Chin Up Chin Up
This Harness Can't Ride Anything
Listening to This Harness Can't Ride Anything, the sophomore album from Chicago's Chin Up Chin Up, is much like a visit to the Midwest - forgettable.
This Harness, recorded with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine), begins with promise.
Featuring nothing but the gyrations of a particularly impressive female behind, the video for "Backyard Betty," Spank Rock's debut single, has a clear purpose: to get them asses shakin'. But the music is far from standard club hip-hop fare; in fact, the MC at the helm, 24-year-old Naeem Juwan, would rather avoid classification altogether.
YoYoYoYoYo, Spank Rock's first full-length album, is a detailed collaborative effort: Naeem raps over beats ranging from Baltimore house to Hendrix, artfully layered by his childhood friend and producer, Alex "Armani XXXChange" Epton.
Naeem attributes the eclecticism of the music to his move from Baltimore to Philly to become a Drexel student (and one-time Penn partygoer). "We come from Baltimore," he says, "and the cultures don't really mix up too much." Though early exposure to traditional hip-hop and the ecstatic phenomenon of 'B-more' club house continue to be profoundly influential on the pair, it primed Naeem for a musical awakening.
"I really didn't know much about rock or punk or '80s, so when I went to Philly, things were a lot more diverse.
By all accounts, life on the road is nasty, brutish and long. And on the eve of a North American tour, Islands' Nick Diamonds is sick in a Toronto hotel room, speaking in low tones to protect his voice.
At a time when pop culture phenomena like Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan's daughter are relentlessly promoting their debut albums, the idea of the remake doesn't sound all that bad.
Take Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," for instance.
If you thought that the twang of country couldn't be combined with tedious sound effects and mild musical enthusiasm, then the monotonous sounds of Mad Tea Party's latest, Big Top Soda Pop, will quickly prove you wrong.
The second coming of 2005's indie darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is upon us. And while the alt-rock prophets will wait with baited blogs until the January 30 release date, don't expect lead singer and Philadelphia native Alec Ounsworth to indulge their rapture.
A scene in the endearingly obnoxious 2002 movie, The Rules of Attraction, shows a small college's "End of the World" party, and the background tunage is the Rapture's "Out of the Races and onto the Tracks." Shindigs that feature burning wicker men as their main attraction are usually fodder for that Wicca guy you met once (and never again). But with that kind of booty-shakin' song playing in the background, you'd be a fool not to go.
From the time I left campus last spring until June 14, I had Radiohead on my mind. Mine was an obsession that verged on downright mania, transforming my usually tepid opinions into axioms and outright platitudes.