A couple weeks back I took a mini road trip upnorth. With me, I brought three brand new CDs for the ride. In between thinking about how I totally missed the boat on cougers, I was writing little reviews in my head. They are as follows:
Word on the street is that on AFI's most recent trip to the TC, vocalist Davey Havoc mentioned something about playing shows back in the day with (recently reunited) locals Assrash. Not surprising, as on more that one occasion I've heard him lovingly recall the short-lived but impressionable local all-ages venue, the Foxfire Coffee Lounge. I've always liked that about AFI; that despite their steady progression into pop music, they don't shy away from their punk roots and make an effort to keep connected to older fans. However, Crash Love falls somewhere between trying too hard and not trying at all. This shit is so clean you can smell Davey's body wash. There is only one song-Medicate-where I said to myself "Damn, this fucking rips!" Although, come to think of it, I was pulling into Tobies, so my excitement could have been more about the impending custard-filled doughnut than Jade Puget's guitar solo. Anyway, I'm sure, like with most AFI releases, I'll learn to enjoy it the more I listen to it. I should also note that even with his new haircut, Havoc has in no way compromised my man-crush.
Modest Mouse-No One's First, and You're Next
This is a collection of b-sides and outtakes from their last two releases-the breakthrough album Good News For People Who Love Bad News and the dissapointing follow-up We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Similar to the aptly titled Building Something Out of Nothing, a previous collection of non-album tracks, No One's First and You're Next is fully capable of standing on its own as an album. In fact it's actually quite a bit better than We Were Dead. No One's First is the perfect early fall soundtrack for that stretch of highway that runs from Moose Lake, through Cromwell and Floodwood, up to Hibbing. There are a few parts of the last song-I've Got It All (Most)- that sound exactly like every Public Image Limited song ever. This, in my expert opinion, is absolutley not a bad thing.
Raekwon-Only Bulit For Cuban Linx Pt. II
One of the things I love most about Raekwon and Ghostface-who, of course, is all over this album-is that they indulge the specifics of a story. They won't just say a dude got murdered. They'll give you a detailed description of how a shiesty muafucka who sold coke that was cut with too much baking soda was walking down a dirty street last winter, wearing baggy-ass sweats and fresh Nikes while eating lake trout with extra turkey grease from the corner store, got blasted with three shots by gun that already had two bodies on it that was purchased in a dingy basement in Brooklyn, and was then robbed of the re-up package that he had stuffed up under his North Face parka and left laying in a blood-soaked snow bank with a piece of half-chewed fried fish hanging still hangin' out of his grill. Cruising through Nashwauk, with the widows down, and the bass cannon turned up on this thing, made me feel all warm inside; like a kid again. (Yes, I have a bass cannon in my car. Not by choice. Long Story. But it does come in handy when cruising through Nashwauk with the widows down, listening to Raekwon.)