We've got quite a backlog of CDs we've never gotten around to, so we're going to try to chip away at the pile with this regular feature. The plan: to take four or five at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.
Late of the Pier (Castle Donington, England)
Fantasy Black Channel
Darryl Smyers obviously missed this gem when putting together his Worst Album Covers of 2008 list. Amazingly, the music sounds exactly like this picture looks: a hot neon mess of synthesizers, hard-rock guitar riffs, sound effects and cheap drum machine beats, shifting styles and speeds at a disorienting pace. In fact, it's almost too much to take in at once.
I made it to: Track 9, "Focker," stopping not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I needed to catch my breath.
Sounds Under Radio (Austin)
This Austin band's "Portrait of a Summer Thief" was on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack, which is fitting. Their music is big, dramatic and unoriginal alt-rock that sounds right at home in an action movie, which probably explains the album title.
I made it to: Track 2, "Portrait of a Summer Thief."
Soft Targets (Chicago)
Soft Targets Must Be Destroyed!
A few years ago I played guitar in a band called Soft Target, which never went anywhere until it changed names and got rid of my ass. I still think it was a cool name for a band, so I'm glad someone else is using it, even with the "s" at the end. These guys sound like they listen to a lot of '80s and early '90s indie- and punk-rock, sounding at various moments like Sonic Youth, Husker Du, The Replacements and Guided By Voices--all of which also had a noticeable influence on the music we made as Soft Target. Soft Targets Must Be Destroyed! gets a little boring after a few tracks. Then again, if I take a hard, honest, emotionally detached listen to the home recordings we made, so did my own Soft Target.
I made it to: Track 5, "(There's Gonna Be) Changes"
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Kristy Lee Cook (Seattle)
Another American Idol contestant makes dull commercial country. Begins Track 1, "Yeah, this song is about you / I'm giving you more than fair warning / to turn off your radio..." Deal.
I made it to: 15 seconds into Track 1, "15 Minutes of Shame."