Jesse Jarnow

some killed record reviews (greatest misses #9-12)

Four reviews from this year & last that fell through the cracks between issues, editors, and/or otherwise never made it entirely to print.

THE CONDO FUCKS
Fuckbook
(Matador)

Provoked, perhaps, by Times New Viking’s scuzz-fidelity challenge, “Times New Viking vs. Yo La Tengo,” the Hoboken trio returns in their punchiest guise yet. Rehearsing for a stealth gig at Brooklyn’s Magnetic Field under the moniker the Condo Fucks, Fuckbook is a rude sequel to 1990′s whisper-heavy covers album, Fakebook. The Fucks shag ass through 11 deep cuts from the Kinks, the Zantees, the Flamin’ Groovies, and other garage faves whose names begin with definite articles. The crappy recording adds delirious fuzz, shouted backing harmonies coming out like power chords, power chords coming out otherworldly. Guitarist Ira Kaplan (as Kid Condo) is at his gnarliest, solos oversaturating into utter bliss. The Tengos’ sixth sense for covers has never been more unerring, nor–more importantly–more fun. Fuck!

WILLIE NELSON & ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
Willie & the Wheel
(Bismeaux)

Ironically, probably the best way to dig Willie Nelson’s new session of vintage Western swing is through the tiniest, tinniest computer speakers one can find. Recorded with veteran string masters Asleep at the Wheel and spearheaded by late Stax producer Jerry Wexler, who passed away last August, Willie and the Wheel is neither hit nor miss. And that’s a bummer, because a late-career disc of Nelson returning to Western swing should be awesome. But, despite all the weed, Willie’s voice has barely aged, and he never really stopped singing Western swing anyway, so his takes on sweet, familiar tunes like “Hesitation Blues” and “Sittin’ On Top of the World” are sweet and familiar and almost nothing more. The Wheel are crisp, but–just as with Nelson–it feels like just another session. Pumped through an iPhone, though, the recordings become three-dimensional, as if from a mysterious mirage of an old radio.

ONEIDA
Preteen Weaponry
(Jagjaguwar)

Though they recently issued the 7-inch Heads Ain’t Ready featuring the Grateful Dead’s “Cream Puff War” backed with “Cold Rain and Snow,” Brooklyn’s Oneida truly let their headiness blossom on Preteen Weaponry. Divided into three jams of roughly 13 minutes each, the music (credited to “Oneida members past, present, and future”) floats on double-drummer crests, subterranean keyboard studies, a few vocals (on “Part II”), and Boredoms-like ecstasy. Coalescing the shorter, silvery fragments of their decade-plus career into a tripped whole, the band moves without lead voices, letting waves of noise create movement above Sonic Youth gallops and fuzz drones. Atmospheric but never sleepy, Preteen Weaponry is allegedly the prelude to a triple album due next year. One hopes that heads will be ready by then.

SILVERSUN PICKUPS
Swoon
(Dangerbird)

I ran an eighth-inch cable out of the headphone jack, ripped the encoded promo stream of the new Silversun Pickups album, Swoon, burned a dozen copies, and passed them around to the neighborhood kids. “The guitars sound like Sonic Youth,” said Thomas, 6, who’d just BitTorrented 3 GB of noise rock. “I like that they’re layered. But the drums are all, like, major label.” Irma, who is seven, made a face like she’d eaten a sour gum ball. “It sounds like music you’d, like, hear on TV or something,” she said, “like in an ad.” Later, though, a street party broke out, with Swoon as the soundtrack. Somebody uncapped a fire hydrant. And then an ice cream truck gave out free cones. The next day, the street was littered with CDs. “I didn’t even leak it,” Irma said, satisfied. “They taught us not to. I’m starting my own band. I’m indier than them, anyway.”

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