too much typing—since 2003

9.26.2004

I'm still here

Been busy and/or out of town recently. Anyway, a brief rundown of recently acquired noise to satisfy my ravenous fans. Hi, Fred. On we go:

Elvis Costello The Delivery Man - The lazy point of comparison here is King of America: largely southern US points of influence, some famous American names guesting (in this case, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams), etc. I just picked this up and have only had the chance to hear it once. First listen usually serves to establish only a general direction (rawks-ward, sux-ward) with me, subject to much change later. Good so far.

Bjork Medulla - I'm too lazy for them thar furriner letters. As always, the first few listens are spent going, whah-huh? in terms of sonic texture. That's all the further I've got so far.

Robyn Hitchcock Spooked - I had low expectations for this one - he's neither trying to set things on fire anymore, nor generally doing so - but this one's growing on me. As most Robyn fans know, this one features David Rawlings and Gillian Welch on instruments and singing, but it's no twangfest, nor is it egregiously folky in that NPR way. Instead, we get some very nice vocal and acoustic-guitar interplay on a set of generally subdued but very pretty songs. Order early direct from Yep Roc, get a free CD-R of two more (quite fine) songs.

The Chameleons (UK) Strange Times - I picked this up because, for some reason, I feel compelled to hear things that people say are really who Interpol should be compared to, instead of the cliched (and wholly wrong) Joy Division. This was someone's nominee - I forget who. I can sorta hear it, but to me these guys inhabit a somewhat related but quite distinct world, maybe a few streets over and a couple blocks down from Interpol.

Echo & the Bunnymen Crocodiles (reissue) - The new material doesn't really add much for me; live, Mac had an annoying tendency to riff verbally on little word spasms that, on record, don't really do much (there are four live tracks appended). The studio outtakes and demoes prove that good decisions were made about which tracks made the final album. But damn - McCulloch was self-assured for a singer who'd barely performed before, and the band just hit hard and had great ideas. Lyrics a bit sketchy (probably better than "pretentious," though), and you can tell they kinda wrote the same song a couple of times in places...but "All That Jazz," for example, does just about everything right.

[v/a] Old Enough to Know Better: 15 Years of Merge Records - Which pretty much establishes how great a label Merge is. I had lots of this - but I also didn't have lots of this, and with three CDs for the price of one (including a whole disc full of not readily available stuff), there's no good reason not to buy this.

The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads - Apparently I'm into the reissue thing these last few weeks. While some of the added tracks on the first disc are a bit compromised sonically, they still add to the picture, and that picture is of one very hot, very confident band that turned their quirks into strengths with every step. And way more credit should be given to Tina Weymouth: since Byrne and Harrison played almost entirely rhythm, it was left to her not only to perform the usual harmonic underpinning of the bass player but also to flesh out the songs with countermelodies. "Found a Job" is the epitome of her early style. The second disc, which now restores the entire 80-81 touring set list, is just plain shit-hot, the band feeling exploratory and restless rather than (as later happened with some of Byrne's work) either garishly and newly tried-on or overpolished.

I think that's it - bye now.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

---Elvis Costello The Delivery Man - The lazy point of comparison here is King of America---

It reminds me more of *Brutal Youth*. About half of it is very, very good, and the other half isn't up to his usual standard. This is the first Costello album in awhile to have total throways on it -- which isn't to say I don't dig it. Then again, I'm probably the only person I know who thinks both *North* and *The Girl In The Other Room* are awesome.

---who Interpol should be compared to, instead of the cliched (and wholly wrong) Joy Division. This was someone's nominee - I forget who.----

It was Glenn McDonald, in his positive review of *Turn On The Bright Lights*. Interpol got tons of press, but I think that review was the only intelligent thing anybody wrote about them. It was the only piece that said, hey, beyond the hype, these guys are really good musicians and their songcraft doesn't conform to expectations.

The new album doesn't sound much like Joy Division at all, but they'll continue to get those comparisons as long as Paul Banks is fronting the band. But Banks doesn't sound suicidal -- he sounds like a curious robot.

I think Interpol is the class of the New York scene. We'll see what the YYYs do, but these guys have already proven they can expand on their sound -- something that a few other prominent New York bands did *not* do. As players, they smoke everybody else in the city. They're in this for the long haul.

Tris

2fs said...

Listened to the EC again today - it dragged a bit near the end, but I had too little sleep last night, so maybe that's why. Mostly, I like it. I'm curious, Tris, which songs specifically you think don't work. And thanks much for mentioning Glenn's Interpol review - it pretty much epitomizes his reviewing at its best, particularly the intense level of engagement in the ways the music affects him, and specifically how it does so.

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