The Weekly Jive

Posted April 10, 2008 in Music

The Brian Jonestown Massacre—My Bloody Underground (Cargo)

Ah, Christ—here we go again. The problem with Anton Newcombe is that his pen has always been faster than his brain. It’s listenable, alright, but the more-or-less nervy My Bloody Underground, the ninth album by BJM, is yet further afield than the last, 2003’s And This is Our Music—and ordinarily there’d be nothing wrong with that, if only his starting point made believable sense. BJM’s acoustical flower-dour luridness is at the desultory whims of its author, the talented Newcombe, whose thirst for recognition has led him to the ass-end of his pursuit (as evidenced in the by-now overplayed documentary, Dig). It’s his life in peeves, and here’s one of the archetypal million-miles-the-wrong-direction artists, trapped into a persona that nags him into writing songs called “bring me the head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mill’s wooden peg (dropping bombs on the White House)” and the elegiac piano lamento, “we are the niggers of the world.” It’s not nearly as karoakeable as Lennon’s number (there ain’t no words), but you get the idea. Sadly, the wolven-smiled hippie who made Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request is still in evidence, but he’s no longer all Adam’s apple and spine up there ready to pour it out through eleven different instruments. Here’s one tidbit for you moodologists, though: Underground was recorded in both Reykjavik and Liverpool . . . and surely that’s significant, right? (Chuck Mindenhall)


The Kooks—Konk (Astralwerks)

Somewhere between the Arctic Monkeys’ super-smart, XTC-addled pop and Jamie T’s wistful, wobbly yelp lies fellow Brits The Kooks. This sophomore effort finds them relaxed and strummy, their laddish melancholy and wry sideways looks delivered with both electric and acoustic guitars behind Luke Pritchard’s rippled, yearning (but not whining) vocals. There’s wafts of early Bowie; The Jam’s mellower moments; the white swing of The Police; and clanky, post-punk swagger. “Always Where I Need To Be” kicks-off like The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” before morphing into something Strokes-y and then one of the Kooks many solid, ’70s-flavored hooks; while the gorgeously grooving “Sway” blooms into a near-perfect, hummable capsule of young man’s loss and longing. Less self-consciously hip and lyrically gymnastic than many of their peers, The Kooks have a creeping, lo-fi charm which straddles genres and eras: expect them to still be standing and shining when the dust settles on this latest wave of Brit pop. (Paul Rogers)


The Young Punx—Your Music is Killing Me (Ultra Records)

If being a live electronic musician seems like an outdated concept, don’t tell that to UK electro/house/mash-ups duo The Young Punx, who’ve been doing the damn thing for a little over a year, and remixing and spinning records for years before that. Also, don’t tell them that electronic musicians are supposed to be pretentious and standoffish instead of fun and accessible. These boys lay down tracks that are good enough to make the most hardened electro-cynic loosen up a bit and it’s enough for the most devout electronic hipster to get down to. The album drags a bit in parts, but it comes with a second disc of reworks and remixes that breathe new life into even their most boring moments. (Phil Fuller)








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