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++ Needle Drops is now an occasional music column that a number of Neumu writers take turns writing. All columns prior to March 2004 were written by Philip Sherburne.


++ Recently ++

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 = The Stooges Unearthed (Again)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 = Documenting Beulah And DCFC

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 = Out-Of-Control Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive And Well

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 = Just In Time For Halloween

Monday, October 3, 2005 = The Dandyesque Raunch Of Louis XI

Monday, August 15, 2005 = The Empire Blues

Tuesday, August 9, 2005 = David Howie's Sónar Diary

Monday, July 25, 2005 = Hot Sounds For Summertime

Monday, June 27, 2005 = Overcoming Writer's Block At Sónar 2005

Monday, June 4, 2005 = Cool New Sounds To Download Or Stream


++ Needle Drops Archives ++

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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

++ The Sounds Of Winter: Singles Round-Up



By Dave Renard

++ Liars, "It Fit When I Was a Kid" (Mute): Liars made an evolutionary leap between their first and second records. But the distance between They Were Wrong So We Drowned and this new single is more of a short hop, like going from Metal Box to Flowers of Romance. Since the forthcoming Liars album is called Drum's Not Dead, it's little surprise that "It Fit When I Was a Kid" opens with tom-toms pounding and deep voices chanting, not unlike "We Fenced Other Houses..." from Drowned. But halfway through, the song veers into probably the prettiest thing Liars have ever done — as organ notes and falsetto voices rise in unison, the dark procession through the woods reaches a clearing and the druids gaze up at the heavens. (Stream the song or watch the video at Mute.com.)

Richie Spice, "Youths Are So Cold" (Massive B): Lots of good conscious reggae making the rounds, from Jr. Gong's "Welcome to Jamrock" to Vybz Cartel's "Why? Why?" This Richie Spice track over the Truth and Rights riddim reached the Billboard charts with its indelible hook: "In the streets it's getting hot/ And the youths them-a get so co-whoa-wold ..." Even better is the falsetto wail that ends each verse on an almost ghostly note. (The Massive B Records online catalog is not too user-friendly, but you can stream a 30-second clip of "Youths Are So Cold." Click the artist's name for Windows Media or the song title for Real Audio.)

The Long Blondes, "Giddy Stratospheres" (What's Your Rupture?) New York indie label What's Your Rupture? is on a roll, first bringing the Long Blondes to American ears and now about to release the debut by Sweden's Love Is All. The Long Blondes EP, compiling a couple of overseas singles by the all-female band from Sheffield, England, ranges from doo-wop love songs ("Polly") to Franz Ferd. jaggedness ("Autonomy Boy," "Darts"). But the best track is the pop mini-movie of "Giddy Stratospheres," a love triangle involving a guy, his frigid girlfriend, and a singer who wants a chance to show the guy what he ought to be doing with his nights indoors. (Hint: It's not calling mom.) (Stream "Giddy Stratospheres" from What's Your Rupture?'s MySpace page, or check out the Long Blondes' official site.)

The Strokes, "Juicebox" (RCA) In a recent graphic charting the boom-and-bust cycle of buzz, New York magazine named the Strokes' new single, "Juicebox," as a candidate for "backlash to the backlash" status — it was so thoroughly pissed on by the tastemakers, the theory goes, that the more "evolved" position is actually to like it. Beg to differ — any way you spin it, this sounds like the Stone Temple Pilots. The recently "leaked" video only makes things worse, with its too-obvious satire (dumb morning zoo DJs = bad) and halfhearted bid for shock value (dudes puking, girls kissing, yawn). A huge letdown. (Watch the "Juicebox" video in high-res QuickTime. For other formats go to the Strokes' official site and click on "Music.")

Jeff Tweedy, "He's Back, Jack" AKA "Whistling Jesus" (live) On his latest solo acoustic tour, which recently made a pass through New York, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy has been trying out a great new song slated for the second album by Loose Fur, his side project with Jim O'Rourke and Glenn Kotche. Even on first listen it sounds comfortably familiar — I can still sing parts of it in my head two weeks after the show. The lyrics, describing a somewhat, umm, inauspicious second coming, are political without banging you over the head, and they come off more funny than preachy, in a John Prine sort of way: "Well he's back, jack, smokin' crack, find him if you wanna get found."
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