CD Reviews

Raised by Cable, Post-Op Lollipop Remix EP and Reservations for Debauchery


Baron Vaughn Raised by Cable (ASpecialThing)

A Las Vegas Academy grad, stand-up comedian Baron Vaughn is finding increasing success, from his role in USA Network drama Fairly Legal to appearances on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. He recently released a live set of material recorded in May at the UCB Theatre in L.A., and it kills. His meditations on life’s ignominies are hilariously dismal. During flights to see his mom, he sings in his best Tom Jones voice to other passengers that for him the “Shangri-La of debauchery” isn’t “cocaine and hookers,” but instead homemade spaghetti, sleeping on a couch and watching Discovery Channel on Blu-Ray. Touring the country as a stand-up offers hours of cable TV, which inspires Vaughn’s milk-will-shoot-out-your-nose (well, if you happen to be drinking milk) review of Animal Cops: Detroit. And let’s just say you’ll never Google cross-burning racists (see “Klan Site”) the same way again. Funnier than hell. Order at ★★★☆☆


Candy Warpop Post-Op Lollipop Remix EP (Self-released)

Normally I scratch my hard-rock head when a band I admire hands over what I deem to be perfectly recorded music to a bunch of DJs (“knob-twiddlers,” I call ’em) so that the material can be tainted with obnoxious disco pulsing. Months back, I caught a live Beauty Bar set by female-fronted noise-gazers Candy Warpop and was stirred to my bubblegum core by the group’s slashing tunefulness. “Smilefucker” lacked nothing. But Vegas rave guru Metaphase re-imagines it as part of Warpop’s new five-song remix EP, and I have to admit his version is darker, doomier, more mind-shatteringly apocalyptic than the original. I’m blasting it constantly at my house to, I’m sure, my neighbors’ irritation. Also alluringly skewed: wonkknow’s coldly Plasticine take on “Plastic Earth,” Cayce Andrew’s squared-off and surging interpretation of “Velluto Blu” and Jonny Vibe’s psychedelic-Nintendo adaptation of Warpop grunge ballad “Harrowing of Hell.” Download at ★★★☆☆


The Objex Reservations for Debauchery (Crownn)

Listening to The Objex’s new 10-song CD, I can totally understand why this local quartet is considered Vegas’ top punk act and why they signed with a cool European label. What I can’t figure out is why a U.S. record exec hasn’t yanked frontwoman Felony Melony out of the loud-guitars-and-booming-drums straitjacket in which she’s put herself. Melony is charismatic, visually stunning, but more significantly she’s got a voice like a motherfucker, one that shames many American Idol finalists. She could be the next Gwen Stefani or even Lady Gaga, yet remains content to pummel mosh-pit morons with Mohawk-incinerating anthems such as “Social Disease,” in which she diagnoses a discarded, gloom-infected lover: “Your lips are contagious/and what you say is so, so dangerous/your tongue poisons me.” But there’s no modulation from track to track, every moment is relentless, hell for leather, straight ahead, up the middle. Satisfying, sex-fueled, hard-edged pop-punk? Sure, but why not reach for more, guys? Order via ★★★☆☆

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By Jason Scavone

Nikola Tesla has a posse. The father of alternating current, the induction motor and, quite possibly, the death ray is the most finely realized specimen of mad science who’s ever had the courtesy to leap out of the pages of the pulps and into real life. He also stands, alongside Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, as the spiritual totem of Steampunk, the genre that marries science fiction to Victorian convention. It’s kind of a reimagining of the whiz-bang Jet Age spirit of adventure and scientific can-do through the lens of Industrial Revolution technology.