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Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death

Some of Us Are in This Together

(Don’t Stop Believin’; US: 18 Jan 2011; UK: 7 Mar 2011)

Review [24.Apr.2011]

15



Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death
Some of Us Are in This Together


Sometimes when an attention-starved child wants to act “intense” or “scary”, he’ll bang on things and get right in your face and scream some meaningless phrase over and over. The proper response is either to ignore the child or, if the behavior continues, to sell the child over the internet. This is a lot like the newest album by Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, not least because their bassist was actually sold over the internet as a child, which causes him to compensate for his psychological wounds by playing way too loud and drowning out his lumbering bandmates. For their next album, he should try harder to drown out the “singer”. Josh Langhoff


 

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Tori Amos

Night of Hunters

(Deutsche Grammophon; US: 20 Sep 2011)

Review [19.Sep.2011]

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Tori Amos
Night of Hunters


I think this album really went wrong when information about the entire “mythical” concept was released. Tori indirectly deflects responsibility to Deutsche Grammophon for


forcing

asking her to create a traditional “song cycle” through a reworking of some great classical pieces.  Tori, who has obviously been watching way too much Game of Thrones took that to mean: “create an absurd mythical tale that lazily shrouds the deep personal turmoil you’re experiencing in your marriage.” Moreover, Tori seems to be unaware that her strength rests predominantly in musical composition which underlies her deeply personal lyrics. She is a weak storyteller (but a strong conveyer of emotion), and because Night of Hunters is one big story with all the authentic emotion stripped from it, everything falls flat. So, because the music was pretty much written for her, and she decided to “disguise” everything in this ridiculous metaphorical story, it’s no wonder that Night of Hunters as a concept record has failed.  Tori seems to be too wrapped up in her own little world to see what’s right in front of her face. Not to mention that her 10-year-old daughter sings on many of the albums’ tracks, playing the fictional shape-shifting fox character that guided Tori through a world of, ugh… I can’t even write this.  Although an admiral feat on Amos’ part to try and interweave a narrative through some stunning pieces of musical brilliance, the album is simply too thick to penetrate and often times too schmaltzy to ignore. Enio Chiola


 

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Foreigner

Feels Like the First Time

(Razor & Tie; US: 13 Sep 2011)

Review [14.Sep.2011]

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Foreigner
Feels Like the First Time


There are good ways for a classic rock band to remain relevant long after their glory days have passed. Foreigner’s decided method, to repeat all their old hits over and over again in various, non-subtle re-packagings, seems an obvious choice for how not to keep relevant. The band’s studio output is now secondary to its increasingly large number of greatest hits compilations. Tracks like “Hot Blooded”, “Double Vision”, and “Long, Long Way From Home” have become the bane of either bad rock radio or karaoke. Here, in both acoustic and re-recorded full band settings, their status as worn isn’t changing much at all. While it’s not easy for older bands to put out new LPs and still dazzle (the Rolling Stones’ 2005 misfire A Bigger Bang is a testament to that fact), pretending that the heydays can be played on loop and not wear thin seems to be an experiment the band ought not pursue any further. The fact that this record is also a Wal-Mart exclusive release only speaks to just how doomed this record was from its inception. Brice Ezell


 

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Spank Rock

Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking Liar

(Bad Blood; US: 27 Sep 2011; UK: 3 Oct 2011)

Review [27.Nov.2011]

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Spank Rock
Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking Liar


Back in 2006, Philadelphia MC Spank Rock successfully infiltrated the skinny jeans set with the infectious YoYoYoYoYo, an unabashedly dirty album that updated ‘80s sex rap for a surprisingly receptive indie rock audience. He’s been largely missing in action ever since. You’d think a dude would take a look at all of the genre-redefining rap albums that have come out over the last five years and want to step-up his game. Alas, the often actively unpleasant Everything Is Boring & Everyone Is a Fucking Liar finds our boy Spank still doing endless key bumps of blow and ranting about woman in a manner that makes 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell sound like Al Green. It isn’t a complete wash. While she’s hardly an adequate substitute for the curiously absent, sorely missed Amanda Blank, Santigold’s airy vocals on the insistent “Car Song” give the album it’s one truly memorable hook. Spank is successful when he tackles sociopolitical issues (“Ta Da”, “Turn it Off”) and less so when he talks about his dick (every other song). It’s hard to imagine this music appealing to anyone but 13 year-old boys who still giggle uncontrollably at the word “pussy”. If Spank Rock wants to be a contender, he’s gonna have to come up with something better than “Shake it till my dick turns racist.” Daniel Tebo


 

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Nickelback

Here and Now

(Roadrunner; US: 21 Nov 2011)

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Nickelback
Here and Now


2011 was the year in which we learned that our enemies, painfully, have a sense of humor, too. Dane Cook sent up his image on an episode of Louie, and most recently Nickelback shot a Funny or Die short with Paul Scheer in which they satirized their position as the most hated band on earth, while responding to the thousands-signed petition to keep them performing at the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving half-time show (which failed). While Nickelback must be credited for their polite Canadian-ness and sense of humor (why did the one guy have to be Dave Coulier?), their most recent likely trillion-seller, Here and Now, not only continues the Nickelback tradition of casual sexism and AC/DC-trolling, but adds in an element of phoniness when the band attempts Coldplay-style dance balladry on “When We Stand Together”. There’s no problem with being forthright about offering up what you are, even if it’s terrible, but trying to stretch into something disingenuous and still being terrible? Nuh uh. F—- you, Nickelback. Steve Lepore


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