Filed under: album, review | Tags: 2008, music, rosie and the goldbug, shain shapiro
Rosie & The Goldbug
Rosie & The Goldbug ••½
There is something catchier than an autumn cold about Cornwall-based Rosie Vanier and her trio, Rosie & The Goldbug. On their self-titled debut, the melodies are straightforward – almost sickeningly so – and undeniably catchy, but nothing is remarkable nor does it ever feel as if that is what Vanier and company are attempting. Instead, what this album is, if anything, is the essence of the zeitgeist: songs that drip with synth accoutrements, two-chord guitar strumming and basic, cut-time snare chops.
And, of course, it’s all topped off with sultry, suggestive vocal lines sung by an attractive, almost film noir-influenced vocalist who sounds as good as she looks. Both ‘Lover’ and ‘Heartbreak’ are perfectly cogent pop songs, fulfilling their verse-chorus-verse duties with aplomb, full of energy and enough bright red lipstick to tint a billboard in Shoreditch. It also comes and goes abrasively quickly. The whole slog lasts 30 minutes and each song is short, punchy and similar to its previous cohort.
Filed under: album, review | Tags: 2008, music, shain shapiro, the pack A.D.
The Pack A.D.
Funeral Mixtape •••½
How important is the issue of gender when discussing The Pack A.D.? On the surface, their second album Funeral Mixtape is a relatively simple exercise in summation: a two-piece band – drums and electric guitar – playing competent, uncomplicated modern Delta blues. And yet The Pack A.D. is two women from Vancouver, personas that are, historically speaking, almost as far removed from blues as they can be. So, on paper, this is as postmodern and forward thinking as music gets.
Blues is a genre birthed from a struggle, one that has hardened roots in race, economic strife and prejudice. But blues has evolved, almost turned on itself, and become more synonymous with whatever it is we call the mainstream – that is, amalgamated with other styles, less political. From the first instance of plugging in, all the way to Jack White’s copious bastardizations – his only saving grace is Loretta Lynn – blues lost its soul. Somehow, thankfully, The Pack A.D. found a piece of it along the way.
Filed under: album, review | Tags: 2008, cryptacize, music, nedelle, shain shapiro, sufjan stevens
Dig That Treasure •½
There is a certain calculated mysteriousness surrounding Cryptacize. Little is written on the album inlay or on their website about the inception and development of the band. Their focal point, if there is one, is the involvement of Sufjan Stevens, in so much as he owns the label they release on. Often, a certain amount of shrouded secrecy can make an album that much sweeter, as if we are indeed digging for buried treasure. As each grain of sand falls aside, unveiling the box containing the loot, anticipation tightens, invigorating those clawing with their hands to see what’s inside. But with Cryptacize, the secrecy never engenders excitement.
Filed under: EP, review, video | Tags: 2008, amy millan, music, shain shapiro, stars
Sad Robots EP •••½
Arts & Crafts
A few weeks ago, Stars posted a small flash animation on their webpage, a ticking clock counting down to September 1st. Good PR stunt indeed, as it forced everyone to come up with their own reason why the band did this. That is buzz, chatter and presumption. Truth be told, the end result was another release: the digital/tour EP, Sad Robots. Other than a live version of ‘Going, Going, Gone’ (originally on their criminally underrated sophomore album Heart), this quietly released set of six is all new, signalling the beginning of a new stage for the Montreal sextet following last year’s full-length, In Our Bedroom After The War. But Sad Robots is not a full release, and shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s clever at times, but nothing groundbreaking. Instead, it is a welcome stopgap, a surprise set of new songs that, while appreciated, does not elevate their canon to another level. It’s simply more of the same, as good as the same can be.