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Album Review: Spiro Agnew - OH What Model Citizens We Be

Named after our only Vice President forced to resign in disgrace, guitar and synth duo Spiro Agnew explore dark, politically charged social commentary through their new experimental rock album OH What Model Citizens We Be. The album is both compelling and inconsistent, with undeniably forceful moments but songs that vary wildly in quality. Some aspects of Spiro Agnew’s sound are better developed than others.

OH What Model Citizens We Be is angsty and nostalgic. Many tracks are introduced by (and sometimes layered over) audio clips from political rallies and interviews from the 70’s, mostly consisting of diatribes against hippy culture by political figures. Vocals are sung over electronic beats, simple keys, and distorted guitar. The album is at its best when these elements come together in ways that grab the listener’s attention and subsequently expand into emotional payoff. “John Kennedy’s Dead” has compelling tempo changes in-between verses and a more complex beat, and the following track “Guns in Town” has some of the best singing on the album, strangely muted and in contrast to the sharp, swelling sounds of the guitar and keyboard.

However, the album suffers from a lack of cohesiveness. The vocals range from compelling to bland, as do the lyrics. I found myself sometimes unable to tell if the vocalist’s under-emotional performance was thematic or an inability on his part to flow with the crescendo and climax of his songs - tracks like “Waste My Time” and “Fly With Me” attempt to draw out feelings like frustration and consolation respectively, but both just come off as lyrically juvenile. I found the keyboards overly repetitive and not very interesting throughout most of the album, which was detrimental to the composition of many of their songs.

Spiro Agnew’s eschewing of emotional crescendo in general could be purposeful, but if that’s the case it isn’t done well enough to hold my attention all the way through the album. In contrast, the title track is probably one of their best songs partly because the lyrics have some real feeling behind them while still managing to flow with the rest of Spiro’s sound. By the end, I found that I had enjoyed OH What Model Citizens We Be, but the inconsistent elements in performance and song quality keep Spiro Agnew’s first album from being great.

 

Oh What Model Citizens We Be by Spiro Agnew

-Kyle Wheat

OH What Model Citizens We Be can be purchased here.

Hexham Heads rock Hear Gallery on 11.05

Hexham Heads is definitely one of the most satisfying LA based indie rock bands we crossed our path with in recent times. Their sound is tense and dark, in part reminiscent of the NYC noise-rock Gods (Sonic Youth of course), but still totally their own, with occasional faster/punkier tracks. We haven't seem them live yet, but from what we hear on record it promises to be a cathartic experience. Mark your calendars: November 05 at Hear Gallery (5 Stars Bar).

Elizabeth and the Catapult release new CD + play Rockwood on 10.23


Elizabeth and the Catapult are - together with Freelance Whales - probably the most succesfull NYC band  in the genre category we call "Rootsy Pop". The three talented Brooklyn residents made our Best of NYC 2008 list two years ago and then went on to sign to Verve Forecast Records. The band didn't take long to release a follow up to their well received first record - their sophomore work, entitled "The Other Side of Zero" will be released on October 26, check out the first single embedded in this blog entry. Don't miss an intimate band performance at Rockwood Music Hall on 10.23.

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Vivian Girl's Katy Goodman's new project: La Sera

After touring the world with Vivian Girls, releasing a handful of well-received records, and starting record label Wild World with her band mates, Katy started exploring other outlets. She experimented with dream-pop band, All Saints Day in the Spring of 2010 and released a self titled limited-edition 7" filled with dreamy-pop songs on indie label Art Fag earlier this year. In February 2010, after moving to LA, Katy started working on some fresh material that inspired the formation of her brand new band, La Sera. Her inspiration sprung from an attraction to early pop hits from the 1950's and ethereal choral vocals. Her new songs overflow with a softer less aggressive sound than the Vivian Girls and contain warm celestial-pop melodies that echo with the dreamlike effect of a church choir. The band is scheduled to play the CMJ Music Marathon at Irving Plaza on 10.19 and Shea Stadium on 10.21.

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Rumspringa is back! Free download too!

A Deli favorite, Rumspringa, is back in action, recently releasing their LP, Sway, on Cantora Records as a four piece. After spending two years as a duo, friends Joey Stevens and Itaru De La Vega parted ways in early 2009. In a search to make Rumspringa better, faster, and stronger Stevens pulled in drummer Andrew Parker, Cecilia Della Peruti on guitar, and Ricardo Robles on Bass.

The sexy bastard child of 70s psychedelica and 60s British rock, Rumspringa has a bright future to look forward to as a four piece. In honor of their new LP, the band has made the song "Queer Eyed Boy" available for your listening pleasure.

Watch out for an album review once we get our hands on Sway.

Download "Queer Eyed Boy"
Sway on iTunes

-Angelo Lorenzo

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