Review Round Up #68

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Filter's "Remixes for the Damned," "War Child Presents Heroes" Boris Smile's "Beartooth EP," Moby's "Last Night Remixed, and Veer Union's "Against the Grain Sampler."

Remixes for the Damned

Filter
“Remixes for the Damned”
(Pulse Recording 2008)

Filter have enlisted an array of artists and producers to remix their previous release "Anthems for the Damned," and for an entire album consisting of rehashed songs, it's surprisingly good. Hearkening back to the industrial-metal days of Filter with a healthy dose of electronica thrown in, this is a lot more "Hey Man Nice Shot" than "Take a Picture." As you might expect from the product of many different tinkerers, it's a bit inconsistent, but a successful re-imagining nonetheless.

Sounds Like: A mishmash of old-school style Filter and electronica

Key Tracks: "What's Next (Blood and Sand)," "Lie After Lie (Stripped)"

B
buy it!
War Child presents Heroes

Various Artists
“War Child presents Heroes”
(Astralwerks 2009)

Put together by the War Child foundation, "Heroes" puts a unique spin on the whole "covers album" routine. Not only were the songs to be covered chosen by the original artists, the acts screwing with their music were as well. This works out rather well for the most part; although I doubt Duffy's nauseatingly vapid take on "Live and Let Die" is what Paul McCartney had in mind. The proceeds that go towards children affected by war make up for the hipster-ish leanings of the coverers.

Sounds Like: Mostly well-handled covers of classic tunes

Key Tracks: The Hold Steady's "Atlantic City," Peaches' "Search and Destroy"

B+
buy it!
Beartooth EP

Boris Smile
“Beartooth EP”
(Count Your Lucky Stars 2008)

The liner notes say that there are 16 "players" on this EP, but I can't really tell you how all that personnel is being put to use. It sounds surprisingly thin, considering the extra keyboards, string, and brass instruments being sprinkled in; most of what the production allows through is jangly acoustic guitar and lightweight drums. Here's another paradox: for music that is as quirky as it is, it still comes off as mostly nondescript.

Sounds Like: Sparse, off-kilter indie

Key Tracks: "Beartooth (Spooky Version)"

B-
Last Night Remixed

Moby
“Last Night Remixed”
(Mute 2008)

Starting an album with a straight up-disco song is usually a sign of bad judgment. So opens "Last Night Remixed," in which a collection of dance music producers work their mojo on Moby's "Last Night." While the disco gets swallowed by rave after the first track, the quality is only marginally improved. But hey, if you're ready to throw some glow sticks in your mouth, drop some E, and dance like an epileptic getting shot with a taser gun, this is for you.

Sounds Like: Club beats by way of Moby

Key Tracks: "I Love To Move In Here (Seamus Haji Remix)"

C
buy it!

Veer Union
“Against the Grain Sampler”
(Universal/Motown 2008)

There's little to distinguish the Veer Union from every other modern rock act out there, be it Seether, Trapt, Hinder, you name it. From the mildly rough-ish vocals, to the anthemic choruses, to the ultra low end designed to get that "extra heavy" sound without actually being heavy; you have heard these songs about a million times before. The title is incredibly disingenuous; this music does everything but go against the grain.

Sounds Like: Everything else on rock radio

Key Tracks: "Youth of Yesterday"

C+