Lovers Lane
In The Flesh

Dumb, da-dumb-dumb dumb!

| August 24, 2011

LMFAO are not the most terrible thing to happen to music, ever. Even if it seems that way. They’re in town this week, as are Canon Blue, Kyle Andrews, and Something Fierce.

Exalted British newspaper The Guardian published a disproportionately scathing review of LMFAO‘s Sorry For Party Rocking this summer, accusing it of lowest-common-denominator tactics and generic hedonism. While those points would certainly ring true in comparison to, say, a Radiohead album, the only prize Sorry For Party Rocking would ever want to take home is a Teen Choice Award.

One star? Hardly. Unlike whole crates full of modern pop, vulgarity is kept to a relative minimum, misogyny holds to look-at-her-ass levels, and things never get so craven and pandering as a Black Eyed Peas outing. In a club context, the title track and “Party Rock Anthem” effectively keep things moving, gleaning bits from across the electronic pop spectrum — from house to dubstep — and only falters if you analyze the lyrics. Some cuts, like “One Day” and “All Night Long,” actually withstand repeat listens. Yes, the album title is an obnoxious taunt, but then so was Hail To The Thief. (Wednesday@Charter One with Kesha.)

If you think you’re way too uptight to join the LMFAO party, but still would like to try this “fun” thing, you could do worse than Canon Blue. Daniel James borrows musicians who’ve backed Sigur Ros and Efterklang for an airy, upbeat skip through Rumspringa (Temporary Residence). Openers “Chicago” and “Autark” zip through confetti blasts and fluttering strings with backbeats that hew more to Brill Building than modern dance pop. Skittering percussion begins to take hold and builds to a climax, coming to a rest in Davenport, Iowa. All but one of the 11 tracks is dedicated (surprisingly) to a specific Midwestern metropolis, still managing to soar above flyover country. (Thursday@Hideout with Darts And Arrows.)

Tightly wound mod-punk with nods to The Jam, Ted Leo, and even Paul Westerberg, Something Fierce pack little else but anxiety into Don’t Be So Cruel. The 35-minute run time is artificially bolstered by “Ghosts Of Industry” and “Dying Young These Days,” which eat a full quarter of the album. Amazingly, neither track resembles anything like a let-up, careening forward like running downhill. Which is also where they see the world going. (Thursday@Beat Kitchen with The Cute Lepers and Modern Day Rippers.)

— Steve Forstneger

Entrenched Chicago resident Kyle Andrews recently migrated to Nashville and the results find Kangaroo adapting an earthy, homespun approach. The self-produced EP is ample on cozy, but unremarkable vocals and tightly wound acoustic guitars, though Andrews’ secret weapon is the electronic accompaniment that adorns the collection’s most contagious tracks, “Kangaroo” and “Sushi (Slow Dancing At The Prom Mix).” (Thursday@Subterranean with Go For Broke and Squat The Condos.)

-– Andy Argyrakis

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