And it's another prank call, in the middle of the night.
Chad Van Gaalen - Clinicly Dead - There is a special joy to albums like Chad Van Gaalen's Infiniheart. It's a compilation of a decade of home recordings, fleshed out and remastered and put into a delightful package that is finally enough to get a remarkably talented musician the attention he deserves. Competing rumors have Chad singing to such ilustrious labels as Sub Pop, Secretly Canadian, Arts & Crafts, and a number of others. Infiniheart deserves the distro he'll get from any of them. Clinicly Dead is the albums opening blast, sounding like fellow northlanders Wolf Parade in it's vaguely 80's vibe, full of buzzed guitars and xylophone accents, it's not exactly what the rest of the album delivers, but there's a power to the sort of sci-fi dreamworld that Van Gaalen paints that is utterly fascinating. And when the chorus kicks in, full of fist pumping, power pop, it's hard to not want to sing along, even though it's utterly impossible to figure out what exactly you're singing about.
Chad Van Gaalen - Blood Machine - There is a flatness to the recording of "Blood Machine" that I would often describe as distasteful. The production is muddy, it sounds like a pretty clear case of home recording, of too many overdubs on a basic acoustic song, overloaded with congas and horns and atmospheric background howls. But the closeness of this song gives it a claustrophobic quality that only adds urgency to Chads howls of "Help us Escape!" The song also provides a much better indication of the sort of electronically tweaked acoustic music that makes for Van Gaalens overriding sound - think a psychedelic, distorted Iron & Wine, and you might be somewhere close.
[Buy Infiniheart from Flemish Eye Records!]
McLusky - Dave, Stop Killing Prostitutes - in the case of most bands, it seems a cop-out for a reviewer to begin a discussion by referring to such trivial matters as the titles of songs and albums, or lyrics, before any discussion of the fundamental matter of what a band sounds like. But in the case of McLusky, there have always seemed to be few other options. It's hard to get an album title to match The Difference Between You & Me is that I'm Not on Fire, or a song to match "Dave, Stop Killing Prostitutes", or lyrics to match the immortal ones of "To Hell with Good Intentions". But, now that McLusky have announced their disbandment, perhaps it's time to take a minute to look at what McLusky did in fact sound like. And the answer is that they sounded like pure, distilled awesome. More to the point, they sounded like P.I.L., stripped of John Lydons disco dabblings, and with the noise and distortion turned to 11 while lead singer Andy Falco shouted and warbled with the sort of snotty defiance that Lydon perfected 20 years ago, equal parts arrogant strut and rebel yell. "Dave, Stop Killing Prostitutes" is a B-Side from one of McLusky's final singles, and features a more or less spoken word vocal multi tracked over a pretty straightforward bassline, bringing things back to Falcos considerable talents as a songwriter, telling the story of a friend with a bit of a problem. It's an intervention, and the moans of "WHY, WHY, WHY", are filtered just enough to take on an infantile tone that makes you wonder where exactly the band stands on the moralizing speech they're delivering - do they buy it? Or are they just going through the motions? And more to the point, is this break up serious? Or are they just going through the motions of not wanting to play music together right now, in anticipation of a return?
A guy can hope, can't he?
[Buy McLusky records from Insound.com!]