Capsule reviews

Because I’m too lazy to write full-length reviews at the moment, here are some capsule reviews. Expect a full review of the new Umbrellas disc Illuminare, as well as Brandtson‘s Hello, Control on Monday. In the meantime, check these out.

Yo La Tengo – “Murdering the Classics”
This is completely unlike any of Yo La Tengo‘s other efforts. Whereas the rest of their catalog is this pretty and sunswept pop, this is not pretty. As a matter of fact, it’s rough and unpolished. However, it’s fucking fun as hell. Taken from 1996-2003’s performances by Yo La Tengo on WMFU during their fundraising marathon, this is some pretty off-the-cuff cover shit, not like the perfectly rendered cover of “Little Honda” from I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. No overdubs, no auto-tuning… no practicing. Probably the one Yo La Tengo album people who hate the band will absolutely adore. It borders on amazingly amateurish at times, but the fun involved is infectious. It’s an ear-to-ear grin of a record.
Download “Tighten Up

Banner Pilot – “Pass the Poison”
Minneapolis’ Banner Pilot certainly like their hometown heroes Dillinger Four. Not that it’s a knock against them. Hell, the Banner Pilot boys do that particular gritty style of punk rock proud. There’s a nice strong rock backbone to the whole EP, and it just powers through seven tracks. While it might sound familiar, there’s enough talent here for the band to find their own take on the Leatherface / Dillinger Four / Grabass Charlestsons rock sound and really make a name for themselves.
Download “Uptown Sleep Solution

Violet Nine – “Any Wonder”
The opinions on Violet Nine over at the page for Any Wonder are so divided and vehement (on both side of the argument) that I’m almost worried to throw in my two cents. In any case, here’s the deal: basic, Click Five style power pop. Violet Nine remind a lot of similarly-named Stroke 9 in that their music is catchy, but unremarkable and slightly dull. It’s amazing that the lead-off single, “Yell It Out”, was stuck in my head for days after I heard the cd, but I was neither thrilled nor annoyed by it. It was just… there and not really doing anything, which does a pretty good job of summing up the band: they’re out there, but not really doing anything one way or the other.
Download “Yell It Out