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Sound Advice

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Smashing Pumpkins  - Zeitgeist  -  -  - Reprise   -  - Sounds like: A Gen-Xer's ringing iPhone -  - Short take: Successful '90s alt-rock restart -  - Having been bitch-slapped by reality with every post- - Smashing Pumpkins endeavor he attempted, Billy Corgan - finally  after whining about it for years  brought back - his anthemic alt-rock act. The result is the band's first - album in seven years, Zeitgeist, in which two - things are readily apparent: Original members James Iha - and D'arcy Wretzky had little bearing on the sound, and - Corgan's songwriting and guitar playing has only - improved over time. The album is everything a Pumpkins - fan wants, with radio-friendly hooks ("Tarantula"), - complex digressions ("Pomp and Circumstances") and - experimental/epic guitar jamming ("United States"). For - well over a decade, Corgan has snobbishly considered - himself a musical genius. Perhaps Zeitgeist is - the proof. Now the only question is whether anyone still - cares.  John Benson -
  • Smashing Pumpkins

    Zeitgeist

    Reprise

    Sounds like: A Gen-Xer's ringing iPhone

    Short take: Successful '90s alt-rock restart

    Having been bitch-slapped by reality with every post- Smashing Pumpkins endeavor he attempted, Billy Corgan finally after whining about it for years brought back his anthemic alt-rock act. The result is the band's first album in seven years, Zeitgeist, in which two things are readily apparent: Original members James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky had little bearing on the sound, and Corgan's songwriting and guitar playing has only improved over time. The album is everything a Pumpkins fan wants, with radio-friendly hooks ("Tarantula"), complex digressions ("Pomp and Circumstances") and experimental/epic guitar jamming ("United States"). For well over a decade, Corgan has snobbishly considered himself a musical genius. Perhaps Zeitgeist is the proof. Now the only question is whether anyone still cares. John Benson

Tomahawk  - Anonymous  -  -  - Ipecac  -  - Sounds like: Psych-out night on the - reservation -  - Short take: Beyond covering the native sound -  - As the leader behind the bands Faith No More, Peeping - Tom, Fantmas, Mr. Bungle and, here, the freak- - metal group Tomahawk, Mike Patton's proven himself an - even more fickle and productive entity than Damon - Albarn. On Anonymous, Patton has chosen to - reinterpret Native American folk songs gathered by - guitarist Duane Denison while touring reservations with - Hank Williams III. Of course, Patton goes way overboard - from the start, screeching like a spirit unleashed, turning - chanted hymns into blaring, doom-laden metal, or - altering ceremonial rite into feverish almost-pop. That - isn't to say it's bad: Instead of merely covering the songs - (which would have only been a rotten caricature - disguised as an homage), Patton takes some ancient - source material and welds it to his bizarre, bizarre - whims.  Matt Martin
  • Tomahawk

    Anonymous

    Ipecac

    Sounds like: Psych-out night on the reservation

    Short take: Beyond covering the native sound

    As the leader behind the bands Faith No More, Peeping Tom, Fantmas, Mr. Bungle and, here, the freak- metal group Tomahawk, Mike Patton's proven himself an even more fickle and productive entity than Damon Albarn. On Anonymous, Patton has chosen to reinterpret Native American folk songs gathered by guitarist Duane Denison while touring reservations with Hank Williams III. Of course, Patton goes way overboard from the start, screeching like a spirit unleashed, turning chanted hymns into blaring, doom-laden metal, or altering ceremonial rite into feverish almost-pop. That isn't to say it's bad: Instead of merely covering the songs (which would have only been a rotten caricature disguised as an homage), Patton takes some ancient source material and welds it to his bizarre, bizarre whims. Matt Martin

Editors  - An End Has a Start  -  -  - Epic   -  - Sounds like: A Molly Ringwald '84 mixtape -  - Short take: Close to ending before it starts -  - After storming out of the gate a few years ago with - The Back Room, Editors has returned with the - dreaded sophomore release, An End Has a Start. - Unlike on the intense first album, the U.K. act somehow - managed to conjure up an underground '80s feel here, - defined by heavy, overarching guitar solos and backed - by alluring synth and singer Tom Smith's grave baritone - (which often sounds like the late actor Phil Hartman - impersonating Frank Sinatra). Lead song "Smokers - Outside the Hospital Doors" kicks things off in grand - fashion, while the title track keeps the momentum - strong. However, the disc's overall feeling of darkness - and mystery grows tiresome. While not a failure, An - End Has a Start sadly fails to ignite the same - passion experienced on The Back Room. -   John Benson
  • Editors

    An End Has a Start

    Epic

    Sounds like: A Molly Ringwald '84 mixtape

    Short take: Close to ending before it starts

    After storming out of the gate a few years ago with The Back Room, Editors has returned with the dreaded sophomore release, An End Has a Start. Unlike on the intense first album, the U.K. act somehow managed to conjure up an underground '80s feel here, defined by heavy, overarching guitar solos and backed by alluring synth and singer Tom Smith's grave baritone (which often sounds like the late actor Phil Hartman impersonating Frank Sinatra). Lead song "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" kicks things off in grand fashion, while the title track keeps the momentum strong. However, the disc's overall feeling of darkness and mystery grows tiresome. While not a failure, An End Has a Start sadly fails to ignite the same passion experienced on The Back Room. John Benson

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