Assumer Guide: Hunting Bunnies and Kicking Shins
As Consumer Guide tastemaker Robert Christgau once noted, there is so much recorded media coming forth every day, from major-label pushes to Myspace uploads, that it is physically impossible to listen to it all. Our disgruntled postal carrier brings more bubble-packed mailers daily, and there’s no hope of our “to listen to” pile going down anytime soon.
At the risk of being buried under hundreds of jewel cases, we have taken the sage advice of gonzo rock writer Richard Meltzer to heart. Meltzer, ever the curmudgeon, considered promo albums precious commodities–provided you didn’t break the shrink wrap on ’em, as doing so reduced their resale value. After the click-through, Andy Beta fords the Waterworld that is the Information Age with his eyes rather than his ears.
PICK–Deerhunter: Cryptograms (Kranky) Deerhunter anticipates the day when RISD students design the next Big Buck Hunter Pro, all squiggles and mesmeric color theory, knowing the party is out of bounds when pretentious art-fucks and NASCAR/Nuge fans alike swill Pabst Blue Ribbon in psychoactive amounts. The printed lyrics present a heart of dark-ambient that namechecks Joseph Conrad and the B-52s and songs about “angels who forced me to jack them off.” This surely occurred in the bedroom, where the narrator listened to the Butthole Surfers. Less obsessed with being psychotic like Christopher Walken, this Deerhunter seeks to be a big trophy Animal Collector. A-
Sophe Lux: Waking the Mystics (Zarathustra Records) At war with being at war with the Mystics, this Portland quintet is on the side of the Decemberists, and they man up by disguising themselves as flapper, Southern-belle cheerleader, and one-eyed French cat circa WWI, thus spanking Zarathustra while heralding our beloved president with flamer lips. Best portrait is the guy with the fake bald cap but real waxed handlebar moustache, though the title “God Doesn’t Take American Express” is as pedantic as Nietzsche’s dramatic lyrics: “Oh to redeem the American dream!” Yeah, I’d feign sleep if I was being touched by a giant half-baked rabbit, too. B+
Bunny Rabbit: Lovers and Crypts (Voodoo-EROS) Back when Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker (the producer in Bunny’s locket) were but young boodaggas, dreaming of munching L’Trimm, they mistook the long Jheri curls and nasal adenoidal ‘ho boasts of Eazy-E and misheard his first name as Erica. A lifelong crush developed–as did a habit of mis-hearing “home movie” for “homie”– but they still unfurl the blue-carpet treatment for “Crypts.” Life-changing moment: singing with the girls “We wanna fuck you Eazy,” and, despite gnosis that he did indeed have a pair, they projected a queer response on E: “I wanna fuck U2.” B
DUD–The Shins: Wincing the Night Away (Sub Pop) Whether said life-changing event occurs in the backseat of a car, in a Cineplex on acid for Dead Man’s Chest, or as your BFF Leia’s MILF hips you to indie rock, the arduous part of enlightenment is always returning back to white bread life. Swearing to twist each night away, tedium rules this upside-down world. The quotidian–the line at the Jersey DMV, fifth-period biology–is boooring. Yet shooting for halcyon times via psychedelic blastula doodles sprouting palm trees on graph paper and a concept album about peg-legged pirates (“Phantom Limb,” “Sealegs,” “Girl Sailor”) is way too narrow. B-