Is it possible to make Motown more danceable? A smattering of DJs must have thought so, and so we have Motown Remixed, a greatest hits collection that, at its worst, is yet another greatest hits collection. At its best, it's a creative reimagining of songs so well known that they're almost national anthems. From the first moment the bass line to The Jackson 5's "I Want you Back" drops, its all about the boogie, as Michael's sweet little boy voice is given a twist with scratching and added dance lines by Z-Trip. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Tears of a Clown" (Hotsnax remix), and "War" by Edwin Starr (King Britt mix) also are twisted to great effect, getting downright krunk at times. Unfortunately, most of the DJs weren't very brave, and many songs end up sounding pretty much the same as before. Frankly, my dear, what's the point?
-- Kara Luger
Strange We Should Meet Here b>
It's too bad that Idiotpilot has such a cruddy name, 'cos they kind of rock. Their debut album Strange We Should Meet Here is an odd mlange that borrows heavily from Radiohead and Sigur Rs at times, with a screamo singer to help out. It works for the most part, and just sounds damn weird at others. The opener, "Losing Color," is a gorgeous piece of mind-erasing haziness, and blends well into the electronic "A Day in the Life of a Poolshark," which takes a break from the lassitude to go bonky for brief, glorious aggro moments. "Les Lumieres" is comparatively dull as an all-out electro dance number, but "Spark Plug" brings it back. Overall, a slightly uneven CD, but definitely worth a listen.
-- Kara Luger
Story of the Year
Live in the Lou/Bassassins b>
Musicologists will look back on this first decade of the new millennium as the pinnacle for mall punk and bro-core bands. Exhibit A: Story of the Year, a band that liberally borrows in its 'edgy' style of screamy metallic proto-emotional-hardcore. But it's not punk. Sorry, fellas. At least they can take heart that they've sold more than a million records by now, a feat for a bunch of shameless posers. The live concert CD isn't worth listening to twice, and the added DVD documentary Bassasins features the band happily vomiting and excreting and dorking around on the tour bus. The apocalypse is here.
-- Dan Wilcock