PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Auf der Maur: self-titled

Adrien Begrand

Auf Der Maur

Auf der Maur

Label: Capitol
US Release Date: 2004-06-01
UK Release Date: 2004-03-01
Amazon
iTunes

Melissa Auf der Maur was fortunate to experience the mid '90s alternative rock explosion firsthand, witnessing its rise and eventual fall from the stage. In an era overrun with uber-cool female bass players like Kim Gordon, Kim Deal, and D'Arcy Wretzky, the Montreal, Quebec native was among the best of the bunch. It caused quite a stir in her home country when the comely bassist abruptly left her band Tinker to become the newest member of Hole, following the passing of the band's original bass player, Kristin Pfaff. Pfaff was called by many the most crucial member of Hole, so the young Auf der Maur had some big shoes to fill, but in the following years, she was able to hold her own with not only her solid bass playing, but her excellent backing vocals as well. Just listen to her give-and-take with Courtney Love on the 1996 cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Black Gold Woman", or her entrancing vocal harmonies on Celebrity Skin's "Boys on the Radio". After filling in on the Smashing Pumpkins' last two albums before the band imploded, she continued to work steadily, her most noteworthy project being Hand of Doom, her Black Sabbath tribute band, but we all knew it would be only a matter of a time before she put out a proper solo effort.

So here you have it. Unlike her beleaguered former bandmate Love, who keeps trying to become a pop rock goddess with only middling results, Auf der Maur has retreated to the heavier strains of '90s rock on her new album, the aptly titled Auf der Maur. Employing the services of producer Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age), as well as ex-Kyuss/current QOTSA frontman Josh Homme and former Kyuss/Fu Manchu drummer Brandt Bjork, Auf der Maur's obviously looking to put out one heavy mother of an album, and heavy this one is. Combining the booming, psychedelic stoner rock of Kyuss, the warm guitar drones of Smashing Pumpkins, the progressive melodies of A Perfect Circle, and a very sexy goth style that resembles Italian rockers Lacuna Coil, this album doesn't break new ground; in fact, the music is very ordinary, but the mere presence of Auf der Maur and her intoxicating voice makes the record a modest success.

At its best, Auf der Maur sucks you in with its hypnotically paced, darkly tinged hard rock. On "Followed the Waves", the album's lead-off single, that blend of raw desert rock and more exotic fare works perfectly (Auf der Maur herself admits the song was intended to be a knock-off of Kyuss's Blues For the Red Sun). Opening with Auf der Maur's ostentatious vocal howl, the song careens like a lumbering beast, with Homme's churning guitar riffs and Bjork's distinctive drumming style (thunderous, slow, heavy on the ride cymbal), as Auf der Maur displays great vocal range, singing a melody you'd usually hear from A Perfect Circle/Tool singer Maynard James Keenan. Current UK single "Real a Lie" has more of a metal-meets-shoegazer sound, with its chiming guitars that echo Lush, and is much more upbeat, as any pretentiousness is wiped away by a fantastic climax of bubblegum "do-do-do"'s. "Lightning is My Girl" roars out of the gate as Auf der Maur coos away in that sultry voice of hers, while "My Foggy Notion" and the fantastic "I Need I Want I Will" seem to bring a Middle Eastern element to their melodies. Meanwhile, the erotically charged "Taste You" and the lovely "Would if I Could" have more of a pop rock feel, resembling the best tracks on Celebrity Skin.

Unfortunately, Auf der Maur is far from perfect. The album simply runs too long, as songs like "I'll Be Anything You Want" and "Overpower Thee" are nothing more than dull, cabaret style filler, their Kurt Weill imitations contrasting too much from the rest of the album. Even more irritating are Auf der Maur's lyrics, which are often so juvenile, it's almost embarrassing, as she dares to sing such nauseating lines as, "Plug it in, so I can digest you/ I will taste you/ My appetite in that hole."

Still, despite the fact that the music gets a bit generic from time to time, and that she really has nothing very original to say, Auf der Maur is convincing enough to compel you to let a few missteps slide. With a very impressive lineup of guest musicians, including Eric Erlandson (Hole), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins/A Perfect Circle), John Stainer (Tomahawk), as well as former Tinker bandmate Steve Durand, Auf der Maur is a fine first album. The murky musical style, done to death as it has been, seems to fit Auf der Maur well, her entrancing voice contrasting nicely with the sludgy riffs. She might not garner the media attention that Ms. Love has been getting, but hearing this CD, you know she'll do just fine on her own.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

Music

Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.

Music

MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.