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Contents of Distraction

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Album Review

Some records just leave you scratching your head; this record falls firmly in that category. On Contents of Distraction, Desert City Soundtrack's sound is a disjointed blend of stately piano playing, loud and atonal guitars, and yowling vocals — a sort of unholy conjunction of Bruce Hornsby playing with Sonic Youth featuring David Yow on vocals. It is a pretty unique sound, but not a very listenable one. Tracks like the opening "What to Do in Case of Fire" or the sprawling "Widow's Staircase" aim for epic heights, but are let down by the truly silly, howling vocals. One track, "Murderhearts," features more subdued singing and is a touch more listenable (the horns near the end help, too), but even then the voice is a major distraction. The ubiquitous piano is a distraction, too — it is too clean sounding and Cory Grey's proficiency is really out of place. His melodicism and calm are jarring next to the ugliness of the rest of the elements of the group. He should leave the group and find a nice pop group to play with, and the rest of the band can concentrate on following on the heels of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and their noisy ilk. It is really the only solution to this unlistenable puzzle of a group.


Formed: Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Desert City Soundtrack began in Portland, and featured Matt Carillo (guitars, vocals), Cory Gray (keys, vocals, trumpet), and Brian Wright (drums). Over a series of releases the trio perfected its lush, detached brand of indie rock that incorporated elements of Built to Spill, Sebadoh, Ben Folds Five, and the emo movement. DCS issued a few early 7"s before signing to Deep Elm and issuing the Contents of Distraction EP in 2002. The Funeral Car LP followed in 2003, and the band appeared on...
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Contents of Distraction, Desert City Soundtrack
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