Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quick N' Dirty Reviews

Before we start, here's a quick look at the rating system that we use here at The Dirtywhirl:

100 - Classic Album; One Of The Best Of All Time
99-90 - Exceptional Work; Rush Out And Get This
89-80 - Very, Very Good; You Should Still Go Out And Get This
79-70 - Not Bad At All; Might Actually Be Worth Your Time
69-60 - Has Its Moments But On The Whole... Meh
59-50 - Won't Make Your Ears Bleed; Won't Make You Dance, Either
49-0 - Don't Waste Your Time; You're Smarter Than This (Probably)

Now... onto the reviews:

The Shins/ Wincing The Night Away

“You gotta hear this one song. It’ll change your life – I swear.”
Damn you Natalie Portman! You’re hot, but The Shins were supposed to be our little secret. Fortunately, for anyone afraid that the fellating that The Shins received in Garden State would ruin them… put those fears to bed along with your brat kids. Granted, debuting at #2 on the Billboard charts puts The Shins squarely in the crosshairs of those who loathe indie bands going mainstream, but Wincing The Night Away isn’t the play-it-safe album that many would have expected (read: dreaded). Instead, it’s a sonic leap forward that finds The Shins experimenting with backward-sounding synths (“Spilt Needles”) and hip hop basslines (“Sealegs”) for the first time. And it works in a big, big way. Sure, there are Shins-by-numbers tracks (limp first single “Phantom Limb”), and perhaps the worst lyric that James Mercer’s ever written (“We’ve pissed on far too many sprites/ And they’re all standing up for their rights” in “Red Rabbits”), but despite that unpleasantness, the positives far outweigh the negatives. “Turn On Me” with its airy guitar open, the aforementioned “Spilt Needles,” and the album’s gorgeous closer, “A Comet Appears” are without a doubt career highlights. For anyone who’s skeptical, get off your hater high horse and give The Shins their due for not taking the easy way out.

Dirty Rating: 85/100

The Shins On MySpace Music
The Shins' Official Site

LCD Soundsystem/ Sound Of Silver

Imagine you’re Marty McFly and you have Doc Brown set the DeLorean to send you back to New York City in 1977. You make a quick stop at both CBGB’s and Studio 54 to let them know that in 2007, LCD Soundsystem has released a phenomenal disco-punk album. You know what would happen? You’d get kicked in the nuts by the CBGB’s patrons and the Studio 54 customers… well, they’d probably be too coked out to do anything to you, but you get my point. Sound Of Silver may be the most successful fusion of these two COMPLETELY different genres, and damned if it isn’t a near-classic. If the album stopped after the first four of its nine tracks, we’d be talking about possibly one of the greatest records ever. Right off the bat, “Get Innocuous!” is a seven-minute slice of perfection. As a friend put it, this track would have been the perfect backing track to the speedboat scene in Michael Mann’s 2006 reboot of Miami Vice. Jaunty “Time To Get Away” follows and leads into the first single “North American Scum,” which is perhaps the quintessential example of the dirty disco-punk marriage that is Sound Of Silver. Last but certainly not least in this dazzling quartet is “Someone Great,” which takes obvious influence from New Order and is just as mind-blowing as “Get Innocuous!” Unfortunately, the rest of the album somewhat crumbles under the weight of the brilliance of the first four tracks, much like how the second disc of their self-titled debut paled in comparison to the first. There’s nothing really bad (save for the insipid and repetitive lyrics on the title track) but it just can’t measure up to the opening half, although “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” comes close. Still, don’t let it deter you because Sound Of Silver really needs to be put to the forefront as it’s such a unique and exciting sound.

Dirty Rating: 87/100

LCD Soundsystem On MySpace Music
LCD Soundsystem's Official Site

Clinic/ Visitations

To a true music fanatic, there are few things more frustrating than when a talented band rests on their laurels and insists on making the same album over and over and over again. Clinic, listen to me when I say fuck you for stooping to this. Allow me to indulge my ego and say that I pride myself on being a veritable Wikipedia of musical knowledge. It’s one of the things that gets me through the day. But despite that, if you were to play me a random track from any of Clinic’s last three albums and ask me to name the album that it's on, I would fail to give you the correct one nine out of ten times. Do you know why? Because Clinic’s made the same fucking album the last three times out. I’ll repeat: The. Same. Fucking. Album. There’s no growth, no risk, no forward progress. I’d like to point out some highlights of Visitations but guess what? All of the songs sound the same, too. You might read other reviews that call this album “… A stunning return to form” (NME) or “… A welcome return to form” ( Those reviews were written by tin-eared monkeys with laptops because Visitations is – repeat after me – The. Same. Fucking. Album. If this is your first Clinic record, hey, more power to you – you’ll probably dig it. But, if you’ve heard any of their previous work or have been a fan in the past, you’ll find that this is… well… you know the rest.

Dirty Rating: 43/100

Clinic On MySpace Music
Clinic's Official Site

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Welcome My Friends To The Show That Never Ends...

Friends… enemies… welcome to The Dirtywhirl. After writing for Elite Opinion (shameless plug – go here for more) for the past few months, I’ve decided to branch out on my own, although I owe Dave much thanks for giving me the kick in the ass to get back into writing again. Not to fear – some of my stuff will still turn up on the mothership, and you’ll find some of the crazy shit that you normally see over there on here from time to time.

Now, for those of you who know me – thanks for coming along for the ride. For those of you who don’t – well, believe me when I say that you’re gonna find that I’m highly opinionated when it comes to my entertainment. Over the coming months, I plan to use my vast, vast knowledge and ability to do my best to help you sift through the crap that’s otherwise known as today’s entertainment industry. I’m a review whore so that’s the majority of what you’re gonna see here – predominantly music, with some movies and television thrown in for good measure – but I’ll also discuss anything else that strikes my interest, as I have been known to fire off a rant or twenty. Sit back and keep a towel handy, ‘cause this is gonna get dirty.