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The Snow Fairies, Get Married (Total Gaylord) Rating: 7
Four out of five dentists agree that brushing one's teeth after listening to The Snow Fairies Get Married is the best way to prevent tooth decay. Over the course of 24 minutes on their sophomore full-length, the Philadelphia fivesome pack a dose of pure pop so sweet that diabetics should steer clear. Anyone else looking for upbeat twee pop, however, should seek out this album. Lead singer Rose Bechanky's sweet, innocent voice is the icing on a cake made of Laurence Margaritas' poppy guitar and Melissa Kramer's bubbly keyboard. Lame "sugar" jokes aside, in a world brimming with bad news, cute, cheerful moments like the bouncing bass of "Railroad Tracks", the "bah bah bah" backing vocals on "The Life of a Total Square" and Bechansky's assertion, on "The Stone Pony", that "New Jersey is only good for two things -- beer and bowling" will bring a smile to one's face... even if that smile is full of candy-ravaged teeth. I'd say more about The Snow Fairies Get Married, but I've sapped my supply of sugar/sweet/candy gags. A very fun pick-me-up album.
Yip-Yip, Pro-Twelve Thinker (Strictly Amateur Films) Rating: 5
Put Yip-Yip's first proper full length album in your computer, and a two-minute QuickTime film pops up. This two-minute film looks like a heavily edited take on the Yip-Yip live experience, complete with two guys in poorly-designed white bodysuits (with goggles so they can see) hitting keyboards and bumping into each other a lot. And there's music, too -- a vaguely sinister bass synth workout that incorporates traces of other keyboard noises over a simple but constantly morphing beat. Technolonoise? Synthcrunch? I have no idea what to call this. Whatever it is, though, it's all over Pro-Twelve Thinker, Yip-Yip's first foray into the full-length album format. The duo, made up of two fellows named Brian Esser and Jason Temple, combines silly song titles ("Big Bass with the Platinum Limbs", "Banger: An Eating Contest") with bass-heavy electronics and beats that skirt the line between IDM and synthpop. Sometimes it works -- "High Heel to Mammal" is bouncy and quirky in all the right ways in the minute before it devolves into a formless razorblade mist, and "Familyman Conundrum" (the song in the video) is sort of like a dance tune on valium and painkillers. Unfortunately, at 24-ish minutes, it's too short to make much of a statement, and only maybe five of those minutes are intriguing enough to remember once the CD's over. Even so, that live show looks fun as hell.
Trillville feat. E-40 and 8-Ball, "I'm Pimpin'" [single] (Warner Bros.) Rating: 3
Between 8-Ball and E-40, Trillville has two of the three coasts covered -- 8-Ball from the Dirty Dirty (deep Memphis), E-40 from the West (Vallejo to be exact). The multi-regionalism is to be admired, but the results can't escape a vague sense of torpor. I'm sure these guys are absolutely sincere in their attempts to assure the listener that they are, indeed, "pimpin'", but I have to say that I remain thoroughly nonplussed as to how they can rattle off so many clichés about how they're "pimpin', mackin', hustlin', stackin'" and how "everything they touch go gold or platinum", and then turn around and maintain with a straight face that "ya'll niggas ain't talkin' 'bout nothin'". I'm afraid that this is definitely a case of the gentlemen protesting too much...
The Exit, The Exit (Wind-Up) Rating: 6
I'm sure The Exit and their handlers are lovely, good natured people, but whoever designed this promo CD package/envelope should be tarred and feathered. Sheesh... anyway... the four-song EP from this trio has "Don't Push" being a rather odd effort to get the ball rolling. It's primal in spots but the drumming of Gunnar makes it a winding, gear-changing song that veers from a galloping to a mellow tempo. They sing about seeing better days but I've also heard better songs than this one. Packing more substance is the dramatic, tension-filled "Let's Go to Haiti" which bludgeons you with a great and relentless riff. Big and bombastic without any sense of self-indulgence, the tune grows and grows. Yet as hard as that sounds, "Back to the Rebels" makes Maroon 5 almost menacing. It's hard to get a feel for The Exit from this hit and miss release. But when they hit, it's a homer.