I haven't posted anything about music in months. Or, like, years.
But sometimes you have two diet cokes and five cups of coffee before noon and, all of a sudden, writing a few words on new music is more an obligation than a distraction.
On the whole, the pop music world is sort of at a standstill. The invention of Lady Gaga has placed a lot of new artists immediately on the shelf of Been There, Done That. The Gaga effect is so clear, songs like "OMG" by Usher are actually getting airplay. Actually hitting #1 on Billboard. Actually being illegally downloaded. Like tasting a filet mignon and being sentenced to Wendy's square meat patties for all of eternity, we as a pop audience have to dig a bit for anything even relatively tasty.
The food metaphors are a perfect lead-in to "Treats" by Sleigh Bells. Seriously, what the fuck is this? The duo--composed of some death metal musician and a girl group dropout--has created some exceptionally bizarre music. The album is aggressive, almost scary, with crunchy guitar sound effects and bass hits that sound more like boulders colliding in low gravity than an 808. I normally don't listen to "alternative"
(Sorry, a shudder just ripped through my body, sending me awkwardly to the floor of Thunderbird Coffee. Caffeine effect?)
As I was saying, Sleigh Bells is not my usual fare, but the songs are irresistible. My favorite track is "Riot Rhythm," probably because of the cheerleader chants. I just love cheerleaders. If Sleigh Bells had an owl on their album cover I probably wouldn't like them so much, but I continually picture the old McQueen ads and, as I grow deaf blasting "Tell 'Em" and yelling out my car window, I picture her doing cheers and flirtatiously (i.e. sluttily) dancing to the industrial sound of Treats.
The new Crystal Castles is pretty sick, too. "Baptism" is my favorite of the new tracks. I think this is a record that, if Lindsay Lohan had any foresight or taste or culture, would have been wise of her to collaborate on. "Baptism," and the album's lead single, "Empathy," are the kind of accessible underground that propelled Justice to international fame. (Or, at the very least, Youtube fame.) Ambitious, not so much--the album is standard CC fare--but it's enjoyable if you aren't in your room with the lights out.
May's seen more than a few killer singles. Kelis' "Flesh Tone" has already unloaded "Fourth of July," "Brave," and impossible-to-hate "Emancipate Yourself," Kelis' answer to Madonna's "Sorry." B.o.B. is boring as hell, but "Magic" (featuring the insanely sexy vocals of Rivers Cuomo, who is hot by rule of his moniker alone) is bouncy fun without any JoBros musical reference.
Xtina's "WooHoo" is one of those embarrassing tracks you can't imagine being approved ("you don't need a plate/just ya face/ahh") and Keane still sucks ass. No surprise there; being relegated to soft-rock radio play in Applebees is a sure sign you should never have a rapper featured on your album. Like, ever.
To conclude, I recommend that no one ever listens to "Freaky" by Koda Kumi. It is horrible and I somehow bought it on iTunes and have no recollection of the purchase. Don't suffer with me.