Tofu Boy – Shark Attack
Indie rock is to pop music what postmodernism is to literature. Frankly, the term “indie” has long ago lost its meaning, with groups making records on a cassette player in their bedroom and Imagine Dragons all sharing the same moniker.
What does characterize much of the style is the musicians’ ability to look back on pop music’s history and quote from numerous sources and reassemble the information. It’s rock music talking joking about itself. Sometimes this is done in the hopes of scoring dance hits while maintaining street cred. Other times it’s simply because the musicians are clever, and a job as a stand-up comedian alone simply might not do.
Tofu Boy belongs to the latter category. He makes good-sounding records, but he’s doing it with a chuckle. And, if you don’t get their his of humor, as most of us won’t, then the joke is most likely on you. Shark Attack is a nice mix of pop melodies and punk-rock political righteousness. Tofu Boy might just be the smartest kid in the room, and don’t expect him to hold his talent back.
Just a Ride – Razor
I love the grunge years like few other periods in music. However, rarely do I admit it publicly. It’s not that people believe that Alice in Chains or the Stone Temple Pilots were lousy groups. It’s just that people will start looking at you differently. Seattle, the place where most of the original bands of this ilk originated, is a rainy, miserable city, and this was reflected in their music.
It did not just enter in some of the music. No, going through the discography of Soundgarden, the Screaming Trees, or Alice in Chains, you will hardly find a silver lining. It’s music that shares the hopelessness of the Cure’s early records, with the grinding guitar sound of Black Sabbath.
Still, the musicians that made it, judging by interviews they’ve given, weren’t all doom and gloom. Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain’s sense of humour was quite charming. Besides, the sound they created helped influence modern rock, perhaps, more than anything else.
With that in mind, English group Just a Ride finds an interesting and fine balance between grungey rhythms, powerful vocals, and a bit of the sweet melodies for which Brit-Pop is best known. It’s no nostalgia trip either. Razor is a tight-sounding and modern rock record.