The Rubber Room
Quirky Protagonists



The Rubber Room column is a weekly look at recent and notable releases that don’t fall into the rubric of traditional reviews or reviewed material—namely 7”’s, 12”’s, 3” CDs, EPs, cassette-only, DVDs and MP3-only releases.

Turnpike Glow
“I Fought TV Screens” / “Warranty”
[Self-Released, 2006]


Rome's Turnpike Glow first released their Rush Home EP in 2004, but they're bringing it back out now with two new tracks tacked on. While the body of the EP is decent, dreamy indie rock, the two new tracks are a marked step forward. “I Fought TV Screens” manages to bring back memories of the warm sardonicisms of Pavement with its dual muttered vocals, but the real gem is “Warranty,” which sounds like their previous material with a huge grin on its face. It's the kind of song independent films would play over a montage of the quirky protagonist and his/her quirky love interest flirting in the summer sun.
[Ian Mathers]

Amy Kuney
EP
[Spin Move, 2006]


Amy Kuney is a not-quite-drinking-age songwriter who should be a star on the Disney Channel: she writes smart pop songs that sound mature without being precocious. Working from within a Christian tradition, she doesn't give in to uncritical banalities, offering instead lines like "I will be a better wife / I will submit to my husband / ... / Give me credit I'm just playing a part." Kuney has plenty to say and she says it well, and I’d certainly recommend it—if I knew someone that might like it.
[Justin Cober-Lake]

David & the Citizens
David & the Citizens EP
[Friendly Fire, 2006]


David & the Citizens sound great, but then they just keep doing it and that's the problem. None of the six tracks on this EP bomb, but none of them (okay, possibly "Graycoated Morning") demand that you re-listen to them. Put on the disc and you'll enjoy it, but take it off and you'll forget about it. These tracks represent the best of the group's output from 2000-2004, and, even without knowing the band's albums, it's easy to see why each of them were selected. The tracks are tight, enjoyable, and surprisingly complex pop songs, so it's strange they don't stick. My guess is that the forthcoming full-length will do a better job, but it remains to be seen if the EP will convince enough to bother.
[Justin Cober-Lake]

For "Harlow's Monkeys"
For "Harlow's Monkeys" (CD-R)
[Curor, 2006]


Wrapped in both a local map and a satellite image of the recording site, this 3" CDR looks like a strange cross between the rural and the metropolitan. The music however belongs to neither of those worlds: The seven tracks run the gamut from field-recorded hilltop drones, insane SBHotM MCing, and psych free-folk sightseeing. This peculiar collective’s brief outings seem to have been audibly swallowed whole by the light of the dawn sky, they alternately lull and assault the recording equipment but always cloak the session in a corporeal atmosphere.
[Scott McKeating]

Vileevils
Retro Dreaming (free MP3 download)
[Self-Released, 2006]


With the reformation of Pop Will Eat Itself having ground to a halt without any new material, Vileevils have risen from the ashes. Luckily, Graham, Fuzz, and Adam bring the terrace chant techno-lite formula of PWEI into 2006. Graham Crabb was always the more grounded of the two lyricist/vocalists. His nasty nursery rhymes take on inner city UK life was always a little more believable (and entertaining) than Clint Poppies sloganeering. And that’s exactly what we get here.
[Scott McKeating]

V/VM 365
”Dirty Old Town” (170306) and “Pullover” (190306)
[V/VM, 2006]


V/VM’s continuing free mp3 output of at least one a track a day is still spitting out classics. Here’s the third sampling covering a few more recommended picks. Try the label link above for access to the whole shebang.

A St. Patrick’s Day tune! Time for all you hypocritical alcohol obsessed bastards to celebrate the Saint credited with fucking over the Celts. There were no snakes in Ireland y’know, it’s all about driving the pagans and atheists into holes and burning them! This peculiar oriental take on the traditional Irish tune turns the song into a gorgeous geisha hoedown. With a weird slidey effect between the banjos notes, it has a wistful dipped-in-a-hazy-jade-shade-of-green feel.

“Pullover” is a more typical V/VM track, but a particularly good example nonetheless. A totalitarian nasty synth holds court over this Blade Runner-performed-by-terminally-ill-convicts mess, in which the sound of a spanner dropping through the rusty meat grinder pinpricks the evil techno noise.
[Scott McKeating]

Ghostface Killah
“Charlie Brown”
[Def Jam, 2006]


Most of the Fishscale album sampler Def Jam kindly sent out is, naturally enough, album tracks, but the one (brief) track that didn't make Fishscale is worth mentioning. “Charlie Brown” isn't much more than a looped snatch of the titular cartoon's music that wah-wahs its way for a minute and change while a furiously fast Ghostface swears he'll save rap. But despite the brevity it feels complete and ready to go, like “Kunta Fly Shit” from The Pretty Toney Album. Hopefully it'll find a home on something (anything) destined for more ears than a promo sampler.
[Ian Mathers]


By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2006-03-23
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