Friday, December 1, 2023

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Sound Check


cd FoxholesFoxholes

“Can’t Help Myself”


Foxholes has turned a decent little trick. The band is reminiscent of a lot of other acts without ever feeling wholly derivative. Kicking back and listening to “Can’t Help Myself,” you’ll find yourself conjuring up images of The Replacements and Dinosaur Jr., and front man Trevor Holt’s smoky voice occupies a space between Iggy Pop and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, but the end result is pure Des Moines pop/rock. For a band that’s less than 2 years old, the group has a remarkable level of confidence in what Foxholes is. Opening track “Washed Out (Shoegazing)” and third track “Tunnel Vision” are both whip smart examples of the band’s pedal-to-the-metal sound, but “Dirty Motels” feels like the track where everything most clearly comes together for the band. There’s not really a downbeat here, though. You could select tracks spin-the-bottle style, and you’re pretty sure to land on a winner. CV


cd Laibach-SpectreLaibach



Laibach’s high-water mark was the 1988 release of its “Let it Be” album, a more-or-less complete cover of the Beatles album by the same name. It was dark, driving and just weird enough to be great. “Spectre” is not “Let it Be.” Front man Milan Fras has his sandpaper growl in full effect, but something (Age? Time?) has worn down any weight behind it. He sounds tired. Maybe it’s a matter of circumstance: Laibach has always been a band that cares too much about the complicated world that birthed it, so when Fras laments that “Europe is falling apart” on “Eurovision,” you can feel the tired acceptance inherent in the phrase. Still, the band shows enough life to churn out some decent material. Opening track “The Whistleblowers” is as close as it gets to its ’88-’93 heyday, and it’s a tantalizing piece of nostalgia. CV

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