The Crawling Ear Column: Would Have Been A Great EP

Our Stateside music know-it-all takes exception to the continued existence of some bands, and recommends listening to some others.

De Novo Dahl

On Monday the Onion’s AV Club website posted another one of their arbitrary, asinine, and completely unavoidable music lists, this one covering twenty-one good albums that could have been great EPs. Amongst their selections were R.E.M.’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi, Blur’s 13, and the Afghan Whigs’ 1965. I don’t mind telling you folks I was highly offended by the inclusion of these three particular records. The fact that anyone, including the highly learned music snobs at the AV Club, would suggest any of these albums offer even enough redeemable material for an EP made me spit up into my Cheerios. None of these bands should have been allowed to record new music after 1995.

I have a feeling the AV Clubbers know this. They must – even my parents are aware Michael Stipe was slipping into self-parody during the twilight of the Clinton years (don’t even get my dad started on the Afghan Whigs). Yeah, those folks over there at the AV Club must be so bored listening to Nick Cave reissues and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon that they’re just messing with us now. I can’t wait for next week, when they’re sure to suggest Michael Jackson would make the ultimate grindcore singer. Man, I gotta get a job with those kooks.

Now it’s time for a segment I like to call New Music Stampede. Somehow all these confounded record companies find my address and bury me in piles and piles of their promo CDs. I’d love to just chuck ’em all out the window into the schoolyard below, raining colorful and obscure music upon the small children of Brooklyn, but that wouldn’t be very fair to the artists, now would it? So I begrudgingly listen to them and jot down my thoughts. Here are the five records that were at the top of the pile this week:

The Cult – Born Into This These guys are keeping eighties motorcycle rock alive in the twenty-first century. Muscle riffs and cock rock beats abound. Ian Astbury still sounds like the third best Glenn Danzig impersonator this side of Lodi. Intense close-ups of a tiger’s mouth are included in this disc’s artwork. Rowr. I foresee this being the soundtrack to my mid-life crisis.

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De Novo Dahl – Shout EP These jokers have some of the best song titles I’ve ever heard. “Sexy Come Lately,” “Sexy Mr. Falcon Jive Mister,” and my personal favorite, “Crap Your Pants Say Shout” (we all know who that’s a dig at). Musically, De Novo is as poppy and uplifting as the rainbow on the inner sleeve. Tween girls would eat this up. Maybe they already have. I wouldn’t know – I’m not a tween girl (or the father of one).

Cryptacize – Dig That Treasure Guitar-based and zither-infused female mope jams. What a shame; Cryptacize would have been a great name for a death metal dance remix album. Actually, this could be Meg White’s secret solo record no one knows about. The percussion is just awkward enough.

Castanets – In The Vines This is the type of frown-inducing Americana roots bull snot perfect for late night drives through barren wastelands after intense break-ups/tragic deaths. To quote the guy who hangs out in the park near my house and always tries to sell me pot, this shit will make you think about your life. The singer’s got a voice like a forgotten Muppet. Inexplicable drum machine on the last track. It works.

Rafter – Sex, Death, Cassette Yet another lo-fi, half-electronic one man band. Seems like this Rafter guy missed the boat for this kind of thing in the mid-nineties. I’m having Folk Implosion flashbacks is what I’m trying to say. Beck and Lou Barlow, what have you created? The tender, whispery “I Love You Most Of All” saves this disc from being the height of obnoxious.

That’s all for now. See you clowns next week.