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Land Of Talk/Shonen Knife preview

| September 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Falling in with the hidden-track sweepstakes (please, a revival that should stop already) come Land Of Talk, who seemed destined for the alt-pop dustbin just a couple years ago.

Elizabeth Powell’s Montreal-based troupe need her to be troubled, disoriented, ragged for things to work. On Some Are Lakes, tempos dragged and so did the music, dampening the promise of a frantic debut EP. This year’s oddly titled Cloak & Cipher (Saddle Creek) doesn’t change course or return to form, but irons out some of Lakes‘ clunkier ideas. Powell doesn’t need to flutter to keep momentum going, something established immediately by the almost stately melancholy of the opener/title track. Smart production embellishments raise “Quarry Hymns” and “Color Me Badd” above the indie-pop din, while “Swift Coin” and Hamburg, Noon” peel back the years for some cathartic guitar rock. The only struggle is with the editing pen — a 10-track album of this nature need not eat up 50 minutes of clock. (Tuesday@Lincoln Hall with Suuns.)

The general press interpretation of Shonen Knife has always bordered on bigotry and sexism, though it could hardly be characterized as meanspirited. The all-female, Japanese indie-pop trio and a particular article in The Onion have always seemed linked, even if Shonen Knife has been around for nearly 30 years and won the respect of Sonic Youth. Though they also double as a Ramones cover band at home, this year’s Freetime (Good Charamel) runs from surging guitar pop that recalls Ash (“Perfect Freedom,” “Monster Jellyfish”) to hi-fi Vivian Girls (“Love Song”) and even Yo La Tengo cribbing “I’m Into Something Good” (“Star”). Do they use bright-colored Japanimation on their art? Yeah. Are they cute? So? Do they rock? God yes. Well that’s all that matters. (Tuesday@Schubas with Aleks & The Drummer and Santah.)

— Steve Forstneger

Click here to download “Swift Coin.”

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Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

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