September 13, 2007


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The Deadly Syndrome, The Ortolan
Dim Mak Records, Sept. 11
Jenny Hoyston, Isle Of
Southern Records, Sept. 11
You’re not paranoid — the trend in indie rock over the past trend-length period of time has been to avoid hooky choruses at all costs. If you don’t have any friends in the cabal, you’ve come to believe that all those hipster bands from New York, England and parts unknown actually want to get their stuff played on radio, and to a minimal extent that’s true, but the sphere of influence hanging over today’s deconstructionist alt-pop world expects listeners to focus on lyrics and “vibe,” not memorable refrains. Pity, isn’t it, and such a drag to think about when so many bands are already doing a great collective job of being bad without really trying. Subtracting the “chorus” element from the traditional “verse-bridge-chorus” pop music formula makes Deadly Syndrome relevant but not useful to you, since they spend most of their time sounding like a prog-hating cross between Silkworm and Apples in Stereo only to throw in a “Comfortably Numb” guitar solo deep into the album. A melodic but too-short coda appears in “Friends Who Don’t Go Out at Night,” and Zero 7 gets royally ripped off in “Winter in You.”

When many people think of bad music made intentionally, fingers inevitably point to no-wavers and their progeny, like Erase Errata singer Jenny Hoyston. Thing is, her James Chance worship has mellowed to the point where the Tilt-a-Whirl organ-playing on her new album is not only agreeable but listenable over and above the usual “doesn’t it tick you off that I like this music” posturing. Highlights of this very solid record include “Spell D-O-G” (think Garbage or Blondie looking for a post-Best-Of hit) and the nice little noise loop dispensed in “Everyone’s Alone.” Deadly Syndrome C-; Jenny Hoyston BEric W. Saeger.