iPodPalooza 2013: The 1990s Are Back, Baby
It’s time to break out the glow sticks, consume some “smart drugs,” and resume swingin’ on the flippity-flop: the 90’s are back. All your old favorites have new releases, and if you don’t “bust a move” with your 2400 baud modem, you will be considered a cob nobbler by all the cool kids at the rave.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Live From KCRW
When the song “Red Right Hand” got picked for the Scream movies, The Bad Seeds moved from college radio to the “modern rock” stations with the faux hip English accented DJ’s.
Always something of a ‘love em or hate em’ proposition, Nick Cave has moved over the years from straight up noise to goth balladeering, with over-the-top macabre lyrics that (usually) kept just this side of self-parody. On their last studio album, Push the Sky Away,Cave attempted to add some modern references to his usual songs about gallows poles and dead nuns’ hearts. From “Higgs Boson Blues:”
Oh let the damn day break
The rainy days always make me sad
Miley Cyrus floats in a swimming pool in Toluca Lake
And you’re the best girl I’ve ever had
Can’t remember anything at all
It is up to the listener to decide if this is their cup of pennyroyal tea. In addition to the updated lyrics, longtime aggro-guitarist Blixa Bargeld left the band, and the recent music is more mellow as a result.
Their latest release, Live From KCRW, is a “studio-live” album recorded this April. Even in front of a live audience, the Bad Seeds create a moody, hushed atmosphere, in which each individual instrument rings out with a clean, raw sound. The set list, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Possibly bored with playing old favorites, the band generally skips them in favor of recent material and obscure album tracks. They do manage “The Mercy Seat,” but it feels obligatory. The real problem is that the majority of material is slow or mid-tempo tracks; the only real rocker here is set closer “Jack the Ripper.” Nevertheless, fans will probably want to download this album.
Luscious Jackson – Magic Hour
Back in the day, these women owned New York street cool. Their brand of feminism was always less of a “stop objectifying me with your male gaze” and more of a “hey bike messenger, you look pretty goooood” variety. Their aggressive danceable beats matched their attitude. After a handful of albums, they broke up in 2000.
And now they’re back together, minus keyboard player Vivian Trimble. The remaining members of the group — Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser, and Kate Shellenbach — pick up where they left off, with another danceable, upbeat album featuring lyrics about checking people out, love and heartbreak. The music is uniformly good, but track “3 Seconds to Cross” is the standout – the best song about walking in L.A. since, of course, “Walking in L.A.”
Melvins – Tres Cabrones
Like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Melvins have been grinding out music since 1984. Unlike Nick Cave, Melvins have never matured. They’re still gleefully playing the same wackadoo-metal they were twenty or thirty years ago, with the minor addition of some Primus-esque goofball tunes.
They happen to be very good at what they do, and if you have an inner 14-year old who still delights in jumping up on the bed, playing air-guitar with a tennis racket, you might want to buy this album. The most recent lineup of the band features longtime drummer Dale Crover moved over to bass, and the return of original drummer Mike Dillard, making this the most melvin Melvins lineup ever.
Plus there’s this:
While the resurgence of these 1990s acts is indeed welcome, if Eve6 makes a comeback with another song like that stupid tender heart in a blender song, we are no longer down with this trend.