Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|The Loud Family|
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
Quadrophonic gin-and-tonic fever dream
Brian Block | Greensboro, North Carolina | 03/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Presenting: the greatest pop record of the 1990's! It begins with a raucous electronic drone that fades to near-silence so a near-inaudible voice can speak, then the drone resumes, merging with the spoken declaration "That's it, that's it, that's it". Then a pop song starts, and it's in standard 4/4 time--- virtually all Loud Family songs are--- but people keep accusing Loud household-head Scott Miller of tricky time changes, and he does make 4/4 sound avant-garde here. But less than a minute later, there's a perfect sing-along hook. It goes "She's a little like/ tendon-slash dimension crash entropica/ cryogen magenta kevlar ebola", and you needn't overthink that one, it means just like it looks it should mean, i.e., not quite as troublesome as the last iteration before "and the zero times she calls me back refines my soul": "cell-disrupting will-corrupting vertigo/ existential exponential horror-show". A clear sign of divorce-in-progress, yep, and I'm not sure 1996 produced a better melody. But by the song's end it's produced a solid alternate candidate, testing your knowledge of shampoo ingredients with the hopeful leftover brag (?) "My girlfriend's got sodium laureth sulf/ sodium laureth sulf-a-a-a-a-ate ha-ai-ai-ai-air". Then comes the great fuzzbox-and chant minute "North San Bruno Dishonor Trip" ("thank you goddess nature/ we don't rape no"), then a marble keeps time for a somewhat more show-tuney version of the Amazingly Great Tune concept ("Don't Respond, She Can Tell"--- and hey, Scott and company spent _hours_ getting that marble timed right). "I'm Not Really A Spring", strummed guitar and pounding drums and "Ooh, ooh ooh, oooh ooh" harmonies, seemed like no more, and no less perfect, than a pure gusher of melody until I tried to include it on a mix tape and had to reckon with its noise beginning and syncopated monotonous strum of an end, both of which work (as do the lyrics: "I can't sit here and make myself want nothing/ but I won't go knocking on doors to see how many tickets to me I can sell"). "Rise Of The Chokehold Princess", for all the note-eliding synth-woodwind wheeze, really is unadulterated beauty, as, later on, are "Not Expecting Both Contempo And Classique", "Where They Go Back To School And Get Depressed" and "Where They Walk Over St. Therese"--- I'm amazed how Scott's voice, so accurately self-described as a "miserable whine" in his '80's days leading Game Theory, has grown to work in this context. But his speaking voice, swaggering "Top-Dollar Survivalist Hardware" past "Pour Some Sugar On Me" into hair-metal superstardom, remains the real asset, setting the sung lines ("Alexander lived in times before the Duke Of Earl/ his fellow Greeks all said he threw the discus like a girl/ didn't have a healthy outlet for his anger, so he took over the world") to a got-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate perfection (Ugh! I just quoted an ad line without irony! But then, it is possible to hype honestly worthy products. Hence this review).Had this album been nothing but the bittersweet reflections on romance set to the tunes in generic pop arrangements, it still would be a 10 on a scale of 10--- and re those reflections, he needed help to write "I didn't know how your kisses felt/ until I saw you kiss someone else", but he managed the directness of "I'm not expecting to wind up with you just because I need to/ I shouldn't count on having air around me just because I breathe" by himself, as well as the marvelous dumped bitterness of "You need a world without my manicured complacency offending you/ and a certain someone who would never steal, unless you ended up with something he wanted.... or snap your last thread of self-respect, all other things remaining equal". But his example here does, despite his disavowal, "plead the case for isolation". A simply great Sadly Beautiful divorce album is still less special than this one, which keeps those adjecvtives, even while being herky-jerky, triumphantly self amused, and crowded, always, with too many notes."
"Everything on this album is on purpose"
John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 01/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Everything on this album is on purpose." So end the (readable and revealing) liner notes. An aggressive, angry, and sonically more punch-drunk and edgy recording. Not one that earns the power-pop label stuck upon Miller and mates a decade previous. He and his band grow up here, leaving lusher melodies for the forced march through sounds and words expressing emotional betrayal.
I keep giving all the Loud Family records, as I do with Game Theory I guess, four stars. All have brilliant moments, and all have annoying if brief stretches (at least in my p-o-v; I do recognize the intention of the songs I do not favor intellectually. They simply do not appeal to me that much as an aesthetic investment of my psychic energy.) And, all have to be heard carefully with headphones. They're that kind of band you rarely find these days.
Although in my top 10 favorite bands (it's hard to separate the two shifting and overlapping configurations) they rest securely, every record has its peaks and valleys. Leader Scott Miller (as with another musical chameleon with a long tenure atop a permutating line-up under his domination, Mark E Smith of The Fall), tends to put on record all of his inner compulsions, wrapped up in intricate, intellectual, yet populist (pop culture at least) lyrical and musical quirky delivery. This does not mean they are undisciplined artists. They both have a gritty DIY mentality after years in the indie-rock scene. Smith and Miller are also scholars of rock music, never forgetting a thought or a fragment of some throwaway tune that was a hit in 1971. This ability of recall and reference allows them to integrate all sorts of influences-- not in a show-off manner but an organic, unforced, and often quite clever, if not downright funny, sort of misanthropic ranting and whining. Smith and Miller are both among the darkest and the most humorous singer-songwriters I know.
This LF record, Interbabe Concern, has the ugliest cover of any LF record. Its brown texture and mathematical typography reflect the anguished content and the scientifically able but restlessly irrational tensions within Miller and his crew. The production is drier than Mitch Easter's. Less depth and lushness, and more of a raw monitoring level reminiscent of Steve Albini. Harsher guitar, more controlled and aggressive vocals.
Again, a line-up change, but now, unfortunately, personally driven by a lyrical concentration on breakups and betrayals. This bitterness emerges (however much I wish it did not have to inspire Miller in the real world) on record to drive LF towards increasingly ambitious segues and an array of blended styles and attitudes.
The songs oddly work in chunks. I do not like the first three much; in pieces, the opener "Sodium" is wonderful, but also in parts annoying. Then, it's a strong set from tracks 4-9, hitting a groove and keeping it steady with poppier, densely produced, catchy riffs. The "Spring" track has an amazing bit where the tape speed's manipulated Revolver-style to great effect. "Top-Dollar" is the kind of song that I only need to hear once. The return to form is brief, with the title of track 10 expressing the typical duplicity of Miller's musical moods and lyrical outlooks. Then, another three (again) songs which grate on me a bit too much, although I understand on all the tracks what Miller and band want to do. I appreciate the effort, but simply prefer other songs much more. Tracks 14-19 again show the pop craft returning to take control in welcome fashion; these manage to dilute the harshness without floating into bathos. These make a fine close to the album and offset the bite of the more aggressive, ornery, but for me too strained invective of the angrier but too jittery songs that I tend to skip.
Miller is on to his own scheme, naturally. His liner notes to a particularly experimental and indulgent bit explain: "I know CD players have programmable tracks. But I got my philosophy." Indeed!
12/19 is a great ratio for any album during these otherwise often uninspired post-college rock decades, and the dozen I select, while your choices may differ, show that Miller, along with Paul Wieneke on nearly everything, Kenny Kessel on bass, Dawn Richardson on drums, can handle what for a Scott Miller-directed, self-produced, effort manages to do a lot with a comparatively stripped-down line-up. (Ken Stringfellow of the Posies and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt guest; these two representing fittingly the two flavors on this record: sweet classic-pop, sour college-radio, alternative but bitter rather than effervescent art-punk.
Miller and bandmates, to their credit, never slacken or choose the sell-out. Despite the deadly combo of critical acclaim and cult status, this music earns my respect for its integrity. I may not always prefer all of their songs, depending on my mood, but (like The Fall again if less so), their generally high level of quality shows the determination of a band led by a figure who refuses to take the easy way out to rise up the charts. (And, unlike The Fall, fans have the comparative benefit of not having to put up/out with endlessly repackaged live tracks and dodgy and.or superfluous compilations by disgruntled former members!)
This album's also, for reasons that will be understood if you are familiar with the principal players on- and off-stage responsible, the first record in nearly a decade that Mitch Easter did not produce. Growing up in public: this is the record."
Yet another five-star review! what are you waiting for?
Brian Block | 07/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loud Family have enough of a (cult) following on amazon that I ought to feel free not only to write five-star reviews of the nearly-perfect Interbabe Concern and the very good Days for Days, but... also reviews of the mediocre Attractive Nuisance, The Tape of Only Linda, and Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things. 'Cause there's a following, so the rating won't go down TOO much, right? And then the non-fans won't be driven away.So I should (out of duty to new Loud Family fans who maybe don't want to buy five CDs) write my two- and three-star reviews of those albums. But I can't. They don't grab me. I haven't listened to them often enough to write a fair review. It's like a catch-22, isn't it? So I'm forced to write yet another five-star review of Interbabe Concern, at least considering the other options.Scott Miller is a very smart guy, isn't he? Hasn't he read Finnegan's Wake? Anyway, the liner notes to this disc are worth the price of the CD alone. I admit I don't get every joke, but then I just imagine how you'd feel if you'd never heard Metal Machine Music, and didn't know what the amine-B ring was. Hey, I know exactly how that feels.I get bored by a lot of pop music because it's all boy/girl stuff, and I'm queer and I can't relate to that. I used to change the lyrics around in my head but after awhile that doesn't cut it anymore. Anyway, Scott is a good enough lyricist that he can do the boy/girl thing and still, it's totally interesting to me. I don't think I can say that about anyone else, except maybe Paul Simon and Richard Thompson."