Clearing Out the Mailroom: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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.

Wild Light (New Hampshire)
Adult Nights

We received this one recently to preview Wild Light's set opening for Tapes 'n' Tapes Friday night at Club Dada. Music Editor Pete Freedman saw them at SXSW last year and was not impressed. Just a couple tracks into this unremarkable jangle-rock, I can't say I'm impressed either. They sound like Counting Crows or Gin Blossoms with slightly cooler keyboard sounds. Next!
I made it to: Track 2, "New Hampshire."

NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack
Disc 01: Special Agent

I have no idea why CBS sent us the soundtrack to this TV show. I'd never heard of it, and had to check Wikipedia to find out what the initials stand for: "Naval Criminal Investigative Service." So I guess it's CSI except in the Navy. The first disc is pretty much all '90s and early-oughts alt-rock--Jakob Dylan, Oasis, Dashboard Confessional--with tunes by Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp as well. But, per the rules of this game, I started the disc on Track 1 and let it play. Unfortunately for CBS, Special Agent kicks off with Blue October's acoustic whine "Kangaroo Cry."
I made it to: 18 seconds into Track 1, a Clearing Out The Mailroom record.

NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack
Disc 02: Abby's Lab

So I guess Special Agent must be the strait-laced guy who likes radio rock and Abby must be the rebellious "cool" one who listens to really hip stuff like Ministry, KMFDM and, uh, Seether. Abby's Lab starts out with a Ministry remix of the show's theme song. It sounds like a crime-scene TV theme after Al Jourgensen spent maybe 20 minutes industrializing it.
I made it to: Track 2, Seether's "Shelter."

Early Pearl (Dallas)
This Is

This is crap. It's the same generic hard-rock riffs with dramatically emotive lead singing that you can hear at shitty suburban clubs -- and sadly, at a few Deep Ellum joints -- on any given weekend. I don't know which has done more harm to the reputation of Dallas and Deep Ellum in particular: the thousands of cover bands or the unimaginative, rawk-by-numbers acts like this.
I made it to: 3:00 into Track 1, "State of Affairs"

Pat Dinizio/Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly/Pat Dinizio

Speaking of covers, the Smithereens lead singer covers 11 Buddy Holly songs in this nice tribute compilation. What sets it apart from a standard-issue tribute is the addition of a string quartet to Holly's relatively simple arrangements. According to liner notes from Buddy Holly Memorial Society founder Bill Griggs, that was the direction Holly was headed with his music, and he became one of the first rock artists to do so when he cut four tracks with strings in 1958 with producer Dick Jacobs. On this disc, they are a pretty touch but overused--on "Listen To Me," they're so prominent that they distract attention from a great song. Still, it's a good listen all the way through.
I made it to: the final note of the final track, the a capella "That'll Be The Day."

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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey