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Sander Kleinenberg, This Is Everybody! on Tour CD 1 (Ultra) Rating: 7
Sander Kleinenberg's contribution to the This Is Everybody! on Tour double CD (split with Lee Burridge) has the potential be one of those mixes that defines a winter: it thrills, surges, and bangs with clinical proficiency. Kleinenberg has said that in selecting songs he looks for "forward, fresh, not too commercial, dancefloor-friendly bombs", and with only a few exceptions, that's what he's serving up here. His song selection is impeccable, building up from the mellow, almost apologetic plonks and blips of Pony's "Our House", through Mylo's micro-moving masterpiece "Muscle Car", to real banging electro-house tunes "Yeah Yeah" (Bodyrox), and "Atto D'Amore (Dub)" (Serge Santiago). The one small misstep is the disposable hit "Mr. Roboto"; after a second or a third spin the cute lyrics turn annoying. On the rest of the record, Kleinenberg has selected quality tracks that form a cohesive, club-quality set reminiscent of the experience of seeing the DJ live: his progressive aesthetic and knack for solid beats a dancefloor winner.
Space Mtn, A Drawing of a Memory of a Photograph of You (Aeronaut) Rating: 6
Space Mtn's Dina Waxman has a voice that crawls into your head and squeaks around, messing shit up, and refusing to leave. Even when her songs begin to lag and her twisted vocal becomes a static whine (track "Undermining", for instance), she's still captivates. A weird world of experience as bassist for the Lemonheads and script-chick on Fight Club (1999) and Nadja (1994) only adds to the woman's intrigue. She can bore and thrill simultaneously, showing off her immense potential while keeping it all to herself. Drawing of ... reveals little about her beyond the obvious -- she's emotionally fragile on the one hand, strong and adventurous on the other. For instance, "And So" is probably the best thing musically, yet bouncy and cool as it is, it suffers from some of that vocal lagging. And then there's the quick, jumpy "Oh", good vocally, but not so compelling lyrically ("Please oh please will you love me, / Please oh please get away"). This is not a bad record by any means, but its better stuff is fleeting. Something tells me Waxman and friends might just rock live, though.
Boulevard, Vice and Daring (Boulevard Rock) Rating: 6
A six-song EP is never a true test of what a band has to offer, but if Boulevard's self-produced release is a measuring stick, they could be onto something. "So Electric" is tight and hook-filled guitar pop thanks to the work of guitarists/singers Benji Barton and Robert Caruthers. Equally pleasing is the Franz-ish "Marie" that is propelled along by a nice melody and nicer hi-hat from drummer Donovan Babb. It's a near perfect melding of The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand, which is very pleasing indeed. They also seem to draw from the likes of Simple Minds, particularly on the mid-tempo retro-pop feeling pouring out of "Dreams of Home" that also resembles early Suede. But they are able to make each song stand out without the slightest hint of filler, including a delicious little romp entitled "Disarray". While "Possibly the Last" leaves a bit to be desired with its faux sense of Britpop, the group end it on another good note with the spacey, prog-like "Hand In Hand".
...Nous Non Plus, ...Nous Non Plus (Aeronaut) Rating: 6
After French band Les Sans Culottes had a series of legal problems, many of its members decided to free themselves by creating a new band under a new name: ...Nous Non Plus. It's a pop outfit at heart with slight hints at Parisian café music on "L'Amant", a swirling number with some rich, layered arrangements while "Lawnmower Boy" is a straightforward power pop number. Singer Celine Dijon (no, not that Celine Dijon!) and Jean-Luc Richard give sugary harmonies during this toe-tapper and with punchy, New Pornographers panache for "File Atomique". Looking for a bit of retro/electro rock? Try "One Night in Paris" on for size, it should do the trick. Fans of Pulp would enjoy "Tant Pis Pour Toi" as well with its disco-y, dance beat. A little too dreamy or flowery is the hippie feeling one gets from "Monokini". Concluding the record is a fragile, airy track entitled "La Ballade De Tourette" which seems to tenderly float into some medieval fairytale landscape.