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May 18, 2005

Straddle carriers are diesel electric.

Great Britain has been overrun by weepy grey boyfriends. Led by the watery, bearded charisma of Chris Martin, this New Wave of British Sentimental is cashing in on soliloquy and balladry, and turning every run through the rain into a Dido music cue. Just ask Athlete. Vehicles & Animals, their 2003 singles compendium, sketched an "organi-tronic flower power flow" that cribbed from Brit-pop, laptops, and US indie rock. But Tourist, the band's newest, is a simpery epic. "It's bold to open any album with a languid, string-laden ballad," the writer says. "But it's even bolder when your band isn't called Coldplay." He continues. "Athlete does just that with 'Chances'...It's the kind of song England has way too many of in 2005, whether you're talking about The Buffseeds* or rushes of blood to the head."

"We're the cruel regulators smoking cigaro, cigaro, cigar": System of a Down is at it again. Rather than simply growing their hair out and calling it a comeback, the LA combo has returned with something truly wiggy and bold. Mezmerize is "a rusty shiv of absurdity, another example of System's ability to effectively skewer society with little more than hyper guitar, blistering percussion, and weird turns of phrase...it's frantic, operatic, and totally bananas."

Vangelis' Earth isn't a comeback - released in 1973, it was his first real solo album after he left Aphrodite's Child. It's worth a listen, too, sitting as it does between Aphrodite's audacious art rock and the "epic decadence (nearly to Ken Russell levels) of Vangelis' 1975 effort Heaven and Hell*."

"The indie rock and dream pop influences drifting throughout Team Sleep appear in Moreno's day job, too, but barring a few stretches here and there...hardness and volume are left largely to the Deftones." The impossibly cool Mary Timony guests on Chino Moreno's long-in-development side-project, among other collaborators; her appearance on Team Sleep's "Tomb of Liegia" is one of the album's strongest moments.

"...The Calm even satisfies the hardest-core Juggalos with screams about hatchet chops to the dome. In other words, it's a pretty typical Insane Clown Posse release, catering to a thriving niche and caring little for the rest..." Based on the artwork and talking points of their newest mythology, I'd say Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J have been watching The Village, Signs, and "Carnivāle". And of course WWE SmackDown.

Look at the cage match. See how it shines for you.

*Buffseeds, Picture Show
*Vangelis, Heaven and Hell
*Mary Timony, Ex Hex

Posted by Johnny Loftus at May 18, 2005 9:51 AM