CD Reviews


Best Coast Crazy for You (Mexican Summer)

Summer pop has never sounded so gloriously cavernous as it does with Crazy for You, an inspired Jesus & Mary Chain-style raid on Buddy Holly’s pristine songbook. Singer/guitarist Bethany Consentino has a real knack for fashioning dumber-than-20-sunbronzed-blondes-at-the-beach song structures and lyrics that sound like new and hallowed ground. “The End” has everything you need in bubblegum music, from the ’60s-era Merseybeat drum pattern to the soaring yet saddening melody, with Consentino declaring her love for all time. “Our Deal” adds a dash of Patsy Cline to the formula, minus the plodding country-and-western groove that usually accompanies music this high and lonesome. “I Want You,” meanwhile, is a taut piece of sexual tension, just two chords pounding their way into and across a timeless girl-group vocal line. Capturing the fleeting, shimmering beauty of teen angst isn’t as easy as it sounds, but if you like music with a dark sweetness, Crazy for You is a keeper. ★★★★☆


Eightfourseven Lossless (Minus Head Records)

Sacramento’s Eightfourseven has the most forgettable name I’ve encountered in a decade-plus of album reviews. Fortunately, the band’s sophomore (but first for Minus Head) effort is a “sticky” spin, effortlessly blending electronica with arena-ready rock in attractive, even original, ways. Sure, the paranoid android-esque melancholy of “Chibana” pays homage to alt-rock titans such as Radiohead, but there’s a deeper commitment to the hardcore-punk aesthetic happening here. Singer Lance Jackman, for instance, goes from melodic blast to throat-shredding shriek in nanoseconds flat, while programmer Anthony Sarti and drummer Ben Conger provide the mountaintop-lopping rhythmic foundation necessary to keep massively melodic and crushing tracks such as “Youth Erratic” from spinning off into either pure pop pablum or metal mockery. “Recover in Circles” is the standout, though, full of textured guitar sounds and dance-floor fury, and signifying electronic music’s return to “live” dynamics. Definitely a sleeper disc that’ll grow on you into summer’s end. ★★★☆☆


Die Antwoord 5 (Cherrytree/Interscope)

Cape Town, South Africa, trailer-trash YouTube phenomenon Die Antwoord (which I’m told translates into “The Answer” in Afrikaans) continues its publicity/performance-art campaign with the release of a five-song EP, available digitally now and physically on July 27. The Internet hype on these guys beggars belief, but it’s not completely undeserved. Lead rapper Ninja, who projects the aura of a wounded outsider artist simply asking for his creative place in a world of haters, is a seriously funny dude. Sadly, it’s all in the energetic delivery and not the actual raps, which are lame. Sample, from “Enter the Ninja”: “No fucking around, I’m cutting down/anyone in my path/tryin’ to fuck up my game with razor-sharp/lyrical throw stars/killin’ my flow.” Wu-Tang, they’re not, but Die Antwoord’s music video for the same song is brilliant. Some bands sound better when you’re laughing your ass off, I guess. ★☆☆☆☆

Suggested Next Read

Apprentice Has Lots to Learn

Movie Review

Apprentice Has Lots to Learn

The team behind the National Treasure franchise—Nicolas Cage, Jon Turteltaub and Jerry Bruckheimer—are back with this summer’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, an action-packed adventure full of magic and mystery. Although the trio has found success before, Cage has been pulling the same rabbit out of his hat for years. In Disney’s reimagining of Goethe’s classic narrative poem (and of its own 1940 animated adaptation in Fantasia), Cage is Balthazar Blake, a centuries-old sorcerer whose role is better suited for an older actor.