Morning Flapjacks And “Mega Man” Bosses
As Consumer Guide creator Robert Christgau once noted, there is so much recorded media coming forth every day, the idea that one would be able to listen to all of it is physically impossible. So we’ve 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 shrinkwrap on ’em, as doing so reduced their resale value. After the click-through, Andy Beta judges four new albums without even cracking open their covers.
PICK–Scratch Massive: Time (Chateaurouge) The crude sexist joke asks: “Why do women yawn and stretch in the morning?” Answer: “Because they have no balls to scratch.” Yet ass-scratching could easily be the punchline, as it is for bands like Scratch Acid and sleazy French electro group Scratch Massive. Nothing gets that blood gorging going faster than their latest, Time. The group just knows the male mind mid-morning: your lil’ buddy is up, admiring the ceiling and making flapjacks for your late-sleeping sweetie. Which prompts another ribald riddle: “How do you tell the female Hershey’s bar?” “It’s the one with no nuts.” A+
Björk: Volta (Atlantic) Conspiring with husband (co-op clothing horse Matthew Barney), visionary musician Björk enters that brave new world of video games with her latest. Heavily influenced by arcade games that are vintage (Space Invaders) and hip-hop-flavored (Def Jam Vendetta), Volta is the original soundtrack for her own surreal futuristic fighting game. Choose from fighters like the eerily cock diesel Timbaland, tai chi master Min Xiao-Fen, or the Lightning Bolt dude (gamer’s tip: Antony’s “special move” is bullshit) and proceed to decapitate opponents and rip them apart “Vertebrae by Vertebrae.” Why Björk sorta looks like a fortress boss I defeated in Mega Man, I don’t know. A-
Maxïmo Park: Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp) A few years ago, postpunk bands had to have angular guitars and a copy of Entertainment! to score chicks. Yet abuse Photoshop’s rubber stamp tool as photo editors might, an up-and-coming act with dandruff will show on that RS Hot List pic. Luckily, Maxïmo Park considers Head & Shoulders both as necessity and an earthly pleasure, even if they can only travel with 5 fl oz. on tour. Readily they pick up “Girls Who Play Guitar” and quote Russkie lit in their lyrics, but they also remind the damaged kids in their audience that they needn’t suffer damaged ends, too. B+
The Blow: Poor Aim: Love Songs (K Records) No one does cyber love via AIM communiqué quite like “Bloodninja” from issue No. 3 of the splendid ‘zine Yeti. Doing “The R.” one better, this little AIM scamp freaks with his rhino-charging fantasies, wizard hats, pizza penetration, and “unleash(ing) my cauliflower” on sex boards and horny IMers, to hilariously tear-jerking results (not that other jerking). Seriously, Bloodninja needs a book. What does Bloodninja have to do with the Blow? Nothing, but he’s more interesting than remixes by nobodies like K Maricich, DJ Alan Fortarte, or Strategy. Where I’m from, a one-eyed cat just means it’s walking away from you. C+