a bottle of Jager, and throughout various tunes, the singer would hold the bottle & the mic up together and the drummer would use it as a cowbell. NIIIIIIICE!

If you’ve ever seen Guttermouth (Lord knows I have) you’ll know what these boys are about. Stage banter! Calling out tomato-based female netherregions instead of vinegar-based such & such…glorious! Vegans, homo-sexuals, even the Jewish guitar player…stood no chance as long as the singer was on the mic. Political correctness aside, they were titties. Even making fun of the johnny-come-lately rock-a-billy-lookin’ trickstah’s on bein’ the same people who were jammin’ to ska and wearing the checker ties and playing trumpets…oh man, he’s the man (note: CBC endorsed Ska, Rock-a-billy, and Hardcore…let the truth be known!). Just as I thought they were going to make fun of ZZ Top (calling them out a bit) the band jammed out to a NIIIIIIICE version of “Tush.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Supersuckers…please allow me to introduce them to you. Eddie Spaghetti on bass & lead vocals killed…almost as much as guitarist Ron Heathman. They rocked a few favorites “Creepy Eyed Jackalope,” “The Evil Powers of Rock & Roll” plus some more…baby! Heathman eventually jammed out to Joe Walsh’s Funk #49 (with VOCAL!-plural) which shot down the Nazi’s, the Taliban AND the French Canadians! They killed!

REVEREND HORTON HEAT

In all fairness, they took a crap-ton of time setting up and ol’ Jim Heath (aka The Rev) was mighty pissed for the first bit of the show due to the shotty sound-work that was being done. It got better…Sweet Crap! it got better!…First and foremost, the bassist & fan favorite Jimbo Wallace killed with his stand-up bass. His fingers were taped as crap to cover his fingers (my friend tells me he saw blood on the strings and bass…Jimbo…have you been playing too hard again?). He surfed on the bass during “I Can’t Surf.” Him & The Rev played the fretboard for each others jams. And that’s just the start of it. I got a kick out of the Rev’s stage banter, especially his statement on porno during “Los Gringos Like a Party”: jibba-jabbin’ about how some people always shout “Porno!” instead of “Corn Dogs” as the lyrics go. They killed the show with “Big Red Rocket of Love” which included a killer drum solo by Scott Churchilla. The Rev. eventually played on top of Jimbo’s bass (on its side as Jimbo played it) which was a visual punch to the chopahs! My absolute favorite songs of the night: “I Can’t Surf” “The JIMBO Song” and “Psychobilly Freakout!”