Tonight in Seattle:  

AstroPOP! for May 2003

Imaginary rock and roll astrology CD reviews by Chilly C for May 2003

Taurus {April 20-May 20}
You're feeling quite a bit, I daresay, licentious this month, Taurus. I feel it. You feel it. Your friends feel it (and trust me they don't want to feel it). How do you assuage this lust? Um, grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and listen to Sweden's latest export — Caesars' glorious garage-rock comp CD 39 Minutes of Bliss (Astralwerks). The bouncy farfisa and scratchy vocals of breakout single "Jerk It Out" is wink-wink dirty just like your bad dreams, and you'll be feeling better in no time. And the sputtered Buzzcocks-inspired come-on "Let's Go Parking Baby" might even give you some new pick-up lines, so you won't have this loveless problem again. But if you do, Caesars have a song for that as well: "Out Of My Hands." No matter what, they got you covered for the month.

Gemini {May 21-June 21}
Your dual nature can make you totally schizo sometimes, Gemini, but really, who really cares whether it's Castor or Pollux that shines brighter? Take a cue from The Electric Version (Mint/Matador) by New Pornographers The country drawl of Neko Case meshes flawlessly with the Hollies-inspired harmonies of Newman/Dahle/Thurier et al. Here's a group that knows how to play to each everyone's strengths, and their unity-through-diversity puts the 'power' back in power-pop. The lyrics are baffling at times — but you can't take the schizo completely out of the Gemini, can you? Fast and kinetic, direct hits like "The Laws Have Changed" are infectious like SARS. Touch me, twins, I'm sick.

Cancer {June 22-July 22}
I've had it, Cancer. I can't listen to you complain about your freaking job any more. You whine and mope about the crappy pay, the unfulfilling work, the weird smell in the employee lunch room — but never once do I hear you talk about what you're going to do about it. Some advice? Listen to the new self-titled cd by Tart (Smartgirl). You'll never hear Tart whine about their job — especially because their job is to write scorching, breathless anthems for everyone's inner revolutionary. "Keep Breathing" urges us to get outside and feel the air, "Don't Forget" insists that we "live with purpose." With screams and slippery twin guitars derived from the hallowed Tucker/Brownstein tradition, Tart conjure a world where indignation isn't an end in itself — it's a means to healthy self-improvement. And they rock. If listening to this cd doesn't get you up off your ass, Cancer, I don't know what can help you.

Leo {July 23-August 22}
Talent? Creativity? Ambition? You've got it all in spades, Leo. That's no surprise. What is surprising is the fact that the rest of the world hasn't caught on to how great you are yet. Yet. Until then, you are the best-kept-secret of the select few. The Libertines know exactly how you feel. Up The Bracket (Rough Trade) derives an equation that's equal parts Clash, Supergrass, smokes, and Guinness, and the Libertines tear through the 14 songs on their debut's stateside release with a shrug and a sneer that belies their world-domination impulses. "Death On The Stairs" is brilliant in its false indecisiveness — "so baby please kill / oh baby don't kill me." "Time For Heroes" is far less uncertain: the Libertines know it really is time for heroes. And that's you, Leo: coming out of that phone booth in the cape and tights. Talent! Creativity! Ambition! It's your world, now go save it.

Virgo {August 23-September 22}
You want me to tell you what's wrong with you? First off, what makes you so sure I was going to say there was something wrong with you? This defensiveness doesn't become you, Virgo — especially since you're usually the first to parlay your prettiness right into the lap of denial. But looks aren't everything. Evan Dando can tell you that — one minute he was the ultimate alt-pop pinup boy, the next minute he was nowhere. And I don't need to tell you which of those minutes lasted eight years. Dando's first-ever solo cd Baby I'm Bored (Breath Of Salt Water/Bar None) is certainly a step in the right direction. Luckily the title isn't the only thing that's both clever and self-depreciating. The songs are classic Evan: aw-shucks narcissistic, tuneful, and oozing with his curious appeal — like your mom confessing her crush on your prom date. A few songs are sluggish from too much sleep, but "Stop My Head" bounces with well-earned caveats like, "don't listen to me or anybody else / listen to yourself." Did you hear that, Virgo? There's nothing wrong with you.

Libra {September 23-October 22}
I'm only an astrologer, Libra, I can't analyze your dreams. What I would do for you, though, is this. I'd videotape your dreams, and then, when you woke up, I'd play them back for you — with the volume turned all the way down, and with The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA) playing instead. Your dream begins when a wealthy heiress ("Rich Girl") invites you to a party. A hottie at the party hands you a drink and winks ("One On One"). Then your paramour admits to having watched you from afar all night ("Private Eyes"). Meanwhile, the heiress runs off, leaving you in charge of her estate — but only if you get that law degree you've been thinking about ("Adult Education"). Jeez, this all matches up perfectly! But remember, Libra, I'm no analyst. So I can't tell you what any of this means. I don't feel the need to give such secrets away.

Scorpio {October 23 - November 21}
Scorpio, you're all about keeping in touch this month. How do I know this? The almost fanatical obsession with checking your email inbox every 45 seconds. Sure, you've sent e-mails to everyone you know. And sure, your personality is tide-influencing in its magnetism. But other people have their own lives to lead. So while you're staring at the empty screen, put The Postal Service's excellent release Give Up (Sub Pop) in your D: drive. Jimmy Tamborello's sweet synth loops will calm you down and lift you up. Ben Gibbard's breathy vocals are truly lighter-than-air — which makes the most sense when he's singing about waving from "Such Great Heights." By now you should notice that most of the songs here are about missing someone far away, scheming to get your sweetheart back, or building a fantasy world in which only you and your lover live. Ok, you can wake up now. Your inbox is full!

Sagittarius {November 22-December 21}
Friends look at your latest changes in style like you're bananas, Sag, but I know the truth. When you spend time with the gorillas, you think differently about so-called 'normal' society when you return. Ask Dian Fossey — or Damon Albarn. The Blur frontman's 2000 field study with giant video screens, cartoon monkeys, and Dan the Automator was life-changing in exactly the same way your own personal transformation has been lately. Just-released Think Tank (Virgin) is certainly not your Parklife-era Blur: the digitized voices, tribal drumming, and heavy synths testify to the (now Graham Coxon-less) band's 'new direction.' But "Out Of Time" has the weariness of 96's "The Universal," and the acoustic loop of "Good Song" is resigned and self-aware like Parklife's "To the End." Like you've been trying to tell your friends, don't think of it as a reinvention. There are now just more ways you can be you.

Capricorn {December 22-January 19}
Once again, you've gotten yourself in way too deep: massive debt, juggling a complicated lovelife, not calling your parents very often. Run Baby Run (Buttermilk) by Seattle's RC5 provides a perfect soundtrack to your manic downward spiral. A 5-song blast of white-hot punk-rock fury, this CD is perfect accompaniment for running between restaurants where you've got different dates waiting for you, or for blasting into the receiver when creditors call you. I'm not going to ask you to change, Cap — you're too set in your ways to allow that, but still — not calling your parents is pretty lame. In "Gotta Weekend," the RC5 may be talking about everything they're gonna do on Saturday night, but even hardcore punks call their mom on Sunday morning.

Aquarius {January 20-February 18}
Photo album nostalgia is a warm, fuzzy way for us to look back and assess our own history. But you're a thin-skinned sort, Aquarius, so once you catch yourself in 1992's haircut you wanna just cry and close the book on your past. As sensitive as you are, you should definitely give a listen to the Hardy Mums retrospective Us Chickens (Miller Street). Finally compiled on one cd after years of limited-edition cassette-only releases, these songs from Morristown, New Jersey's greatest band will finally get you to see that the past can really be a wonderful place to visit. The kitchen beat of the lo-fi "What's the Equation?" still delights, the creepy bossa nova of "Hey Girl" still causes shivers. But it's the unreleased tracks that tell us the most: "Get Out While I Still Can" shakes with fever, and "Brussel Sprout (We Are The Turnstiles)" is a surreal masterpiece. Now wipe away your tears, Aquarius. You need to make peace with your past, yes. But, no, you don't have to live there all the time.

Pisces {February 19-March 20}
Spring is here and you've got a fierce jones for the wanderlust. I can't really blame you for not being able to sit still, Pisces. You're finally coming out of your winter doldrums — you deserve to be scanning the horizon for grander opportunities. Ok. First of all, you're going to need some good music for your upcoming road trip and couch-surfing epic. Check out the Femurs' self-titled cd (self-released) — one-man-band Rob Schaeffer feels just like you do: restless, wistful, and looking up and down the I-5 corridor for that perfect place to crash. Catchy indie-pop songs like "Betty's Been Gone" and "Last Train to Memphis" steal the right stuff from the Ramones (the fake English accents!) and the Pixies (those four chords that go together perfectly). Even if you don't hook up with anyone on your trip, you won't feel alone with this CD.

Aries {March 21-April 19}
You come to me for advice, Aries, and I'm going to be honest. So sit down, because what I'm going to tell you — well —the truth is, most of your friends think that you're a little 'out there.' Loco. Hella nuts. But you know, I'm listening to You Are Free (Matador) by Cat Power, and I'm beginning to wonder whether your friends are the ones with the problem. Cat Power's Chan Marshall has certainly been accused of havin' the crazies before, but the songs on this lovely, introspective CD give me a glimpse of a mind that is nothing but sound (ok except for letting Eddie Vedder sing on your record but that's just me). I hear you, Aries, when I hear the forlorn "Shaking Paper," and I hear you in the hypnotic "Speak For Me." You come to me advice, Aries, I'm going to be honest. Don't listen to your friends, don't listen to me. You're doing just fine on your own.

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