Dump the Bosses Off Your Back!
Dump the Bosses Off Your Back! is a rebel’s fodder for May Day. Feeney, a longtime activist, has taken up the void left by Joe Glazer’s death as labors troubadour and, like social justice advocates such as Glazer, Utah Phillips, and Si Kahn, is interested in sending a message. Don’t expect “pretty” music so much as earnest attempts to fan discontent. The album’s most inspiring offerings are those which highlight recent struggles. “We Fought Back (and We Won)” salutes victorious Canadian hospital workers, “Fifty Cent Sneakers and Five Dollar Wine” tackles not making it in America, and three songs demand redress for the horrendous mine conditions that led to the Sago disaster. Yes, it’s propaganda music, but Anne Feeney is a rebel with a cause.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
My Bloody Underground
Jangly strumming, haphazard tambourine, and droning, meandering lead guitar form an atypical opener in the six-minute dirge “Bring Me The Head Of Paul McCartney On Heather Mill’s Wooden Peg (Dropping Bombs On The White House).” The tune, like the album, is repetitive, drugged-out, and expletive-laced. My Bloody Underground, the band’s thirteenth release, mines the same fertile terrain as many of its predecessors: the psychedelic garage of the ’60s and the early-’90s Alternative explosion. Yet while previous efforts were often uneven affairs–featuring brilliant moments bogged down by self-indulgence–this effort, self-produced and self-released, adds new textures and trims the fat to find that elusive balance.
& The Jicks
Real Emotional Trash
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have slowly inched into psych-prog rock territory. With the addition of drummer extraordinaire Janet Weiss, they finally have the musical muscle to make their expansive tunes stick. Real Emotional Trash finds the band burrowing deep in arcane stoner rock territory and excavating some gems. A few songs tend to plod, especially the title track, which isn’t heavy or playful enough to sustain its 10 minutes. And lyrically it remains disappointing–someone who once conjured brilliant John Ashbery paraphrases now spouts overly cutesy hippie balderdash about “Elmo Delmo.” But Malkmus is on a different trip from his Pavement days and even the missteps point toward an intriguing metamorphosis.
Sun Kil Moon
Sun Kil Moon’s third album is the next chapter in Mark Kozelek’s career-spanning ode to loss and remembering. Here, as previously with Red House Painters, he lays bare his swirling, plaintive meditations on the ghosts in his past. Kozelek’s Neil Young guitar stylings are paired with flat, somber vocals. At its best, on tracks like “The Light” and “Moorestown,” April sounds like an informal jam session, with friends picking up instruments and accompanying his chunky chords and labyrinthine solos. The album features guest appearances by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.