Sunday, May 14

Quickly Going the way of the Buffalo

Hey everyone.

This site is going on indeffinte hiatus effective the minute I'm done typing this. The reasons for this hiatus are many, but the most pressing reason is that I just don't have the money to spend on new albums right now. Cash is tight, especially as I move into my new place for the summer. So untill I get my finacial situation in order, I'm not going to buying any new albums.

There is always the chance that'll I throw a reivew of an older album or a Mr. Dogg Classic up here somewhere, and If i do, I will let you know via the mailing list. Thanks alot for reading, and I hope you guys will read again if I ever come back.

Living vicariously through the music of other,
Mr. Dogg

Thursday, May 11

First Party Record of 2006

ARTIST: Gnarls Barkley
ALBUM: St. Elsewhere

COMMENTS: It’s been almost a full year since I’ve heard a song that qualifies as “My Jam”. In order for a song to be “My Jam”, it has got to excite me instantly upon hearing it; it has to whip my body into a frenzy that can only be cured by dancing it out, regardless of how terrible of a dancer I am. Previous “Jams” have included “Be” off of Common’s recent release of the same name, and “Ghettomusick” by Outkast. Thanks to Gnarls Barkley, I can officially say that I once again have “My Jam” for the summer.

The song that has got my toes tapping is “Go Go Gadget Gospel”; the opening track off of “St. Elsewhere”. It is a quick two minute blast of funky horns, hand claps, marching band drums, and honey dipped soul vocals. It’s the kind of song that makes the listener sit up and pay attention, commands them to move, and dares them not to like every second of it. It sounds like the opening theme to a 70’s cartoon show about funky soul ninjas (that sentence makes a lot more sense in my head than on paper).

The madmen behind this wild frenzy of funk and soul are producer Danger Mouse; best known for his work on “The Grey Album” and his collaboration with MF Doom on “The Mouse and The Mask”, and Cee-Lo Green of Goodie Mod fame. Once you realize who is behind this wild mess, it makes a little more sense; Danger Mouse has already proven himself more than able to make pop music (his work on the Gorillaz most recent album) and Cee-Lo is trying his best to be the bastard child of George Clinton and Isaac Hayes.
Put these two together and something good was bound to happen.

And for the most part, “St. Elsewhere” is something good. Gnarls Barkley is a soulful album that throws back to the early 70’s of R & B, Soul, and Funk, while still managing to sound modern and new. I have to give most of the credit to Danger Mouse; he really runs the show. Cee-Lo’s high pitched singing can range anywhere from arousing to creepy, and he is clearly really good at what he does, but its Danger’s beats that steal the show and keep this from being a throwback album. It’s only about 40 minutes long, but it packs a punch in that 40 minutes. “St. Elsewhere” is full of songs that make you want to shake, wave, shimmy, and boogie. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s one of the most fun albums I’ve heard in a while.

Not to mention, one of these songs is a Violent Femmes cover. And I know I might get angry emails for this, but Gnarls Barkley does it better than the Femmes ever did. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my jam on and dance my face off.

7 out of 10

WORTH THE MONEY: Fans of soul, hip hop, or having fun should give this a listen. “Go Go Gadget Gospel” and “Smiley Faces” are worth the price of admission for me

KEY TRACKS: “Go Go Gadget Gospel” “Gone Daddy Gone” “Smiley Faces” “Transformer”

Tuesday, May 9

Babyshambles Is Funnier When You're Drunk

ARTIST: Babyshambles
ALBUM: Down in Albion

COMMENTS: When I’m not listening to, writing, playing, or talking about music, I usually read about it. My general rule of thumb is to not read about any album I’m reviewing until my review is done. I do this so that my opinions will be my own, and not impacted by the words of someone else. Even though I haven’t read much of anything about Babyshambles, I know that they’ve been getting mixed reviews. That simple knowledge is a strike against them.

But the good news is that I never listened to the Libertines. Apparently, one of the dudes from the Libertines (lead singer maybe? I don’t really know, I’ve never really listened to the Libertines) is the front man of this new band. And while Libertines fans may hate this album right off of the bat because its not a new libertines album, the only snap judgment I could make is that “Babyshambles” is a funny word, like poppycock. Oh those crazy Brits and their gibberish.

But nonsense words aside, let’s get the album. It starts off with “La Bella Et La Bete”; which is a swing number that threatens to lose control and burst out at any moment, but never gets around to it, even though the track is five minutes. The next song, “Fuck Forever” is a sloppy mess; it starts out hard to listen to before springing into a catchy hook that salvages the song. Lead singer and ex Libertine Pete Doherty slurs and wails in an erratic way that is both obnoxious and endearing; he is a fitting mouth piece for this chaotic collection.

Sometimes Babyshambles sounds like The Clash (“A’rebours”) and sometimes sounds just fucking ridiculous ( WTF “Pentonville”?!?!). But mostly, this sounds like the work of a man with a lot of ideas, some better than others, whose previous band wouldn’t allow him the creative room he needs. It jumps from Brit pop, to punk rock, to reggae, to new wave hipster stomp, then back over the same ground again. An album like that, while therapeutic for the creator, lacks the focus needed to make it a good album. But there is something in this albums sloppy riffs and slurred vocals that makes it endearing. At the end of the day, “Down in Albion” is a sexy mess; not so much an album as a collection of songs that play like Franz Ferdinand drunk on cheap vodka and high on pills. This album is that smashed girl at the bar who is spilling drinks all over everyone and making an ass of herself, but is still strangely alluring.

RAITING: 6 out of 10

: “Fuck Forever” “32nd of December” “Pipe Down”

: Not for full record store price, but used or discounted I would say so.

Sunday, May 7

Smells Like Flannel

ARTIST: Pearl Jam
ALBUM: Pearl Jam

Comments: I missed Pearl Jam by about five years. I had a copy of “Ten” and I recognized their songs on the radio, but I never really thought they were anything special. At the height of their popularity, I was just too young to really appreciate their music. Now that I’m older, I understand their importance, but I’m still not a huge fan by any means. I listen to their greatest hits album, which is very good, and the more popular tracks off of “Ten” and “Yield” but I am by no means a fan boy like some of my older peers.

So when I heard that Pearl Jam had a new album coming out and that it was supposedly their best album since “Ten”, I was excited. This album was going to be my chance to really listen to Pearl Jam and try to understand what they were really all about. This was going to be my way of making up for the fact that I was just too young to appreciate them; this was my chance to give them an honest look. What I see in Pearl Jam is a band that can still has the magic, but is struggling to remain relevant.

The grunge “revolution” of the early 90s was a big time for rock music; it shattered the stranglehold of ridiculous hair metal and androgynous synth-pop that was the late 80s. Pearl Jam was one of the three big bands who were leading the charge with their stripped down, aggressive sound and their less outrageous, more grounded lyrics (the other two being Alice in Chains and Nirvana). But the grunge revolution is long over, and Pearl Jam is the only one of the three still active. The point of all of this is that Pearl Jam had a decision to make; do they build off of their roots and try to change with the times, or do they keep on rocking like its 1993?

The answer is found in the opening riffs of the first track, the fast passed rocker “Life Wasted”. With its 4/4 drum beat and lead guitarist Mike McCready’s stadium rock riffs, this song could sound right at home on “Ten” or “Vs”, Pearl Jam’s first two albums. Lead singer Eddie Vedder is in top form, all of his screams, slurs, and croons sound as sharp/stupid as they always have, depending on your opinion. As “World Wide Suicide” kicks in, it becomes obvious that Pearl Jam are fighting the clock and sticking to their guns. And for the first two tracks, it works. Carried by confidence, Pearl Jam dares you to tell them the revolution is over and that their music is out of style.

The act gets old quickly though. The drums keep beating, the guitar keeps squealing, Vedder keeps screaming then talking then screaming. It all starts to run together until it sounds like one big 20 minute song that just keeps repeating the same chorus over and over without much change. It starts to sound like the same solos, the same howls. Vedder’s lyrics, sometimes inspired but often flimsy, deal with issues like the war in Iraq in thinly veiled metaphors and clever turns of phrase, but never make you sit up and listen like they can on some better Pearl Jam tracks.

When Pearl Jam slows it down a little bit, the songs seem to get good again. Songs like “Gone” and “Come Back” change the pace of the album, and give it a sense of intimacy and sincerity that if often lacks. However, you start to wonder if these songs only stand out because they break up the average songs which surround them. Pearl Jam finishes the album off strong with the seven minute epic “Inside Job” which builds on sounds of records skipping and a haunting guitar harmony played over an acoustic riff peppered with some piano.

At the end of the day, this album stands as a testament to a band trapped in time they cannot hope to understand. Maybe it’s better that Nirvana and Alice in Chains died; they served their purpose and changes music, but would they have become anything more than an afterthought after 1996? Pearl Jam is trying to fight off obscurity the only way they know how, with grinding guitar and wild man howls mixed with slower ballads. The final problem with this album is that it delivers on its promise; it sounds like Pearl Jam from the 90s.

RATING: 6 out of 10

KEY TRACKS: “Life Wasted” “World Wide Suicide” “Inside Job”

WORTH THE MONEY: Diehard Pearl Jam fans will love this, but average Jack and Jill should save their money

Friday, May 5

May News

Hey party people. Here's the skinny on the first days of May.

1) I could offer an excuse as to why I havent posted a review yet (final exams, moving into a new apartment, ect) but in reality I am just undiciplined. Should have a review up by tuesday, but if you dont want to check back every day to see if I'm doing my job, why not sign up for the newsletter? Email me at to get added to the list. The list right now is admitabbly small, which means less work for me sending it out, but more checking this site unnessisarrily.

2) New Albums!!!
Neil Young!
Bruce Springsteen!
Pearl Jam!

3) um... thats actually it. check back on tuesday

-Mr. Dogg