The Vaccines: What Do You Expect From The Vaccines? (Columbia)
The album title is an apt one considering the myriad of influences or imagined influences from London’s foursome, The Vaccines, and their debut album.
Think in terms of The Ramones meets The Strokes meets The Jesus And Mary Chain—the latter for the occasional forays into looped feedback guitar and heavily echoey vocals. The lead off song is very Ramones-like with its soccer-ish chant Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra) and speedy, youthful rhythmics that clocks in at a minute and a half, while If You Wanna has I Wanna Be Sedated DNA all over it.
While The Ramones were labeled the quintessential punk band, The Vaccines sound more power pop with fresh and energetic songs that swing slightly into surf territory on Post Break Up Sex (the first single and U.K. hit) and some Phil Spector-like wall of sound on Wetsuit.
The most head swiveling song here is the closer Family Friend where the very young Vaccines fret over the aging process while channeling (to my ears) Buddy Holly, P.F. Sloan and a lot of Jesus And Mary Chain.
Intriguing stuff and a band to watch especially for a follow-up album now that the appetite has been whetted.
Hot Chelle Rae: Tonight Tonight (Jive)
I heard a loud groan from my son in the next room when the first chords of Hot Chelle Rae’s hit single Tonight Tonight reached his ears.
The song has been picked up by the local airwaves off this four-song, three-video enhanced extended play CD designed to introduce this Nashville band to Canada.
The group released their debut in the USA a few months back and enjoyed a minor hit with the weepy and sappy ballad Bleed (also included here).
But all members of this would-be boy band come from interesting musical bloodlines.
Three of the lads have parents who are prolific songwriters on music row while bassist Ian Keaggy’s father Phil was a hot shot guitarist for the highly regarded ’70s band Glass Harp, along with dozens of solo albums.
But Hot Chelle Rae, besides having a cool name, will have to show me a lot more than this meager four-song, three-video offering.
Their two dance rock tunes are way better than their boy band efforts but this group needs to clarify their identity.
Cults are a new duo Madeline Fillon and Brian Oblivion, who got their start like so many others nowadays, on the Internet when three of their songs became hot items.
The duo soon signed to Sony and they have released their debut album under the truncated name Cults, with production from Shane Stoneback of Britney Spears, NSYNC, Vampire Weekend fame.
The lead off single Go Outside is more or less experimental dream pop (think The Sundays) with lots of tinkly bells and echoey vocals placed artfully in the back of the mix.
The new album hasn’t been completely ignored on these shores where Cults has made its debut at the No. 89 spot, but this is also another band to watch.
Besides the dream pop there is a healthy dose of ’60s girl group music here with the hooky and synth-driven Walk At Night along with the skipping, perky beats to Bumper the most pop-like song on the eponymous CD.
I suppose to offset the dream pop the duo has added background dialogue from famed mass murderer Jimmy Jones of Jonestown to show an edgier side, but it probably wasn’t all that necessary.
Luka Sulic & Stjepan Hauser: 2 Cellos (Sony)
At first glance this might appear to be a novelty classical album but the two cellists here are multiple award winners and highly educated with their craft and this new album of covers of classic rock songs is quite beguiling.
It is a blast to hear these two young cellists working with one another on tunes like U2’s Where The Streets Have No Name and With Or Without You where one guy saws away like crazy to create the rhythmics while the other offers up the delicate melodic lines.
And, believe it or not, the lads also tackle Dick Dale’s revved up surf instrumental Miserlou with great aplomb along with an energetic reinterpretation of Guns’N’Roses Welcome To The Jungle.
Sulic and Hauser also tackle more mellow tunes from Sting and Coldplay along with scintillating takes of NIN/Johnny Cash’s hit Hurt and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit that really highlight the beautiful, melodic lines.
Much more fun and enjoyable than expected.