TonyDoug's CD Reviews: Eux Autres, Half Acre Day, The Nein
by tonydoug wright
Eux Autres, Hell Is Eux Autres (Bons Mots Music, 2004)
The Band: Nicholas Larimer (Guitar and Vocals) and Heather Larimer (Drums and Vocals)
The History: This brother and sister duo hails from Portland, Oregon. Hell Is Eux Autres is the band’s first full-length release.
The Review: Looking back in retrospect, I should have taken French in high school rather than Spanish. The reason I chose Spanish was because I had two years worth of Spanish prior to high school but we were only taught basic nouns and numbers. This was totally useless because if I was lost in Mexico then I would have been able to ask for five chairs or three windows. I signed up for Spanish with high hopes of mastering the language but it was by far the worst high school class I ever had. Our teacher must have regretted his career choice because he was saltier than a bag of pretzels plus he had zero interest in teaching us Spanish.
Now the French class, which was located across the hall from my class, was far more exciting than my Spanish concentration camp. We were treated weekly to the French teacher screaming in pain because he always found a way to be electrocuted by his antiquated coffee maker. We heard the same thing every week: “AARRGGHHHHHH! Oh, no! No java for me”.
So the band I’m reviewing is Eux Autres, which features a guy on guitar and a gal on drums. Before you place the Eux Autres in the “We want to be the White Stripes” category you may want to listen to their release titled Hell Is Eux Autres. This interesting blend of French Pop and Garage Rock is extremely enjoyable thanks to the great harmonies and fantastic beats that are comparable to both Belle and Sebastian and Sleater-Kinney. Never dull and always cool, Eux Autres have struck gold with their first full-length release. ¡Muy Bien!
Half Acre Day, Half Acre Day (Right Mind Records, 2005)
The Band: Matt Kristiansen (Guitar and Vocals), Aaron McMullen (Drums and Vocals), Marty Ballew (Guitar and Vocals), Matt Cory (Bass and Vocals) and Paul Beaudry (Keys)
The History: Half Acre Day hails from the Pacific Northwest and Half Acre Day is their second full-length album. Two songs from Primo de la Rocket Suit, the band’s first album, were included in GarageBand.com’s Top 50 Indie Rock Songs of All Time.
The Review: Half Acre Day’s self-titled second release is a mind-numbing listening experience that tries too hard to be indie cool and tries too little to be good. This album features a lackluster ten-song selection of various popular indie styles such as The We Love The Beach Boys style (‘Limo’); The Super Nerdy They Might Be Giants style (‘Candy From Heaven’); The Lo-Fi Recording From The Basement style (‘Suicide’) and The We’re Dangerously Close To Becoming a Frat Boy Jam Band style (‘Go To The Dance Tonight’).
While the music may be lacking the lyrics are extremely horrid. Here are a few samples of the band’s writing style: “I’m the one with whiskers on my forehead / You’re the one with whiskey on your chin / And you’re the one with flowers growing out of your head” and “I’ll be riding in a limousine faded black leather inside/ I’ll be waiting on the other side / Salmon bow-tie”. It’s understandable that some bands enjoy the whimsical lyrics but it is important to remind Half Acre Day that David St. Hubbins once said: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever”.
In closing, Half Acre Day is an album trying too hard to be silly and cool but failing to be decent.
The Nein, The Nein (Sonic Unyon, 2004)
The Band: Casey Burns (Bass and Vocals), Finn Cohen (Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards and Sampler), Robert Biggers (Drums, Keyboard and Vocals) and Dale Flattum (Tapes and Samples)
The History: The Nein is from North Carolina and they were one of the first bands from the U.S. to be signed to the Canadian record label Sonic Unyon. In May 2005 the band will release their first full-length titled Wrath of Circuits.
The Review: Certain restaurants have a reputation of being great places for dining while other places (i.e. Denny’s) have a reputation as an absolute last resort for the drunk consumer who has very little to spend on something the FDA would consider as edible. Some of the major chains that are synonymous with horrible food service have tried to upgrade their crummy image but you can put a dress on a piece of crap and it still is a piece of crap. That’s enough restaurant banter from this reviewer so let’s discuss The Nein.
Sonic Unyon is a label that has a great reputation for having a solid lineup that has included artists such as Frank Black and The Catholics, Chore, Tricky Woo, The Dinner Is Ruined and Crooked Fingers. The Nein should be added to that list because they do not disappoint with their self-titled EP of Fugazi influenced post-punk tunes. This band from Durham, NC delivers with some solid tracks such as ‘Handout’ and ‘War Is On The Stereo’. The Nein’s self-titled release is definitely worth checking out and you can check out their music at the Sonic Unyon web-site listed below.