Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Your monthly imaginary horoscope told in album reviews!

June 2005 AstroPOP! is brought to you with musical reviews by igDana, igLiz, Imaginary Curtis, JimiC, Mad Professor, and Chris B.

Find your muse. Sharpen your pencils. Get ready to go on your long-overdue personal journey to the place where you figure out what you were placed on this funny round planet to accomplish. Perhaps you should go to Sweden. Clearly, Sweden has found its niche: creating dreamy fey pop bands. I think there's a factory in Sweden (possibly in Upsala…) that churns out delectable pop bands. Latest case in point: My Orchard's Silhouettes (Not Lame), which comes off that line ready to delight with their keyboard-tinged guitar driven power pop. Perhaps it will provide just the sunshiny optimism you need to take that first leap forward.

It's time to redecorate! Or perhaps it's time to full-on renovate. Either way, it's time to update your home/wardrobe/CD collection to the latest and greatest. Oh lookie — just in time, here's Trent Reznor's five-yearly effort to shift a few units and at the same time keep everyone convinced that he's both the King of Pain and the Prince of Alternative. Ah well, Nine Inch Nails' latest With Teeth is not bad, a totally enjoyable effort this time around — as much as NIN can be enjoyable. But if you really want to hear NIN with teeth, then I suggest listening to The Downward Spiral or my favorite — Broken — played as loud as you or the neighbors can bear. Perhaps it will drown out the sound of your table saw and power drill.

Good news, Gemini: if you've been struggling between the dayjob work to pay the bills and the creative work to feed your soul, this might be your time to make a go of it, all art-stylee. Step away from your desktop (or cash register, or fry station) and step into your guitar (or paintbrush, or pen). There may be windfall: consider Black Horse. This Northwest guy/girl rock duo features two guitars and a drum machine. Imagine classic Earache sludge-core bands such as Fudge Tunnel and Godflesh backed by Jesus & Mary Chain's original rhythm section with X's male/female vocal trade-off, and you have an idea of their demo. While the recording quality leaves something to be desired, a little extra time in the studio and these guys could be the next Kills. The lesson here? Don't wither away in the office. Make the most of all your creative potential this month. We see big things. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

You can dance if you want to, Cancer. New wave has made a big comeback recently; in fact, it's come so far back, it's already gone again. Don't tell Sunshine, 'cause they're having too much fun. Moonshower and Razorblades manages to hit the right eighties revival notes (albeit a bit more darkly than most), but manages to sound a bit fresher than most of the bandwagon, er, bands. Stop thinking so hard about the origins and reprecussions of the past, both musically and otherwise, Cancer — just experience without judgment. Note how fun it is. And dance.

A very wise fictional character once told me that adversity breeds character. It's certainly working for Garbage. Divorcing her cheating husband has clearly been good artistically to Shirley Manson, who is back to her very best lyrical form of earlier days and the likes of "As Heaven is Wide," "Subhuman," and "Suffocate Me." Bleed Like Me has more energy, passion, and vitriol than anything since their stunningandimpossibletofollow 1995 debut, and is book-ended by two of their best yet — the deliciously raunchy and wicked "Bad Boyfriend" and the gloriously sweeping and cathartic "Happy Home." C'mon Shirley, be our bad girlfriend once more.

Spend some money and make some changes to your physical self this month, Virgo. Ooh, that new tattoo looks nice; it's so very non-Virginal of you. Now how about a new wardrobe? Manic Panic hair? You might want to consider some tight leather pants and extra Aquanet. Why? Seattle band Girth. Damn, their record Living in Truth (Hector Stentor Records) has enough changes to make four Rush records. It's razor-sharp playing, well-recorded instrumental metal. Fans of spaz attack bands like Dillinger Escape Plan or Cave-In and art freaks like John Zorn and Frank Zappa will have a lot to sink their teeth into with this release. Better skip the coffee before this one. But definitely proceed with the body modifications…

This month may bring big changes, and we all know how that unsettles you, oh balanced one. Try to roll with the punches and enjoy Minmae's brooding release I'd Be Scared, Were You Still Burning (Greyday Productions). You might not understand what titles like "Dimorphic Hips Have Chances Still" mean. Just quit trying, and enjoy their Pavement-esque melodies, Smog-like vocals, and oddball song names. Give the unknown a chance, and yourself a rest. Next month will bring balance to those scales, and if we're lucky, will also bring this talented Portland-based band to Seattle (ahem, hint).

Get planning those post work-day beer parties. These days you're a social superstar on the job, and should have no trouble interacting with even the most persnickity of co-workers. No one understands this better than Josh Homme. On Lullabies to Paralyze, the latest from Queens of the Stone Age, absent are long-time bassist Nick Oliveri and occasional drummer/Foo Fighter Dave Grohl. Instead, you can indulge in the cameos from rock's best sex symbols: Shirley Manson and Brody Dalle, and the same accessible kick-ass rock that somehow consistently makes QOTSA the favorite metal band of musicians and metal-haters alike. Bring it to your next kegger.

Sometimes romance is hard. Does your partner take out all the woes of this sad world on your unsuspecting self? Soured romance can make you write a lot of songs. There are many examples of songs on Take You Apart by Screamfeeder. These songs are only examples, and are not recommended for repeated use. If you like these songs, you will like songs by the Jam much, much more. To that end, if you like romance, we predict you will like the romance of another partner much, much more. So buck up, little Sadgie. It doesn't have to be as hard as it's been.

Cappy, it's time to get caught up on your inbox. What do you mean you still haven't returned that email to your estranged Republican sister? The more you hold on to grudges, the longer they take to resolve. Perhaps that's just the way you like it, you old goat, you. Better go play The Frank Boscoes then. Frank Boscoe brings his signature vocals from iconic underground indie pop bands Wimp Factor 14 and Veh
icle Flips. With his crystal clear, hypernasal voice and pointed lyrics, he navigates through an overtly idiosyncratic world, one in which we can imagine it's okay to let go of the ironic, but not of those grudges. In this world, it's okay for a 30-something hipster to drink Margarita wine coolers. Why not chug a four-pack and tell that strange sib exactly how you feel about the Bush…?

Ancestral issues weigh heavily on you this month. Is it conflict with an older relative? Or are you shouldering the weight of those who came before you? Speaking of forefathers, ever heard of Godspeed, you Black Emperor? Joy Wants Eternity have, and I mean that in the best possible way. Must You Smash Your Ears Before You Learn to Listen with Your Eyes (Beep Repaired) covers similar territory with consistently superior results. Epic, cinematic, dynamic and a bunch of other -ics, but never icky. Highly recommended. See? Just because something looms in your past doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Use it as a source of inspiration.

One Pisces dear to this imaginary astrologer's heart recently proclaimed Sonny Votolato as his guitar hero. And with just cause — Votolato has graced tons of Seattle bands with his Rickenbacker skills, including Bugs in Amber, Fields of Mars, and currently, the dazzling Slender Means. Now Sonny has a solo project in the works under the moniker Blue Checkered Record Player. This three-song demo displays Sonny with acoustic guitar and atmospheric orchestral layers — it's earnest, intimate, and lovely. I'd tell you how he evokes the dazzling gentleness of Elliot Smith, except that every tenor singer with an acoustic guitar gets compared to Elliot Smith; the comparison will not sufficiently describe the delicacy and ingeniousness that breathes through these songs. On the track "Reality" he croons, "But there's music it's more than in my dreams. Don't wake me now, I just want to sleep." Pisces, your dreams come true later this summer, when the full BCRP record will release on Esoterick Musik Records. That other dream you've been pining for will follow shortly thereafter. {Aside to Seattle folks: catch BCRP at the High Dive on 6/15 and the Crocodile on 6/22.}