Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cute Little British Jazzman

Saw Jamie Cullum last night at the 930 Club. What a cutie! Very upbeat, energetic show, so don’t take the album’s MOR sound at face value. My favorite shots from the show (although I should have tried harder to get a better angle – lots of rejected shots of the back of his head!) are available on my site.
Brandi Carlisle opened and, while I still don’t get exactly what all the fuss is about (in recent days, both a local club owner and a singer/songwriter I was interviewing for a story gushed about her), she also is better live than the CD would lead you to believe. Good night of music all around, and there's beaucoup d'new additions to the collection…

Before we recap, the latest Post previews are:
1.Seven Nations and Black 47 at the State Theatre
Casiotone for the 2. Painfully Alone, the Donkeys (one show) and The Echoes and Brainfang (the next night) at the Galaxy Hut
BTW, these are not being touted as among my most creative works, since they were written while I was still recovering from the “London Lurgy” (a Brit friend says that what an undiagnosed sickness is called). Next week will be better – interviews with area singer/songwriter Lisa Moscatiello and film composer/leader of the Cinematic Underground Nathan Johnson.

Saturday, March 25
1.LIVINGSTON TAYLOR – There You Go Again (Whistling Dog)
It has to be frustrating to be a reasonably talent singer/songwriter whose older brother just happens to be a God of the Genre. Livingston is coming to the Wolf Trap Barns in a few week, so this came as a pitch.

Friday, March 24
A visit to the mall scored a few sweet surprises in that some of the regional Sam Goody stores are going out of business (I have stories from years ago, when I was manager of the Woodhaven Blvd. Goody’s 7” vinyl singles department) and there were some bargains to be had among the wreckage.
2. INTERPOL – Antics (Matador)
The remix and video added version, for just $9. Wonder how much credit I can get for the original, single disc version I already own?
3. VARIOUS ARTISTS – One Kiss Could Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found (Rhino)
At $35 for 4 discs, not a super-bargain, but you can’t beat the packaging – like a girl’s hat box – and this label always does such a great job with compilations. I think it would be a creative music fan’s dream job to work on these packages – gathering up cool, obscure tracks and then coming up with the concepts to box ‘em. Anyway, this one makes you perk up as soon as you put one of the discs on – the driving beat, giddy harmonies, the delicious ‘get away from my boyfriend’ or ‘I love the jerk’ lyrics that let us think we may have progressed somewhat in the gender wars. Though most of the tracks are B-sides and regional favorites, there are some true classics here – “Oh, No, Not My Baby” by Maxime Brown is an all-time favorite – and I bet you’d be surprised at how many bring back memories or make you say ‘I didn’t know that was a girl group song; I though so-and-so made it a hit.”
4. BARBRA STREISAND – The Television Specials (Rhino)
My steal of the night – the stylish boxed set of all 5 CBS specials for $30. Contemporary singers like Mariah Carey, Christine Aguilera and Barbra Streisand (Mach 2) should be made to watch these and learn that beating the notes into submission is not as good as singing the song with simplicity and sincerity.

Saturday, March 18:
5. ARCTIC MONKEYS – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino)
Believe the hype. Damn fun CD, and the band rocked it on last week’s SNL broadcast. Grace was excited to hear that we were stopping at Circuit City to take advantage of the $7.99 sale on her new boys.

At the CD Trade-In store:
6. DAMON ALBURN and EINAR ORN BENEDIKTSSON -101 Reykjavik soundtrack (EMI)
Bought for hubby, who has developed quite the retroactive fondness for Blur, thanks to Gorillaz and “Think Tank.” Includes a rinky-tink instrumental version of “Lola” which made Terry and me chortle at exactly the same moment. Otherwise, somewhat appealing if generic odd-world music.
7. BJORK – Family Tree (Elektra Entertainment)
Greatest hits, as chosen by Bjork, plus five 3” CDs in little gatefold sleeves, plus a booklet of typically strange artwork and words. A fetish object for completists like me (since I must have almost all the actual music on her original releases) but finally on sale at a price I can justify ($30) – especially since I had more than enough store credit.

$2.00 CD single finds:
8. U2 – Stuck in a Moment You Can’t get Out of CD single (Universal International)
Two tracks here seem to be rare – a song called “Big Girls are Best” (I like the sentiment!) and a nearly eight-minute mix of “Beautiful Day.”
9. HOPE OF THE STATES – Winter Riot Dust Rackets (Epic)
I saw and loved these guys two years ago at the CMJ fest, but they never seemed to cross the pond,
This single offers four tracks – one a demo, one previously unreleased, and a video for “Black Dollar Bills.”
10. HOPE OF THE STATES – The Red The White The Black The Blue (Epic)
Three audio tracks and a video for the title song, in a spiffy die-cut digi-pack.
11. The AMERICAN ANALOG SET – Updates (Tiger Style)
Six songs, nearly 30 minutes of remixes for this band that I don’t know well, but like for their generally chill experimental vibe. Good deal.

The 50-cent CD single finds:
12. WILL YOUNG – Light My Fire CD single
It wasn’t until after I saw “Mrs. Henderson Presents” and was thoroughly charmed by Young’s portrayal of the gleefully gay male ingénue in the stage-show-within-the-film that I realized this was the British Pop Idol winner. That may ruin his credibility in England, but I like the guy, even with his toothsome CD cover and ersatz Latin jazz (copied from Jose Feliciano?) take on The Doors hit, plus what can assume are very Pop Idol renditions of “Beyond the Sea” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Nothing daring, just smooth pop fun.
13. KATHRYN WILLIAMS – No One Takes You Home CD (CAW Records/Warner Music)
2002 3-track single by the sweet-voiced singer/songwriter I discovered in London.
14. PEARL JAM – Alive CD single (Epic)
Sticker notes: Not To Be Confused With More Expensive (Identical) Import Version.
I like that Pearl Jam warns its fans not to overpay. And one day, I will put all these collected PJ singles in a lot and sell them on eBay. Is that against the philosophy?
BTW, purchased tix for the band’s upcoming show at Verizon Center in DC. I bet it hurst them almost as much as it hurts me to buy tickets through Ticketbastard.

Friday, March 17:
15. ROSANNE CASH – Black Cadillac (Capitol)
When will the music industry realize the magic of the $10 price point? Ever since hearing about this CD, in which Cash addresses the loss of her father (I can relate), mother and stepmother (Ouch! What a year!), I have been curious about it and, when Borders offered me a coupon to get it for $9.99, I was there. The somber sentiments and restrained playing are beautiful, but my favorite song so far is the slightly pissed-off “Burn Down this Town.” I once attended a delightful press dinner with Rosanne – about 10 of us, back when she first released another bittersweet beauty of an album, “Interiors,” and remember as a classy, gracious lady.

Other recent mailings:

16. WASHINGTON SOCIAL CLUB – Catching Looks (Badman)
Not sure why I was sent this CD, which came in a hand-addressed puffy envelope with no note, no press notes, no clues. I have already written about them, seen them live and bought a copy of the CD from one of the band members after the show. The last time I contacted them, it was to ask for a photo pass to a recent gig, a request never responded to. Great young band, a bit disorganized?
17. SONYA KITCHELL – Words Came Back to Me (Velour)
The official version of a CD I received in advance form last year. She, too is coming to town, and this is a pitch. Nice bluesy vocal style, perhaps the mid point between Norah Jones and Joss Stone. The official release is a nice digi-pack with a little booklet; the advance is a jewel case with front and back cover, but no added graphics. Ah, the decisions I have to make!
18.TEDDY GEIGER – Underage Thinking (Columbia)
This one got some squeals from Grace, who has been smitten by the pretty dark-haired boy’s video. I liked the stuff I heard him sing when he played the fictional musician Warren or Wayne or Whatever? on the short-lived “Love Monkey” TV series, which I watched more out of obligation than actual enjoyment (jealousy).

Bountiful booty – a jazz package from the nice publicist at Concord, celebrating the release of a new series - the RVG Remasters - assembled from the archives of Rudy Van Gelder.
I confess that I don’t know a lot about jazz, but I love learning and, from what I’ve heard so far, these are sessions from a fertile period for a style I like very much!
19. MILES DAVIS – Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet (Prestige)
20. RED GARLAND – Red Garland’s Piano (Prestige)
21. JOHN COLTRANE – Lush Life (Prestige)
22. The MODERN JAZZ QUARTET - Django (Prestige)
23. SONNY ROLLINS – Saxophone Colossus (Prestige)
24. KENNY BURRELL & JOHN COLTRANE – S/T (Prestige/New Jazz)
25. ERIC DOLPHY – Out There (Prestige/New Jazz)
26. COLEMAN HAWKINS – The Hawk Relaxes (Prestige/Moodsville)
27. GENE AMMONS – Boss Tenor (Prestige)
28. KENNY DORHAM – Quiet Kenny (Prestige/New Jazz)

29. MINMAE – le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre (Greyday Records)
Titles to love: "Everyone Knows Jesus Wore a Chain," or "I Was at Johnny’s and He Played Phil Ochs."
30. NICK COLIONNE – Keepin’ It Real (Narada Jazz)
Every piece of press included in the package uses the term “smooth jazz” and it’s the phrase as it describes the worst of the already suspect style – lame, “liquid” guitar that screams late nights in a sleepy, sad airport lounge or misguided romantic ballads for people with no tolerance for a challenge. Colionne’s coming to town, but thankfully, the package arrived late and the week’s already spoken for, so I don’t have to consider him. Sometimes I think I need to write about music I don’t personally care for, to mix things up, but it’s really hard when I actively dislike the act I’m telling people to see.
31. WILLY MASON –Where the Humans Eat (Astralwerks)
Buzz for this young wunderkind, tho’ friends whose taste I much admire didn’t care for him recently when he opened for Aimee Mann (but then, I’ve never been a huge Mann fan, so maybe I’ll respond differently).
32. VARIOUS ARTISTS - SUK on This: British Music at SXSW 2006
K T Tunstall is huge in England – front page stories and quite the acclaim. For a while, I was confusing her with Brandi Carlisle in the Next Big Female Thing stakes, until I realized I didn’t think much of Carlisle’s lyrics. Also on this collection – Editor (also saw a lot about them when I was in London)s, Brakes, The Feeling, Jim Noir (lots of ads for him in the UK, too, and I like the scruffy track here) and The Kooks (love the name).
33. JONAH MATRANGA – There’s a Lot in Here (Jade Tree)
A CD/DVD set, from “the Desire Line Series.” Very low-fi; sounds like it was taken from a fan’s audience recording. That technique worked well for the Replacements’ classic, “The Shit Hits the Fans” semi-legal bootleg, but here I lose the thread. Maybe the DVD will clue me in,
34. The SHARP THINGS – Foxes & Hounds (Bar/None)
Love the titles “The Most Dangerous Man in the Living Room,” or “I’ll Always Be Your Loser, Honey,” but a first listen felt a little lounge limp to me.
35. STEPHEN YERKEY – Meta Neo Nature Boy (The Echo Label)
Intriguing backwoods, front porch sound.

YYD Total 192
course correction: I found a mistaken double entry, so I subtracted one from last entry's total. (Trying to keep it honest here.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

London Calling - and Coughing

March 1st seems like forever ago now, but it was my birthday (thanks) and Terry swept me away that weekend for a faboo long weekend in London. Saw The Go! Team at a wonderful club called Koko, ate well (albeit expensively), enjoyed boat trips on the Thames, modern art and flea market shopping at Spitalfields.
But then….(TA-DUM!) on the flight home, we both picked up some kind of bug and have been crawling around the house since. Not fair. We want to bask in the post-vacation glow.
But we have memories – and plenty of new music – to remind us.
As ever, much catching up to do.

Saturday, March 11:
After a nice chat on the phone a few days ago with a PR dude from the Stunt Company, his latest wares arrived:
1.TAYLOR HAWKINS and the COATTAIL RIDERS – S/T (Thrive Records)
One of my fondest photo pit memories was of a WHFS-estival some years back, watching from the up-close press-only access area as the beautiful, shirtless Taylor Hawkins smashed his kit during a Foo Fighters’ performance of “My Hero,” a personal favorite. Later, in the press area, while interviewing the band, Taylor recognized me and said something along the lines of ‘you looked like you were having fun.’ Yes, indeed. I think it says something (good) about the guy that he named his band the Coattail Riders.
2. NIGHTMARE OF YOU – S/T (The Bevonshire Label)
Hmmm…something ponderous this way comes. The song titles are listed in Roman Numerals, and include “I Want to Be Buried in Your Backyard,” “The Studded Cinctures” and “In the Bathroom is Where I Want You.” Still, the sticker touts a “Brilliant” from NME and “A Band You Need to Know” from Alternative Press, so maybe there’s some hope.
3. LIMBECK – Let Me Come Home (Doghouse America/WEA)
They Say: “building on a foundation of Big Star and Tom Petty-inflected power pop…”

Also on Saturday:
4. The EDITORS – The Back Room (Fader)
An album I probably would have bought in England, based on placement in Time Out London and in the retail racks at Virgin, but I was confident that my PR contact on this side of the pond would come through. And he did! (Thanks, Johnny)
5. JOEY DeFRANCESCO – Organic Vibes (Concord Music Group)
It was, admittedly, a long, long time ago, but I recall this guy doing some really cheesy roller-rink organ kinda stuff. Maybe I don’t remember it well, maybe he’s grown, maybe my tastes have changed, or I’ll have a new appreciation of cheese (it worked out that way with disco).

Friday, March 10:
6. DAVID GILMOUR – On an Island (Columbia)
Terry recoiled in fear upon seeing the latest from Pink Floyd’s legendary guitarist but I’ll admit that, having been blown away by the band’s comeback set at Live 8, I’m looking forward to a loll with that languid, trippy sound.
7. GYPSY BORDELLO – Gypsy Punks (Side OneDummy)
Or is the title Underdog World Strike? Hard to tell. Lately, I’ve been getting scads of emails, inviting me to faboo events at SXSW which I won’t be attending since I won’t be in Austin this year. But it’s a great excuse to reply and say, ‘can’t be there; can you send a disc?’ Maybe next year I can be among the Texas throng.
Anyway, at first listen, I was tempted to call this a novelty album, there’s something so willfully exotic about it, but then I found it to be great driving on a sunny day music, full of smartass humor and Clashy edge, Makes me wanna drink vodka and smash plates, and wear purple!
8. RHONDA TOWNS – I Wanna Be Loved by You (Dawn Records)
What are the chances that I am gonna like another generic country western singer? Not much, really, and when she goes into a full-on song version of The Lord’s Prayer, I know I’m in way over my head. Funny note there: she sings “and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Since when is God doing credit counseling?
9. VENICE IS SINKING – Sorry About the Flowers
Compared on the PR sticker, to Low and Galaxie 500, but I hear the Dambuilders, a local act that had a minor hit with the minor key, bittersweet “Drive-by Kiss.”
10. ABOUT – Bongo (Cock Rock Disco)
Freaky cover – black and white DIY punky collage with shots of color and Ralph Steadman-style splatter. Slightly off-putting, but it’s from the peeps at Team Clermont, who don’t get all hardcore on me. They compare the band to Devo and Fischerspooner. We’ll see.

Thursday, March 8
11. RICHARD ASHCROFT – Keys to the World (Parlophone)
The disc was made in Holland, so I suspect this is not the American label – and I doubt I can actually download the ringtones offered in the CD booklet promotion. Ashcroft is such a big deal in England, but his swagger doesn’t count for much here. Still, he’s got an interesting voice and grand ambitions, so I’m curious to hear what he’s on about this time.

Wednesday, March 7
Before the dread Airplane Flu knocked me out, I made it to the book store for the latest:
12. MOJO magazine – The Modern Genius of Ray Davies
Indeed, there’s nary a day goes by that Terry and I don’t hear something on the stereo that makes us nod and think, “Kinks influence.” After the Beatles and Stones, the Kinks really were the most important British band and arguable more intrinsically British than anyone else.
I don’t know who Peter Bruntnell is, but his version of “Waterloo Sunset” does justice to the tender masterpiece and that’s a high bar.

Mr. Customs Man, I declare the following U.K purchases:
13. UNCUT Playlist April 2006
I saved about $1.50 buying the magazine in England rather than in the States, but I was restless at the first newsstand, and anxious to start the acquisition process. And with a line-up like Nick Cave, Morrissey, Secret Machines and Moody Blues, it felt like a British thing to do (even tho’ there are US artists here as well. Oh, look, there’s a track from My Latest Novel, a band I read about in the British press and wanted to check out.
14. VA – NME Awards 2006 The Winners
Kaiser Chiefs, Babyshambles, the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand…Now, here I did save a bit of doss, as I think the Brits say. This magazine was only about $3 to buy in London and goes for about $7 here in the states. And with a 12 track CD offering samples of Babyshambles (nice rhyme there), Mystery Jets, and the Editors.Yeah, baby!
15. Flux magazine with free CD, "Speaking in Tongues" (Trama label)
Even at the venerable Tate Britain gallery, I’m looking for music (and not the Throbbing Gristle connection, provided by an “art” piece in which a former member of that band painstakingly documents her time as a worker in the sex industry). This art magazine comes with a sampler from a Brazilian-oriented record label.

But the big event, music acquisition-wise, was the obligatory trip to a British music store, in this case, Virgin, Tottenham Court Road, around the corner from the scary Freddie Mercury statue which looms over the theatre playing the Queen musical.

4 for 20 pounds:
16. POGUES – The Ultimate Collection (Warner UK)
2 discs, one a greatest hits and the other a live show from the Brixton Academy. I didn’t get tickets (and couldn’t have dragged my butt out of med) for last week’s 930 Club show, so maybe I’ll play this real loud and down a few pints.
17. ELBOW – Leaders of the Free World (V2)
Love this band and now that Coldplay has admitted that it may be time for them to step aside, maybe the rest of the world can discover this emotive, classy band.
18. VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Buddha Café (Dynamic)
Three CDs of “sublime chilled beats.” For 5 pounds!
19. The KINKS – Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
I’d heard there was a version of this with an added disc – DVD I think, or concert material, but this is a single disc with the album in both mono and stereo. As I hope we have firmly established here, I love the Kinks, god save ‘em. Funny note: the spine leaves out the word “green” from the correct title.

Terry took advantage of the 4 for 20 pounds offer as well to stock up on hipster muzak for the kitchen. All of these, except for the double CD classical set, are 3–CD collections, which makes for quite a lot of music for his money. And, in the first samplings across the sets, we find them just right for the purpose – not as quiet as ambient nor as saccharine as muzak, just the right balance - non-intrusive yet pulsatingly pleasing. As Terry remarked, ‘I feel like this is what was playing in just about every cool bar and restaurant we visited in England.’
20. Brazilica Lounge (Dynamic)
21. Bollywood Beats (Dynamic)
22. Arabic Chillout (Dynamic)
23. Classical Chill (Retrospective/Union Square)

3 for 12 pounds. Another hard-to-resist promotion.
24. The MAMAS and the PAPAS – The Best of
I’ve been searching for a M&P collection that includes the song “Straight Shooter,” from the debut album, and here it is.
25. JAMES – The Collection
Includes a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “So Long Marianne,” but I can’t say I’m crazy about what they’ve done with it.
26. GREEN DAY – Dookie (Warner UK)
Emma had a copy, I had a copy (albeit a thrift store home-made duplicate) but Grace wanted one to call her very own.

27. SNOW PATROL – Songs for Polarbears (Jeepster)
An earlier album, somewhat shaggier than the breakthrough.
28. KATHRYN WILLIAMS – Dog Leap Stairs (CAW Records)
Purchased, without having heard a note, on the basis of a sterling review from Mojo, or Uncut. Played it the other night while falling asleep and found that it’s as good as the review said. She has a remarkable voice – crisp and beautiful.
29. The WHITE STRIPES – Walking with a Ghost (V2)
In hindsight, this wasn’t a very good deal – a 5-track EP, 4 of them live, for about $9.50 American. But I was swept away by the “staff recommends” card that said how it was sure to be out of print and a collector’s item soon. I’m such a sucker for that shit.

And of course, we had to check out the singles section:
30. ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS – Move Along CD single
Another treat for Grace, includes non-CD songs and a video.
31. MYSTERY JETS – CD single (679 Recordings)
In perusing the local music press, an ad and a review of the Mystery Jets album put them at the top of my list of bands to find out about. And here in the singles section, the play given to the band seemed to say, Big Thing Indeed. I was also smitten by the way the CD single is pressed, on a clear disc, so that the image of the boy running appears to be a die-cut shape even though it’s fully rounded. And it’s a catchy tune when you play it, too.

Genuine 7”vinyl singles, too! Terry mocked me for buying these, but I assured him I do still use my turntable. Still, to be honest, it’s not about playing them so much as there’s the fetishistic quality of the square picture sleeve…
32. MYSTERY JETS – 7” vinyl single (679 Recordings)
There were actually two different vinyl singles for sale (the British music industry is shameless about making the hard-core punters buy multiples in order to boost sales) and I had to talk myself out of grabbing both.
33. CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH – 7” vinyl single (self-released)
You gotta support these guys, especially as they’ve done it all without major label support.
34. WE ARE SCIENTISTS – It’s a Hit
Groovy orange-red vinyl! Confused by the sticker, tho – “Ltd edition coloured vinyl that will reveal its true self when joined with its companion “It’s a Hit’ 7.” I looked all over the rack, but this was the only version of the song I could find. What would/could another vinyl single do with this one?

And one more, at the airport:
35. MYSTERY JETS – Making Dens (679 Recordings)
Oh yes, those Jets again. I asked the young punky girl at the Virgin store if there was a full-length Jets CD out, but she said she didn’t think so (she also had no idea who Damon Alburn of Blur was, either, so I should have questioned her authority). Lo and behold, there it was at the little Virgin store in the duty free, and I sprang for the deluxe version with the DVD. Thankfully, having invested a lot in this band I hadn’t heard a lick of, I’m finding the sound quite enjoyable – meaty, beefy, big and bouncy, as the Who once described it, with baroque arrangements and trippy effects.

Waiting upon my return:
36. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack (Shout! Factory)
Gentle versions of oldies by modern indie types like Death Cab and the Raveonettes.
Elvis Costello, among others, wrote songs for this Brill Building-themed film, so I;m counting it.
38. CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH – S/T (self-released)

By Request:
39. LESLEY GORE – Ever Since (Engine Company)
40. The BOY LEAST LIKELY TO – The Best Party Ever (Too Young to Die)
I was invited to see these guys open for James Blount (count me among those who can’t stand the guy) and would have enjoyed it, I think. The CD is twee, to be sure, but you wouldn’t want it to be otherwise, given the adorable cartoon characters running throughout the CD booklet.

41, 42. NORTHEY VALENZUELA – (The Lab)
Two copies of the same CD, in separate puffy bags.
Jesse Valenzuela of the Gin Blossoms and Craig Northey of the Odds.
43. BLACK 47 – Bittersweet Sixteen (Gadlfy)
Next week’s Post preview.
44. The DANGER O’s – Little Machines (Creep/Blackout)
45. CANDY BARS – On Cutting Ti-Gers in Half and Understanding Narravation (New Grenada)
46. The NEW ORLEANS SOCIAL CLUB – Sing Me Back Home (Burgundy/SONYBMG)
Soon to tour with Broken Social Scene, Washington Social Club, Paranoid Social Club…
47. DAMIAN “JR. GONG” MARLEY – Beautiful VHS (Ghetto Youths/Tuff Gong/Universal)
Catchy video version of the dreadlocked one’s single, with a scary looking Bobby Brown helping out.

And finally, catching up with what came in just prior to the trip:
48. HAZARD COUNTY GIRLS – Divine Armor (Rev Up Records)
Press kit came with plastic rose petals. Annoying, actually, for some reason.
49.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Take Action, Vol. 5 (Sub City)
Given to me by the publicist at the press conference for the tour, begun March 1st in DC.
You can see pictures of the event, where Matchbook Romance did a short acoustic set, here.

50. SONDRE LERCHE and the FACES DOWN QUARTET – Duper Sessions (Astralwerks)
I love that little Lerche dude, and I enjoy his quiet, tasteful take of classics like Cole Porter, but his version of Costello’s “Human Hands” doesn’t make the jump for me. Costello is many things, but straightly sweet? Not really.

YTD Total: 158

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Now Powered by Widgets!

I'm trying to expand my abilities here to post pictures, and have dived (diven? dove?) into the world of, with its idiot-proof (we'll see) templates for quickly posting shots from my picture gallery. So, if you want to see shots of Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3 at Jammin Java last weekend, try this.

As for the latest music...

Monday, February 27:
1. WRECKLESS ERIC – Bungalow Hi (Southern Domestic)
Eric is going to be included in this week's Post preview, on the bill with Amy Rigby and Marti Jones, who are bringing their "Cynical Girls" tour to the Birchmere on Sunday, March 5th. I wrote to the eddress on Eric's web site, expecting some lackey to write back, but the Wreckless One himself answered my note and offered to send his latest CD, and a copy of his memoir/manual, "A Dysfunctional Success." I replied that I would love if he signed the book, so I could add it to my Author's Shelf, with other signed books by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and others. Today, his package arrived, and the book was inscribed to me, "hope this goes on the shelf alright, good luck!"
I love my work.

Saturday, February 25:
2. The WOOD BROTHERS - Ways Not to Lose (Blue Note)
Official version, and duplicate of a copy (generic advance) that I got last year, when the PR contact was pitching a Jammin Java show that took place earlier this month.

Friday, February 24:
3. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & The E STREET BAND - Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 (Columbia)
Whoa! I didn't even know this was in the planning stage. I haven't had the chance to sit down and enjoy the DVD of this legendary show which came in the deluxe Born to Run reissue, but it was easy-peasy (as Jamie Oliver would say) to pop the audio version in and be transported back in time to relive my fantasy affair with the scruffy, wool-hatted Bruce that broke (and mended) my heart many times over during that era. I wish I was taking a long car trip soon, so I could put this double-disc set on and Drive All Night.
4.The PLAYWRIGHTS - English Self Storage (Sink & Stove Records)
Give it up for YARRR! PR.
Out April 18th.

And lost days previous:
5. GARRISON STARR - The Sound of You and Me (Vanguard)
Second copy (generic advance sent last year).
Out March 13th.
6. ROB REYNOLDS – Sightseeing (Invisible Hands Music)
Here’s the full, official release of a disc I had picked up as a cardboard freebie at the CD Cellar. That one was clearly marked as a freebie that you were encouraged to take, copy and give away, and also to track on its website. Kinda like the Where’s George? (dollar bill tracking system) of music. Now the music is in a full jewel case, and you’re supposed to pay for it, and there’s nothing in the notes about passing it around for free.
7. LAUREN K NEWMAN - Postulate 1 (Greyday)
They Say: "a Bonham-reincarnated musician who writes and records all of her own parts and rocks hard."
I say: it's always cool when women rock.
Out April 11th.
8. CINEMECHANICA – The Martial Arts (Hello Sir Records)
They (Team Clermont) Say: “A hailstorm of insane drumming and slashing guitar riffs,” compared to Drive Like Jehu and Q and Not U.
On tour constantly, it says in the liner notes.
Out May 23rd.

By Request:
9. SPARKS – Hello Young Lovers (In the Red)
As mentioned previously, I heard “Metaphor’ on a compilation and was intrigued, that song being silly/catchy and having fond memories of hearing these guys back in the college dorms (and that was 25 years ago!)
10. NICOLAI DUNGER – Here’s My Song, You Can Have It….I Don’t Want it Anymore/Yours 4-ever (Zoe Records)
The title isn’t quite up there in the Fiona Apple “When the Pawn…” realm, but it’s a tad precious, no? Still, this one gave me an afternoon’s enjoyment since the guy has a varied style and a genial manner. Could fill the gap until the next Sondre Lerche CD comes out.
Out March 14th.

11. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Sweetheart
One of those Starbucks collections I only buy when they’re on sale and, at $7.99, this is one I’d even consider a good deal at regular price. Rufus Wainwright’s take on “My Funny Valentine,” the Old 97’s giving a sweet ride of the Kinks’ “She’s Got Everything,”
12. PATSY CLINE - I Can't Forget (BCI/Navarre Corporation)
2 discs - one an audio collection with hits like "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray" and plenty more I don't know, 'cause I'm still learning. And maybe I have some/most/all of these songs on the older greatest hits disc buried in the back room, but this came with a DVD, too. For 84 cents at Target.
13. K.D. LANG and the RECLINES – Absolute Torch and Twang (Sire)
How appropriate that I should find Patsy and k.d. in the same week. I used to have a thing (non-sexual, at least for the most part) for k.d. (okay, I’ll drop to lowercase) but I wasn’t thrilled by the last few CDs. This is one of great early CDs, and it was just $1.50 at ye olde thrift shoppe.
14. U2 – Communication (Island)
Count this one as a purchase, since it was part of the renewal gift for the U2 fan club. The club is a good deal for one key reason – you get priority treatment when the band tours and can buy tix in a presale that doesn’t quite guarantee, but is better than any scalper service. This two-disc set includes eight live tracks and a CD-rom with screensavers, wall paper and a live clip of “Vertigo.”

earlier in Februrary:
15. MARIAH CAREY - The Emancipation of Mimi (Island)
Purchased at Target ($10 with a bonus disc for one extra song) as a Valentine's gift for Grace. Mariah really used to set my teeth on edge (when I was doing promo stuff for Columbia Records, and they were about to release her first greatest collection, I suggested "Fuck You, Tommy" as the title). And she still spends too much time showing off her bod (it's getting more zophtic, eh?) and hammering some of the poor notes into submission. Still, I'll admit to adding "All I Want for Christmas is You" to the 2005 Cool Yule, and there are some catchy tunes on this CD. And I bought Madonna's latest, too, so I must be getting soft.

YTD Total: 108