Oh my, I just realized I've gone three whole weeks without seeing any live music. But I suppose I was due for a break given the feverish concert-attendance pace I set for the previous two or three months. And there are a good number of shows coming up this month that will bring me back up to speed. Speaking of which... any NY-area, show-going readers of this site should feel free to come up and say "hi" if you see me at a concert. Hopefully I'll look a bit more chipper than in the pic I've currently got on my "about" page, and I'll even buy you a drink. How about that?
Now that the year is almost over, I've also been trying to get my hands on the last of the new (or not-so-new) 2002 albums so I can finalize my personal year-end best-of list. Still need to check out albums by Franklin Bruno, My Dad Is Dead, the Delgados, Doves and Statuesque. Also plan on giving Radio 4 another shot, after initially being underwhelmed by a lone song of theirs I'd downloaded off of Soulseek a few months back. What made me reconsider my first impression was their contribution to the Fenway Recordings comp In Our Lifetime Vol. 2. I'd bought that CD for the non-LP Consonant track (of course), but the songs by Radio 4 ("The Movies") and Anna Waronker ("Love Story") were the ones that stuck with me the most.
Mini-reviews of other new-ish albums I've been listening to frequently, recently:
John Darnielle knows how to tell a story, using his expressive voice and unique turns of phrase to map out a couple's deteriorating relationship, the sole subject of this new Mountain Goats album. Given the lo-fi nature of previous Mountain Goats recordings, the crystal clarity of these recordings is at first startling, as are the vocal harmonies, piano, counterpoint bass and percussive flourishes (even full-out drums on a couple of tracks). Songs both funny and heartfelt, aching and wicked... little playlets acted out in three or four minutes' apiece.
Paul at The Rub started it by posting a downloadable mp3 of "No, Not Now" on his site awhile back; Travelers Diagram further piqued my interest in this album by making available another mp3 shortly thereafter. And once I got my hands on the whole album a month or so ago, it immediately jumped to the top of my "new albums" playlist in my iPod, the first thing I'd put on before heading out each day. Partly it's pleasure at hearing a new record that so directly references a certain literate, angular 80s pop aesthetic (think: XTC, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, The Cars) of which I've always been fond. But mostly it's the energy and catchiness of the songs, which make me want to jump up and dance around and emulate the lead singer's rapid-fire, Andy Partridge-meets-Robert Smith vocal histrionics. (I've been poking a voodoo doll/That you do not know I've made/For you/Of you/Let's see what needles do) They must be an incredibly fun live band; here's to hoping they'll come back to the East Coast soon, since I missed my chance when they were in town a month ago for CMJ.
Amy Fairchild - Mr. Heart (So Fair Music)
This one was a bit of surprise, not the kind of thing I'd have ever investigated myself. But a friend lent this to me noting that it was his favorite album this year, and given that he'd turned me on to my favorite album of the year, I needed to give this one a spin. Or two. Or three. Actually, any sense of obligation vanished after one listen, as I found myself liking this album quite a bit, a lot more than I would have thought. Amy Fairchild is an Aimee Mann-style singer-songwriter, but more... straightforward? Sincere? Definitely more upbeat, more pop. It appeals to my Crowded House-bred pop sense, even as some parts veer into Joni Mitchell territory, but... um, I still like it.
What else? Beginning the long process of getting rid of items musical and otherwise on eBay, trying to think of intelligent responses to some excellent questions posed to me about record collecting (more on that later), listening to all those fab indiepop 12"es I bought last week (one of which I've been playing at least twice a day now: "Way Behind Me" by The Primitives! The not-so-big hit single follow-up but IMO, a better pop song than "Crash"), finally putting together that list of other music blogs for that lonely-looking spot in the sidebar, and creating/burning copies of my Christmas 2002 mix CD.Posted by nstop at December 02, 2002 11:20 PM