Author Archive

Various Artists – A Tribute To Repo Man

September 20th, 2012



The relationship between films and their soundtracks has always been one of polar extremes. Often, a film with a bloated budget brings in an aging rocker to do a song or two, attempting to garner at least one Oscar, and recouping a bit of revenue on the soundtrack. Occasionally though, a soundtrack actually manages to outshine the film. Like Superfly before it, 1984’s Repo Man had a soundtrack for its generation, between the last gasp of old order punk and the emergence of hardcore. Though it’s nearly thirty years old, Repo Man is in many ways more relevant now than it was when it was made. In that spirit, A Tribute To Repo Man brings together a cast of artists who grew up listening to, and continued to create, music influenced by the original album. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews , ,

Sleeping People – NOTRUF

September 17th, 2012


Wide Awake

Whenever a band comes out of a lengthy hiatus, there emerges a ritual not unlike the pageantry of Groundhog Day. After an arbitrary period of hibernation, our furry favorites pop their heads out in the form of new material, and look around at the scene before them. If they see the shadow of their past success, it’s going to be six more tracks of wintry drivel. If they don’t, then it’s a new spring of originality. In the case of storied San Diego math rockers Sleeping People and their long-awaited (albeit tantalizingly brief) new EP NOTRUF, there isn’t a shadow to be seen. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews

Sunday Driver – Across The Sunshine State

September 6th, 2012


Sunday Drek

In 1975, at the acme of his solo career, Lou Reed released the highly abhorred and largely unsold Metal Machine Music, comprised of a series of atonal guitars stacked against amplifiers to create a seemingly endless loop of noise. In the decades since its release, critics and fans of noise rock have speculated about its possible overlooked merit, or if it was, cynically, Lou Reed giving the proverbial middle finger to his record label. On hearing Across The Sunshine State, a stale, stitched-together EP from the now defunct Sunday Driver, the cynical optimist would like to believe that this is another Metal Machine Music. But, the facts remain that Across The Sunshine State is just a case of a broken-up band trying to cash in on old demos they had laying around. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews

The Holy Mess – Cande Ru Las Degas

August 29th, 2012


Holy @#%!

We’ve all had to suffer through the experience of being trucked out somewhere to see “my friend’s band.” For whatever reason, we agree to go, and before we know it we’re knocking back house specials as the band crosses the half-hour mark to set-up. When they finally go on, we sit back and smile politely as we wonder what the hell these people see in this band. When asked what we thought afterwards, most of us nearly have a small aneurysm deciding whether we say what we thought, or smile and lie our way through it. The Holy Mess, with their latest release Cande Ru Las Degas, condenses that experience in the form of a ten-song LP. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews

The Attack – Too Punk for the Hardcore Show, Too Hardcore for the Punk Show

August 14th, 2012


Prepare for Attack!

There’s a common misconception among novice musicians forming their first band that you need to sound a certain way in order to earn your place within the genre. If you want to be the next indie rock heartthrobs, you had better round up some organs and banjos. If you want to be death metal dreadnaughts, start tuning those guitars way down low. There are some new acts that try to essentially reverse engineer their sound, creating a sound that emerges organically from the group’s synergy, and then trying to find where it fits into the larger musical continuum. Finding themselves at this impasse, The Attack, whose aptly-titled Too Punk for the Hardcore Show, Too Hardcore for the Punk Show, leaves the matter of their exact genre up to us to decide. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews

Jimmy Cliff – Rebirth

August 2nd, 2012


Not Quite Rebirth

Whenever an album is titled Renaissance, Rebirth, or Revival, it simultaneously invokes feelings of both dread and intense curiosity. Has our favorite artist stumbled upon a keen new sound, or have they decided to “give the people what they want?” Is this a much-needed overhaul to get our boys back on track, or is it a tidy repackaging for general consumption? For fans of Jimmy Cliff, the sad answer to his newest album, Rebirth, is that it’s largely a misnomer: Jimmy Cliff serves us up another helping of the same old, same old dolled up in the guise of dancehall reggae. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews ,

Family of the Year – Loma Vista

July 17th, 2012


Fakers of the Year

As the millennial resurgence in “independent music” enters it’s second decade, we can see something sinister start to happen. While “indie” had once been a blanket and largely undefined term used to refer to any of the myriad DIY acts working outside of the mainstream system, it gradually started to become more and more of a reproducible commodity as Universal, Warner Brothers and other multi-billion dollar corporate labels began creating “indie” divisions. In the wake of the successes of the Arcade Fire, Belle and Sebastian and Animal Collective, indie rock has become a easily copied sound, now put out by major labels. Loma Vista, the latest full-length album by LA hipsters Family of the Year, is merely the latest and most exaggerated example of how indie rock has become a mere cut-and-paste job. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews

Stop Breathing – Stop Breathing

July 15th, 2012


Deep Breaths

When musicians, budding or established, hear an album that really affects them, that speaks to some clandestine part of their being, what follows is the irresistible urge to create music just like what they just heard. Invariably, you come to a crossroads where you can take the easy, wide road of pure imitation, where you can walk in the company of cut-and-paste artists like Cerebral Ballzy, Jet and The Black Keys. There is, however, that narrower and far-less traveled road that takes us to the same point of inspiration that our forebears had been, allowing us to delve into the core of what makes their sound so personally appealing. Stop Breathing has, in the form of their eponymous debut, come right up to that point of decision, forced to choose between risky experimentation or the safety of the impasse of imitation.

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews

Diamond Rugs – Diamond Rugs

June 7th, 2012


Diamond Rugged

In nearly all of our childhoods we had a moment where, presented with an array of paint colors, we decided to mix them all together. We earnestly believed that if we could somehow mix the right proportions of every color that we’d unlock some magical, secret color beyond the visible spectrum. What we made, however, was a great glob of purplish-gray mess. Diamond Rugs, after years of experimentation in their separate bands, have actually managed to achieve the sonic equivalent of our childhood ambitions by blending all the colors of the sonic spectrum into a brilliant gold.

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews , , , , ,

Greys- Easy Listening

May 28th, 2012


What’s Good for Greys is Good For the Gander

There are some albums that, for whatever reason, seem to offer very little on the first listen. Whether we labor under the illusion of heightened expectations or were simply misled as to the expected sounds we were about to hear, we write off the whole album. It’s when we occasionally give those same albums a second chance that we inadvertently realize that we can’t be too hasty in our judgments sometimes. Read more…

By Nathan Leff Posted in Reviews ,