Staff Trax: Röyksopp, Trippple Nippples, Ride, Jawbox, Buffalo Tom, Wilco and Toto

Welcome to Staff Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something good.

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Röyksopp - "The Drug"


Over the years, The two guys in Röyksopp have put out some really fine material that fits into my personal music realm of choice, minimalist electronica. They've also released some really snappy songs, occasionally featuring guest vocalists like Erland Oye or Karin Dreijer Andersson. They're releasing a new full-length instrumental called Senior on September 13, and started streaming it from their website on on the 6th. This is the video for the first single, which definitely falls on the minimalist electronica side of things, called "The Drug." I thought it was shot on some post-apocalyptic movie set. Turns out it's just Detroit. --Doug Davis

Trippple Nippples - "Harakuju Girls"


Trippple Nippples has been a semi-secret pleasure of mine since my sophomore year of college. That sounds much dirtier than it actually is, honest. I found the Japanese group while perusing MySpace in search of some new tunes (this was back in 2006 when people still checked their MySpace accounts more than once every other month) and I found myself immediately hooked by the catchy and downright corky nature of the group. At the time, Trippple Nippples didn't have much posted--just a couple of demos, one of which was "RIP Meat," an infectious little number that I still find myself listening to when the mood is right. The only video I could find for "RIP Meat" was a fan-made video of Tokyo "street fashion".  If you happen to like what you hear then make sure to check out Trippple Nippples' MySpace page and keep your eyes and ears out for any info regarding the release of the band's very first EP. --Catherine Downes

Ride - "Vapour Trail"


As a recognized genre, the distortion-fueled fuzziness of shoegaze wasn't that popular to the masses for very long, especially once grunge flannelled its way onto the map shortly after the '90s began. When one thinks of shoegazers, it's easy to pretty much begin and end with My Bloody Valentine, even though one would be wrong to do so. There were plenty of other English fellows that enjoyed the same eardrum busting sound, while focusing a greater attention to melody and overall catchiness, like Oxford's Ride, for one excellent example. Many have pointed to their debut album, Nowhere, as perhaps the second-best shoegaze album to soar from behind a massive wall of sound, even. --Kelly Dearmore

Jawbox - "Mirrorful"



Thirty weeks of doing this column, and I'm just now covering a band that I spent four years of my life documenting in a book, along with almost a dozen other bands. What gives? Anyway, Jawbox put out only four records (two on Dischord Records, two on Atlantic Records), but none of them are bad. I'd highly recommend starting out with either For Your Own Special Sweetheart or Jawbox. Here's the song that turned me onto them. --Eric Grubbs

Buffalo Tom - "Taillights Fade"


It's hard to believe that Buffalo Tom has been around nearly 25 years. Supposedly, the Boston band is working on its eighth album, but Buffalo Tom's heyday has to be 1992 when the band released its best effort, Let Me Come Over. On that album, singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz finally perfected his mix of loud and soft as the brilliant single "Taillights Fade" aptly demonstrates. Sadly, Buffalo Tom attempted to get super slick on the following album, Big Red Letter Day, and the results were painfully uneven. Buffalo Tom rebounded a bit with 1995's Sleepy Eyed, but commercial success has always eluded this fine trio. Fans of The Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. can certainly find some wonderful gems in the catalogue of Buffalo Tom. --Darryl Smyers

Wilco - "Jesus Etc."



Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was Wilco's fourth studio album, but it just as easily could have been their last. The contentious recording sessions--which were well-documented in the film I Am Trying To Break Your Heart--resulted not only in the split from the band's label Reprise Records, but saw longtime multi-instrumentalist/co-head songwriter Jay Bennett being dismissed by the band as well. Fortunately the album ended up being the band's first critical and commercial success. My favorite track of the album has got to be the gorgeous "Jesus Etc.," which may explain why I listened to it around a dozen times over the weekend. The album's original release date was supposed to be September 11, 2001 before it was ultimately pushed back to April the following year. Listening to lyrics like "Tall buildings shake, voices escape singing sad sad songs" seem to eerily predict the events of 9/11 and have taken on whole new meanings in the wake of the tragedies. In any case, the way Tweedy subtlety changes vocal melodies and cadences over a consistent set of chord changes is nothing short of brilliant, keeping the song interesting after repeated listens. The understated, perfectly mixed harmonies are just the sort of cherry that shoot "Jesus Etc." into the next stratum. This is one I almost always listen to twice in a row when it comes up on the iPod. --Cory Graves

Toto - "Rosanna"



Toto is best taken in small doses, lest you start to morph into a lifeless radio-pop shell. But wow, what an airtight job of instrumentation on this. The band was full of very sharp players, and this is their finest moment. My favorite part is the low "Or is it?" vocal utterance heard in one of the last choruses. This is, of course, the bullshit radio edit version, that cuts out a pretty impressive volley-and-response keyboard and guitar solo at the end. The album version is really the way to go, if you get the chance. This is also a great song to make fun of and laugh about, especially if your friends ever catch you listening to it. Toto wouldn't even care. --Alan Ayo
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