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Track: The White Stripes — “Icky Thump”
From Icky Thump (2007)
Anshuman Iddamsetty: Pleading organs and guttural gee-tars kick off Icky Thump’s titular track of doom. But don’t let the vague politics of Jack’s post-Raconteurs wail fool you—for all its talk of borders and immigrants, “Icky Thump” is just a classic Stripes’ jam on being used, abused, then used some more.
Sarah Smellie: Despite being stompy, grainy and vaguely non-linear, there just isn’t much to grab onto. I get the sense that the White Stripes wanted to make more than just another song whose first notes inspire college kids to thrust their bottles of Coors Light high into the air, but I don’t think they’ve succeeded just yet. They’re getting closer though.
Rachel Jean Harding: I lost track of the White Stripes a few albums back, but it would seem their signature sound of blues rock riffs accompanied by cymbal heavy percussion is still pretty much intact, if maybe a little slicker and weirder. The narrative seems to be the Mexican misadventure of a character named Icky Thump. I’m not exactly clear as to the significance of what happens there, but I enjoyed it.
Track: Geinus — “711”
From Geinus Live EP (2007)
Anshuman Iddamsetty: FACT: Geinus don’t just release new tunes, they carpet-bomb chord-shredding molotovs on hapless scenes. With drilling riffs and enough mathrock chop-socky to feed noisecore kids for years, Steve Abbott and Co. prove we don’t have to leave the island to get our ears melted off.
Sarah Smellie: The manic, shrieking and somewhat dissonant guitars pull right, shift left, then whirl around and plunk down atop the dark, gritty basslines like Tetris pieces. That cute, awkward someone who grimaces every time they unconsciously bring up Star Trek in conversation with you? They’re at all the Geinus shows.
Rachel Jean Harding: A pastiche of riffs derivative of the fringe bands associated with the mid-90s North-West rock scene, but lacking the political content. Sounds like they’re enjoying themselves, but what’s in it for the listener? I’d much rather hear an explanation of the monumentally insensitive artwork included in their last release.
Track: Nathan Wiley — “The City Destroyed Me” [external link]
From The City Destroyed Me (2007)
Anshuman Iddamsetty: Dude: All the haunted regret in Facebook can’t shed your song’s book club appeal. I’m not perched over cracked alleyways in the bitter stillness of a hollow city — I’m stuck behind some knob reciting his ten-part order for a decaf Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Have you heard of The National?
Sarah Smellie: Should you ever find yourself in a car stuffed with all your belongings, driving out of a dense metropolis onto a highway flanked by open fields, and into the gaping, red-orange throat of the sunset, this is your soundtrack. The “Oooooh”-ing ladies, Andrew Bird-like vocals and head-bobbing beat will provide a cinematic flourish to your departure.
Rachel Jean Harding: A moody sleeper of a song about the demands of contemporary civilization destroying at least one human spirit. I like the aim of the track more than the execution. It’s an easy listen, it has a warm vibe and fitting arrangements with nice harmonic flourishes – but on a gut level it just doesn’t excite me at all.