Kikumoto Allstars-House Music (Gigolo)(Germany)
Melbourne's Cam Farrar channels Chicago on this analog tribute to the acid house days with the appropriate alias- Kikumoto Allstars. Not quite as sure if house music is ready for a revue like this but House Music is decidedly better than a lengthy Vegas run for the genre with David Cassidy holding things down. All twelve of these tracks sound vintage- like they came from around '86-'87, give Farrar credit for knowing his source music so well. That makes this album a hell of a lot of fun but is also the source of the album's many troubles. The problems really begin when you start to wonder where the guy will go next and whether this album is retro gimmickry or something just a little more substantial. At this point it's a little hard to know so I guess we'll need to hear the second album from this young cat before passing further judgement.
Brian Jonestown Massacre-Smoking Acid EP (A)(UK)
Nice to hear three good new songs from the Brian Jonestown Massacre (or is that Anton Newcombe?) after the horrible abortion that comprised last year's My Bloody Underground. My only wish is that Newcombe would have dropped the two song reprisals on here and given us a true five song gem. However, sequencing an album or using the right material at the right time was never this band's strong suit even way back in their salad days of the mid 90s. "The Serious Matter" is nice with its New York Dolls sleazy come-on and biting Johnny Thunders soundalike riffage but ultimately out of step with the cult band's more Sixties mod-a-delia imagery. "Tempo 116.7" is a cool electronic/dancefloor jam but it was unnecessary to present it twice, while the EP's closer "Super Fucked" comes closest to the Massacre's core sound and really delivers the goods. Again, it's nice to hear some flashes of brilliance from Newcombe but after spending so many years of my life around these guys I know that these flashes are all the BJM will ever be known for and it's a damn shame about that.
Black Moth Super Rainbow-Eating Us (Graveface)(US)
Boy with the way that Rolling Stone gushes all over this band you'd think they were the second coming of Smile with a sly electronic twist courtesy of Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann. Well there is some Beach Boys on Eating Us-really bad Beach Boys circa Made In The USA but mostly what I hear- besides the Lips- is a lot of Mercury Rev and some bong stained Pink Floyd rejects. Don't get me wrong, I loved Mercury Rev but that's the problem with most young bands-they do a great job of aping their heroes but do little to establish themselves as more than just a maudlin tribute to the real deal. These guys have that problem and that's what ends up sinking this album-I've heard it just one too many times.
Kaskade-The Grand (Ultra)(US)
Kaskade returns with his second mixdisk for Ultra but leaves fans wondering when his next artist album will ever come out. The Grand asks some difficult questions, ones I'm not so sure the veteran producer/DJ was prepared to answer when he laid it out. The main one being, is this guy even relevant now that the whole progressive era is dead? He's now stretched so far out into Deadmau5 electro territory that I'm sure many fans have even begun to forget that this guy is best known for lush, radio friendly house tracks. There is little of that on here with a sneaking suspicion that he is trying to distance himself from that past-no problem there, artists do that all the time. I just thought, with all of the talent this guy possess, he'd do something a little more creative and interesting instead of just doling out a ladle's full of the same old crap in a Kaskade package. Extremely disappointing.
Freeland-Cope TM (Marine Parade)(UK)
And the prize for worst album of 2009 (or perhaps this decade, we're still tallying up those votes) comes breakbeat pioneer Adam Freeland's low-stake, lo-budget rock n roll band. I knew it was coming the minute he started putting out breakbeat mash-ups of Nirvana but I never thought such a talented guy would take things to their logical extremes and fail so miserably in the process-it's ugly. The problem with dance music producers is that they spend their life defining, refining , and then spit polishing sounds. Slick production work is what makes dance music so great but exactly what makes rock n roll so terrible. What, I'm sure was an earnest attempt to channel Devo through the Pixies, ends up sounding like the Jonas Brothers trying to outlame Hanson and Duran Duran all in one shot. I won't even going into the songwriting, which is so laughably bad I consider it observational stand-up comedy on par with Gilbert Godfrey. This was a huge mistake that should never have happened and hopefully a big old red flag warning to other DJs out there with a "bright" idea in their head to get in touch with their rock & roll side. I'd rather be at the dentist for all eternity than ever listen to this album again-it was that bad.