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Three CD Reviews

click to enlarge They Might Be Giants  -  - Indestructible Object   - Barsuk  The two Johns (Linnell and Flansburgh) of TMBG are at it again, this time with Indestructible Object. While only a five-song EP, it manages to stand perfectly by itself as a solid, consistently tasty little nugget. -  - Still holding their own as Brooklyn's art/goof rock pioneers, TMBG opens with the techno song "Am I Awake." With beats that nearly out-Moby Moby, the song's frantic music is balanced with Linnell's sleepy vocals. -  - "Au Contraire" is the usual silly TMBG fare, a bouncy bit of nonsense. Likewise, "Ant" is reminiscent of Apollo 13's "Mammal" and "Dinner Bell," rustling up ska-like brass that crescendoes into full-on parade mode. As usual, the boys manage to sneak commentary into the inane: "Someday that ant, he will grow up to be president/ But you think that's okay while you're sleeping." -  - The album ends with a surprisingly straightforward cover of "Caroline, No" by the granddaddy of experimental rock, Brian Wilson. Simple and almost oddly beautiful, it proves that the band can work both serious and silly, a knack that "Weird" Al will never get. -  - -- Kara Luger
  • They Might Be Giants

    Indestructible Object
    Barsuk

    The two Johns (Linnell and Flansburgh) of TMBG are at it again, this time with Indestructible Object. While only a five-song EP, it manages to stand perfectly by itself as a solid, consistently tasty little nugget.

    Still holding their own as Brooklyn's art/goof rock pioneers, TMBG opens with the techno song "Am I Awake." With beats that nearly out-Moby Moby, the song's frantic music is balanced with Linnell's sleepy vocals.

    "Au Contraire" is the usual silly TMBG fare, a bouncy bit of nonsense. Likewise, "Ant" is reminiscent of Apollo 13's "Mammal" and "Dinner Bell," rustling up ska-like brass that crescendoes into full-on parade mode. As usual, the boys manage to sneak commentary into the inane: "Someday that ant, he will grow up to be president/ But you think that's okay while you're sleeping."

    The album ends with a surprisingly straightforward cover of "Caroline, No" by the granddaddy of experimental rock, Brian Wilson. Simple and almost oddly beautiful, it proves that the band can work both serious and silly, a knack that "Weird" Al will never get.

    -- Kara Luger

click to enlarge John-Alex Mason  -  - Time Will Come  - Naked Jaybird Music  This CD of 13 songs is a trip back into our collective past. Listening to it, I want to go out in the country of the Deep South, find me an old front porch, and eat some Saturday night fish fry. I want to sit beside slow moving rivers and wile away the day. I want to drive overgrown back roads that seem to go on forever. -  - Local boy John-Alex plays and sings the blues of the 1920s and 1930s in a way that honors the tradition of musicians like Tommy Johnson, Charlie Patton and Son House. On "2004 Highway Blues" and "Pea Vine Blues," John-Alex and his National steel guitar reveal the soul and passion of an era long gone. At the same time, Mason offers up crossover possibilities, like a Corey Harris, when the full band kicks into gear on songs such as "Rescue" and "Honest Like That." -  - Someone once paid the guitar great Blind Blake a compliment, saying: "He plays right sporty." On Time Will Come, John-Alex displays that same sportiness. His combination of awesome technique and huge voice are a welcome sign for the future of the blues. -  - -- Joe Sciallo
  • John-Alex Mason

    Time Will Come
    Naked Jaybird Music

    This CD of 13 songs is a trip back into our collective past. Listening to it, I want to go out in the country of the Deep South, find me an old front porch, and eat some Saturday night fish fry. I want to sit beside slow moving rivers and wile away the day. I want to drive overgrown back roads that seem to go on forever.

    Local boy John-Alex plays and sings the blues of the 1920s and 1930s in a way that honors the tradition of musicians like Tommy Johnson, Charlie Patton and Son House. On "2004 Highway Blues" and "Pea Vine Blues," John-Alex and his National steel guitar reveal the soul and passion of an era long gone. At the same time, Mason offers up crossover possibilities, like a Corey Harris, when the full band kicks into gear on songs such as "Rescue" and "Honest Like That."

    Someone once paid the guitar great Blind Blake a compliment, saying: "He plays right sporty." On Time Will Come, John-Alex displays that same sportiness. His combination of awesome technique and huge voice are a welcome sign for the future of the blues.

    -- Joe Sciallo

click to enlarge Sonic Youth -  - Sonic Nurse  - Geffen Records  They need no introduction. They probably didn't even need to make any more albums. Yet somehow Sonic Nurse, Sonic Youth's buhzillionth release in more than two decades still manages to squeeze more blood from the stones of rock. Withdrawn and adult sounding, the masterful mind of Jim O'Rourke as both bassist and producer seems to be just the ticket to the land of lovely. As is the case on almost all Sonic Youth productions, it's Kim Gordon's still-furious growl that anchors the lyrical content. Thurston Moore can still conjure a ridiculous hook from the discord. "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" pretty much says it all. -  - -- Noel Black
  • Sonic Youth

    Sonic Nurse
    Geffen Records

    They need no introduction. They probably didn't even need to make any more albums. Yet somehow Sonic Nurse, Sonic Youth's buhzillionth release in more than two decades still manages to squeeze more blood from the stones of rock. Withdrawn and adult sounding, the masterful mind of Jim O'Rourke as both bassist and producer seems to be just the ticket to the land of lovely. As is the case on almost all Sonic Youth productions, it's Kim Gordon's still-furious growl that anchors the lyrical content. Thurston Moore can still conjure a ridiculous hook from the discord. "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" pretty much says it all.

    -- Noel Black

  • Three CD Reviews

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