Tacos and Vinyl: Obscure Record Review (Dream Hog by The Suburbs)

I know. I should have ordered pork tacos for the album with the pig cover. My chi has been off since I ordered carnitas for the album with a cow on the cover, and now in beef I have balance. Yin and yang and whatnot. No ragrets.

And here to upset my chi once again is The Suburbs’ Dream Hog E.P.

Dream Hog could be the soundtrack to an 80’s movie montage of the nightmare fuel inspired by its own cover. That’s not to say that it is bad.

Side A is four songs of pizzicato riffs set over obligatory 4/4 rhythms and laced with fun, oriental inspired simultaneous guitar and synth runs. At times the vocals come together in a baritone gestalt so gloomy and sinister, I was certain that they were being breathed down my neck.

The B-side is 45-RPM club mix of “Waiting” from side A, aural candy for anyone already a fan.

Dream Hog is a slight veer from The Suburbs’ dance style post-punk into poppy new-wave, but unlike many similar bands, they charm and infect without being obnoxious. If there is any downside to the album, it’s that it is never lyrically profound. Club crowds rarely care for lyrics, but The Suburbs had a penchant for unsettling lyrics which could have taken a darker tone on Hog. Instead we got straight-forward gloom which never manages to juxtapose in a satisfying manner; plenty of yin and not enough yang.


Tacos and Vinyl: Obscure Record Review (Jukebox of Paris by Ronney Abramson)

Tacos are salvation, and I mean that spiritually as well as anecdotally. While I’m certain you can find nirvana somewhere between the cilantro and the sriracha, sometimes you just need a buffer between your soul and, well, this:jukeboxuse





…singer-songwriter/Daria-prototype Ronney Abramson’s third and final R&B/pop/rock album, Jukebox of Paris.

The album starts with the promising “Trouble”, a raucous R&B track with a strong, punchy bass line. Then the album dips down into slower rhythms and never picks back up. Slow rhythms in R&B are sexy, and the rhythm section here does its job. It’s the songs themselves which hold the album back.

At first listen I had to wonder if Abramson just couldn’t sing; she holds back on what should be emphatic notes as if nervous that she might actually be heard… on her own record. But the woman can sing. The frailty in her voice best serves the blandness of the songs; a more fierce vocal performance would have made melodrama out of otherwise light lyrics. The album is sweet even when it’s sorrowful, even though it wants to be passionate.

The R&B genre has long served as the musical mood for nights of passion with your significant other. Jukebox might better set the mood for a night of cuddling on the couch with an accent pillow and Daria reruns.