Splendid E-zine presents

our weekly collection of shorter reviews

Spackle, The Fall, Styles of Beyond, Silverscene
Nailing Betty, Negativland/Chumbawamba, Murfreesboro, The Apples in Stereo

Spackle / The LUV Album / Royal Goddess (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "Some Bit of Nasty"
Narcissistic, self-promoting glam rock lives in the heart of Montreal. With lots of slutty, sex-inspired tracks like "Wonder Booty" and "Some Bit of Nasty," you'd best be careful listening to Spackle, 'cause you might contract something itchy. Plenty of funky, soul-inspired grooves and falsetto "oohs" litter The Luv Album, reminiscent of Prince and Marc Bolan teaming up with the Thrill Kill Kult. There's not much NOT to like about this crisp 'n' quirky CD, unless the only thing you can do on the dance floor is act like a fucking corpse and play dead! -- am

The Fall / Touch Sensitive / Artful (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "Touch Sensitive"
This is the most arresting Fall single I've heard in years -- its combination of rock-anthem drumming, "Hey Hey Hey Hey" chorus cheering and whickering guitars make it one of the very few Fall songs that could possibly be co-opted as a theme for sporting events. Mr. Smith's vocals are, as always, classic moments of rambling disorientation, and the stripped-down band can still deliver a huge sound. The B-side, "Antidote", takes the same over-the-top approach but puts feedback and orchestral oddity back into the mix, while the "Dance Mix" of "Touch Sensitive" is rousing despite its omission of M.E.'s vocals in favor of more "Hey Hey Hey Hey" chorus. I'm now even more eager to get my hands on The Marshall Suite, the next Fall album, to see what else they've got in store... -- gz

Styles of Beyond / 2000 Fold / Hi-HO Records (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "Spies Like Us (Feat. Emcee 007)"
Style of Beyond are forward-looking LA MCs Takbir and Ryu. 2000 Fold is their debut album and emphasizes a mellow, anti-flashy sound, which is refreshing when compared to the big sound and bigger egos of the mainstream rap stars today. In sonic terms, I'm reminded of rap outfits like A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets -- 2000 Fold is definitely full of attitude, but it's not in-yer-face. Rhymes and grooves just roll off the record without fanfare, but with freakiness! -- nw

Silverscene / The Pendulum Demos / P-Noize (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "Intro to Magic"
This Virginia Beach foursome is perfectly cast as a Local Band That Deserves National Attention. Sporting groovy pop sensibilities and distinct early-nineties influences, Silverscene are best described as a more shoegazer-y take on the Sundays, though Andrea Esperat's vocals mesh more agreeably with all that wispy guitar feedback. Production chores are handled by Velocity Girl guitarist Archie Moore, and while there's nothing happening here that screams "Archie Moore Production" he seems like the right sort of person to handle Silverscene's music. The only disappointing thing about The Pendulum Demos is that it's almost two years old and the band has yet to release a follow-up. That's a shame. I gather they only sent demos to the majors, which is also a pity as I could easily see Silverscene finding a happy home on Bedazzled... -- gz

Nailing Betty / Nailing Betty / Nailing Betty (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "Sharp Knife"
Guitars. Bass. Drums. Guitar solos. Serious male singer. Riffs. Drum fills. Rock and Roll. Nailing Betty. If you're in the mood for Rock and Roll, well, there you go. I couldn't find anything in particular to catch my ears on this CD, but the music is well played and the production is fine. -- ib

Negativland/Chumbawamba / The ABCs of Anarchism / Seeland (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "The ABCs of Anarchism"
In addition to being a collaborative sample collage from two of the most interesting music/art/terrorism groups of the eighties and nineties, ABCs... may go some distance towards restoring Chumbawamba's anarchist/indie cred post-"Tubthumping". Said single appears here, as does much of the album that bore it, albeit (thankfully) in cut, pasted, chopped and otherwised abused forms. You'll also find a wealth of familiar film, music and television samples here -- most notably from the Teletubbies, who have also been co-opted to star in the mock children's story told in the CD booklet. Negativland's Weatherman is recognizable throughout, often reading from Alexander Berkman's 1929 book "ABC of Anarchism" in his trademark stressed-out warble. This is scattershot tape-loop terrorism at its finest. -- gz

Murfreesboro / Ah! That Hits the Spot! / Planetary (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "Baby Baby Baby"
I've got severe reservations about Ska-tinged bands these day, but these Virginians, who've named themselves after a city in Tennessee, are actually quite good. Throwing in a heavy dose of solid punk barre chords instead of traditional (and these days, derivative) syncopated ninth chords, Murfreesboro churn through some solid numbers and smartly avoid pigeonholing themselves as a one-sound band. Vocalist Prabir Mehta's high pitched voice adds an unusual element to the band's sound, complementing the high-octane music. There's clearly more to the Murfs than two-tone tedium. -- am

The Apples in Stereo / Her Wallpaper Reverie / spinART (CD)

Sample 30 seconds of "The Shiney Sea"
Trust the Apples in Stereo to record an entire EP about someone who sits and stares at the wall. Admittedly, there's a bit more to it than that; Her Wallpaper Reverie loosely involves a woman named Ruby, whose life-story (sort of) unfolds (sort of) while she daydreams (sort of) and listens to records. The people who really get into Her Wallpaper Reverie will probably identify very strongly with Ruby; some of them will probably wonder, in all seriousness, how she manages with such a busy lifestyle. There are really only seven songs here, all of them done in the catchy Elephant Six psychedelic pop style that the kids love. The other eight tracks are short, plinky-plonky instrumental numbers of varying lengths, alternately childish and disturbing. If you can imagine the Beatles as collaborators on The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, you'll find Her Wallpaper Reverie to be a pleasant diversion (sort of). -- gz

nw - noah wane | gz - george zahora | am - andrew magilow

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