Even if my July was not full of music blog posting, it was full of music.
The main record I want to pick up in the next week or two: the new Beth Orton, Daybreaker. Her first album, Trailer Park, is a fine acoustic folk record with some dipping into electronica. But her second full-length album (there was an EP that came between the long-plays), Central Reservation, was a revelation, one of my favorite records of the last five years.
The biggest disappointment of my summer? Well, I bought into all the "he's back" reviews for Paul westerberg, and bought Stereo, which came with a bonus disc, Mono. Though the "sound" of both two is a return to -- well, at least 14 Songs era Westerberg, he is still in a lyric and songwriting funk. Just really disappointing. And the liner notes are so pretentious -- I'll post them soon. Soon as I can remember to bring the CD in from my car.
posted by Anon. 6:55 PM
Let me go on
CNN.com has a piece on the web catching up with Gordan Gano, leader of the much-nostalgized alternative 80s darlings, the Violent Femmes. The piece coincides with Rhino giving the Femmes' beloved first record -- the self-titled one featuring "Blister in the Sun," "Add It Up," etc -- the same treatment it's given a bunch of the Elvis Costello catalog: re-release with a second bonus disc of live tracks and demos.
I was never a huge Violent Femmes fan -- a little too cute, a little too smarmy -- and I can't forget the time they played at a Brown University Spring Weekend show. They played their three most best known songs within the first thirty minutes. Talk about anti-climactic. I think I left with thirty minutes to go to go get a burger.
The two disc re-release seems to be a current trend -- they've done it with a couple of the Velvet Underground records, and with Ziggy Stardust. But sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. I preferred what Ryko did with the Elvis Costello reissues. Remaster the records, then just fill up the rest of that single disc with bonus goodies. Moderation in all things.
posted by Anon. 9:18 AM
I think I lost it
I consider myself a large Lucinda Williams fan, but my love for Lucinda pretty much first began with her eponymous album from the late 80s -- y'know, the one that featured "Passionate Kisses," "Changed the Locks," "Big Red Sun Blues," etc. She also had two earlier releases, though: Ramblin' On My Mind, which is a collection of old folk songs, and 1980's Happy Woman Blues, which I just received as a gift from B a few weeks ago upon her maiden voyage to Amoeba Records. (I'm no layabout, though: I bought her Pink Moon on the same trip.)
I've been listening a great deal to it the last few weeks, and enjoying it quite a bit. Are few things better then when you finally get around to buying that last album that you never bought by an artist you like quite a bit, and it's good? Well, okay, world peace. And ice cream. And a few other things. But bear with me.
It's a very acoustic affair, and Lucinda's voice has rarely sounded better. (Though her voice was the best thing about her last collection, the lackluster Essence.) Fans of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road will like her original, more sing-songy, strum-along version of "I Lost It", but for me, the standout track is the album closer, "Sharp Cutting Wings (Song for a Poet)." Just lovely.
posted by Anon. 2:58 PM
Born under a bad sign
While at work today, I've been enjoying my latest purchase from the WB company store: Rhino's two disc Albert King anthology. Albert King was always my favorite blues king: the great blues guitarist from the Stax label, his best songs mix lovely guitar work with the horn and stripped down soul sound that Otis Redding and Sam and Dave perfected. There's also something to be said about two disc anthologies: sometimes it's the perfect size. There's a John Lee Hooker two disc set that I had my eye on, as well as two discs of the Righteous Brothers. (Which might be too much for the Righteous Brothers, but...)
posted by Anon. 2:52 PM