The Best Of 'Monitor Mix' By Carrie Brownstein

Your Trusted Source For Music Reviews

Fake cover for The Shins' 'Honey Poke Shimmy Lantern.'

These songs will change your life back to the way it was before The Shins changed it the first time. Photo Illustration: Lars Gotrich; Photos: Brandon Feagan via Flickr hide caption

toggle caption Photo Illustration: Lars Gotrich; Photos: Brandon Feagan via Flickr

The Black Crowes are lashing out at Maxim magazine for reviewing the band's new album—apparently without actually hearing it first. The review, published in Maxim's March issue, gives the Crowes' 'Warpaint' a rating of two-and-a-half stars out of five. The writer...has not heard the album.
Black Crowes Say Maxim Review a Fraud, Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2008

Bear in Heaven-Red Bloom of the Boom
The latest effort by BIH, RBOTB, is a swirling, dizzying, daring, vertiginous ride. "Bag of Bags" blends angelic harmonies with toast. And "Fraternal Noon" left me wanting a warm sweater that I could then layer over a T-shirt only to be too warm and have to wear just the T-shirt.

Rating: Double Tall Sugar Free Vanilla Latte. Or, Go Bears!

These United States-A Picture Of The Three Of Us At The Gate To The Garden Of Eden.
By the time I finished reading the title the album was already over.

Rating: 2 F**ks and 1.5 Yeahs.

Kaki King-Dreaming Of Revenge

I've been waiting for this CD for 11 years and it finally arrived. "Life Being What It Is" is King at his best, while "Open Mouth" is King even better than he usually is. "Air and Kilometers" is a beautiful song about traveling in a plane in a country that uses the metric system and "Montreal" is about a city in Canada.

Rating: Happy Milkshake.

Wye Oak-If Children
This album is one, long beautiful poem beginning with the line "If Children.....". I don't even need to tell you the rest. It's Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love Of All" except angrier and totally against mid-wives.

Rating: 7 divided by 3 times 10 plus your sun sign.

The Shins-Honey Poke Shimmy Lantern
James Mercer and crew can do no wrong. They've added the Decemberists, the Thermals, and Spoon to their lineup. Recorded inside a deer carcass, the sounds on Honey Poke are haunting and cervid. These songs will change your life back to the way it was before The Shins changed it the first time. Remember that song "Red Rubber Ball?" It's on this album!

Rating: $800

The White Stripes-Pale Pail
This album was recorded on an abacus.

Rating: Seborrhea

Tift Merrit-Another Country
Tift Merrit sings the book by James Baldwin.

Rating: Really, really fun.



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I thought Kaki King was a woman? Did you just pull a Maxim-Black-Crowes-faux-review?

Sent by Curt | 9:54 AM | 2-28-2008

wow, i really want to hear that shins album that was recorded inside a deer carcus ;)

in all seriousness, i hope that you, carrie, will review the new jicks album at some point because i've been listening to it non-stop and i can't get enough of it (, folks). this is the jicks at their finest.

Sent by melinda | 10:24 AM | 2-28-2008

Kaki King is a women. Very much so. And she's beautiful. She appears on Tegan and Sara's "The Con" and on the dvd that comes with the full length cd.
Have you heard Chris Walla's "Field Manual"?

Sent by brittani | 10:38 AM | 2-28-2008

i'm gonna be laughing about this all day. thanks, carrie

Sent by Jess | 10:49 AM | 2-28-2008

Kaki King is a woman... which I would have thought you knew.

Sent by Meg | 10:50 AM | 2-28-2008

does someone really need to listen to the Black Crowes' new album to know that it's lousy?

Sent by jane birkin | 11:11 AM | 2-28-2008

Carrie Brownstein's follow-up to her blog entry "Your Trusted Source For Music Reviews" is a terse, Batyushkovesque rumination on the existential fears and postmodern concerns of her generation. While it lacks the languidness of "Your Trusted Source," Friday's blog entry shows signs of growth from Thursday's, showing Brownstein's growing comfort with her audience of jaded NPR listeners. Also, the numerous LOLcats that dominate Friday's entry add a touch of the festiveness that fans of her earlier blogs may have been attracted to in the first place.

Rating: A priest, a rabbi, and an overstimulated duck

Sent by Sam | 12:02 PM | 2-28-2008

i have a feeling ms brownstein is aware that kaki is indeed a woman. did you not read these reviews?

Sent by meghann | 12:20 PM | 2-28-2008

you can't record on an abacus... which i would have thought you knew.

Sent by lea | 12:24 PM | 2-28-2008

After reading the entry again, I feel like a big idiot :|

Sent by Curt | 12:36 PM | 2-28-2008


Sent by jkgiang | 1:20 PM | 2-28-2008

2 F**ks and 1,5 yeahs!
Laughed my ass off!
Please write a book or a screenplay.
This blog is too brief a glimpse into your talent for words.

Sent by Brent Kelly | 1:34 PM | 2-28-2008


Sent by Roy | 1:38 PM | 2-28-2008

recorded on an abacus?
nerd it up! I want to see that.
That and the deer carcass. Actually scratch that, I don't want to see the deer carcass... gross.

Sent by Jess H | 2:39 PM | 2-28-2008

I was so confused when I first read this. I take it that you're never gonna give us any real, serious reviews?

Sent by Jaime | 2:51 PM | 2-28-2008

My band hasn't even recorded our third album yet but I really hope you review it before we step into the studio sometime in 2008. That way we can learn from our mistakes before we make them and/or go with our strengths. And toast!

Sent by chriso | 3:13 PM | 2-28-2008

Rating: 2 F**ks and 1.5 Yeahs.
I'm surprised this isn't already in use on some hipster blog for actual ratings of new music...

Hilarious post.

Sent by setya | 4:10 PM | 2-28-2008

My favorite thing about how Radiohead released In Rainbows was the the lack of pre-release reviews in magazines and on websites. I was able to listen to it for 4 or 5 days and form my own opinion before some publication irrevocably tainted my perception of it.

Sent by JasonH | 6:00 PM | 2-28-2008

I think you've outdone Richard Meltzer. Now I'd like to see some cover art....

Sent by Crafty | 6:43 PM | 2-28-2008

Thanks for this, it made my day.

Sent by Genevieve | 6:48 PM | 2-28-2008

i like your take on these new capsule reviews that attempt to take on albums that deserve more than 4 sentences. so the writers resort to what chuck klosterman calls "the cult of comparison" and other means to a shitty read at the end.

Sent by Joe Gallll | 6:49 PM | 2-28-2008

These songs will change your life back to the way it was before The Shins changed it the first time.

genius. for real. finally, someone has taken this reference to its logical end.

Sent by skot | 12:03 AM | 2-29-2008

you're hired!

Sent by maxim | 1:59 AM | 2-29-2008

Too funny, Carrie, hi-larious.

I didn't know Maxim did music reviews in the first place, regardless of whether they actually listen to it beforehand - and why would a music fan look to a T&A magazine for recommendations?

And I agree with Melinda on the new Jicks record - it is amazing.

Sent by Jason | 12:02 PM | 2-29-2008

wow, amazing. as hilarious as this entry is, lea's comment really takes the cake: "you can't record on an abacus... which i would have thought you knew." i'm giving that parody 4 F**ks and 3 Yeahs-- and i'm gonna use this rating system as much as possible.

Sent by nikki | 1:24 PM | 2-29-2008

It's a little known fact that I actually was a boy once! Carrie how did you know?? I won a big poker game with some sailors in Thailand and decided to blow my winnings on sexual reassignment surgery. Just for fun. Kind of like getting a tattoo, really, but like in 3D. Anyway the darn thing fell off after about a week--I thought the stitches looked pretty shoddy from the get go--and I was returned my usual state. Thanks for the milkshake!!!!!

Sent by kaki king | 2:34 PM | 2-29-2008

Perhaps bands can start including a "Suggested Rating" on their bios/onesheets along with the "First Listen" and "For Fans Of" helpers. That way lazy journalists who already lift their reviews from biographies don't have to worry about that pesky rating.

Four Stars: Kung Pao WOW!

Sent by JJ Hellgate | 2:36 PM | 2-29-2008

20 oblique right angles or less & several point three repeating Brahmans of logical paradox?

Sent by Zia | 2:59 PM | 2-29-2008

Pale Pail...I'm picturing Meg White sitting in a pail of white paint. Amazing.

Sent by Georgia | 4:25 PM | 2-29-2008

Jesus, I actually Googled that Shins album.

Sent by Skirkster Beetle | 4:48 PM | 2-29-2008

i'm thinking it's funny that everyone is freaking out about carrie's saying kaki king is a man, and not about the actual content of the review, or the fact album names.

in any case... i will have to agree that kaki king is a beautiful, beautiful woman. and that this was hilarious.

Sent by sam | 5:50 PM | 2-29-2008

2 word review for Shark Sandwich: Shit Sandwich

Sent by dk | 6:58 PM | 2-29-2008

Ouch. That was totally brilliant.

Sent by Gina V. | 7:43 PM | 2-29-2008

I am outraged that you overlooked the new albums by our most important bands: Art Ensemble of Chicago's If You Leave Me Now, The Magnetic Fields's More Commercials for Cars and Car Insurance, Excuse 17's We're Senior Citizens and We Rule The Internets, and the amazing Kelis/James Blunt/Thao Nguyen collaboration, My Milkshake Exceeds You Mad Fingerpicking Skillz. And it almost seems like you haven't heard Gordon Lightfoot's acoustic remake of Metal Machine Music. Carrie, your audience needs you to stay on top of things and your attention to minor stuff like Kaki King's new CD--without even mentioning the YouTube clip where he reveals he is Larry King's son from his marriage to Brian May--well, frankly, it worries me. Have you let your subscription to Trouser Press lapse?

Sent by David G. | 11:55 AM | 3-1-2008

Only the French can pull off Maxim's kind of reviewing with a straight face and credibility intact, (,,25341-2647599,00.html).

Hey Carrie, I think I saw you today on Columbus Ave near W70th street. I was the gobsmacked middle-aging hipster. If it was you, enjoy the city!!

Sent by Rich | 5:30 PM | 3-3-2008

I had to look up "cervid." Good Scrabble word. And hilarious post, too.

Sent by Michael | 8:59 PM | 3-3-2008

The Shins-Honey Poke Shimmy Lantern
James Mercer and crew can do no wrong. They've added the Decemberists, the Thermals, and Spoon to their lineup. Recorded inside a deer carcass, the sounds on Honey Poke are haunting and cervid. These songs will change your life back to the way it was before The Shins changed it the first time. Remember that song "Red Rubber Ball?" It's on this album!

Rating: $800


Sent by steve | 12:55 AM | 3-4-2008

Album Reviews = Subjective Jabber

I absolutely love the way you illustrated that equation!

That last drink you remember having before blanking out and doing something exceedingly stupid.

Sent by Chad Bly | 3:16 PM | 3-5-2008

That was better than making up band names to put on a myspace page. I heard that the album was actually recorded in a Tauntaun carcass, maybe not though?

Sent by Zach | 11:19 PM | 3-12-2008

The White Stripes-Pale Pail

I love you, Carrie Brownstein.

Sent by Anne | 10:12 PM | 3-13-2008

About the only redeeming thing on NPR is occasionally brilliant music, and Kaki King is amazing. For once I was glad my tax dollars paid for the programming. Then I'm reminded we pay you to write about boys in Canada singing about the metric system. If you didn't listen to her music, you cheated yourself. I can award milkshakes as well as you can, and I'd even enjoy hearing the music. Where can I apply for your job?

This entry was a parody. I wrote it after it was revealed that Maxim was reviewing CDs without ever listening to them. I like Kaki King too. If you want my job, please email NPR. -CB

Sent by Charlie | 5:16 PM | 5-25-2008


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