Before you is STDâ€™s first-ever INTERNATIONAL Issue. We know, itâ€™s dope and all that jazz. We pride ourselves on bringing you the best coverage around. STD is like CNN, but for musicâ€”â€œThe most trusted name in music.â€ Mad official, right? The crew hit up Germany, Canada, Iceland, Mexico and even Estonia without leaving our apartments. And it is true what they say: music really is universalâ€”it can suck from anywhere. In the end, Chicago rhymester Common was right: â€œI went from bashful, to asshole, to international.â€ Now if we could only find our passports.
Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalust
This band’s from Iceland, but none of its lyrics are Icelandic. They’re made-up gibberish called “Hopelandic.” That’s bullshit. Hey, I’m from Romania, but I will never drop a Romanian word into reviews because I don’t feel it necessary to prove to readers that I speak Romanian. Sigur Ros is decent for falling asleep to, and this album is an extension of that. Trouble is that “a decent band for falling asleep to” is Hopelandic for “a boring band that makes staying awake impossible.” Maybe it’s beautiful, but rock and roll is for dancing, not for beauty contests.
– Kevin Doran
Dude’s lived. He almost died from Hepatitis C after a long career of under-the-radar rock toiling, and just got his due with his last album. He’s Mexican, so he delivers the same amount of grown-up punk rock as Bob Pollard for a third of the price. It’s a bit of a stretch for the international issue because he was born in Texas, but his parents moved to Austin from Mexico just before he was born. Sorry, it’s the best I can do. Escovedo’s the exception that proves the rule: Rock and roll was meant for America.
– Kevin Doran
The Old Prince
Until recently the most exciting thing about Canada was driving over the border from Detroit to get cheap liquor. Enter: Shadrach Kabango (aka Shad). This Ontario rapper, along with a handful of other acts, is emerging as a force to be reckoned with on the hip-hop scene. Once you get a quick giggle from his full name, his Polaris Award-nominated album will leave you very much impressed as the clever wordplay and punchlines momentarily bring some pride to the city of Canada. While heâ€™ll never be as significant as the cheap liquor prices, Shad should provide another reason to visit our neighbors to the north in the near future.
– A. Hugh Leonard
Posing a threat to skiers everywhere, Snowgoons have released their sophomore album, Black Snow. When seeing a name like Snowgoons, should one laugh or be intimidated? Probably the former, but pretending to be a little nervous before pressing play may enhance the listening experience, or at least keep you from falling asleep. The German beatmakers invite a slew of unknown artists to rap on their very American-sounding beats. The production is less of a problem than the redundant, uninspired lyrics. So many blocks of Philly are shouted out, you could probably draw a map of the city by the discâ€™s end. And while youâ€™re at it, you should probably pull up directions for the quickest route to get this album to the trashcan.
– A. Hugh Leonard
Love Is Dead
Remember the film The Nightmare Before Christmas? It was written and produced by Tim Burton and done in stop motion animation. Imagine that, but in the country of Estonia (yeah, Iâ€™m not sure where it is either) with a continuously unpleasant soundtrack playing throughout the entire film. Thatâ€™s what Estoniaâ€™s own Kerli offers on her debut album, Love Is Dead. At points you wish it really was a movie, so you could just get up and walk out (or at least get your money back). Survey says: Two thumbs down.
– Jason Parham