CD Reviews


Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra)

Riding the deathless momentum of massive pop-R&B hit “Fuck You” for the last few months, Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley member Cee Lo Green releases his third full-length to broad acclaim. Too bad it’s undeserved. Like Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black before it, The Lady Killer pays only superficial homage to the golden era of African-American tunesmithing, and in that particularly non-edgy, white upper-middle-class-approved way that makes it suitable for Starbucks shoppers. The rest of the album is equally as shallow, offering little in the way of emotional or spiritual satisfaction—just polished craftsmanship akin to contemporary Elvis Costello and Sting. The upbeat Marvin Gaye falsetto of “Wildflower” is pleasant enough, but there’s no meat to sink your teeth into. A pleasing morsel of funky pastry for the defanged crowd. ★★☆☆☆


Stereolab Not Music (Duophonic UHF)

One of the first bands to be tagged with the “post-rock” label in the ’90s, London’s Stereolab has released an intriguing discography that always satisfies and rarely falters, especially if you’re a fan of lounge-tinged, exotica-kissed pop-rock. Problem is, it’s nearly 2011, and Stereolab still sounds like 1995. What sounded so gripping 15 years ago now recedes into background music. Not Music offers exceptional moments, such as the frolicking Belle & Sebastian-esque romp “Everybody’s Weird Except Me,” which is shot through with piano and harmony backup vocals, and the nearly 8-bit computerized synth-and-marimba ditty “Laserblast,” and the rich, extensive horn-layering crescendo of “So Is Cardboard Clouds.” Otherwise, Not Music doesn’t produce anything we haven’t heard countless times from this and many other twee-pop acts. Ideal music with which to shackle yourself to a cubicle. ★★☆☆☆

Local Band

Scrap Iron Saints Sand Shanties EP (Hex Records)

When a local band asks for a CD review, I don’t make promises, because 90 percent of the time I hate the band’s music. So when I ended up with a review dupe of “apocabilly” (as in “post-apocalyptic rockabilly”) quartet Scrap Iron Saints’ debut EP, I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise and satisfaction, this Mad Max-meets-Stray Cats band is awe-inspiring. “Radioactive Girl” is an upright bass-thumping love song to a poisonous glow-in-the-dark gal, while the rousing beer-drinking anthem “Nowhere Left to Go” features crisp mandolin chords and biblical lyrics of doom. “Sand Leviathan” brilliantly mixes the giant desert worms of Dune with Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” But it’s the gorgeously grim waltz of “Grandaddy’s Song” that confirms Saints to be the most fascinating band in Vegas right now. Download Shanties for three bucks at ★★★☆☆

Suggested Next Read

From Rock Bottom to Top


From Rock Bottom to Top

Multi-tasking graduate student, filmmaker, actor, poet, author and sometime soap star James Franco is back in an adrenaline rush called 127 Hours, director Danny Boyle’s first film since winning the Oscar two years ago for Slumdog Millionaire. It’s the most harrowing film of the year.