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Assignment: free write three CD reviews

further seems forever

the moon is down

Tooth and Nail

Lowercase letters in the name? Check. Three words in a philosophical title? Check. Pink stuff? Check. I’m guessing it’s an emo rock band and I’m right again! Here be some mildly mathematical compositions, emotional delivery of emotional lyrics I can’t always make out, but damn they are emotional. Fsf are more on the upbeat rock end of the spectrum. They have put together some tight songs. I’m hearing some heavy stuff about “giving you my life,” “the weight of the world” and “snowbirds.” It builds up real big; this is where you get chills.

I hear breakdowns and buildups, big unified rhythms highlighted by the drummer’s movement around the tom toms. It makes me think about love, something they sing about a lot. The riffs and drums make me want to yell though. I think this may be good music when you’re feeling emotional and don’t know how to get it out. Let it out, let this guy sing it out for you.

Stuff you might like to know: Chris Carrabba aka Dashboard Confessional sang on this album before leaving to be a wuss and play his songs without a big loud band. Fugazi, Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbox, three great bands, “helped define the focus and attitude of this powerful young band.”




Right about now ladies and gentlemen, we hear a monster fucking riff, Slayer fast. Then comes a breakdown into rap rock realm. A guy grunts some rhythmically delivered lyrics and … congratulations, it’s not rap-rock – yet. He’s good at grunting, but I can’t catch the lyrics. I heard a couple “fucks.” The grunting adds to the big guitar riffs. They’ve gotta have some big amps! Hold on, it just sped back up to Slayer speed. It’s like I was just kind of banging around all slow and tough like, then whoa, hold onto your wallet chain, it’s like riding a wild stallion through a dark, crunchy world. That’s how fast it is.

Someone else just started singing! He kind of sounds like Mike Patton, but not as good. “I want to drown in your deep divide,” is all I can make out. This guy could sing jazz or something, he has a sweet, little voice. There’s a chorus with a synthesizer riff, that’s cool, very cool. Big breakdown, mystery, then giddyup, back on that wild steed. That was an exhausting, kind of scary track.

“If it was up to me, I’d free Charles Manson,” shout-whispers (the kind of singing you do when you get all deep and airy like a whisper, but you’re really shouting and being spooky as hell) a guy on the next track. Now for some turntable scratching from a dude in a mask who I’m sure isn’t Q-Bert. I think the scratches came from a computer with a mask on.

This song has got it all: weird sounds and a sexy girl speaking in, like, Vampirese (when are we gonna get a degree program in that?). There’s a big build with the shout-whisper guy. Then, as if you weren’t built up enough, there’s an ultra-fresh C&C Music Factory build with the sweet guy. Now we’re ready to pop.

More scratches and a tough rapper change it up. He’s in a mask too, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Mos Def, and he’s white. Now there’s a fast part with a double bass drum. This song doesn’t know where to go. It’s a frustrating lover.

That’s pretty much the gist of it. The hairs on my neck are standing up. I’m kind of banging my head too. The bad part is that my headache is getting much worse and I’m starting to feel paranoid. Time to move on. Two songs should be enough. Honestly, I listened to more and there’s more of the same, with some surprises, bad rapping and some trippy parts. A few ethnic samples come out too. It’s like a yogurt swirl of goth, metal and jiggy at the same time! Did I mention the masks?

Keller Williams


SCI Fidelity

“Freaker by the Speaker,” the first song, has a verse about a “rave girl with a lollipop binky.” It’s kind of funky. Keller is killer at the 12 string. He cooks along on funky riffs, strums prettily, finger picks, etc. Then he ruins a good flow with some jazzy little hook. Whooo, aren’t you and the band talented, now go back and play that nice little acoustical smargly riff! That spasticality of jam bands can be annoying. They don’t do the same thing for long when they are playing their little jazzy songs. Then when they jam, they do the same damn think for 20 minutes while they solo.

Williams has been big on the “jam” band circuit for a while now. Studio albums for these bands can be hit and miss. For the most part this album, on String Cheese Incident’s SCI Fidelity records, hits you like a parking lot jam. Goofy funkers, honky tonkers and jazzy goofers. He is one cheesy motherfucker. His lyrics talk openly with some attempt at metaphor and such literary hoopy-doo about hanging out with his dog, swimming and writing a hit song. There is a number of jazzy jam instrumentals some stoner nonsense (that I’ll bet would be like totally killer and funny if you were stoned) and a cool cover of Ani Difranco’s “Freakshow.”

“God Is My Palm Pilot,” is driven by some throaty throat singing, beat-box vocal rhythms and other goofy sounds. On most songs, Williams is accompanied with a drummer and bassist and the occassional horn and fiddle. They experiment often with various noises. It’s silly, stony and kind of sounds like Phish.

If you like that sort of thing, check it out because this is one of the better albums in this genre, I think. It just makes me feel better than that jiggy goth metal. Oh, but now there’s a bluegrass country song about an old lady and a 16 minute “Freaker Reprise.”

I give up. Once again, the music wins.