I Voted For Kodos – Close Enough for Ska
Release Date: 2000
This album sounds more like a demo disc than a true full-length. It is inconsistent and should have been trimmed to an EP. But it still ends up on my MP3 player, weeks after I bought it.
They would do their fans a favor to consistently stick with the successful elements in their sound, especially goofy humor and catchy horns. The first thing I noticed about the songs on Close Enough For Ska is that they made me laugh out loud. I still think the female monologue in “Todd,” an anthem for the nice guy who is never more than a friend, is fantastic. Even the cheesy online metaphors on “www.Dumped.com” somehow work. The self-conscious “She Hates Ska” and “Wish I Was Aaron,” both stylistic homages to Reel Big Fish, are some of the disc’s best material.
Unfortunately, they aren’t RBF, so when they sing that their band sucks, it lacks some of the irony as when RBF craft perfect catchy satires. Also, no one should have let the ridiculously out-of-place “Shallow Grave” pass the final cut. It’s five minutes of slow, meandering crap. Similarly, “Going Down” sounds way too much like the thousands of other pop-emo anthems clogging up the pseudo-alternative airwaves. If they had cut those stinkers and trimmed a few refrains from some of the longer numbers, this would have been a solid release.
But, even so, this album starts off strong enough on the first three tracks to convince me that this band is worth keeping an eye off. Judging from some of the songs on here, I Voted For Kodos could become a great band. We’ll just have to wait and see if they actually do.
My Overall Rating: $8*
Retail: $10.25 on Interpunk.com
Official Site: IV4K.com
Similar Bands: Reel Big Fish, Distorted Penguins, Less Than Jake, No On 15
*I rate on a $20 scale, to approximately reflect prices we pay for CDs. It is an evaluative concept I’ve stolen from CrankyCritic.com, one that I’ve found very useful. There’s nothing fancy about it. It just means how much I’d pay for it, relative to the prices of other CDs.
Fugazi – The Argument
Dischord Records 2001
For those unfamiliar, Fugazi are the gods of the true indie music scene. They play creative, innovative music that I won’t reduce by labeling it with some sort of snobbish genre label. I would call their overall sound cold, methodical, and always surprising. Guy Piciotto and Ian MacKaye trade mic duties, and while I am of course partial to the kid who screamed the best hardcore music that’s ever been played, Guy is a good singer as well.
The untitled first track and its seamless follower, “Cashout,” form an inviting opener to this complex album. Several guest vocalists leave their mark on this album, and give it an eclectic feel. Lyrically, the songs on this disc are as politically charged as usual, although you might not notice unless you read the liner notes. I suggest you do.
I’m not a Fugazi disciple, as many of their fans seem to be, but out of the three albums I own of their’s, this is by far the most accessible. There’s no “Waiting Room” on here, but it is passionate music from a talented band.
My Overall Rating: $15
Retail: $10 postage paid from Dischord.com (You can’t beat that!)
Official Site: www.dischord.com/bands/fugazi.shtml