New Music Reviews, from the Summer print issue
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Let it Sway
Polyvinyl Records, 2010
Still going strong and starting to wear a [musical] rut into the pathway of progress and still with the indie label that put ‘em out there, Polyvinyl Records, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have just released their third release for said label, entitled Let it Sway.
I like this CD best, so far. It’s got some edginess as well as coherence and an ideal that were missing on both their debut as well as their previous work, Pershing and their debut, Broom. While the aforementioned CDs were both quite unique and had their own good points as well as a talented pool of bandmates, Let it Sway has a sense of cohering to a style that is coming into their own as well as the experience as well as the passage of time to perfect those songs they keep cranking out: way to go!
This ‘cemented’ sound – a groove that really works for these guys, can be heard on songs such as “Banned (By the Man)”, “All Hail Dracula” and “Made to Last”, which, like most of the rest of the album, have a groove to them: the kind that is produced spontaneously and just can’t be a mathematical equation.
The only time I found them reverting back to the post-everything-ness of their previous works was on the track “Stuart Gets Lost Dans le Metro”. While it is a cool name and is actually something that happened to me once as well – a long time ago (I got lost trying to find a certain place, traveling via the Metro in Paris, but that’s another story), it just, in the end, left me a little cold. But, in general, the rest of the CD from there on really rocks, it doesn’t slow down or get all goofballed up (like downing a bunch of reds with a couple drinks and then trying to function) and experimental on you.
Also good are the last few songs, “Critical Drain”, “Animalkind” and “Phantomwise” (as well as the already mentioned closer, “Made to Last”). All in all, this shows that SSLYBY is prepped to be around for a while with the sound of things getting better all the time. I’d still love to see them in concert, so, publicist, please send me a comp when they come to San Diego! Thanks! ~KM.
Miss Autopsy Caterpillar
Lens Records lensrecords.com
Another great band that hails from Chicago – what a surprise – think of all the great stuff that’s come out the former Second City (now it’s the “third city” – in size, behind NYC and LA): The Wax Trax! bands that included KMFDM, Legendary Pink Dots and since Ministry signed a contract with Sire – a once really hip label that got sucked up by Warner Brothers, not exactly the epitome of independence – Al Jourgensen and his Ministry partner/bass player, Paul Barker played in a few side projects under bands with different names but featuring the same line up that was in Ministry, basically. This was what 1000 Homo DJs, Revolting Cocks, LARD and other little experiments and jams were all about – trying not to get sued for breach of contract by Warner Bros.
Besides that crowd, however, there was the whole TAANG! thing, Touch ‘N’ Go, etc as far as hip labels. Big Black, Steve Albini’s intense, nihilistic, post-post-punk that has now evolved into Shellac; one of the best things to come out of Chicago, though, has to be Joan of Arc (led by Tim Kinsella) and Tim’s brother Mike’s solo stuff, released under the pseudonym Owen. And, of course, who can forget The Smashing Pumpkins – isn’t Billy just so dreamy? (j/k) Enough about the past, though. It’s dead and gone. It is the “NOW” that matters most. It’s too bad, but most people spend too much of their lives dwelling on the past – what might have been, what went wrong, what if you’d done this instead of that, etc. Or else people are so worried about what tomorrow will bring that all they can do is prepare, practice and think about that future thing, which may, indeed, be something that must be done, but only up to a point. You come first and your pleasure is paramount to someone else’s wants. It may sound selfish, but you know it’s true.
Miss Autopsy is a totally un-Chicago sounding band – no loud guitars or kick-in-the-balls drum machine works. They are a regular “rock” band, in the sense that they don’t have any kind of gimmick or whatever that put them in a subgenre of rock. Each song on Caterpillar is an articulate glimmer into the band’s (mostly Steve Beyerlink, the main man and the songwriter) head. They’re slick but unpretentious. They have talent – whether or not they always use it to the best of their abilities is debatable. But if you’re a fan of new indie stuff; if you like to take a chance on a new band you’ve not heard of, Miss Autopsy would be one to start with. ~KM
Jeff Cochell Between The Lines
Old-school singer-songwriter shooting for the stylings of Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor. Between The Lines is ten tracks about love and there’s a lot of sadness and melancholy in here. You really feel like you’re listening to someone describe how their heart was stomped on over and over again. There’s an honesty here that will strike the listener as boldness. In “Baby” Jeff’s acoustic guitar strumming is smoothly impressive, and his deep voice resonates the instructive lyrics about the certain way he wants to see a girl. His vocal transitions to higher notes can be a bit rocky, not quite Bob Dylan rough but folksy enough to merit another beer or two around the campfire, and keep the alt-blues vibe really close. Especially nice was the female accompaniment of Donna Davis’ harmony vocals here and there throughout. It’s seasons the tracks and complements Jeffs vocals well. On “When You’re On Your Feet” other harmony is Eugene Lewis, with backing vocals provided by Rob Wessels. John Lindahl is credited as bass and drums in several tracks, and Anne Sweeney plays piano on two. This CD’s strong suit is really Jeff’s guitar playing. The acoustics meanderings are truly a thing of beauty. Track 9, “Somewhere,” is a phenomenal piece that will inspire thoughts of clear babbling streams in a pristine mountain forest. (jeffcochell.com, myspace.com/jeffcochell) ~BY
BY: Bob Yunger
KM: Kent Manthie