reviews on blogcritics – june 2008

I’ve decided that one way I can keep this blog from being just a “look at my latest review/article on Blogcritics” blog would be to do monthly summaries rather than individual posts right after each article is published. Here’s the first installment.

Ladytron – Velocifero

The second track is the album’s lead single, “Ghost,” and it’s easy to hear why that was chosen. The song’s pulsating beat and repetitive chorus are addictive and likely to be club favorites. “I’m Not Scared” follows with a relentless grind and power rock chords that touches the musical soul and compels the listener to crank up the volume a little bit more. With the attitude and energy level of the album set within the first few tracks, the band takes a moment to give the listener a breather before launching back in with the electronic wave assault prevalent in most of the rest of the tracks.

Rosemary & Thyme – The Complete Series

An aspect of the show that I find very appealing is the relationship between Laura and Rosemary. Early on in the series, they addressed the social perception that the only reason why two grown women could care about each other is because they are romantically linked (“Arabica and the Early Spider”). With that bigoted and misguided stereotype thrown out the window, Ferris and Kendal set out to develop their character’s friendship to be something deeper and stronger than what is usually shown on an episodic dramedy television series. The interplay between the two went from merely comedic to the kind of inside joke humor that happens only between very close friends.

Jaymay – Autumn Fallin’

It’s difficult to peg this album into any particular genre. There are elements of folk, pop, and even touches of the wall-of-sound aspects of electronica, although no processors are used in the creation of the music. And, just when you think you’ve got a label, with gusto she throws in the ragtime-style song “Hard to Say.”

That’s all for now! As you can tell from my sidebar, I have a few items that I’ll be working on this next month, although one is for a print publication due out later this year or early next year.

the slits

One of the first female punk bands of the late seventies was the Slits. Never heard of them? You should.

One of the first female punk bands of the late seventies was the Slits. Never heard of them? You should. They toured with better known acts such as the Clash and White Riot, but did not gain the long-term fame and attention of their tour mates. Koch Records has recently reissued their 1979 recording Cut on CD with two bonus tracks, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Liebe and Romanze.”

When the band formed in 1976, none of the members could play instruments very well, but thanks to the punk movement of the time, that was no impediment to their musical creation. Cut has minimal instrumentation, with heavy emphasis on vocals and percussion, but it works. The producer, Dennis Bovell, came from a reggae background, and this is evident in the recording. The combination of reggae and punk stylings with a feminist approach to rock music gives the recording its unique sound.

It is obvious that the Slits influenced many of the all-girl bands of the 80s like the Go-Go’s and others. The retro music revolution that is sweeping through modern indie bands should pause and take a page from the Slits, as well. Their use of repetitive musical and non-musical sounds, call-and-response, and emphasis on lyrical song crafting are techniques well worth paying attention to.

Don’t expect to find this band on your top 40 radio station or MTV (do they even show videos anymore?), but if the music directors at the college stations are paying attention, this reissue will be heating up the CMJ charts, if it isn’t already.

Article first published as The Slits – Cut on