ANNIE: DJ KICKS
(Compiled by Annie)
First off: These are not record reviews. We could hate your music, but love your production. Second off: These are not production reviews. We’re just talking about, love it or hate it, stuff we love. Or hate. Or hate so much we love it. Or love it so much we hate it. And so it is with ANNIE . . . her DJ Kicks mix record is a record that we love, because it reminds of us of when we were kids. Which is also why we hate it. But pulling stuff from ALAN VEGA and GUCCI CREW II, Annie mixes her mix with her own stuff for a wholly heady affair that recalls nothing if not rollerskating at the Empire Rollerdrome in 1978. Club sound for the club footed. And that’s a compliment.
AGNOSTIC FRONT: ANOTHER VOICE
(Produced by Zeuss, Jamey Jasta)
Production? Quite good, here. See, the thing about hardcore music is that if the production gets too slick it ruins the effect. The production is smart for this kind of music with Roger Miret’s vocals right up front so you can feel his voice, he doesn’t so much sing as just put every bit of air and spit he has into each word. Steve Gallos double kick drum rattles your head around while Mike Gallos subsonic bass makes your nose itch. And the dueling guitars, courtesy of Mssrs. Vinnie Stigma and Matt Henderson are nah-nah-nah nasty. This CD is a tribute to a long-standing love affair that Agnostic Front has had with NYHC. Real hardcore for real hardcore fans. Would I hang out with these guys? Hell no. I would, however, listen to this before telling my psycho neighbor to turn down his Eagles record. —Jason Lally
PELICAN: THE FIRE IN OUR THROATS WILL BECKON THE THAW
(Recorded/mixed by Greg Norman)
The coolest thing about recording stuff at Electrical Audio in Chicago is that Albini makes sure that he’s got the top-flight talent in house to take care of all of your recording needs. And at the helm on this gem is professional golfer Greg Norman. (Full disclosure: Not only do we have a close and personal recording history with the estimable Mr. Norman, but we’ve also shared stage space with the mighty Pelican. Cronyism at its best.) So it’s not every day that pro golf and heavy “InstruMetal” worlds are joined but so it is here with a rollicking and seasick swing that bears almost what might be considered that signature Electrical Audio sound, a pummel, a mugging, and a masterful display of audio-pyrotechnics. We like.
JUDD AND MAGGIE: SUBJECTS
(Produced by Lenny & Joey Waronker)
Brother and sister folk pop duo Judd And Maggie’s Subjects was produced by father and son team Lenny and Joey Waronker. Isn’t that cute! Oh yes it is. . . . Yes, yes, yes. . . .
What the hell is wrong with me?
Anyway the production is slick but not too slick. (Well duh. Joey Waronker has done Beck, REM to name but a couple slick-but-not-too-slicksters.) The drums are tight with a fantastic thump of the kick and the warm smack of the snare (Joey done played them drums too). The bass is all warm and fuzzy and there’s lots and lots of cool but laidback instrumentation, piano, acoustic guitar, fantastic organs, and so on. And the best thing about this production? It’s smart, as well. It never strays too far from center giving it that “this is timeless” feeling that so many productions seem to be lacking these days. And Judd’s and Maggie’s voices are not perfect, and that my friends is what is perfect about them. The vocals are blended and the harmonies are sweet and plentiful. The songs are well constructed, honest, and heartfelt, refreshingly not clever and well, just kinda nice. Which for a change is . . . nice.
I think you guys owe me a foot rub. —Jason Lally
GENTLE GIANT: THE POWER AND THE GLORY
(Produced by Gentle Giant)
Perhaps you haven’t been able to tell but here, down this’away, we have a predilection for the underdog. We’d be hardpressed to call any band with sales of over 3 mil or more, The Underdog, but when compared to how much juice ELP or Yes get, well it seems warranted. You see, this is prog at its best. Now while underdog doesn’t ever imply “any good” necessarily, the corollary is that because no one cares what’s there frequently does strange and wonderful things. Like this record. Sure these guys have tarried with the likes of Tony Visconti but on this release of the unreleased the brothers Shulman go nuts. Nuts. Thirty different instruments (including the Shulberry. Yeah, exactly.) We love this. Prog production at its best.