The In Crowd
Kidz in the Hall
(Duck Down Music)
The Kidz gank attitude - and occasionally hooks - straight from the best of their predecessors. Witness the graceful copy-and-pasting of Outkast's “Elevators (Me and You)” on “Drivin' Down the Block (Low End Theory),” and the outright biting of Black Sheep's “Flavor of the Month” on “Snob Rock” for the most obvious examples, but most of The In Crowd plagiarizes from enough sources to pass as original work, enjoyable if superficial. The Kidz, in fact, are most enjoyable when they’re being superficial. The In Crowd’s party tracks are consistently great, while “deeper” songs like the groupie-fetishizing title track and the AA bitchfest “Inner Me” choke on after-school-special cheese.
At Mount Zoomer
This Montreal group’s debut record was so damn good because of its schizophrenia. Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner split frontman duty, and though their voices are incredibly similar, their writing styles were distinguishable from one another and individually eccentric. Their second album, though, sees that sound solidify into a nearly measurable consistency: one part nervous vocals to two parts twitching guitars and high-pitched keyboard loops. The result tastes like last week’s reheated casserole, all the distinct flavors melted into a homogenized mush, but probably still edible if you’re stoned enough.
Give the dudes in No Age credit for their insane noise-to-instrument ratio, if nothing else. Generating the amount of racket found on Nouns’ loudest moments with only a guitar and drum kit can’t be easy. Opener “Miner” sounds like a dare: Dig the serviceable melody out of all this scraping feedback. If you're willing to risk the rattled fillings and popped speakers, this album rewards you with all-too-brief glimpses of fuzzy guitar sexiness. As Sonic Youth proved years ago, there's a twisted thrill in hearing potential college-radio hooks demolished in waves of static and squall in songs like “Teen Creeps,” but the album is most listenable with the ratio reversed. Tracks such as the almost-pretty “Eraser” and the instrumental highlight “Keechie” succeed by tainting their pigfucker ambitions with brief bursts of pleasant sounds.