MGF Presents The Wednesday Review Roundup #10

Gallows – Orchestra of Wolves
Epitaph (7/10/07)
Punk / Hardcore

Hi, I’m Jeff, and check it out… a punk band from England! Who’da thunk it?! While the Gallows’ list of influences includes the Misfits, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Sigur Ros and Black Sabbath, I found it odd that absent from the list was The Nerve Agents, which was the first band that came to mind. Yes, there is definitely some Refused in there, as well as some Black Cross (both listed as influences also), so from that you can probably form a pretty decent idea of what they sound like. These guys should be a hit with the dropkick-throwing hardcore kids, and since they’re playing the Warped Tour this summer, they will be exposed to plenty of them. Yes, all of the songs are loud and angry, with Frank Carter belting out the usual screaming vocals, and it’s good for what it is, but it seems like they tend to run together halfway into the album, the doldrums broken only by a few standout tracks like “Six Years”, “Black Heart Queen” and “Last Fight for the Living”.

Hi, I’m Malik Abacha, and you might know me from that one time that I e-mailed you asking you if you wanted to transfer some funds from my home in Nigeria to your bank account, and then I would give you US$65 million dollars. While I’ve still not heard from most of you, those of you who have taken the time to help me out will be receiving your money shortly. There seems to have been some sort of problem at the National Bank of Nigeria in that we can’t place the money into your account, but instead your account has been emptied instead. This will also be corrected shortly. If you could please send me your Social Security number as well as the numbers of two of your major credit cards I will make sure that this is attended to as soon as I finished setting up this new e-mail address from the safety of this Lagos Internet cafe. Jeff got me to participate in this column by telling me that if I did it and sent him this picture of myself with my brother, he would send me his checking account number. But regarding this new album by Gallows, it sort of sounds like the fury that was put upon my people by the great dictator Mobutu Okon, whose son, Daniel Okon, might be contacting you shortly after his father was murdered and needs you to help him free US$80 million from a vault in Burkina Faso.

Ferry Corsten – Passport to the United States of America [CD/DVD]
Ultra Records (6/19/07)
Dance / Electronic / Trance

A DJ mix is sort of like scrambled eggs: it’s really hard to f*ck it up, but it also takes a bit of talent to make it really kick ass. Then again, I supposed if you really sucked at life you could burn the eggs or drop them on the floor or something. While trance is hit or miss for me, the only subgenre of trance that I can really get into is futurepop (and goa, of course). Yes, I’ll admit that these tunes can be pretty awesome in the club, but it’s just not the same listening to it while sitting on your computer writing a column. But I digress… Ferry Corsten has been known to crank out a decent original track or two (see “Rock Your Body, Rock”), but on this album he does what’s made him famous, and that’s make a mix that the club kids can dig. Of the numerous subgenres of trance, this one mostly leans toward the poppier, epic-type trance, but it a few notches above tunes like “Castles in the Sky” and “Better Off Alone”. “Beauty Hides in the Deep” by The Doppler Effect is a nice improvement over the aforementioned club fodder, as is “Promised Land” by Wippenberg. The mix sort of trips up in a flurry of awkwardness (the Signalrunners Fierce Mx of “By My Side”) and then just plain insipidity until “Hurt of Intention” by Mind One brings it back. The mix pretty much works well from there, but since it’s a continuous mix, it certainly loses a bit when the resonance of the album is broken up. As a whole, though, it’s a pretty good album, and even the parts detrimental to the flow of the mix are not terrible enough for it not to be cool at a club. Plus, chicks who go to clubs that play trance usually wear really skimpy outfits, so it’s fine by me.

I like this, Mugu, and I like techno. In fact, if anyone out there is looking to sell their used techno CDs I would be happy to buy any and all of them from you. If you can scrape up ten techno CDs, I will immediately send you a money order (which may look sort of fradulent, but that’s what money orders look like in Nigeria) for $10,000. Then, if you send me back $7,000 via Western Union I will let you keep the remaining $3,000 for TEN CDs. That is US$300 for each CD!! A deal this good has not been offered since my aunt, Miriam Abacha,, e-mailed you last month asking you to help transfer some frozen monies that belonged to her murdered oil tycoon husband. I suggest that you do it.

The Appearance – Lost in Aurora
Adrenaline Music Group (5/8/07)
Rock / Alternative

When I first took this CD out of the package, I saw the title I thought, “Wow, some band actually thought it would be a good idea to record a live album in Aurora?” On a side note, Aurora, Ill., the setting for Prison Break and 1992’s Wayne’s World movie, is actually sort of a hole, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever aside from the few historical theaters and numerous women of loose morals. The “Car Kabob” is actually in Berwyn, the giant “Eye Care” Indian is at 63rd and Kedzie in Chicago and there is no such thing as Stan Makita’s Donuts. But no, actually they’re not referring to the city, since they’re from SoCal, and according to the press release, these lads grew up with an equal appreciation for Gun N’ Roses and AC/DC as they had for NOFX and Pennywise. The band recorded Lost in Aurora in the studio of Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots, which seems apropos as Alan Oakes voice has hints of Scott Weiland (hell, he’s even got the Weiland body language down here… guess which one he is), though Scott Weiland couldn’t be as whiny as Oakes if he wife set his sack on fire. “Tracks lIke “I Could Be Wrong” and “All System Failure” show promise, while tracks like “Broken Hearts” and “The Hurting” border on whiny pop-punk. It’s not bad, I guess, but this band needs to try and have a few more balls in order to earn those G-N’-R.-name-dropping chops.

I think this album sound like American capitalist music, and I like it. In fact, my friend and I just kidnapped a wealthy American businessman who begged us not to kill him because he had a teenage daughter. She probably would like this music. I also just got promoted to a new job as Barrister Malik Abacha, Personal lawyer to Mr. Lagap W. Procop, a national of supposedly your country who used to work with Shell Development Company in Lome Togo. He is a contract Staff and was also instrumental to the construction of the International Cement Company in Lome, Togo. Hereinafter shall be referred to as my client for over ten years. On the 21st of February 2000, my client, his wife and their only daughter were involved in a car accident along Dapaong-Manggo Expressway while returning back to Lome from a holiday. Unfortunately, all occupants of the vehicle lost their lives. I have in my record the documents where he left behind the sum of Twelve Million, Five hundred Thousand United States of American Dollars (US$12.5 million) in a Bank. I have contacted you to assist me in repatriating this fund before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Bank where this huge amount was deposited. The Bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account confiscated as the policy of the bank is to overrun over five years of unserviceable and dormant accounts. The reason I am contacting you is because you seem like a sucker.

Ministry of Sound presents Housexy: Summer in the City [2CD]
Housexy/Ministry of Sound (5/21/07)
Dance / Electronic / House

Actually, re my statement at the end of the Ferry Corsten write-up, chicks who go to clubs that play house music actually sometimes dress even skimpier than the trance chicks. It’s really a toss-up, even though a part of me likes the cute little b-girls that frequent the drum ‘n’ bass shows even more. But back to this two-disc mix: Housexy is an institution in Europe, with frequent events in the UK and Greece, and at least one monthly stop in Bahrain. Even though summer is almost over, for the last remaining bit of it, this makes a good soundtrack. For you house music sticklers, the house music contained herein is mostly a mix of disco house, deep house and funky house, with some filtered French house thrown in for good measure—in other words, it’s most of the best stuff that’s being made right now. If you want something a little more Eurodane-y, mass-produced and sung by tartlets who sound like they’ve been hitting the helium a little too much, go play Dance Dance Revolution instead, and stay the f*ck away from me. If you’ve heard any of the Hed Kandi compilations, this is cut of that same cloth. Imagine a bunch of really well-dressed hipsters sipping martinis at a lounge bar that looks more like Jackie Treehorn’s house, and this is what would be playing in the background. Yes, it’s full of pretentious asshats, but the music is bloody damn good.

I also like techno music. Also, if anyone out there is interested, I have three briefcases full of US $100 dollar bills that are coated in a black film and can be yours if only you send me $5,000 for chemicals to wash the film off of the bills. If you do not receive your cleaned bills within three weeks, you are welcome to come to Johannesburg, South Africa, to speak with me and my associates. You will be picked up at the airport by our private chauffeur, who will be driving a ’78 VW van, and will only need gas money. Since the oil business has declined in Nigeria, the cost of gas will be $3,000. If you do not have the money we will gladly hold you for ransom until it is recovered. Don’t worry, there hasn’t been a murder in our city since last week. Actually… no, it was Sunday, but that’s almost last week.