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click to enlarge The Killers  - Sams Town - Island - Sounds like: The Braverys demo tapes  - Short take: No fuss, all BS! - It seems as though the world is coming down hard on - The Killers. Their sophomore album, Sams Town, - already is being panned as embarrassing (Bones), - pathetic (Sams Town), forced (The River is Wild) and - forgettable (Bling [Confessions of a King]). Granted, all - of the above adjectives are, in fact, true, but what did - people expect? The Killers 2004 debut Hot Fuss - possessed insidiously catchy melodies and compelling - songwriting, but in concert the Las Vegas bands music - was rigid and, well, disappointingly rote. The 12-track - CD is obviously a product of a group unable to escape - the pressures involved with writing a follow-up to a - smash.  John Benson
  • The Killers
    Sams Town
    Island
    Sounds like: The Braverys demo tapes
    Short take: No fuss, all BS!
    It seems as though the world is coming down hard on The Killers. Their sophomore album, Sams Town, already is being panned as embarrassing (Bones), pathetic (Sams Town), forced (The River is Wild) and forgettable (Bling [Confessions of a King]). Granted, all of the above adjectives are, in fact, true, but what did people expect? The Killers 2004 debut Hot Fuss possessed insidiously catchy melodies and compelling songwriting, but in concert the Las Vegas bands music was rigid and, well, disappointingly rote. The 12-track CD is obviously a product of a group unable to escape the pressures involved with writing a follow-up to a smash.
    John Benson
click to enlarge Badly Drawn Boy - Born in the U.K. - EMI - Sounds like: A long gray morning - Short take: Darkness on the edge of - Gough - As the title suggests, Badly Drawn Boy  aka Damon - Gough  recorded his latest with Bruce Springsteen in - mind. And, as usual, he drops some lyrics that would - make his idol proud  The crucifix still hung up by the - door / But Jesus doesnt come here anymore. But the - disc is missing what made the About a Boy soundtrack - and Have You Fed the Fish? such joys: the, uh, joy. Its - almost all slow and sad. When Gough does go upbeat, as - on Welcome to the Overground, the results sound - oddly show tune-esque, heavy on the piano and backing - vocals. Given the overall vibe, more slide guitar (as in - The Way Things Used to Be) and another few listens to - Tunnel of Love mightve made Born better.  - Kirk Woundy
  • Badly Drawn Boy
    Born in the U.K.
    EMI
    Sounds like: A long gray morning
    Short take: Darkness on the edge of Gough
    As the title suggests, Badly Drawn Boy aka Damon Gough recorded his latest with Bruce Springsteen in mind. And, as usual, he drops some lyrics that would make his idol proud The crucifix still hung up by the door / But Jesus doesnt come here anymore. But the disc is missing what made the About a Boy soundtrack and Have You Fed the Fish? such joys: the, uh, joy. Its almost all slow and sad. When Gough does go upbeat, as on Welcome to the Overground, the results sound oddly show tune-esque, heavy on the piano and backing vocals. Given the overall vibe, more slide guitar (as in The Way Things Used to Be) and another few listens to Tunnel of Love mightve made Born better.
    Kirk Woundy
click to enlarge Various Artists - I Killed the Monster - Second Shimmy - Sounds like: Flaming Lips-inspired emo - Short take: Those begging to differ, unite! -  - Talk music in Austin, Texas, and Daniel Johnstons name - is bound to surface. There, Johnstons strong and bizarre - lyrics have earned him cult-hero status. This disc, which - finds inspiration in Johnstons music, follows a trend - thats anything but new. (The late Kurt Cobain was one - of Johnstons most vocal fans.) Actually covering - Johnstons music is a bit pass, too: In 2004, Johnston - himself released a double disc, one of originals and one - of covers from his industry supporters. Still, this effort, - compiled by musician Mark Kramer and local arts - enthusiast Don Goede, does have a certain charm. And - with submissions from acts like Sufjan Stevens, the indie - clout is there. Its listenable, if you can get past the - terrible shrieking from Kimya Dawson on Follow that - Dream.  Pete Freedman
  • Various Artists
    I Killed the Monster
    Second Shimmy
    Sounds like: Flaming Lips-inspired emo
    Short take: Those begging to differ, unite!
    Talk music in Austin, Texas, and Daniel Johnstons name is bound to surface. There, Johnstons strong and bizarre lyrics have earned him cult-hero status. This disc, which finds inspiration in Johnstons music, follows a trend thats anything but new. (The late Kurt Cobain was one of Johnstons most vocal fans.) Actually covering Johnstons music is a bit pass, too: In 2004, Johnston himself released a double disc, one of originals and one of covers from his industry supporters. Still, this effort, compiled by musician Mark Kramer and local arts enthusiast Don Goede, does have a certain charm. And with submissions from acts like Sufjan Stevens, the indie clout is there. Its listenable, if you can get past the terrible shrieking from Kimya Dawson on Follow that Dream.
    Pete Freedman

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