By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Black Lips Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo (Vice)
In any regular situation, if "live recording" and "garage rock" were uttered in the same sentence, I'd shudder with the conjured mental images of some horrifying Frankenstein made of Kiss and Jet. But this album, released by a fairly reliable label, is an exception. With lo-fi sound quality and elements of psychedelia, it's more like a respectable partnership between The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Velvet Underground. Except this is Black Lips, who are, to make a metaphor (and as their album art might suggest), more like the comedic flesh-eating plant Audrey Jr. from Little Shop of Horrors, just as we are the Seymours, forced to serve our master.
Blue Oyster Cult Spectres (Columbia)
It's frustrating to hear people say rock from the ’70s was bad, and unfortunately this affirmation has been passed off as a factual piece of rock history. With that said, though, the sentiment is understandable because this album ... kind of sucks. The singing is deficient and there's a little too much emphasis on pointless noodling. "Don't Fear The Reaper" is an amazing song, but it's BÖC's only amazing song and it's not even on this album. Thirty years after its original release, this record does have merit, but is best bought used for a dollar and placed in a referential vinyl library amongst the likes of Kansas and Styx.
Pela Anytown Graffiti (Great Society)
The press release for this album stresses how the four young men of Pela are working-class artists making red-blooded rock ’n’ roll. I was baked when I first listened to this release (kryptonite to music critics, I've come to find out). It sounded excellent. I imagined the praise I would give in this review. Later though, I realized Anytown Graffiti is pretty insipid. In fact, the 11 songs, with their disco-style drumming and emotional vocals, are almost identical. And, honestly, asserting that you’re working-class and therefore more relatable than other music is pretty stupid.
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