Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of With A Little Help From My Fwends, Phantom Radio And Rose Ave.

M. Brianna Stallings
3 min read
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My Beatles fandom runs so deep that in eighth grade, I wrote a 20-page paper chronicling the band’s epic cultural impact. I recognize that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band helped make psychedelic rock mainstream. I also recognize that people who hated The Fab Four at first because they supposedly ruined music are, today, the same sort of people who would decry The Flaming Lips’ With a Little Help from My Fwends as sacrilege. They’re loyalists to an old cause that Wayne Coyne knows is antithetical to the nature of psychedelia. This star-studded homage is as much tribute as reinvention. Miley Cyrus’ listless, nicotine-stained vocals are almost charming on an explosive “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Maynard James Keenan, Puscifer and Sunbears! get cheeky with “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” “Within You Without You” is still as obnoxious as “When I’m Sixty-Four” is darling. This is a heady, loving companion to a classic record.

Mark Lanegan Band Phantom Radio (Vagrant)

Somewhere on the dial between desperation and doom lies the Mark Lanegan Band’s Phantom Radio. It’s a haunted, dangerous world full of smoke and dust clouds, barbed wire and rusty knife blades. Lanegan’s is the perfect voice to warn/welcome you to the apocalypse, as evidenced by “Judgement Time,” a dirge with a “strung out angel” and “whole armies dying.” Meanwhile “I Am the Wolf” tells us that Lanegan has “survived on another’s kill” and he’s “too hungry to shy away.” Fans and detractors alike could easily see Phantom Radio as more of the same from this gravel-throated troubadour. Fans will find comfort in Lanegan’s familiar lyrical territory; haters will say Lanegan is veering dangerously close to self-parody. Those who prefer Lanegan more pared down and acoustic might be reluctant to embrace glitchier tracks like single “Floor of the Ocean” or “The Killing Season.”

You+Me rose ave. (RCA/Dine Alone)

Top 40 listeners surprised by You+Me, P!nk’s collaboration with Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green (Alexisonfire, City and Colour), need only look at the diverse roster of artists she’s worked with to understand this new direction. These include Linda Perry, John Legend, Indigo Girls and Tim Armstrong of Rancid. The duo’s debut rose ave. is a warm, heartfelt folk album loaded with atmosphere and rich harmonies. P!nk aka Alecia Moore and Green wrote most of these 10 songs together in under a week, and it shows in the best possible way. They sound like comfortable tunes penned by two voices destined to converge. Standouts include “Capsized,” “Love Gone Wrong,” “You and Me” and “Break the Cycle.” P!nk’s unavoidable vocal acrobatics can feel out of place at times in this stripped-down atmosphere, and the duo’s sparse cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” lacks the characteristic pulsing beat of the original but still feels just as verklempt.

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