Alibi V.15 No.37 • Sept 14-20, 2006 

Sonic Reducer

TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope)

TVOR sounds like fun. Singsong hooks, overdubbed and wildly sung, fuzzy noise loops, perfect samples, kinked beats, it's fun—fun and accidentally beautiful. I pulled off the cellophane and gave it what I didn't realize would become a semipermanent home in my CD player. Tunde Adebimpe's got a set of pipes that makes me want to weep, drive really fast and ... play in the sprinklers, all at the same time. All sugar and rattle, his is a free voice, dead-on but always a little out of control. Adebimpe's restrained performance is the tar that binds Cookie Mountain's disparate elements.

Veruca Salt IV (Sympathy for the Record Industry)

I was 13 when "Seether" advanced on 1994's airwaves. Many debates about the track's key word ensued. The song didn't really get into it. This disc starts with the tracks that are more like Veruca's old work: clean, easy, repetitive and damn good. Then we venture into some really bratty lyrical territory, riddled with all the confusion of one's high school years, which I know probably works for some folks—even people as old as Veruca and I. Finally, we end up in dreamy, acoustic land. Despite the mood swings, most of what's here is pretty catchy, if a little dated.

Bound Stems Appreciation Night (Flameshovel)

This Chicago-based collective is punchy enough to pull off crazy time-signature switcheroos without sounding like the players are doing it just because they can. Cacophonous pop rock that clearly attended the University of Modest Mouse, Bound Stems expand on the ideas of other indie alumni. This disc is deceptively raucous. On second or third listen, every stray lick and soused crescendo seems calculated and articulate. If their first full-length release is any indication, the show at Atomic Cantina on Sunday, Oct. 8, should be pretty animated and right up this town's alley.