The Vines

Making Stinky Grapes
*special introductory paragraph!
*Highly Evolved
*Winning Days
*F**k The World CD-single
*Vision Valley
*Future Primitive

The Vines are an Australian pop/grunge sensation that has all the kids wowing themselves with joy. They're hot with a vocal harmony and everybody's really excited about them here at the label.

Highly Evolved - Capitol 2002.
Rating = 7

It's September 11th, 2002! Happy anniversary, happy anniversary, happy anniversary, HA-A-A-A-A-A-ppy anniversary! Since my honorable Mayor Bloomberg has forbidden the recycling of glass and plastic bottles, I feel compelled to recycle some writing I've done in emails and on message boards the last couple of days to express my feelings towards this delightful anniversary and ratings season.

I celebrated the 9/11 anniversary by getting even more pissed off at every single person in the business world. There was a really great column in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago - left column, first page of the Marketplace section - about all the disgusting press releases that this reporter has been getting from every company in the country -- Muzak having a moment of silence in elevators to memorialize the victims, Tupperware hosting a "Global Tupperware Party" to help families heal, donations of cigars to the fire department. This is why I now refer to 9/11 as "The Day Nothing Changed." Everybody in the business world is still a piece of human shit with no fucking sense of common decency. This "anniversary" is nothing but a commercialized bonanza that everybody wants a piece of. So companies are pulling their tv advertisements - that's very nice. But what do we get instead? Every single goddamned corporation in the world sending out press releases about the stupid bullshit way that they are "paying tribute." Exactly how long is this nation going to pay tribute to these 4,000 dead people? Aren't there some other dead people that deserve to be paid tribute to? Has anybody even mentioned that murdered WSJ reporter since the week after he was killed? What about all the children that are being kidnapped and murdered? They're gone from the news a week after they're buried. But if there's a way to cash in and make it look your company cares -- well, hoop-de-scoo!

Seriously, I am horrified and sickened at how stupid and soulless our entire culture is. That's how I feel about this "anniversary." NOTHING CHANGED. Did we all suddenly realize that the little things don't matter? No. Instead the victims' families are bitching among themselves because one guy calls his son a hero too much in the media, and they don't get to call their children heroes enough. Instead it matters whether we observe a moment of silence or take a day off. It matters whether we rebuild the Towers or put a 9/11 Memorial in their place. It matters? Why? None of it matters.

And how am I supposed to feel when a Fox & Friends producer calls me at work (2 weeks ago) and says, "Hey, can you get me the Points of Light CEO for an interview? And anything else you can get me would be great! All the networks are in a feeding frenzy for 9/11 stuff." That is the kind of world we're living in. None of these tributes have a thing to do with mourning the loss of human life. It's all about getting a piece of the pie. I'm right here in the middle of it (NYC AND the business community AND the media), so I assure you that it's true. Everybody just wants a piece of the 9/11 profit pie.

You have no idea how much I wish that the attacks had taken place on several different days, just so our "culture" wouldn't have been able to attach a simple little tag on it and box it up as "instant tragedy" any time they need it. It means nothing but a marketing opportunity for these people. Either that or they are honestly so stupid that they consider this anniversary to mean something. What does it mean? For me, it means that it's now been 365 days since I last went a full 24 hours without hearing the phrase "nine eleven." And that's ALL it means.

Can you imagine how sickened I would be if I actually watched TV or listened to the radio? I probably would have moved to The Moon by now.

I'm just disgusted. At Bush, his entire cabinet, all their lies, all this BS they're saying about Saddam, trying to convince the world leaders that it's our safety they're after, and not oil. The thing is -- I understand the need for natural resources. But the lies -- I just can't -- oh god it just makes me feel so repulsed. Just admit it. Just say, "Hey, we want Iraq's oil and we'll sell it to you at a reduced price if you'll support our deposing of Saddam." Just use a little honesty if you're going to be that obvious.

Actually, I'm more sickened about the state of the US business world than I have been in quite some time -- between all the corporate pricks stealing their workers' pensions and Bush letting his friends get away with anything they want, and now this "anniversary cash-in." By the way, did you hear who will be singing the National Anthem at the Lincoln Memorial on 9/11 to mark the somber occasion? That's right! The winner of the "American Idol" TV show! Was she picked for her voice? NOPE! The deal was arranged long before a winner had been declared! Just another beautiful marketing bonanza brought to you by America's networks and other people who honestly can't tell the difference (or simply don't care) between REAL LIFE-AND-DEATH HORROR and an appropriate time to brag about offering a 2-for-1 discount to firemen.

I've had it with everything having to do with this goddamned 9/11 bullshit. What needs to happen before people realize that life isn't a commodity?

Now then, about one of the hottest new bands the kids dig - THE VINES!!!!!!!!!!! First of all, I'm not sure why they're being lumped in with The Strokes, The White Stripes and The Hives, but have to assume that it's just because they have a "The" at the beginning of their name because there is NOTHING about this band that resembles the "garage band ethic" that the rock media claim is sweeping the world (or, rather, the part of the world that actually thinks that shit like "rock music" matters in any way at all - And I'm guilty as charged! Just pointing it out!).

The Vines are odd in that their style keeps changing - to imitate different bands! They really put the "VINE" back in "DERIVATIVINE!" Lorkingly, they have a grand sense of melody that brings wonderful listening experiences, beautiful multi- layered vocals and gorgeous lil' guitar/piano melodies to their blatant imitations. Honestly, basic wonderful `60s-style guitar pop ballads don't get a whole lot lovelier than "Country Yard" (Hey! The Kinks!), "Mary Jane" (Hey! Meddle-era Pink Floyd! Complete with Gilmour-esque vocals!) or the wistful "Autumn Shade" (HEY! Oasis!) nor do bouncy fuzzy `60s-style guitar rockers get a whole lot catchier and fun than "Outtatheway!" (Hey! It's that catchy Blur hit from a few years back about feeling heavy metal!!), "Sunshinin" (Hey! Revolver-era harmony-voxed Beatles - with an octave-bouncing DISCO BASS LINE!!!) or "Ain't No Room" (Hey! "Taxman"-style guitar with hipster Strokes-style vocals!). And I'm deathly serious! I'm not saying, "You fuckin' ripoffs, fuck off," I'm saying, "Awesome! It's like somebody just released an album of unreleased tracks by some of the greatest bands of all time!

Except for the disappointing other half of the album though. I'd love to say "The Vines are a GRAPE band!," but not all their influences are mickeyed with a boogienose. I'd have to say that the worst side (by far) of this band shows itself when they're trying to imitate that grungey Seattle Sound that drove the kids wild back in '92 and not since. The title track is SHIT - attitude and nothing else. Attitude that makes you want to punch the prick in the face and throw his goddamned CD out the car window into the ghetto where you sell fake crack. And "Get Free"? Try shouting the words to "Negative Creep" to this one. You might just have a hit on your hands! Those two are by far the worst tracks on here, but a few others drag a bit too - though not the worst songs ever, John Lennon's "Homesick," The Kinks' ska-influenced "Factory," Blue Oyster Cult's "In The Jungle" and the Smashing Pumpkins' "1969" could all use a little chopping off at the knees (especially the last three minutes of the latter track, an hookless mess of unemotional screaming that tickles the vomit sensors about as bluntly as might a videotape of Billy Corgan assfucking former flame Courtney Love).

In the final analysis, The Vines aren't even CLOSE to having their own unique style, but if you're into the tribute band thing, these 12 "originals" (HAHA!!!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??!?!?!?) will bend your ear like a guy with a robot arm, all bending your ear and crap like an asshole.

I've still only heard The Hives once, by the way. And I don't know if I want to hear them again. I'd sure hate to open up the CD case and have a bunch of BEES fly out at me!

Reader Comments (Jo Anne)
I think you should listen to the CD again ,but this time you should do it with a nice bar of Dial soap in your mouth. Anyone ever tell you that you have a dirty mouth? Do you eat with that mouth? (OK, I realize it's really your thoughts and not actually your mouth but you understand me.) Anyways, I guess (being) Highly Evolved just isn't your thing. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you. (Lord Kennedy)
How increadibly insulting. The prind-man whip'n it up and kick'n where it hurts. right in the groin. ouch.

you're actually close-minded! It didn't really occur to me untill reading this review page. you seem to have a ghastly problem with the fact that The vines have "ripped off" all your favorite tunes.(the whole Blue Oyster Cult thing was just straight out mean) to start things off, i would hardly call the Strokes a "great" band as you put it... oh but they're so orignal aren't they? Julian and the gang. But man, who does that young, brilliant, (completely sedated) fox remind you of? could it be Jim Morison?? and Nirvana, the supergroup for generations to come. (and im talking about the Nirvna that were around in the 60's) The fact that they couldn't even come up with name on there own is a little unsettling, besides that weren't 'swap meet' and 'paper cuts' melvins songs? no seriously, i can't tell. were they? if you liked Bleach (or the tribute to the melvins) you will LOVE their second Prindle-acclaimed album Nevermind the Pixies here's Nirvana. it's a pixies tribute album. The kids love it.

Here we have it, Pavement are Sonic Youth rip-offs (which i know gets your goat), The Sex Pistols ripped off the Stooges, The Hives are ripping off the New Bomb Turks. and Oasis ripped off The Beatles but i don't even have to mention that do I?

we all now know that You're that guy at shows who silently stands there with his legs together, arms folded, stroking his chin, quietly sorting out in your mind exactly WHY you despise the band your watching.

So, everyone's emulating someone else. a band that maybe influenced them along the way, bands before them that they had admiration for. where does this Vines review get you in the end? nowhere. it's negative, disaproving and pessimistic. maybe the old prind-man can no longer get it hard, and he's looking for an extention for his merciless fury. but i say hey, look DUDE, The Vines are a good old fashioned rock band, entergetic, youthful and enthusiastic.(if you haven't seen there Letterman performence go download it now)

what is it that makes it special when rock music being played on comercial radio/TV? it's good to see honest rock music being played on tv it's appealing to the senses. people are recognizing good music. I've liked the Hives since late 1999 and people are just now catching on... why? i don't know. as you said, you're contemplating listening to the Hives in fear of getting stung... that's understandable.(its a great album) yet very close-minded. do me a perosnal favor and don't review the Hives. I doubt anyone would like what nasty and belligerent comments you have to say. It's good to express your feelings about an album, be it cynical or not.(hey, it's what you do. where would we all be without all your Madonna reviews?) all i'm asking is that you lighten up a little. have appreciation for what these new bands are doing. call up Craig Nicholls, call up Julian casablancas III and say "Congradulations brother, you're doing a great job."

sometimes You gotta GET FREE instead of being such a NEGATIVE CREEP.Oh come on, you know that was funny. (Adrian Denning)
The first half rules, great if totally unoriginal writing. The second half is below average, but give the guys a break! They were hyped to death, came after the marvellous Strokes and The White Shits, so had a lot of hype to live upto. They don't live upto that hype, and their origins as a Nirvana cover band are obvious, but give them time. Everybody give them time, there is something here that is interesting, signs of promise for an eventual unique ( ish ) talent.
...and now you can refer to the Vines CD as "The Album Where Nothing Changed".
I agree with your 9/11 poop. I'm glad somebody's not a afraid to say it. And that doesn't mean we're insensitive assholes. Anyone who read this page and thinks MP doesn't care about human life (and I'm sure many will) is brainwashed and missing the point. Read it again, and this time put a bar of Dial soap in your vagina. (David Dickson)
The vines. The Vines!! Oh, my God, the mother-frickin' Vines.

Just kidding, folks. Okay, lets see here. The Vines are overhyped in the extreme, in my opinion. All style, no substance, if you get my drift. But then again, aren't all these "The" bands hyped on the basis of style alone? Garage, punk, no-bullshit, pretension-less, good old-fashioned, no-holds-bar, Ramones-reminiscent, late '70's style, wondrous, sweaty, party, REAL rock and roll as opposed to that stupid Tool-ish crap. . . the list goes on and on. And the list is mostly correct. But just what does all this mean? Are we supposed to celebrate because oh happy day, there's some loud garage-style bands on major labels now? More to the point, are we supposed to consider this the "next big thing"? Or, as one RS critic dubbed it, The Future of Rock and Roll? Think about it; we're talking about some very smart people dubbing some very derivative bands "the future." Is this what it's gotten to? Having to go back to the past in order to go forward? That's like calling a flat income tax rate "progress". And it ties into what I've been saying for over a year now: most punk rock, that is, reducing rock and roll to its "roots," does not constitute a "leap forward". In fact, if anything, it constitutes a lunge backward, an angry conservative reaction. The Sex Pistols and Black Flag, pioneers? Give me a break, people. They sapped the intelligence out of a good portion of the pop scene. And they, in the process, set the stage for the bad half of the indie scene: groups getting by on attitude, philosophy, lyrics, and style while neglecting the essentials of good pop music, namely, hooks and melody. Okay, so they actually were pioneers. Just pioneers in mediocrity.

ALL THAT SAID, I DO acknowledge that there are some good "undergound" bands out there. Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Pavement, The Jam, and Husker Du actually know how to make music intelligent AND listenable at the same time when they want to. Oh yeah, and I guess the Strokes and the White Stripes are pretty good for modern bands--that is, in the catchiness department. I don't give two turds that they have the right "style" or not. They're just damn good for what they do. So's Shania Twain. Deal with it.

Now for the Vines: They've got talent, true. They just don't know how to use it yet. Their major-label debut, Highly Evolved is a promising, diverse, but disappointingly uneven affair. "1969" is the worst song I've heard this year, and goddarnit, I like the Smashing Pumpkins.

On a side note, don't you easily-shocked people out there get mad so fast at Mark Prindle's views. He's got the same beef that I do--things suck when they're overhyped, overemoted, what-have-you. And Sept. 11 is no exception.

Of course, I don't share his political orientation at all (or, for that matter, the political orientation of most indie/punksters; why on Earth was Johnny Rotten raging about wanting to cross over to the Eastern Bloc in 1977, of all years??? Read your Soviet history, punk) but I can see his point, and his feelings on the matter. You see? We moderates and lefties can get along after all! Whoop-de-day! Peace, love, brother, 1969. And so forth. (Hossein Nayebagha)
I haven't actually heard this album, but then again I'm not supposed to be reviewing it.

What I have heard is three, possibly four songs, and they all suck big time. You could ask this about just any act that is "in" at the moment, but for this band, I really wonder "what the hell are people hearing in this band, that I'm not?".

And some might say I missed the good ones, but I really can't imagine how they'd go from really really really bad, to good. At best, listenable if you for some reason more or less had to. I hate this guy behind the mic, and you know who he reminds me of?

Remember 1997 when Silverchair put out their second album? (I was 15 and love it of course, becuase it was "Grunge!"). Well there it is, he sounds even worse than that 17 year old Australian kid. And now I have to be ashamed for having some of their cds in my collection, and this guy is seriously considered to be a member of a good band.

"Outtatheway"? How could one possibly like that song just a little bit? "Factory"? NO. "Get Free"? NO.

Forutnately this is April 2003, and no one really gives a shit about this band anymore, but I really fuckin' hated them while they were up there. And good for them, rock n' roll is dead and if anyone hesitates to believe it, they should listen to some Vines songs. As for the Hives, it's no revolution, but you might actually like some of the tunes on Veni Vidi Vicious, the album that's been out there for almost four years now.

Oh, and fuck the "moderates".

Wait, I just remembered this, the Vines are actually from Australia,aren't they?

I guess it's obvious now where this guy for this influence from. (De Evolution)
The world would be a better place if people like Mark Prindle stopped reviewing bands like The Vines. The singer is a fucking idiot. FUCK!
This CD is pretty dull to my ears. Most of it sounds like a Smashing Pumpkins ripoff and a lame one at that. Then again the Hives' "Hate to say i told you so" sounds a lot like Blur's "Song 2" without the Woo Hoo, but that didn't stop people saying they were "revolutionary". You want revolutionary, listen to Deerhoof!
i think the album kicks it its not all lame poserish its just kickass rock ur heart out ya know. and its 2004 and people are still diggn it and their still rockn out . u gotta respect that now. there songs are kool and to anybody who thinks there lame well FUCK YOU u just dont know what good music is. i think its very possible that theyll be around for some time. and no there not all style no music dude yall got it all wrong its totally the other way round man their not trying to be punk or hardcore their just kinda doing what ever and not realy trying to stick to a certain type or anything and i think thats kool and they rock. (Dominick Lawton)
Level27Frk (the guy above me): what godforsaken hole did you crawl out of when you were spawned into this world, and why don't you crawl back into it again? Thanks to your unbelievably obnoxious comment, I now have no intention of ever buying a Vines CD (even though I actually don't mind that Outtatheway song), and in fact will purposely shun all things Vines-related in order to spurn the memory of your atrocious, semi-literate attempt a coherent response. Small wonder you use AOL, you slimy, inbred excuse for a human being. Copying any other band that happens to be current at the moment isn't the same fucking thing as just "doing what ever and not realy trying to stick to a certain type or anything" as you so eloquently put it, you shamelessly conformist corporate prostitute. Let me guess, you probably think that AC/DC are a terrible band because a) you think they don't "rock out" as hard as the Vines and b) their songs are all just p! lain hard rock rather than blind allegiance to the current trend? (Actually, that's a bad analogy - as much as I like AC/DC, they too have some fairly braindead fans.) Fuck you.

With that load of vitriol dumped out of my system, Mark, your 9/11 rant hits the nail directly on the head in regard to the blind consumerism, etc. Aaaah, nothing like a good rant, eh? Oh yes, and do check out the Hives - they're much better than the Vines. More specifically, get Veni Vidi Vicious (Tyrannosaurus Hives kind of sucks).

Add your thoughts?

Winning Days - Capitol 2004
Rating = 7

The Vines are an honestly good little band. This album has less Nirvana worship, replacing the embarrassing grunge-isms of the first record's rockers with a more '60sy mod-type guitar tone and feel. As far as I'm concerned though, their strength still lies in the slower, more melodic pop material. It's more difficult to trace each song's exact lineage this time around (an encouraging improvement), but as a whole, the heart-bustingly beautiful multiple-harmony vocals, ethereal washes of acoustic and electric guitars and memorable-as-love melodies remind me a bit of the Searchers, the early Bee Gees -- and former Low-Maintenance Perennials member Matthew Terrebonne! "Autumn Shade II" in particular sounds TOTALLY like something that former Low-Maintenance Perennials member Matthew Terrebonne would have written 5-10 years ago. Beautiful. The title track and "Amnesia" are also absolute winners. '60s folk pop balladry in the finest '00s manner. It's so difficult to hear songs this steeped in absolute audio perfection and believe that this is the same band that did that horrible HORRIBLE "Get Free" piece of snot blown out of somebody's nose onto a piece of recording tape and mastered down into a hit single.

Gubernatorially, I must actually support the troops and admit that a couple of the rockers leave a shocking, awesome sense of catchiness on the world as well -- "She's Got Something To Say To Me" would have made a great Paul Revere and the Raiders album track, and the druggy, funky party anthem "Fuck The World" is everything that the Madchester music scene always failed to convince me that it was. True - not every melody is as strong as the ones I've mentioned. Some of the "hooks" are nondescript retreads of guitar lines you've heard a crillion times, sometimes the singer's voice seems a little reedy and whiny and their occasional lapses into purposeful ugliness can ruin the overall fun and serenity of the album, but as a whole I personally am very encouraged by the existence of a modern-day band that can come up with five or six terrific and eminently listenable "should-be hit singles" on each album. These guys have done it twice so far. Will they get better at editing out the shitty rock parts? Or will I forever have to use my homemade Fast-Forwarding Machine to get to the really good songs?

Look, you can call it a Dog all you want, but when he wags his tail into the CD player and makes the laser skip around, baby, I can just SMELL the money in the bank.


(*suddenly realizes that he is surrounded by 400,000 skunks, each of which is eating a rotten egg and suffering from intestinal gas*)

Reader Comments
"winning days" is basically fucking great. "evil town" is pretty lame, but the rest of it is cool. the title track and "rainfall" are both perfect summery pop tunes. you said before that they are highly derivative, but how many other new bands sound so much like themselves? you always know it's the vines when you hear them. okay, so the strokes sound like the strokes but fuck me, all their songs sound the same! same two chords, same fucking rhythm - bring on the third album, they'll be dead and buried!!! long live the vines! (FLETCHER)
I have to agree with your remarks about "audio perfection", because this album almost drowns in the fidelity. I really thought this album was gonna destroy everybody, but some of the songs are just to perfect and dull especially "rainfall" and "sunchild", the latter was previously recorded for some rare 7" (Hot leather b/w sunchild) and it sounds fuckin great but this recording is diminshed by its audio perfection and distinct lack of character. I also have the same views for the lead track (and single) "Ride", the home recording of this track is so much better than the album recording. The album has a couple of mentionable highlights including "animal machine", "autum shade II" and "Amnesia" which a love. This album should have been a masterpiece but ends up being OK. Yet have great faith in the talent of Craig Nicholls and the next album to be released soon will definately contain some gems to talk about.

Add your thoughts?

F**k The World CD-single - Capitol 2004
Rating = 7

I'm in a pissy mood so let's make this quick. This CD-single doesn't exist. It was just a promo created by Capitol for no goddamned reason whatsoever. "Oh hey," they apparently said to each other. "We'll get tons of radio play if we send out a single that says 'Fuck' 100,000 times in a row." At any rate, it's a shortened version of that hot rocker. Next is "Drown The Baptists," which later wound up on a couple of international CD-singles and would be a beautiful song were the guitar line not swiped note-for-note from a huge radio hit called "Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here'." And finally it ends with a home-recording of "Don't Go," a very reverbed retro-psych acid nightmare with great pissed-off trebly guitar and a hep '67 Electric Prunes mood. That one later turned up as the b-side of "Outtatheway," and sounds nothing at all like the lousy Ramones song "Don't Go." I love the Ramones, but that's kind of a dopey song.

As opposed to the stunning scientific breakthroughs "Bye Bye Baby," "Come Back Baby," and "Baby I Love You," which is a cover but you see my point. Don't we all see my point???

Check out all these movies I've watched recently, and the stars out of 5 of what grades I would give them. Have you seen them? What grades would YOU give them?

BORAT ****
DEATH GAME **** (the one with the two crazy girls)
FAN, THE *** (not the Robert DeNiro one)
H.O.T.S. ***
I SPIT ON YOUR CORPSE ** (with Georgina Spelvin)
SHOCK ****
SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT **** (with Mary Woronov)
STAGEFRIGHT * (the one by the Cemetery Man guy. It's AWFUL!!!)

Reader Comments

You'd only give "Borat" four stars? Get with the TIMES Prindle! Why?

"Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday" is my idea of the cinematic equivalent of slowly sinking into and drowning in a North Carolina hog waste lagoon.

Also the "Black Aria II" review was funny. I'm surprsied you even bothered to hear it. The Henry Rollins review was good too. (You can put this stuff in the reader comment, I don't care.)

Add your thoughts?

Vision Valley - Capitol 2006
Rating = 3

I just got the strangest piece of spam email. You know how lately they've been using subject lines that have nothing to do with Viagra or Dick Lengtheners so you'll open it expecting a note from a friend? Well, I just got one with the subject line, "If you want your name spelt wrong, die." Now what kind of impetus does that give me to open the email!? And what is it even supposed to mean? That obituary reporters and tombstone engravers are illiterate? Whatever the case, I think they may want to rethink their marketing strategy because as much as I would "like to have an unbelievable sex all the night" and as often as I am "dreaming about her friends beating (my) time" and as much as I do "wanna her making all (my) dreams come true in the bed," I'm not sure I want ANY of those things from a company that wants to kill me on account of a typo!

Similarly, I don't read any music magazines so I had no idea that Vines singer Craig Nicholls was known for being a difficult, erratic asshole. But apparently he was, so much so that his group was banned from The Tonight Show and David Letterman's Hilarious Extravaganza and eventually even his best buddy bassist quit the band. Well now we can all breathe a sigh of relief about this thing I didn't know, because it turns out that Mr. Nicholls has Aspergers Syndrome, an autism-related condition whose sufferers have limited or no social skills. They apparently often come across as very rude, as if they're talking AT you, and have trouble picking up normal social cues (sarcasm, etc). Upon diagnosis, Craig stopped smoking poot, went into treatment, calmed down, and eventually returned to the studio with his now bassist-less three-piece band.

Given these circumstances, was there really any chance that the resulting CD WOULDN'T suck 5,000 dicks from the center of the universe?

Vision Valley is almost entirely devoid of the timeless '60s-style melodies that made their last two albums worth hearing. Instead they give us 8 rewrites of "Get Free" and some of the worst, least affecting ballads I've ever heard. I don't mean to sound like a snob here because hey we're all human and shit, but 'Radio Lite-Grunge' may well be the most vomit-inducing form of music in the world. I'm talking about the slickly produced over-cliche'd midtempo fake anger shit music where the verse and chorus use the same chord sequence and the only hint of dynamics is the guitarist stepping on his 'Heavy Metal' pedal. Who exactly are the people that like this music? It's not heavy enough to be metal, not melodic enough to be pop, and not fast enough to be punk. So can I assume that Radio Lite-Grunge fans are predominantly kids who've never heard a song in their lives that wasn't programmed for them by ClearChannel? I know I've said this elsewhere on the site but it bears repeating: if my very first exposure to music had been through modern FM radio, I would fucking HATE MUSIC with EVERY OUNCE OF MY BEING.

There, that certainly didn't sound snobby.

Vision Valley has three good songs. The balladic title track features a sad and beautiful vocal hook (though let's face it, those are the chord changes from "Polly"); "Atmos" for once adds depth to the Radio Lite-Grunge subgenre with a slightly smarter, key-changing riff and unexpectedly sweet arpeggiated guitarwork in the middle; and the 6-minute album-closer "Spaceship," with its mournful acoustic arpeggios, despairing vocal hook, ethereal electronic beeps and pseudo-flute break, is a perfect reminder of how effectively this band used to conjure up the melodic sensibilities of late '60s pop music.

Unfortunately they suck now, so bring your dick over and get in line. 8 of these 13 songs are shorter than 2:30, and the entire album is over within half an hour. You'd think this would imply an energetic collection of take-no-prisoners anarchy speed-rock, but you'd be wrong. The drumbeat never rises above a medium pace and the big blocky chord changes are as threadbare and colorless as a raggedy old blanket made from transparent yarn. And don't steal that metaphor because I might need it in Heaven.

I wish Craig Nicholls the best of success with his Aspergers Syndrome treatment because that can't be a very fun thing to have, making everybody hate you and whatnot. But if his medication is going to continue numbing his creativity to such a startling degree, maybe he should consider hiring a bassist who can actually write songs worth a shit.

Reader Comments
This Vines performance from David Letterdude is tardily awesome: . Although I have never heard any of the Vines CD's, I imagine they don't sound like that. Unfartunately.
Mark -
Just read the Vines review. Asperger's is a mysterious beast. Personally my mom thought I had some sort of high-functioning autism when I was around 4, and if properly diagnosed things could have been easier for me in youth. Anyway, part of Asperger's is the meticulous organization of - for example - books/CD's/etc. What I'm getting at is that there's a chance that you might be one too! Don't worry though, there's nothing wrong if you do. It angers me that millions of people believe in concepts like Heaven and Hell, or that Limp Bizkit is a band that people should give their money to, but people that don't like going to parties and like having their records in alphabetical order have a "syndrome". Anyway, if you have time you might want to take this test -
dude whats up with the guy above me, how fuckin weird is that? I like the part where he gives Prindle the actual website for a test to see if he's crazy or not.

anyways about the album, I haven't actuallyh eard it but if it sucks, it sucks that it sucks. I;ve never been a huge vines fan, more of a Butthole Surfers/Meat Puppets/FLIPPER kind of guy, but everybody loves a pretty ditty once in a while even hardcore gutterpunks like me RRRAAAAHHH!!!!The vines first album was okay, part stupid part not. winning days is the same, but the songs that are good on it are better than the good songs from the first album, so that made me think they might actually turn into a nifty little act.

so bummer that the lead guy's all lame and not an asshole anymore if he also quit singin the pretty songs. he should get off his meds and back on his game.. peace
I would like to know what finds so "fuckin weird" about Asperger's and the guy who commented above him, being a mild aspergers case myself (with some obsessive/compulsive tendencies, but they're definitely atom-thin flaws when compared to Mark's OCD). "crazy"? What the hell's wrong with being overly tidy in organising stuff and wary of social gatherings? Granted, I can only relate to the latter but still, what's so insane and weird about this stuff? I'd like an answer!

In my case (like I said, mild and not particularly impulsive), stuff doesn't make sense and people's lives/actions are harder to align yourself with. Feeling intruded upon by situations or people you don't agree with or are unprepared for, even if you're of perfectly decent and tolerant beliefs (though my beliefs are kind of confused as a result). Being introverted, I guess. That's the gist of it, but it doesn't mean Corey hates everyone. He probably just has a harder time concealing the confusion shared by many Asperger's sufferers, and deals with it in a not particularly erudite manner. I saw the performance though, and it was funny how the drummer just threw his drumsticks away in a huff.

I took that test a while ago, by the way, and got the average person score (what a non-Asperger's guy is supposed to get). If I did it again now the results would probably come out different because many of those questions were way too specific and assumptious. I had to do a test just like this a few years ago for my diagnosis, though (I'm 16), so make of that what you will.

Sorry if this sounded grumpy, but you have to admit that last guy's comment wasn't exactly an upper (not counting his thoughts on the album of course, which were probably very informative and optimistic).

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Melodia - Ivy League 2008
Rating = 3

I just received the oddest piece of spam email. You know how lately they've been using subject lines that have nothing to do with Cialis or Pecker Extenders so the messages will sneak past your spam filter? Well, I just got one with the subject line, "Land of Strong Mans." Now what kind of impetus does that give me to open the email!? And what is it even supposed to mean? That if I purchase their sex enhancement product, I'll be forced into exile on an island of illiterate weight lifters? Whatever the case, I think they may want to rethink their marketing strategy because as much as I "want to pass an unforgettable night" and as pleased as I am that "(I) can even chop firewood!," I'm not sure I want EITHER of those things from a company that wants me to get sodomized by a nation of grammar-deficient musclemen!

Similarly, I don't read any industry trades so I had no idea that the Vines had 'parted ways' with EMI and Capitol. But apparently they did. Well now we can all breathe a sigh of relief about this thing I didn't know, because it turns out that they signed a new deal with Australia's Ivy League Records, joining the ranks of such heavy-hitting international superstars as The Mess Hall, Bridezilla and 78 Saab. Upon signing, Craig grabbed his guitar, wrote some songs and eventually returned to the studio with his now bassist-having four-piece band.

Given the fact that their last album was godawful and they were never that great to begin with, was there really any chance that this new CD wouldn't blow an entire regimen of firefighting dalmations?

Melodia is almost entirely devoid of the timeless '60s-style melodies that made their first two albums worth hearing. Instead they give us 7 dismal radio-grunge throwbacks and some of the least notable acoustic ballads I've ever heard. I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but 'Radio-Grunge' may well be the most diarrhea-inducing form of music in the universe. I'm referring to the infuriatingly predictable post-Nevermind shit music where the verse and chorus use the exact same four chords and the only hint of dynamics is the guitarist stepping on his 'Loud Processed Metal' pedal. Are there actually people who think this is what rock music should sound like? It's not heavy enough to kick ass, not melodic enough to sing along with, and not interesting enough to engage the brain. So can I assume that Radio-Grunge fans are predominantly kids who've never heard a song in their lives that wasn't programmed for them by ClearChannel? I know I've hinted at this elsewhere in these reviews, but it bears revisiting: if I had been introduced to rock music through modern FM radio, I would've spent a lot more time playing community sports.

There, (something something something)

Melodia has two exceptional songs. "She Is Gone" is a well-written piece of melancholy pop-rock built around acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies, and the 6-minute centerpiece "True As The Night," with its strummy acoustic, violin backing and beautiful vocals is a perfect reminder of how effectively this band used to not suck massive dogwang through a hole in the ASPCA building.

Unfortunately, they're seemingly incapable of realizing that (a) grunge died with Kurt Cobain, (b) Beatles 'homages' died with Oasis, and (c) these songs are just rotten. 12 of the 14 tracks are shorter than 2:30, and the entire album is over within 35 minutes. You'd think this would suggest an energetic collection of 5000-bpm 'live fast die young' hardcore, but you'd be mistaken. The drumbeat rarely rises above a middling pace (though the surprisingly fast "Get Out" starts the disc on a not-terrible foot), and the instantly forgettable chord changes are as weak and faceless as an Ethiopian child with a sandblaster. And don't steal that simile because I might need to use it in court.

I wish Craig Nicholls the best of success with his writer's block because that can't be a very fun thing to go through, making your former fans hate you and whatnot. But if his lack of ideas is going to continue affecting the Vines' output to such a humiliating degree, maybe he should consider hiring punk rock legends The Misfits to write some songs for him. Here, I'll even throw in a few sample song titles to help them get started:

"The Exorcist"
"Wes Craven's New Nightmare"
"Virus (aka Night Of The Zombies) (aka Zombie Creeping Flesh) (aka Hell Of The Living Dead) (aka Zombi 5: Ultimate Nightmare)"
"Frankenstein" (cover of Edgar Winter song)
"The Bride Of Frankenstein" (updated hip-hop version of Edgar Winter song)
"The Omen Remake With Liev Schrieber"
"Halloween III" -- note: should sound nothing like "Halloween" or "Halloween II"
"Dark Water" -- note: consider changing chorus to "Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara" for the profitable Asian market
"Texas' Asshole Massacre"
"The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Heard (Remix)"
"Please, Glenn Danzig, Come Back. We're Terrible."

Reader Comments
haha, that misfits piece is so true...

ps love your site

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Future Primitive - Sony 2011
Rating = 4

I often see people walking down the street, and when I do it always asks me, "Mark, I hate The Vines. What is your opinion?" And I always say the same thing: "Look at this list of the pros and cons of hitchhiking while listening to Future Primitive:

1. The vocal harmonies are gorgeous.
2. Most of it sounds straight out of the '60s, a great decade for music.
3. It has two beautiful should-be hit singles with GBV-level vocal hooks ("Leave Me In The Dark" and "Riverview Avenue").
4. It's 400,000% better than the last six Weezer albums.

1. The trashy garage rockers ("Gimme Love," "Future Primitive") are ugly, snotty and loathesome.
2. The grunge rockers ("S.T.W.," "Black Dragon") are slathered in artless, pointless noise.
3. "Outro" sounds like the worst Butthole Surfers song ever ("Barking Dogs"), but even worster.
4. Even when a song starts off great (Pixies Latin punker "Weird Animals," lovely peaceball "All That You Do"), it usually turns into shouty racket-riddled bullshit.
5. All the others ("And I Love Her"/"If I Fell" c-side "Goodbye," retro-by-numbers "Cry," minor-key Doors outtake "A.S.4.A.S." and awkward yet strangely unhateable "Candy Flippin' Girl") have exactly one good part.
6. Not one of the 13 songs reaches the four-minute mark, yet half of them still manage to wear out their welcome.

So that's 4 pros, 6 cons -- which is absolutely infuriating, because The Vines could so easily be a GREAT band! Their vocals are among the most beautiful and melodic you're going to hear in 2011, and their stripped-down '60s-drenched approach is warm, wet and wonderful. Unfortunately, their songwriting is so inconsistent, it's literally taking a shit on God's face as we speak.

And yes, I realize that "inconsistent" isn't actually a synonym for "incontinent," but I was determined to work in that bit about taking a shit on God's face.

But doesn't this all sound familiar? Heartachingly gorgeous vocal harmonies? Two good songs per album surrounded by a bunch of b-sides? All attempts to sound hip and current instead turning out hamfisted and humilitating? A band named after a type of greenery?

Ladies and gentleman, please welcome... The Hollies!

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"Back to the Beach," The Frankie Avalon Comeback that Led to Starring Roles in Such Major Feature Films as "The Stoned Age" and "Camp Beverly Hills" with Shelley Long