Skeletons in the jukebox
“Skeletons” provides a forum for local musicians, artists, record-store owners, etc., to erase cool points by expressing their unseemly affection for an unhip album from their past.
Video Game Muzak, by Steve Shanafelt
“My greatest musical secret, that under-the-mattress, tattered-stained-and-sticky porn mag of my auditory subconscious, is video game soundtrack remixes. I hear a drum-n-bass club mix of the MegaMan 3 boss themes and my heart quivers like the Mother Brain from Metroid. I’d guess I have about half a gig of the stuff. Most of it is utter crap, but every so often I run across something like a live high-school band playing a cover of the Bubble Bobble theme song — it just makes me weak like a koopa troopa.”
Body of John the Baptist, I Caution You: This is the Lonely Distance/The Music You Are Hearing is a Harness on Your Head: Four Stars
• Genre(s): Ambient/Experimental
• You’ll like it if: You’re satiated by sounds that sneer at typical musical structure.
• Defining song: “Kevorkian” — More haunting than an untended graveyard, the tune’s whispered atmosphere (with the tender tickle of piano keys and Nathanial Markham’s velvet-voiced entreaties) will chill the bones in all the right ways.
It’s unfair to completely categorize the duo (Nathanial Markham and Jamie Hepler) that make up Body of John the Baptist. Chock full of experimental sounds without the urgency to make a booty-shake beat, Body of John the Baptist will reward listeners who have the patience to hear every pixilated sound. Lap steels, synthesizers, watery vocals, and “unidentifiable” feed into one another to create moods that sense dread, but never give into it. Perhaps the most accessible aspect of the duo’s sound is Markham’s voice. Its tender tone calms the listener and prepares the ear for the constantly evolving soundscapes. Tread down this path if you’re a fan of Brian Eno, Phillip Glass, or even Animal Collective.
Bugs Multiply, Bugs Multiply (Coma Gun Music): Four Stars
• Genre(s): Rock, Post-Grunge, Pop
• You’ll like it if: You love grunge that’s actually progressed from its early-’90s heyday.
• Defining song: “If You’re Wrong” — Full of subtle string arrangements, this multiple-personality tune demonstrates the trio’s ability for hopping from one genre to the next.
I’ll be honest: The term “post-grunge” does a rake down my spine that’s unsettling. However, Asheville trio Bugs Multiply has taken the ’90s format (one reviewer aptly describes them as “Foo-Fighter-esque with the rawness of punk”) and made it digestible for the 21st century. With hooks catchier than a Gold Glover, Bugs Multiply traverse through subjects like: dissecting hippie culture, youthful recollections of a Cheryl Tiegs poster, and even metaphorical allusions to Huesker Due. Despite the radio-friendly format, the lyrics are open to numerous interpretations, and the constant chord changes throughout reveal a band that’s much deeper than their surface simplicity.
[When he’s not bending readers to his will, Hunter Pope cooks, gardens, hikes and spends his mortgage money on CDs he’s never heard.]