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Sep 28, 2016







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Cymbals Eat Guitars, Pretty Years (Sinderlyn Records)

This Staten Island quartet bum-rushed Pitchfork’s world from the beginning with a different sort of loud-quiet-loud approach, fusing Radiohead to noise-rock, which was something Clinic already did well (and singer Joseph D’Agostino is a dead ringer for Ade Blackburn), but there were other bits redolent of 1970s-radio solitude, math-rock, Pink Floyd, Hives and ’80s punk. In other words, they already had a tendency to patchwork old and new sounds before this fourth LP, which was promised to have darkly epic features in line with ’70s-era Bowie, Cure, Smiths, etc. And beginning with opener “Finally,” that holds true, with hooky, over-amped Ziggy Stardust roaring getting a no-wave treatment, something you’d hear from Brian Jonestown Massacre if they didn’t do so many drugs. “Wish” isn’t the greatest move in the band’s history, evoking someone’s alkie uncle doing karaoke of “Beast of Burden,” but “Dancing Days” is cool, combining Cure and Warlock more or less. Past all these obscure references, for which I apologize, it’s a very listenable thing — a noisy, equally melodic version of Spoon, if that translates. AEric W. Saeger





The Bad Plus, It’s Hard (Okeh Records)
CD REVIEWS: September 22, 2016

09/22/16



The Bad Plus, It’s Hard (Okeh Records)

If you’ve ever tried to herd rabid bunnies that were smacked on bennies and you were thinking about piano-jazz at the same time, this Minneapolis band was playing in your head and you didn’t even know it. Yup it’s another jazz-critic’s exercise in using synonyms for “idiosyncratic” and whatnot on my plate here, but this time we’re contemplating a band that more than five people have heard of, and bonus, this is a covers album, beginning with a deconstructed, drunken-fly version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” followed by a Mingus-inflected rip of Peter Gabriel’s “Games without Frontiers.” All this noise could easily be mistaken for improv, but I’m sure Ethan Iverson’s bolloxed-sounding piano lines do have a modal angle in mind, so I’m assuming this is just a (purposely) sad effort to break a little wider (the NPR writer is pretending to understand it, which is entertainment in itself). Lots of fun either way if you’ve got nothing better to listen to. A-





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