July 30, 2002

various artists "Verve Remixed"

Before I begin, I'd like to give thanks to a few people. First off, thank you to the group known as Propellerheads. Your collaboration with Shirley Bassey a few years ago was quite revolutionary, and it really helped add a new twist to old tunes. Along those same lines, I'd like to thank US-3, whose fusion of hip-hop and "old school" Blue Note jazz. I'd like to especially thank Dahlia Caplin and Jason Olaine, the compilers of Verve Remixed for coming up with something even more interesting. DJ's remixing classic jazz vocalists and creating a number ready for the dance floor? Who'd of thunk it, and who'd have thunk that, in so doing, this blend of old and new would create a sound fresher and more exciting than the sum of their parts?

This record, is, in a word, beautiful. Some purists might equate modern DJ's remixing classic jazz tracks as sinful as colorizing black and white movies (or editing them 20 years later. Valid though their concerns may be, I'd simply ask those folks to not worry about it. Rather than vapid, style-over-substance remixes done by people who are more concerned about making the song theirs, these DJ's take great care in the mixing of these songs, which indicates their own respect and love for the songs as well. Respect. That's the word here.

For the most part, Verve Remixed hits the nail right on the head. Only twice does it falter--and both times, it's because of the original artist, not the remixer. In fact..okay, I'll say it right now. It's Billie Holiday. I've never cared for her music or her singing, for she was/is the first instance in modern recording history that an artist's personal life fuelled her myth, creating a mythic persona for all the wrong reasons. Two Billie Holiday tracks are two too many, too--especially when Ella outsang her, outperformed her, and out-suffered her in life. The debate on which singer is better, though, is one that's best left out of this review, so I'll be quiet.

Those two tracks aside, there are ten other excellent, interesting songs on Verve Remixed. The very first track, a remix of Willie Bobo's "Spanish Grease" by Richard Dorfmesiter Con Madrid De Los Austrias, kicks off the set with an ethno-house beat--seven minutes of dancing, tribal pleasure. From there, Verve Remixed gets mellow, trippy, dancy, and happy. Nina Simone as Rave Diva? Just one listen to Masters At Work's creation, the tribal, percussion-and-flute driven "See-Line Woman" proves that this crown is far from undeserved. Back it up with Joe Claussell's mellow, down-tempo remix of "Feelin' Good," and you realize that, were she still making music, Simone's legacy might just be enhanced by these new directions. Other remixes, such as Thievery Corporation's remix of Astrud Gilberto's "Who Needs Forever," seem to be a natural progression from era to era.

The only fault to be found, if it's really a fault, is that while the music is gorgeous, the focus seems to be strictly on female vocalists, and, well--there's not enough Ella Fitzgerald! I guess I'm partial to the First Lady of Song, because I like talent, as opposed to a merely passable vocalist who happened to have a sad sob-story life. I'm intrigued as to see where Verve will go from the ideas on Verve Remixed. Hopefully these ideas will be taken seriously and not treated as a one-off experiment.

--Joseph Kyle

July 29, 2002

kilowatthours "the bright side"

Sometimes it takes a little while for genius to be recognized. Sometimes, time must pass between the creation and the present in order to really appreciate what an artist is trying to do. Nobody recognized Van Gough as a great artist until after his death. John Kennedy Toole's suicide came from justified feelings of failure. And who among us really appreciated the genius of (insert name of hipster-dropped obscure band who broke up two/five/twenty years before any kind of acclaim)?

Kilowatthour's The Bright Side is a record that didn't register a blip the first time I heard it. It just lightly entered my ears without making a single kind of rememberance. Was it because the music I heard at the time was un-unforgetable, or was it that I just wasn't really listening, or was it just boredom on my part? We could discuss the failings of yours truly, but I'd much rather tell you about The Bright Side. It's much more interesting than me, anyway.

I think what shut my ears to The Bright Side was due in large part to the opening song, "A How-To Book." If you've heard any number of "art-rock" records, you'll recognize those first few measures. That opening drum/guitar beat is to indie rock what "The Funky Drummer" is to hip-hop. Let it die, now, please! In fact, "A How-To Book" was the main turn-off, because it's your basic, standard indie-rock number that's been done to death. Things pick up on "Welcome to Orlando," if only a little, because, again, the taint of "been there, done that" bleeds into this number.

Things get interesting with the brief sonic blips of "Completely Normal," and the downbeat "Last Thursday," an acoustic number with blurry yet sad-sounding vocals. What makes this song interesting is that it sounds like Kilowatthours is hiding the fact that they want to be shoegazers, for "Last Thursday" gazes like the best of 'em.

Think you've got Kilowatthours pegged? "Almost Airtight" is yet another tempo and stylistic change, turning up the guitars for a louder, more melodic style, which is quickly traded in for an instrumental, the organ-driven "The Only Good Thing About Pollution" and the harder-rock of "Dancers and Acrobats." They shift back down to indie-rock on "In My Place," a number which only seems to work among the previously diverse tracks. More akin to the first two songs, had "In My Place" been placed at the beginning of the album, I might have written Kilowatthours off as yet another indie rock band.

With the closing, epic "Perfect Fool," you realize that you've just been taken on an interesting ride through rock music, and though you've heard these kinds of sounds before, you've never heard them quite as interesting as Kilowatthours. Soothing, gentle, tranquil--The Bright Side is all of these and more--much more interesting is the promise of an even brighter, more interesting future for these folks.

--Joseph Kyle

July 25, 2002

Ugly Casanova "Sharpen Your Teeth"

When you drive straight across Texas on I-20, you have to go through Dallas-Fort Worth. There's no two ways about it, it has to be done. The distance from Winter Park (where I-20 splits into I-30, which goes straight through Ft. Worth and downtown Dallas) to Terrell (where I-20 merges with Highway 80, just east of Dallas) is roughly 55 miles. While nowhere near as insane as I-30 can be, traffic on I-20 can be nerveracking.

I've had to make quite a few trips this summer, which hasn't exactly been something I've wanted to do, nor have these trips always been pleasant. Suffice to say, I've been a bit down in the dumps on that long drive, and I've had plenty of things to think about. Five hundred miles is a long time inside a car, but once I reach Winter Park, I know I'm no longer in the lonesome crowded west, because I'm close to home. Trees start to appear. Literally. Something called humidity also comes into the picture as well.

But I digress. On all of these trips east, I've soundtracked my trips with music that I love, as well as music I wanted to review for Mundane Sounds. Many times, I've listened to Dallas-area bands as I've driven through the Metroplex, simply out of tribute for the great talent that resides in this big, ominous city. It's a respect thing, and Dallas is deserving of respect. There's nothing better than blasting Tripping Daisy or Centro-matic or MC 900 Foot Jesus or even Edie Brickell as you're speeding through their hometown, and, believe me, damn it, I just feel right with the world when I pay my respect.

On one of my trips, though, I popped in Sharpen Your Teeth the solo project of Modest Mouse frontman Issac Brock. Now, other than the allusions made a moment ago, I don't really like Modest Mouse. Something about them is rather annoying, and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the fact that they're hyped to death, or that they are the staple band of so-called "hip" undergrads with undecided majors now, much like the Smiths were in my day.

To be fair to the Ugly Casanova, though, I decided to forget about Modest Mouse. Why should I bother to even have them in mind? This is a different band, with different players and a different kind of vibe. Besides, I don't know much about them, save for one or two of their singles and moments here and there from their albums, and from friends' attempts to make me like them. It wouldn't be fair of me to judge Ugly Casanova on the basis of Modest Mouse, now would it?

I'm glad I didn't. Of course, it's hard not to, especially since Brock's singing is so distinctive. When I hit Winter Park, and "Barncales" came on, with its broken-sounding country melody and Brock's low-key vocals tempered with slightly off-key harmonies with himself, I knew that this ride would be different. None of that indie-rock boy stuff...this would be a different ride. No, none of that Modest Mouse crap here.

When the second song, "Spilled Milk Factory," came on, though, the atmosphere was perfect. In the distance was the gray-fogged outline of downtown Fort Worth. It was a gray, foggy day in the metroplex, and this song...was...perfect. Between the odd duet style between Tim Rutili and Brock, and the wavy melody and the country-industrial beat of what sounds like a hammer on an anvil--I realized right then and there the point of Ugly Casanova--a new blues. Sharpen Your Teeth is the sound of a new Urban middle-class blues for the college educated who live in very big, imposing cities.

And then, much like Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz, everything started to fall into place. The quiet moments of the trip fit nicely with the quiet moments of Sharpen Your Teeth. The moments of pounding rhythm and hammer-on-metal beat came around at the same time that I hit road construction. Perhaps the best song on the album, "Things I Don't Remember," turned up at the very last moment of Dallas intensity, and quelled at exactly the moment where I-20 calms down, there's nothing but trees around, and the quiet refrain of "So Long to the Holidays" also seemed to say "So Long to the City Sprawl."

Sharpen Your Teeth is a welcome surprise from Issac Brock and his crew of blues ghouls, and it's certainly proving that Modest Mouse isn't the limit to his talents. Brock's got his pulse on the big city and the despiration and despair of living a world going technological on your ass, and he's not going to let a little thing like progress keep his dark heart down. God bless him for it.

---Joseph Kyle

July 23, 2002

Deerhoof "Revilee"

When Kill Rock Stars guru Slim Moon founded sister label 5 Rue
Christine in 1997, it seemed like it would be little more than a shadow of KRS. Its first few releases were from side projects of members of more popular and established bands. Replikants was an outlet for the more dissonant tendencies of Unwound personnel; Schema was basically Hovercraft and Stereolab jamming in the same recording studio. Other than these aforementioned connections, the music had little else to justify its purchase--but oh, how great things can rise from humble beginnings!

Within the past year, 5RC has put together a roster that puts much its parent label's recent output to shame. Listen to the hyperactive math-rock of duo Hella; the depressing, histrionic gothic techno of Xiu Xiu; the spastic, trebly new wave of the Seconds; or the loose, minimal dirges of the Young People. You'll discover a library of challenging, innovative rock that, at its current rate of quality and productivity, will equal that of Touch and Go before decades end.

Add Deerhoof's Reveille to 5RC's parade of hits. The band's last release on this label, Holdypaws, was a failed, though occasionally engrossing, attempt to harness its attention deficit disorder into conventional song craft. This time around, Deerhoof deliver on the promise set by their debut album, The Man, the King, the Girl, by finally accepting the fact that their music is best at its most fragmented.

Reveille's first proper song, "This Magnificent Bird Will Rise," begins with an ominous spoken-word piece about Mother Nature exacting her revenge on mankind. One by one, the familiar elements of a Deerhoof song enter the mix: acrobatic, over-modulated drumming, jangling Mersey Beat guitars, squealing feedback, childlike keyboard melodies, and the shy vocals of Satomi Matsuzaki.

These elements are arranged in the same kind of recombinant logic that drives records like Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica. At first, each instrument sounds like it's playing in a different time signature from the others, putting the listener in a state of confusion. Just when one is about to dismiss the proceedings as artsy jerking off, the band launches into a coherent, stomping riff that underscores the care put into this seemingly haphazard music. Don't get too comfortable, though, because at the precise moment you do, the music will uncoil once again. Back and forth, from chaos to order, from melody to noise, from high fidelity to low fidelity, from No Wave to sound collage to garage punk, Reveille is a record that steadfastly refuses to make up its mind.

Acoustic ditty "The Eyebright Bugler" uses our Pavlov-like response to our favorite songs as a metaphor for how we compromise our individuality in other areas of our lives. It's pretty heavy stuff, but with only four sentences and forty-two seconds of music, it has the concision and catchiness of Guided by Voices' best work. Eight-minute centerpiece "The Last Trumpeter Swan" layers two-note pendulum guitars on top of insistent drum heartbeats, only to segue into a dissonant arpeggio that's as tense as the chase scene of an action movie. The androgynous vocals, droning organs, and metronome rhythm of "Top Tim Rubies" make it sound like a long-lost Stereolab four-track demo. "Holy Night Fever" is Deerhoof's mangled take on Southern-fried boogie-rock, and "Days and Nights in the Forest" is slow-core interrupted by random bursts of noise.

Interspersed with the proper songs are bits of found sound, some of
which sound like a man clumsily practicing his keyboard scales, others like a drum circle composed entirely of whining babies. These snippets only add to the exhilarating stream-of-consciousness flow of the album. In thirty-three minutes, Deerhoof go through more twists and turns than even the band's own peers will manage in their entire careers. None of this would matter, though, if the band didn't maintain such a strong grasp over its whims. With Reveille, music and anti-music are engaged in a vicious arm-wrestling match that ends in a draw; true victory belongs to the brave souls who choose to purchase this record.

--Sean Padilla

July 18, 2002

The Sunshine Fix "Age of the Sun"

If you've visited the "bookshelf" page found elsewhere on this website, you'll surely have noticed something called "Book." Now I won't take the time to simply talk about this project right now--I've got a record to review, after all--but you'll notice that this little treasure has hand-painted covers. Painting, while fun, can be time consuming, especially when you want everything to look exactly how you imagined it.

So, for giggles, I put The Sunshine Fix's debut album, Age Of The Sun. Creative music for creative time, especially when I'm painting little fluffy clouds in the sky. Apparently, Age Of The Sun is a concept album--or at least a themed album--about the sun. Literally. Songs about the sun itself, songs with "sun" or a reference the sun in the title. There's nothing wrong with that, because the music itself is quite cheery, upbeat, and (hee-hee) sunny.

This is inspired 60s pop with tinges of psychedelic rock along the edges. No surprise, either, seeing as this is the band of Olivia Tremor Control man Bill Doss--excuse me--TheBillDoss. With that said, you're bound to expect breezy lo-fi pop songs with oblique (sometimes dopey) lyrics, mixed in with quaint instrumentals. Sure, there's that whole "Brian Wilson is God" thing going on here, to which I say "ewwwww" because his cries for help are that, and nothing more, AKA there's a reason Smile was never finished. Of course, there's more to the 60's than Brian Wilson, and Sunshine Fix spend a great deal of time with...The Lovin' Spoonful? Yup, I've heard that quite a bit as I painted today. I kept expecting TheBillDoss to start singing "You didn't have to be so nice..." on "Digging to China." Tribute vs. Out-and-Out-Plundering has always been par for the course with Elephant 6, and The Sunshine Fix are no exception to this at-times annoying rule.

I'll admit, Age of the Sun wouldn't be all that fun for me to listen to in a sit-down situation. Why? Because the music isn't sit-down music. It's "let's do/not do drugs and get creative" type of music, and as such, I felt really inspired. So much so that my skies in my pictures were pink and the clouds were all yellow, and it seemed right. The colors..the colors...the colors! Sunshine Fix brought different colors in. And then, after skipping past "Le Roi-Soleil," the only pointless song on the CD--the word "sun" stretched out for twenty minutes really is pointless--my 5th Dimension greatest hits CD came on, and I continued to experience the colors of the Sixties, and I was happy, because I was experiencing the real thing. The Sunshine Fix is a nice little fix for those moments when you can't have the 60s psych-pop, but, like methadone or the nicotine patch, it pales in comparison to the real thing.

---Joseph Kyle

July 07, 2002

Silkworm "Italian Platinum"

After a year and a half, the boys in Silkworm get it together and release another good album. They all live in Chicago now, so perhaps that makes it easier to get together and write some kickass songs. On Italian Platinum, the band's seventh proper album, Silkworm seems to have expanded to a five-piece band complete with keyboards and backup female vocals by one Kelly Hogan, who actually sings lead vocals on one track. Still the only band I know of that rocks it with a baritone guitar, Silkworm done rocked it pretty good with Italian Platinum.

Now, I think it's swell that Silkworm have released this record. The packaging is a little disappointing (the only artwork consists of a row of little blue stars above and below the album's title), but the tunes more than make up for it. Wonderfully crafted songs (some of their best yet), with shared singing/songwriting duties between the group's three main members make for a handful of good songs to get Steve Albini to record, throw on an album, and release it on Touch and Go.

This album is reminiscent of Silkworm albums of yore, all of which sound similar in that "Pavement meets Television" sort of way, yet, all in all, sound quite different. The first track, Andy Cohen's "I hope U don't Survive", is an awesome power ballad of sorts whisking you away, back to the Firewater days of 1996. It reminds me a lot of "Nerves" from Firewater, acutally, with its slow rock tempo, its pop element,and its blistering guitar solos. "The old you" and "Dirty air" capture the style of the band's most recent albums Blueblood and Lifestyle, as "Moving" and "Cockfight of Feelings" could have easily been on Developer. The Tim Midgett-penned songs "The Brain" and "The Third" sound like they could have come off Libertine, and if that ain't old-school Silkworm enough for ya, Midgett's "Is She a Sign" sounds like it could have been on L'ajre! So, this album could be viewed as a trip down memory lane, if you are a Silkworm fan. If you are not a Silkworm fan, it's still a pretty kickass album to listen to when you're doing the dishes or drinking a 40 oz of High Life or whatever.

Italian Platinum starts off with great promise, but by the seventh song, it sort of loses momentum, and picks up again around track nine, "Dirty Air." "LR72" and "White Lightning" are good songs, but they just don't live up to the awesomeness as every other song on the album. But, hey, 11/13. --- that's not too bad. That's what I got on my microbiology quiz last week. If I were Silkworm, and if Italian Platinum were my microbiology quiz, I'd totally hang this shit on my fridge for all to see.

--Kyle Sowash

July 06, 2002

Bobby Bare Jr "OK, I'm Sorry"

The baby Bare is back! Hot on the heels of his leftfield homerun solo album, Young Criminal's Starvation League, Junior's decided to give all us long-sufferin' fans a handy-dandy plate of musical treates to tide us over until his next excellent album. Luckily for us, Bobby hasn't filled the plate with stale leftovers; instead, he's given us a wonderful little scrapbook of his hijinx over the past year. While it might not be as full of an offering as an album, it's certainly not a bunch of rejects, and it really gives you a healthy dose of quirky and intelligent music.

Kicking off this set is a most surprising cover of that lovey-dovey anthem, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." Yes, that song, the one made famous by the christmas Coca-Cola commercial. Bobby's made it all his own, thanks in large part to that unique, yodelish vocal range. It's much better than you think it is. It's a speeded up version, and the sincerity strikes you in the face. It follows with a red-hot live bersion of "Flat-Chested Girl from Manardville," taken from a show in Holland, which then segues into another red-hot song from his debut album, the wonderful "I'll Be Around."

Then, OK I'm Sorry gets interesting.

Bare then offers us a brand-new original song, "Pinky." It's lush and mellow and actually kind of sweet, proving that underneath the hair and that big mischevious grin of his beats the heart of a sensitive boy-poet. From there, we return once again to the live setting, with a song called "Valentine." It's the only time OK I'm Sorry ever slips up. (A much better version of the song was recorded on the NPR-based program World Cafe.) From there, we travel to a radio session and another brand new Bare original, "Mother Ucker." It's a fun little tale, and though the chorus is kinda silly, it's a real serious little tune. Mix in the fun-sounding keyboards and THAT VOICE (as well as a moment of DJ error), and you've got a great little tune. The next song, "True Story," is his version of a poem song by Shel Silverstein--one of his inspirations and family friend--and it totally fits Bare's sneaky, mischevious nature. The album closes with the demo version of "I'll Be Around," which is a bit more moving than the final version. (There are video clips of the live tracks of two Chicago songs, "I'll Be Around" and "valentine" on here as well).

Bobby Bare Jr. is a man whose talent has yet to be fully appreciated, and OK I'm Sorry is certainly proof that the man's best days are only just beginning. Hopefully he'll have another full-length album for us. There's a reason I named Young Criminal's Starvation League my album of the year, and if you need further evidence, then this little stop-gap EP is for you.

--Joseph Kyle

July 01, 2002

Live Report: Preston School of Industry, David Dondero, and Canoe, Stubbs, 6/15/02

Stubb's BBQ is one of my favorite Austin live music venues. Not many of the bands I like play there when they come into town, but the staff is nice, the food is good, and the sound is always superb. While eating a chopped beef sandwich in the lounge, I saw Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs) of the Preston School of Industry walk down the stairs. I shouted "SPIRAL!!!" at the top of my lungs, instantly outing myself as a complete dork in front of the entire restaurant. Scott responded with an awkward smile and continued on his way.

Pavement provided the soundtrack to many of the most intense moments of my teenage years. They (along with GBV) helped expose me to the "lo-fi" movement that gave me the impetus to make my own music. Pavement had a gift for melody that made even their weirdest songs easy to sing along to. They brought intelligence and irony to their music; their lyrics were filled with clever puns and historical allusions. Most of all, they taught me the importance of spontaneity. Sometimes the crack of one's voice, a flubbed note, or a lopsided rhythm is the best way to remind the listener that YES, there are actual humans making this music...a reminder that's especially necessary in this age of ProTools and pitch correctors. Granted, sometimes this tendency got the better of them; I still can't listen to their fourth album, "Brighten the Corners," very much because of front man Stephen Malkmus' consistently tuneless singing. However, for the majority of their career, Pavement were a band so talented that they didn't even *need* to put effort or polish into their music; the songs spoke for themselves. When Pavement officially broke up two years ago, I was initially bummed. However, both Stephen and Scott's new bands (the Jicks and PSOI, respectively) show promise, so Pavement fans will get the best of both worlds in the long run.

Local band Canoe kicked things off with a very humorous set. The singer/organist introduced himself as "Richard Nixon." All three (male) members were adorned in one-piece women's dresses, and when they pulled down their tops, they had the words "CANOE FOR YOU" written on their chests. In the middle of the set, one of the band's friends jumped up on stage to tell a story about his brother, "Officer Ro-Ro." Thirty-five years ago, he and Ro-Ro were watching "An Officer and a Gentleman," when Ro-Ro walked out of the room to get some popcorn. Ro-Ro never returned with the popcorn; that was the last time the two brothers saw each other. Yeah, I know that the story makes NO sense, but I'm just recounting what the guy said...and yes, he WAS drunk. As the narrator burst into crocodile tears, a guy dressed in a Navy outfit with a patch on his eye, presumably Ro-Ro, hopped on stage. The two brothers then led Canoe in a rendition of "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong." It was totally surreal and hilarious.

Fortunately, Canoe spent more time playing music than playing pranks. They specialize in bouncy power-pop tunes that depend on lots of give-and-take between distorted keyboards and distorted guitars. I guess that Quasi, Grandaddy, and Mates of State could be considered kindred spirits, but Canoe's songs aren't as dynamic as any of those groups'. I complain a lot about bands having too many songs in the same key; THIS band switched keys often, but had too many songs in the same tempo. At times, I wondered if their drummer could play more than one beat. It turns out that he can, but dynamic shifts were very few and very far between. I would see these guys live again, but I hope they write a couple more distinctive songs before deciding to release a CD.

David Dondero, a California singer/songwriter, was next on the bill. His set didn't get off to a very auspicious start. His drummer used nothing but a tom-tom, a snare, a hi-hat, and a cymbal, sporting a definite Moe Tucker influence. Unfortunately, one of the reasons why I can't get into the Velvet Underground that much is because of the weakness of its rhythm section; it didn't work for them and it SURE doesn't work for Dondero. The fact that neither he nor his bass player knew how to tune their guitars made matters much worse. The first few songs were typical "I'm a troubadour on the lonesome highway" fare: things a guy with a thesaurus and too many Dylan records would write after learning three or four chords on his guitar. The only thing that Dondero had going for him was his reedy, tremulous crooning. By the fourth song, though, Dondero had figured out how to tune his guitar, and the songs experienced a DRAMATIC increase in quality. He sang about long-distance relationships, serial-killer preachers, kind strangers, and differences in regional slang with an ingratiating candor. His bass player doubled on pedal steel, and his reverb-drenched fills made everything sound fuller and sweeter. By the end of his set, the audience (including myself) had been fully converted. We even managed to coax him back on stage for another song. I can't remember the last time an opening act was asked back for an encore!

Obviously, Pavement fans want to know whether Scott's band is better than Stephen's, or vice versa; at this point, I'd have to say that it's a draw. Scott's still not as good a singer, lyricist, or guitarist as Stephen, though he is becoming more and more confident in all three of these roles. There's a more pronounced country influence in PSOI's songs, which is perfect for Scott's limited, nasal voice. However, Scott's songs are much closer to the spirit of early, classic Pavement. Scott's also much more eager to share the spotlight with his new band mates than Stephen is. Whereas when the Jicks play live, the other members just play idly along as Stephen shreds on his guitar; PSOI work together as an ensemble, sending songs like "Your Time to Change," "Take a Stand," and "Time Out for Fun" into long, noisy, psychedelic jams that are as fun to watch as they are to listen to. PSOI also sports a tighter rhythm section than the Jicks; in stage presence AND in musicianship, Scott's drummer is basically a blond reincarnation of Keith Moon. At any moment, the guy looked like he would leap off of his drum kit and keep playing while in mid-air. Whereas Stephen still oozes as much smarm and distance from his audience as he did in Pavement, Scott seems to enjoy himself a lot more on stage. He pointed the microphone to the audience, leading chants of "P-S-O-I!" like some kind of hip-hop hype man. At this point, Scott's in the same position that George Harrison was in the early '70s; after being reduced to second banana in a popular, influential band, Scott finally gets to show off the stockpile of amazing tunes that his old band never got to call its own. Trust me, there's a reason why PSOI's debut album is called "All This Sounds Gas." Although Stubb's wasn't as packed as the Mercury was when the Jicks played there, I'm sure that with a set this good, Spiral Stairs' comeuppance will come sooner than we think...

--Sean Padilla