February 11, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 73  

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The Vines take a golden ride on new single

the single guy
by brian wong

The Vines:

Here are two-and-a-half minutes of golden rock ’n’ roll that falls somewhere between the melodic tavern rock of The Beatles and the quirky Brit-pop of Elastica. The first single off the Aussie band’s second disc Winning Days (out Tuesday, Mar. 23) is a crunchy, guitar-layered gem that, like their defiant 2002 single “Get Free,” boasts an easily memorable chorus: “Ride with me, ride with me, ride with me — ahhh.” I sense a future Jeep ad. It IS garage rock after all.

LCD Soundsystem:

Like their disco-rock cousins The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem turn down the words and turn up the beats — and it actually makes for a more thoughtful message than a lot of rock’s pseudo-poets. “Everybody keeps on talkin’ about it/Nobody’s gettin’ it done,” muses James Murphy, whose flat, almost spoken-word vocals wearily express the unfruitfulness of hype. But as one half of the DFA production team (best known for their work with The Rapture), Murphy is getting it done; “Yeah” is a dance-floor freak-out — the meeting of indie rock and Daft Punk, where cool and detached drones chant “Yeah yeah yeah... ” over a hot mix of stomping beats and intergalactic synths.

Missy Elliott:
“I’m Really Hot”

Elliott always has the best bag of tricks, but on this new single, she seems to be running out of them. It’s not entirely a bad thing — her mix of tribal beats, horror B-movie synths, record-scratching and crowd-shouting is still a welcome alien — but she’s already covered most of this territory. However, kudos to her for dropping a snippet of K-OS’s jazzy hip-hop number “Superstarr Pt. 0” in the video mix of the track.

“Love Song”

Oh, the things we do for soundtracks. This time it’s 50 First Dates, the romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, which aims to create island-sounding versions of classic ’80s hits. Sounds frightening, doesn’t it? Even more frightening is the news that alt-rock-funk-rap band 311 are covering this beloved tune by The Cure. But remarkably, 311 have done a 360, toning it down for a smoky, reggae-tinged version of the track, while keeping the original’s demure melancholy intact. Purists will hate it. But purists suck.

Raising the Fawn:

How can you not admire a guy who writes a song for his grandmother? Main singer-guitarist John Crossingham — a member of the adored Broken Social Scene — actually gets upbeat on the first single from the upcoming Raising the Fawn disc (The North Sea, out Tuesday, Feb. 24 on Sonic Unyon). Known for perfecting atmospheric rock epics, the band found time to drop this folky pop-rock number that initially sounds kinda boring, but a closer listen reveals a warm backdrop of guitar, piano, vibraphone and trumpet for Crossingham’s falsetto. It’s lovely stuff, but nowhere near as stunning as the Fawn’s slow-burning doom-rockers.



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