REVIEW: Cotton Candy, Top Notch & First Rate, Teenbeat

When Unrest disbanded at what I considered to be the height of its powers in 1994, my college radio-infused world was devastated. Unrest was my favorite band at the time, simply because its wildly erratic yet highly collectible records mimicked what I thought made college radio so interesting and intriguing and vital. The abrupt mood shifts, random non-sequiturs, and brazen avant-silliness were all packaged in a DIY shell with a dark, sardonic undercurrent (and, of course, exquisite design). You couldn’t pin that band down. Granted, its final two albums veered sharply in a clean, clinical direction, but the sum of its years and dizzying musical styles were always at bay, especially in a live setting.

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VIDEO: Interpol “Lights”

Ok, so Interpol has released the official video for “Lights”, the free download the band offered a few weeks back to serve as a teaser for the new, self-titled full length due out in September on Matador. Let’s see if I can get the synopsis right: Two beautiful Asian women dressed in clinical, plastic S&M gear (and off-kilter Yin/Yang-ish face paint) gulp down some semen before undressing and eventually shaving PJ Harvey(?) with a straight razor. They inject her with what we have to assume is semen before dressing her in a skin-tight wetsuit. She crawls around submissively on some sort of artfully shaped installation block and begins to cry tears of…semen! Then she drools some semen, looking, well, uncomfortable doesn’t quite cut it. But you get the idea. Methinks this is some kind of metaphor for Carlos D’s departure. No sign of the band in it. But if you have a hankering for some sticky wet sauce, then this is your lucky day. Directed by Charlie White.

Interpol’s rescheduled tour dates:

06.25 – Crocodile Rock Cafe -Allentown, PA
06.26 – Creators Project, Milk Studios, New York, NY
07.23 – Pearl Street Ballroom – Northampton, MA
07.24 – Toad’s Place – New Haven, CT
07.25 – Ramshead Live – Baltimore, MD
07.29 – The National – Richmond, VA
07.30 – The NorVa – Norfolk, VA
07.31 – Atlantic City HOB – Atlantic City, NJ
08.04 – Wellmont Theatre – Montclair, NJ
08.05 – House Of Blues – Boston, MA
08.06 – Northern Lights – Clifton Park, NY
08.09 – Metropolis – Montreal, QC
08.10 – Kool Haus – Toronto, ON
08.11 – Clutch Cargo – Pontiac, MI
08.13 – The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
08.14 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
08.15 – Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
08.18 – The Music Farm – Charleston, SC
08.19 – House Of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, FL
08.21 – The Fillmore – Miami Beach, FL

Refused’s Dennis Lyxzén on reunions

Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come sounds as unbelievably raucous and intense as it did 12 years ago. This climactic swansong obviously aped all of Refused’s hardcore and punk idols with practically every idea showcased, but the execution was perfect, which makes it all completely justified and, well, a moot point. The fact that the band broke up when it reached its absolute apex creatively is by definition punk as fuck. So, all those kids longing for a reunion clearly don’t get what these guys were all about. Refused’s lead singer Dennis Lyxzén recently spoke with Exclaim and explained his perspective in eschewing any sort of reunion to cash in on the legend:

“To be in that band is one of those things that half the time I’m sympathetic and understanding towards why people would do it. The other half, it’s just such a useless maneuver. It’s a defeatist attitude but if your objective is to play music with your friends and have a good time, there’s no harm in reuniting your band for a couple of shows. For us, there have always been so many other aspects of what we did, that it always felt like a complete no-no. You can’t do that shit. Minor Threat never got back together. That’s kind of our take on it. With some things, the legend is better than the actual thing.”

I doubt even many of the bands (with a legend to protect) who have chosen to reunite would disagree with Lyxzén there. The legend is always better than the actual thing. Anyone who witnessed Led Zeppelin in its heyday and then also happened to catch what constituted a reunited “Led Zeppelin” at the O2 Arena back in 2007 would in all likelihood affirm the same. Bands with the set of ideals that Refused actively preached have to stay true to the code or run the risk of becoming an utter mockery. So don’t hold your breath for a tour.

The Shape of Punk to Come has been reissued by Epitaph in a deluxe array of formats with all the requisite bonus features, including live tracks, liners, and photos. If you have never owned this album, and sometimes feel the urge to smash your face into a plate glass window, then I suggest you pick up a copy. You’re welcome. [Via Punk News]

Interpol reclaims independence

Interpol’s self-titled fourth LP will be released via Matador Records this September, as Pitchfork has just reported. Not entirely surprising, given that the band’s major label debut, Our Love to Admire, failed to yield the type of commercial radio play that the clueless suits at the dying firms tend to favor. Matador is a much better home for Interpol’s brand of dense, dark post-punk, anyway. Losing bassist Carlos D hasn’t slowed down any of the band’s plans, however, as they’ve replaced him for the upcoming tour with Dave Pajo of the legendary Slint. Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines will join the group as well for keyboard and backing vocal duties. A slight hiccup in tour planning has postponed Interpol’s promotional machine for the forthcoming record, but those dates will likely be rescheduled.