Poser bands are everywhere now. For a while, I tried to give these wannabes the cold shoulder, but there came a time when avoiding them was no longer an option. Some -- the Strokes, Interpol -- are simply amazing. The Futureh®mueads are no exception. Directly influenced by British post-punk bands Gang of Four and XTC, among others, The Futureheads' debut LP blends in-your-face guitar chops with Barry Hyde's raw vocals. The fact that the Futureheads are the latest in the "Let's Recreate 1979!" parade is annoying, sure. That does not mean, however, that they're untalented -- they rule. Seriously.
I had been listening exclusively to jazz, haughty prick that I was, when a friend introduced me to D'Angelo's Voodoo. "You must hear D'Angelo," he said. "It's like Al Green meets hip-hop." D'Angelo was indeed worthy of the hype. His soulful falsetto, in its finest moments, evokes R&B's forefathers. On the slow-groove "Send It On," D'Angelo channels a sound so rich, so mature, it rekindled my bygone faith in popular music. As long as albums like Voodoo are recorded, I can never fully regress to my station as a jazz prick. Verily, I shall never again lose faith in soul.
Frank Black or Black Francis, call him what you want; names don't matter in the world of genius. A few years after the Doolittle album, the Pixies would be over, but before Francis broke the group up via fax they had some major influencing to do. Sophomore album, Doolittle was a step in a more cohesive, pop direction for the group. What works? Everything. The pop hooks, the cryptic lyrics, the energy, maybe even the thought of the drama that would come soon after. And now they're back! Rock on, you crazy bastards. Rock on.