Quick Spins: Dandy Warhols, Dinosaur Jr, Vee Dee
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 24, 2009 3:20PM
In which we take a quick look at a few recent musical releases.
When The Dandy Warhols released Welcome To The Monkey House, the mix we all heard wasn't the one the band intended. Originally they had Russell Elavedo -- better known for his work with D’Angelo, The Roots, and Common -- work his magic on it. The result was a more nuanced take on The Dandy's sprawl, gently intoxicating. Songs like "The Last High" floated on and dissolved naturally into the atmosphere. Elavedo let the slow jams work themselves out and into a slow sweat, and added a sway previously untapped by The Dandy's on the tunes that could be called rockers. Unfortunately the label didn't get it and released a glossier and shorter mix co-produced by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. Nothing against Rhodes, and we actually like his mix although it left the album as a whole uneven, but the Elavedo mix is superior ... and finally available officially as The Dandy Warhols ARE Sound after floating around for years in bootleg form
Dinosaur Jr are two albums into the reunion no one thought would ever happen, and instead of embarrassing themselves as is the wont of most "classic" bands that "get the band back together" they're still making glorious noise that stands proudly next to anything off their first three albums. Farm applies J Mascis' wall o' guitar heavily over the rhythm section of Lou Barlow and Murph, at time threatening to entirely drown the two out, but every time they come back swinging, meet Mascis head on, and all three lock in. Granted, this outing is a little mellower than the last disc, but by doing so it shows us why Dinosaur Jr just wasn't as awesome in the '90s. The melodies were pleasant but the urgency was gone from everything he did save one or two tracks. Farm melds the molten aspects of this trio's early years with the mellowing whetstone off age without grinding anything down to a dull edge.
Vee Dee constructs garage rock jabs that stretch far beyond the three minute mark without ever straining one's attention span. Mining an odd mixture of punk and rough psychedelia Vee Dee shoves tales of failing systems into his windstorms. This isn't for everyone, and while the songs never overstay their welcome, a succession of 5-, 6-, and 7-minute explorations in sonic scrawl can wear down the average listener. We recommend taking one full dose every once in a while and coming back for nips at the bottle as needed.
Vee Dee plays June 25 at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 9 p.m., $8, 21+, get a copy of his new disc that night