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Tom Waits

Tom Waits – Hoist That Rag

Jason Jump – Writer:I’ve heard the name Tom Waits often enough, and I’ve gathered that I’m supposed to revere him for some reason or another. I don’t know the first thing about him really, so I don’t know what he’s done in the past, or why people think he’s so great. This song does nothing to educate me. The vocals are just awful; this may be the worst voice (post Joe Cocker) that I’ve ever heard. The music is doing nothing to endear me either, I can see where you could say he’s an excellent guitarist, but whatever strange reverb/tremolo/peddle thing is going on really makes this hard to listen to. I’m all for experimentation and wonky sounds, but this track sounds like the soundtrack to a headache. (1/5)

Rafe Shaw – Writer: I love this. Tom Waits is the quintessential American troubadour – a great influence on how I’ve pictured the America he documents since I first heard him as a teen. After a couple of indifferent albums in recent memory, I thought this would be more of the same – wrong. I will be buying the new album on the strength of this tune – Swampy and disheveled, but brilliant. Waits stumbles all over the song as usual with his beautiful 40-a-day/bottle of vodka vocals, ably supported by some of the most organic, distorted and sexy guitar work in many a month. Awesome. (4.5/5)

Lauren Magee – Pulp Editor: I am a huge Tom Waits fan, so instead of trying to find things to like about this song, I listened for things I didn’t like. I never really know what the hell this guy is talking about and this song is no exception. But with that unique deep voice and the overall oddity of the music… yeah this song definitely makes me want to hear the rest of the album. (4/5)

Har Mar Superstar

Har Mar Superstar- Body Request

Rafe: I’ve tried to remain open-minded about this one, alas to no avail. The intro filled me with optimism – a funkier New Order, perhaps? Then the vocals entered the fray, and I yearned for silence. Two words. Utter bollocks. (1/5)

Lauren: Whatever this is, I don’t like it. My initial thought was, “Is this disco?” Then I just kept asking myself over and over, “Is this disco?” Next, I tried to pay attention to the lyrics, like maybe there was some substance there… but alas, there is nothing. (0/5)

Jason: Well hello 1982, how have you been? Didn’t think I’d be seeing you again. What the hell is this? It sounds like something out of a bad collaboration between Paul McCartney and Steve Wonder or Michael Jackson. I can’t imagine anybody in 2004 listening this song and finding it noteworthy except for the fact that the artist is about 20 years late in releasing it. Hopefully a Ray Parker Jr. comeback is not forthcoming. (1/5)

The Paybacks

The Paybacks- Me

Lauren: This song lacks originality. It’s repetitive and has seemingly pointless lyrics. There is nothing remarkable about either the music or the singer’s voice. Despite my inclination to dislike this song, I somehow seem to like it… but sadly I am at a loss to rationally explain why. (3/5)

Jason: I see the garage rock thing is still in full swing. I have no really problem with this sort of thing, but it does seem to breeding a whole lot of artists that are virtually indistinguishable from one another. This falls in that category, nothing special, nothing that a dozen other bands aren’t already doing, and nothing I feel a need to rush out and buy. For all of that, this is a pretty decent song; too bad I’ve heard it before in some other incarnation. (2.5/5)

Rafe: As soon as I heard the opening bars, I knew that this was yet another “Punk by numbers” effort. Although a decent enough tune, it sounds like they are just going through the motions, lacking the soul of their musical forebears. Cosmetically angry, at a push – or Blink-182 with guitar solo’s. (2.5/5)

Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire- Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

Jason: This one is interesting. Lots of different sounds add up to create a strange kind of web of melody. The guitar is ominous, yet the use of bells keeps things from being overly dark. A lovely violin accompaniment that seems to suddenly go mad can be heard somewhere in the fray. The vocal would be kind of annoying if the instrumentation wasn’t as enveloping as it is. There’s a lot going on here and it’s a good thing. (4/5)

Nathan Lind – Associate Editor/Music Editor: This song reminds me a lot of Modest Mouse, mainly because of the vocals. I also hear some David Byrne in there, too. It’s pretty catchy even though you can barely understand what’s being said. I love the guitar riff that defines the song, which to me, is the sound of an alarm starting up. You can’t get it out of your head. Good stuff. (4/5)

Lauren: So I can’t understand a damn word that is being sung… and there are strange whoops throughout the song… still it is a kind of pretty song… unless maybe they’re singing about doing naughty things to sheep or something… even so, it does seem that listening to this song has made me go ellipsis happy… and that always makes me happy… so yay this song…(3/5)

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson- Wonderful

Rafe: I’ve not totally understood the excitement surrounding the release of this “lost classic” – The Beach Boys really didn’t compete with, or have the impact of the Beatles, in my opinion. A pleasant and fabulously produced song, but Brian’s genius is a little lost on me – If you’re a fan, I’m sure it’s well worth checking out, though. (3/5)

Lauren: I am probably being way too presumptuous here, but I was hoping that a song called “Wonderful” would ring true to its supposed promise. Instead it just kind of sounds like sad ice cream truck music. Poor ice cream truck. No wonder no kids are chasing you down when you charge $8.50 for a Push-up Pop. You should be ashamed of yourself. (1/5)

Jason: The charm in this song, as in most Wilson/Beach Boys material is in the vocal harmony, which I’m a sucker for anyway. The instrumentation in this piece is pretty straight forward, which is also typical of Wilson. I guess this song is significant in that it’s been waiting so long for proper release, but it’s really not a breakout tune for the artist, it pretty much shows that he did the one thing really well. (3.5/5)

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