marble stature The Offense we trust! Rural bullshit from the heart of Fox Point, Providence, RI 02906

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


We Hate 2008 (so far)

We're about 3 and a half months into 08 and the vast majority of releases I was looking forward to have graced and shamed my ears. As usual, this thing we call 'indierock' has its fair share of pleasant surprises (ex:Bon Iver), safe mediocrity (ex:Vampire Weekend), utter disappointments (ex:Constantines) , instant classics (ex: Times New Viking), and everything in between (ex:Hot Chip). Overall, I'd have to say I'm very satisfied with the year thus far. Join me and delight in the reality that honest and creative music is thriving outside (and sometimes at the fringe of) the mainstream. The following is a collection of standout tracks that appear on this years greatest hits and misses (mostly hits).

OBVIOUSLY (let's be reasonable here)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


verticalphil's 2007....

One man’s garbage is another man’s (top 10 list)

1) Battles- Mirrored

This indie super-group makes good on all of the promises of their impressive but sometimes limited EP’s. In the midst of so much great stuff in the way of noise, pop, and every other fucking genre, Battles really stood out with an album that could have easily passed as the soundtrack for TRANSFORMERS.

2) Slaraffenland- Private Cinema

Lee Ronaldo guitarscapes and awkward allusions to metaphysics are only two of the great things about this gem. The land of milk and honey (which is what their name means) is certainly a reach, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better delivered (and packaged) Danish export.

3) Videohippos- Unbeast theLeash

Synthcore that compels me to pretend I’m in high school and feign anguish because I feel ostracized. There’s something to this kind of stuff, I swear.

4) The Twilight Sad- Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

Glasgow fat-cats debut with an album of stunning authenticity. Their sprawling guitar driven songs of yearning and anguish found exceed even the most high and naive expectations.

5) Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga

Just when I thought I’d had enough (not to mention the ridiculous album title), Britt Daniel and Co. make it dramatically clear why they are still America’s most deserving indie faves and likely to outlast any trend or schtick hipster america may throw our way. As usual, Spoon deliver clever production as a scaffold to some very well crafted tunes.

6) The National- Boxer

I don’t know what to say about The National that doesn’t sound melodramatic or grandiose. Critics have done them enough justice this year. It’s just that good.

7) Les Savvy Fav- Let’s Stay Friends

Let’s face it- Les Savy Fav are the veritable monsters of post hardcore that just won’t die. Not that anyone wants them to, but most of us thought it was all over for them after the release of INCHES. These guys had nothing to prove…. So they went ahead and made an album of raw intensity and righteous guitar driven rockers anyway. Let’s stay friends indeed.

8) Jose Gonzalez- In Our Nature

Every year it seems we (I) fall in love with some new folk dude. Well, this year it was Jose Gonzalez. He’s like James Taylor and Nick Drake combined except he’s Swedish-Hispanic.

9) Daft Punk- Alive 2007

That last record had us thinking that they were in fact, human after all… Now I’m not so sure. You know, on an unnamed message board someone mentioned that they would rather have had new material. I’m wondering if this person actually listened to this. As my friend Steve put it, “The best thing is it manages to make songs from Human After All sound good. In fact, the album recontextualizes their entire catalog. Any song can become any other song.” He’s exactly right, which is why I’ve placed it in my best of list.

10) Grinderman- Grinderman

Dirty old men led by his majesty Nick Cave make songs that sound like dirty old men led by his majesty Nick Cave. I mean, it makes Mclusky sound like Barney and friends.

Honorable Discharge( I meant mention, but I love that word)

Radiohead- In Rainbows

Oh how the mighty have…uh…. proven themselves mighty. Fuck anyone who can’t understand why they did this.

Caribou- Andorra

Dan Snaith is “the new Zombies this time around”…. Huh? I swear I read that somewhere. Whatever… this guy’s versatility is very impressive…but it’s not what’s great about Andorra. Andorra delivers on a level of lighthearted craftsmanship that we so rarely see in artists these days.

Animal Collective- Strawberry Jam/ Panda Bear- Person Pitch

While neither were my favorite records of the year, there is no doubt in my mind that they are the “PEOPLE TO BE” in music right now.


Yes. Dancing is still fun.

Foreign Born- On the wing now

Dim Mak strokes/walkmen/everyone else soundalikes somehow strike a chord with their moody and not overly ambitious debut.

At Swim Two Birds- Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Quigley covers himself (with the exception of a couple amazing originals). Personally, I think this guy’s bedroom melancholy is near brilliance… but I don’t think it strikes a chord with anyone, no matter how many people I play it for (except for maybe Seanzilla).

The Aliens- Astronomy for Dogs

I hate to break it to everyone, but it’s the Beta Band.

A note: There were so many records this year that were worthy of mention… Iron and Wine is good, A Place to Bury Strangers is cool, Sharon Jones gets me movin’, That Burial record is really something else, Handsome Furs, Kevin Drew, Sword Heaven, Thee More Shallows, Phospohoresent, Black Lips, The Field, you get the idea … but the folks who made it were the honest repeated (like a monkey with a miniature symbol) listens of the year.

Enemies (friends)/////////of the state

Times New Viking- Present the Paisley Reich

Coffinberry- God Damn Dogs

Dreadful Yawns- rest

Psychedelic Horseshit

EMERALDS- every single thing I got my hands on


SINGLE(s) and Loving It

Battles- Tonto (FOUR TET REMIX)

The National- Mistaken for Strangers

Spoon- The Underdog

Euros Childs- Horseriding

Pinback- From Nothing to Nowhere

Grinderman- No Pussy Blues

Justice- D.A.N.C.E.

Look, (awesome) Shit Happens

Sharon Jones finally gets her props. Thanks for coming to the party Denzel.

Ohio’s THE UNHOLY 2 marginalize themselves by virtue of racial slurs and bad emoticons. Who the fuck do these guys think they are, Robert Duffy?

My brother decided to ditch the pop thing do the best thing going for Ohio right now, which is making NoIsE.

Sam Craighead is starting a Cult. Email him here for details




No one cares about the Libertines…on a related note:

The Kooks and The Cribs and The Horrors and whole host of other brit-press darling rock knockoff whoredom did not go over like the rec execs wanted it to.


Lindsey Lohan is probably broke


Modest Mouse. Oh where do I start? The addition of a certain Smiths guitarist did nothing. Unless you consider making him look like an ass as something. Aside from that, it’s a forced and stagnant album by any measure. With the exception of a couple tunes, the tracks aren’t memorable or engaging. Ok… I could go on forever, I’ll stop. I’ll save thinking about how disappointed I am in Modest Mouse for a long drive.

The Shins turned into late 90’s “edge” less REM (in spirit and persona, not style) way before their time by virtue of a mediocre album, Starbucks, and the never ending residual effect of that dude from Scrubs.

My friends have always railed on me for maintaining my love of The Sea and Cake; Calling them “Indie Adult Contemporary”, among other things…Anyhow, their latest album, Everybody, proved my friends right. I still listen to it and their live show was amazing…but… defenses of this album would be useless and insincere.

Queens of the Stone Age’s Era Vulgaris. Josh, it’s time to get some quality control buddy. Lullabies was good by a thread due to some decent songwriting….but this time there’s just really no excuse for what you’re passing off as an album.

Oh yeah, that band Interpol. WTF? That album fucking sucks.

It’s alright…it’s ok…there’s something to live for, jesus told me so…

Amy Winehouse will probably die and we won’t have to deal with her or her overrated piece of dog crap music anymore.










The Black Angels

Anyone head of this Columbus band called Times New Viking?

Possible Reopening (or something) of THE EUCLID TAVERN (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Unofficial 2.27 post... fuck the Blogger... this site used to run smooth but now huffs and puffs, freezes and thaws... until the bugs get fixed, look to The Z Gun for your reviews. This is by no means the end of this blog, but just a heads up so that you're not waiting at the window for the goods.

Thursday, June 21, 2007



Last Saturday the second-best record store in New England, Armageddon Shop, had their 6/6:6 anniversary show at AS220. I met up with some of my schoolmates after an ill-fated "couples picnic" with my lady and our friends from Marblehead, Mass, only to be bombarded by the past- a handful of old and close friends that I hadn't seen in years that for some reason had all come out to see Pissed Jeans, The Body, Snake Apartment, and Rusted Shut, now that's the noise I wanna hear when I'm trying to play catch up! After several $2 'gansetts and an eyeful to look at in between bands thanks to the Gay-Pride night parade cruising by the next block... things started to get a little rowdy, i'd say right around Snake Apartment's set. It was the first time that I'd ever seen these guys before because half of them live out west, but the proud sludge that I've been hearing since I picked up their Parts Unknown record a few months ago was even more powerful live. I don't know if theys considered a local band, but if they are, they're by far the best. Perhaps the band I was looking most forward to seeing was Rusted Shut, as their Rehab disc was a top-choice in my fall semester studio "midnight slot," but I wasn't feeling their set that much. It's awfully hard for a guitarist/singer to incite the same riot as an uninhibited frontman, especially sandwched inbetween two savage frontmen but if that's your game than let it roll! I have to admit that I've never seen anybody use a microphone to "strum" a guitar but it sounded like complete shit in the greatest way! Now to Pissed Jeans- I've never been much of a fan, but Pop:Doug's always tried to get me on to Shallow, claiming that it's "as good" as that Clockclean er album (Top 25 of 2006 Material, there), and after seeing them live i'm definately feeling like there's some truth behind the words. Their frontman played a sour-faced Iggy Stooge, and the band was energetic (but not in an annoying way)... heavy on the bass groove, and with guitars that edge on metal and punk not unlike my boy Bob Petric of TJSA. Nice, but I'm still not crazy for this year's Hope For Men, revisiting Shallow is enough for me for the time being.

Church Police Gilligan's Wings (Skulltones, 2007)

I picked up an sneak-peak copy of this, the latest release from one of my favorite new labels Skulltones. Now, I got this after Rusted Shut played, so I am pretty amazed that this was still playable after the Pissed Jeans' incited beer-showers, dudes with rat tails and moustaches moshing outside of the ring and the occasional drunk "I can't believe that your here too!" hug, BUT IT DID! I had no idea what it would sound like so I put it on Sunday morning while Meghan was in the shower (I was in the doghouse that morning after stumbling up the stair piss drunk at 3am, clutching on to a beer-soaked 7" like my life depended on it, so the last thing I wanted to do is be caught listening to what could've potentially been a black turd pressed to vinyl). I was really pleased with what I heard, soaring one-note lead guitar leading the slowly descending punk jam- sounding like something off of Slanted and Enchanted, but undoubtedly one of the many sounds that inspired the landmark album. The most obvious comparison would probably be Flipper, but I think that they're more in the company of The Puddle. After a bit of searching I found out that these guys have another EP that was put out on RRRecords but I have yet to track it down, but give me some time and you can bet your two cents that it'l end up in my bins eventually. This is a usual Skulltones editon of 300, I'd say to move quick, but it'll sell out even if this ain't your bag, what's a recommendation anyways? I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, May 17, 2007



What the... ? It's OK, i'm back for the long haul. Year two is now behind me, and I'm feeling a bit refreshed. I landed a choice internship for the summer, which means that I will actually be able to afford to get some new records (but has that ever really stopped me?). Looks like The Z Gun is nigh off to the presses, so be sure to check that out once you get the word... i'm guessing that there will also be an online update over there for Jue as well. This year's already panning out to be a great one, with Siltbreeze, Not Not Fun, SS, Woodsist, and Columbus Discount slamming home winner after winner... but the real shocker has got to go to...

The Takeovers Bad Football (Off, 2007)

Sure, Big Bobby Beerbelly made an appearance on my Top 25 of '06 with his double LP From a Compound Eye, but a when it came down to list-time it seemed as if Normal Happiness' medocrity consumed all of Pollard's second wind (fart). I got word today that former GBV-bassist and Off Records' own Chris Slusarenko has just released the new Takeovers album. The first Takeovers album was released last summer and was one of the most disappointing purchases that I made since buying a copy of that second Kula Shaker album from the $3 bin at the old Used Kids. I went to the Off Records site in order to listen to the available tracks and I have to admit that they are fantastic. First of all, it is so nice to not hear the heavy hand of Todd Tobias. Instead the sound of Waved Out, Not In My Airforce prevail... whatever happened to John Shough's Cro-Magnon Studio? Now that was some beef, baby! Stephen Malkmus, John Moen (former Jicks drummer), Tad Doyle (Tad, baby!) and John Peters (Mudhoney) lend their hands, but for the first time in a long, long time Pollard sounds like he's actually got some wind in his lungs, which can't be said for his new Silverfish Trivia EP, blech. Now, Off's only got 3 songs posted, so I can't vouch for the other 9... but I couldn't be more excited about this. Head over there and have yourself a listen, if you don't believe me.

Editor's note: the official word on this is "half great."

Friday, March 30, 2007



I’ve always wanted to dive deep into these Sublime Frequencies compilations, but never had the time or money to go balls deep. Come Spring Break ‘07… with a whole lotta extra time on my hands (and it feels great!), I’ve finally had enough time to immerse myself with the work of this great label.

Radio Palestine: Sounds of the Eastern Mediterranean (Sublime Frequencies, 2004)

Of all of the stuff that I’ve heard this past week, there have been two releases which have really grabbed a hold of my attention: the latest album from the label, Group Doueh’s Guitar Music from the Western Sahara (read Scott Soriano’s review of it here), and this compilation Radio Palestine. For the most part the Sublime Frequencies stuff can be split between compilations with whole songs and “radio” albums, which simulate the experience of channel surfing in some exotic and often dangerous locale. If you couldn’t already tell by the name, Radio Palestine is one of those “radio” albums, but is arguably the best of the bunch. While songs are not presented in their entirety, it’s an undeniably powerful moment when flashes of radio color give way to a challenging groove or soaring psychedelic timelessness. There is a sense of adventure here that is damn-near-impossible to duplicate, because it is real, it is happening- interspersed with fragments of news radio, which acts as a reminder of the turmoil which lies beneath the music. I can’t help but to think that this label is incredibly successful in the way that they establish a way to ground the listener into a real sense of “place” from which they can begin to take on such foreign sounds. If you haven’t already invest some time into this label, I’ve given you two of the best places to start your journey.

Monday, March 05, 2007



I can hardly remember February!

I can’t believe that it has been over a month since I posted anything here. You might be thinkin’ that I’m lazy or forgetful… but that couldn’t be farther from the truth: there were only three-four days between the end of my finals for my winter semester and starting this new spring semester, and during that time I’ve been hard at work writing reviews (as well as getting the ball rolling on a couple of exciting interviews) for my home away from here, The Z Gun, and working on some new paintings and drawings for a possible show later this spring. A nice big tax return showed up two weeks ago and I’ve been spending every waking hour ripping my records and tapes so that I can listen to them at school and en route. I’ll throw a couple reviews up on here later this week, because I’m tired of people asking when I’m going to update this damn blog… but really that just shows that there’s people out there who are actually reading and checking the blog on a daily basis, which is very flattering… so thanks for your support… and bear with me, this blog ain’t going anywhere, you will see that it just gets updated more frequently/regularly when my schoolwork doesn’t keep me in the studio 24-7…. time for bed! (pictured is a cardboard panel and duct tape wall system that I worked on over a weekend back in mid-January)


August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   December 2007   April 2008  

of similar interest:
marble stature archives
art for spastics
crud crud
detailed twang
electric pure land
population: doug
static party
terminal boredom
world of wümme
the z gun

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