Friday, July 28, 2006

Return from the Great Hot North

Was in upstate New York for a little more than a week. Mostly fine weather for laying on the beach, baking and swimming, and enjoying a major unplugged feeling. On a quick visit to Coconuts (fun name for a store; makes me think of the Marx Brothers, of course), I found a sale – buy three used CDs, get the fourth for free. So, four new CDs for $28 - $7 each average. Not bad.
1. JAMIE CULLUM – Catching Tales (Verve/Forecast)
I have this already, but not the deluxe set, with the DVD extra.

2. MILES DAVIS – Porgy and Bess (Columbia)
I’ll pass this off as a present to Terry, but it’s really for me.
3. BLUR – 13 (Virgin)
Another present for Terry; this time for real. I wasn’t fond of the album when I originally got it on cassette, but I’ll give Damon and co. a second chance. Maybe they were ahead of their time.
4. LYLE LOVETT – My Baby Don’t Tolerate (Lost Highwy/Curb)

Picked up at an earlier visit to a Borders store in the lovely little town of Saratoga (horse town):
5. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Uncut magazine sampler for July 2006

6. EASY STAR ALL-STARS – Radiodread (Easy Star Records)
Worth having two – one for the car.
Out: August 22.
7. JOHNNY CASH – American V: A Hundred Highways (Lost Highway/American)
8.THOM YORKE – The Eraser (XL)
Love the graphics. Trouble is, within the first few times of opening it to remove the disc, the cardboard ripped. I bought the official copy right away since we’ve been enjoying the leaked advance so much. Still, I object again to the Target Extra concept - this time, a downloadable interview with Yorke. But the download requires no special code and is stickered on the front cover shrinkwarap anyway, so no big deal. (I’d pass it on, but I lost the sticker).

9. ELI COOK - Miss Blues Child (self-released)
Pitched for the Post, tied to his show at the Birchmere on July 21st.
10. DAVID POE – Live and Solo at the Artists Den (self-released)
Was at Jammin Java Thursday (July 22nd).
11. ANGIE APARAO – El Primero Del Tres (self-released)
Coming to Jammin Java on August 19th.

12. ZERO 7 – The Garden
Downtempo groove stuff, featuring vocals by Jose Gonzalez and Sia.
13.VAROUS ARTISTS – free Best Buy Tour Sampler
Angels and Airwaves, Taking Back Sunday, the Subways and someone I forget.
14. JOHNNY CASH & JUNE CARTER CASH – 16 Biggest Hits (Columbia/Legacy)
I swim weekly with a group of special needs kids, one of whom is a tiny little autistic boy named Jackson, so I had to know all the words to the song that bears his name. And, ever since seeing “Walk the Line,” I’ve wanted more Johnny and June, so this one went to the top of my list at mymusic.
15.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Mojo Magazine Presents Revolver Reloaded
Like “This Bird Has Flown,” which channeled “Rubber Soul,” this CD recreates a classic Beatles album. But all of the contemporary artists here seem to feel that the best way to honor a song is to slow it down, which makes for a very samey, rather boring end result.
16.VARIOUS ARTISTS – New Music Monthly
CMJ was really the magazine to reintroduce the idea of enclosing a CD with each monthly issue – at least here in the U.S., but the selection sometimes veers into hardcore fringes that I don’t care much about. Still, a cheap and easy way to hear some people I wouldn’t otherwise encounter.

17. SANDI THOM – Smile…It Confuses People (RCA/Viking Legacy)
A friend who recently returned from London brought this as a souvenir for us, and we’re getting into it. Thom got tired of driving all over the U.K to play for small audiences, so she set up a webcam and started broadcasting shows from her home, building a fan base that way. Her “hit” is called “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (with Flowers in My Hair)” which is quite catchy, but really – when was the last time you saw a punk rocker who wore flowers?

18. The MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. – Hard to Love a Man (Secretly Canadian)
Nice cover of Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” but the rest is kinda mopey.
19. RICHARD SWIFT – The Richard Swift Collection: Volume One – The Novelist/Walking Without Effort (Secretly Canadian)

Saw Swift open for Josh Ritter in LA and was impressed. Terry said he sounded like a heterosexual Rufus Wainwright, and I heard bits of Randy Newman, and both of those are fine by us.

20. ANDREA BURNS – 100 Stories (Toucan Cove/Universal)
A pretty generic disco-dance tune.
21. GRANT-LEE PHILLIPS – Nineteeneighties ( Zoe)
What sounds like a great idea – acoustic covers of classic tunes originally recorded by R.E.M., Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc. – falls flat, for the same reason that “Revolver” tribute does. Phillips slows every tune down to a snail’s pace and, after about three tracks, it gets very dull indeed.
22. JOLIE HOLLAND – Springtime Can Kill You (ANTI-)
23. SIERRA SWAN – Ladyland (Interscrope)
Planned to see her in LA, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where they host a faboo hipster late night noise and drink party each Saturday night, but our dinner ran late and we got there just after she finished her set. Since the publicist gave us guest list, I feel I owe him a good listen to this one.
24. DENGUE FEVER – Escape from Dragon House (M80)

Another LA adventure, but this one we made it to on time. Early, in fact, since we booked a dinner at the restaurant, Tangiers, which hosts a tiny club room in the back. Great show – sweaty and crowded and filled with friends of the band who shouted along in Cambodian to the band’s exotic yet familiar (80’s new wave dance rhythms) sound. And Terry was immediately smitten with the beautiful lead singer.

25.BARBARA TRENTALANGE – Photo Album of Complex Relationships (Coco Tauro)
Great title, and nice delivery – the CD was mailed in a small cardboard box with cotton lining, as you might use for a piece of jewelry (though I’ll confess that I was hoping there was additional swag content in such a box, and there wasn’t; just a folded bio sheet).
26. The SLEEPY JACKSON – One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird (Astralwerks)
27. DAMON McMAHON - Mansions (Astralwerks)
28. SYSTEM and STATION – Here is Now (Latest Flame)
Out September 12th
29. HO-AG – The Word from Pluto (Hello Sir Records)
30. KULTUR SHOCK – We Came to Take Your Jobs Away (KoolArrow Records)
The cover makes me nervous - tattooed guy with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, sticking a plunger in a toilet – and I don’t wanna know about the red stains on the top of the john. If I saw just the titles – like “God is Busy” and “Gino Loves You” – I’d be more curious.

Older things that I missed along the way:
31.The MILES DAVIS QUINTET – The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions Sampler (Prestige)
32.WAKING ASHLAND – Eponymous (Immortal)
33.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Wonka Vision Everlasting Sampler, Vol. 7
34.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Paste magazine sampler #23

R.I.P. You Crazy Diamond
I’d been wanting to hear “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” ever since I heard about Syd Barrett’s death, and the only CD I found in my collection was a 25th anniversary CD edition version of “Dark Side of the Moon.” Came thisclose to buying “Wish You Were Here” at Best Buy for $14, and then thought ‘hey, how much would these 5 tracks cost on iTunes? Turns out the key tracks were only available with the full album purchase, and then I found my vinyl – WYWH and The Wall. I listened to the former in full, for Syd.
My last full day upstate, I found a used copy of the 2-CD greatest hits set, with “Shine On…” and “Wish You Were Here” (the songs I most wanted) . It was also fun to reconnect with other old favorites (“See Emily Play”) and hear a few from the albums, I’d missed. So this entry ends with:
35.PINK FLOYD – Echoes (Capitol)

YTD: 446

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, two is a law firm and three or more is called a Congress…”
Was watching “1776” to finish off a Fourth of July of barbequed steak, apple pie and parking lot fireworks (legal here in Old Virginny) during most of this...

New to the CPF archives:
An interview with Emil de Cou of National Sympony Orchestra
"Barber of Seville" and River Nile Band - separate shows!
Marianne Dissard, Naim Amor at IOTA
Brindley Brothers at Jammin Java

Other People’s Video:
Bruce Springsteen literally laughs off the idea that he shouldn’t be speaking his mind about politics, and says a few sharp things about Bush.
Remember When Sting Was Cool?

Monday, July 3:
1. REGINA SPEKTOR – Begin to Hope (Sire)
A new favorite in our house. Grace discovered her on a mix CD that a friend gave her and fell in love. The same day we bought the previous album, "Soviet Kitsch," Terry heard a story about Regina on NPR and came home asking if we had anything by this cool new voice. Neat marketing idea: came with a cardboard sleeve and disc within, and this note. “Don’t keep regina’s music a secret…Give “begin to hope side 1” to a friend.”
2. ZAC BROWN BAND/WIDEAWAKE – Rock Bus Sampler (corporate sponsor)
Coming to town to play ay Jammin Java on July.21st.
3. SO MANY DYNAMOS – Flashlights (Skrocki)
Out September 5th.

Saturday, July 1:
4. REGINA SPEKTOR – Soviet Kitsch (Sire)
There's one song here that makes me think, "what if Laurie Anderson did Fiddler on the Roof"? And that's a good thing!

Friday, June 30:
5. GEMZ – Live in Concert Summer 2005! (DVD)
6. GEMZ – Blue is for Girls (StreetBeat)
“Is this going to rot my brain?” Grace asked, studying the cover, aghast. It’s one of those “family-friendly” pop acts, consisting of five ‘tween girls, each of whom has a precious stone nickname. They are pictured on the CD cover wearing bright blue wigs, and the press release is riddled with bad grammar and comments about how all your dreams will come true if you just believe…Grace may by right.
7. CULT OF SUE TODD – Kelsey Grammer Loves Us (self-released)

8. LINDA RONSTADT and ANN SAVOY – Adieu False Heart (Vanguard)
They'd like to be called “The Zozo Sisters” but you gotta know the Ronstadt angle will sell this. And the harmonies are truly goregous.
9. CORINNE BAILEY RAE – eponymous (Capitol)
Coming to town, which was a good excuse to request the CD, and she is quite the classy dame. The Norah Jones comparisons are fine, but she's got her own thing happening, too.
10. MIA DYSON – Parking Lots (Black Door)
11. YOUNG DUBLINERS – Real World (Higher Octave/EMI)

Thursday, June 29
12. VARIOUS ARTISTS - Q magazine Mellow Gold
I had to get past the picture of James Blunt on the cover, but the music is worth it.
Wilco, Elliott Smith (I’m not sure I can listen to him sing “A Fond Farewell”…so sad), Death Cab, Big Star...nice.
13. MAD TEA PARTY - Big Top, Soda Pop (LABEL)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
14. NELLY FURTADO – Loose (Geffen)
We’re real worried about Nelly in our house. “Why is she acting like a whore when she’s not a whore?” is how my 16-year-old summed it up. The same sweet Nelly who made so proud with her uplifting, inclusive, multi-cultural look and sound is now getting down and dirty with the “Promiscuous” crowd, and we’re sad to see it. Don’t go there, girlfriend!
15. EASY STAR ALL-STARS – Radiodread (Easy Star)
“Dub Side of the Moon” stayed on the charts for three years. Maybe it's a gimmick to record classic albums in reggae style, but damn if it doesn't work. Perfect summer music while we wait for the RH release.
16. THOM YORKE - The Eraser (XL)
A friend who uses Limewire (I don't) sent me the files for the new CD, out July 11th and it has become a staple of our daily musical diet. Don't fret - we will buy it when it's available. It's a quiet album, which leads Terry to suspect that the new band album will be very loud, but it doesn't matter. This is primo.

A local promoter sent a package filled with carefully home-made CDs (nice photographic insets, printed labels on the discs)
17. The GYPSY SONS – S/T (self-released)
7 tracks with titles like “Back to My Roots,” “Mississippi,” “Roll on Dixie” and “Southern” make it clear where their hearts lie.
18. SOUTHERN FURY – 5 Live Promo (S/T (self-released)
19. SOUTHERN FURY – Loud & Proud (self-released)
20. THOMAS & KING - S/T (self-released)
4 tracks. The tall, blond guy in the duo kinda looks like Keith Urban, and that’s cool by me.

21. The WIGGLES – Splash Splash Big Red Boat (KOCH)
Plus favorite songs from “Wiggle Around the Clock”
22. The WIGGLES – Christmas Classics (KOCH)
OMG! (as my daughter says instead of oh-my-god) it’s a Christmas album! Has it really begun so soon? And, BTW, there are only 10 songs on this release, making it highly suspect at full price, if they dare to charge such.
23.SHUSHYBYE – Sushybye & Goodbye (KOCH)
I'm gonna try to pitch a kids music story since I seem to be getting a lot of them lately. But it'll be a bit of a slog to listen to all of this stuff.

Tuesday, June 27
24. PATENT PENDING – Save Each Other, The Whales are Doing Fine (We Put Out Records/East West)
“Patent Pending is what happens when you eat-pop rocks and drink a bottle of soda in under five minutes…” First met this band at a local multi-act festival, and Grace bought a sweatshirt just 'cause it was cutely designed and the guy was sweet. I told the PR guy about that, and he sent a bunch of cute, cartoony posters for G. (Ahhh...) Maybe we can catch 'em live on the upcoming Warped tour.

Monday, June 26:
25. The HANDSOME FAMILY – Last Days of Wonder (Carrot Top Records)
Coming to the IOTA on July 22, with Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets.
26. DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL – Dusk and Summer (Vagrant)
He is cute, isn't he? Hoping to shoot some photos at the upcoming Constitution Hall date.
27. The WAIFS – A Brief History…Live (Jarrah/Compass Records)
Also coming to town. First listen to this live CD promises that it could be quite a good show. Folky/rocky/funny.
28. EVERY MOVE A PICTURE – Heart=Weapon (V2)

Saturday, June 24:
A visit to the CD Cellar, exchanging that which I don’t want for that which I do.
29. VARIOUS ARTISTS –Now Hear This
Originally given out free with December 2005 issue of The Word magazine, but I paid $2.99 for it.
30. BECK – Guerolito (Interscope)
$9.99, and I chose the digipack versus jewel box version. Beck is a hero, even with the Scientology thing.
31. STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO – Keasbey Nights (Victory Records)
$5.99 Grace got turned on to these guys by a friend, who put one track on a mix CD. She was thrilled when I found this at the store, and to hear that they were coming to town.
32. CASSANDRA WILSON – Thunderbird (Blue Note)
The one I meant to buy for Terry earlier (got “Glamoured” by mistake) $6.99
33. VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever (NL1)
As soon as first heard about mash-ups, I wanted to hear them, but I had a hard time tracking them down on the Internet. This CD was/is a godsend, collecting all the ones I was curious about and a few I never heard of. My favorites so far are “Smells Like Booty,” which mixes Nirvana and Destiny’s Child, and “Stroke of Genius” which makes “Genie In a Bottle” so much more tolerable by setting it to a Strokes’ rhythm track. What really surprised me is that, when I popped this into the computer to convert to iTunes, the CDDB called up all the track listings! Even as a NL – no label – underground release of illegal samples, it’s been registered. $3.99
34. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Top of the Pop Hits: The 60s (Collectables)
Six discs, 63 tracks for $24. A nice bargain, but I wish they had condensed the set down to 3 discs – they easily could have fit. Planning to make a few sets of these as summertime gifts.
35. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Dimension Mix (Eenie Meenie Records)
Saw this one in a jewel case version, in the collections bin, for $8.99 and passed it by. Then found the cardboard sleeve promo version for $1.99 in the clearance bins, Sweeet. Tracks by Beck, Stereolab, EELS, a whole bunch of people I don’t know and even including my dear boys, Troubled Hubble (R.I.P.)
36. TIEWEB – free demo
These giveaways work. I like the dreamy pop sound and will pay attention if this guy (or band) is playing a show in the area. It would be fun to spring it on him (them) if I can work in a Post preview.

Friday, June 23:
37. The FIERY FURNACES – Bitter Tea (Fat Possum)
This brother and sister team is enigmatic, charismatic and sometimes overdramatic. RIveting in concert, too.
38. KEANE – Under the Iron Sea (Interscope)
I like this band, really I do, despite the fact that the lead singer will forever be known in our house as “Pudding Boy” since Terry saw him on SNL and noted that he had a bit of the British pudge to him (and I still think he’s quite appealing). But as much as I loved the first CD and thought the band was great in concert – better than the Killers for whom they opened once, able to hold their own in front of the manic U2 crowd – this album is not sticking with me. Where are the glorious hooks? It’s all mood and arena sound. As Terry put it, “it’s a more mature sound than they’re ready to grow into.” I will give it a few more listens (more than I might for an act I’m not already fond of) but I fear this is an example of the dread sophomore syndrome. SInce it's already loaded on the iTunes, I would trade it in, but the fold-out cover is just so pretty...

Thursday, June 22, 2006
39. WORLD PARTY – Dumbing Up (Seaview)
Coming to town. Glad to have 'em back.
40. SARAH BORGES – Silver City (Blue Corn Music)
41. JSAN – The Analogue Sons (I Town Records)
42. TALLY HALL – Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Quack!)
Fun stuff, a more light-hearted Weezer.
43. JORDAN CHASSAN – East of Bristol, West of Knoxville (Strong Recordings)

And there was a whole bunch of stuff that came in after I got back from LA:
44. JIM NOIR - Tower of Love (Barsuk Records)
This guy is a keeper - upbeat, fun, a piano man with a mischeivous, funky streak, like a cross between Fatboy Slim and Jamie Cullum.
45. ELVIS COSTELLO and ALLEN TOUSSAINT – The River in Reverse (Verve Forecast)
Great show at Wolf Trap last month. The second half (there was no break), which began with "Watching the Detectives," was sheer rock bliss for me and my honey. I was the crazy woman, dancing in place and throwing my fist in the air everytime Elvis yelled "pump it up!" And the New Orleans stuff made me feel joyous and wistful at the same time. The crowd sent a lot of love to Toussaint, hoping he would carry it home with him.
46. VARIOUS ARTISTS - Q Magazine Covered: Best of 86/06
Interesting pairings of contemporary acts and older material, some of which I know (Travis doing “…Baby One More Time,” “Lover You Should Have Come Over” by Jamie Cullum) and others I’m curious to know (Corinne Bailey Rae doing “Venus as a Boy,” and the Flaming Lips’ take on “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”). Q and Uncut do very nice compilations. I buy them for the music, and the magazine is the bonus.
47. HOT CHIP – The Warning (Astralwerks)
48. FATBOY SLIM – The Greatest Hits/Why Try Harder (Astralwerks)
Jolly good fun, The album includes all the hit Fatboy Slim singles, remixes for Cornershop and Groove Armada, plus two new tracks. And you can easily skip over that dreadful track that uses a sample from the Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs.”
49. SMALL SINS – S/T (Astralwerks)
As the bio tells it, during Christmas 2004, Thomas D’Arcy was in the midst of a “mid-twenties crisis.” So he retreated to the basement of his childhood home and after nearly a year of woodshedding, fulfilled his goal to create a work of "heartfelt electro chamber-pop." Charming on first listen.

50. GREG LASWELL – Through Toledo (Vangaurd)
Touted on the cover sticker as “a Mutations-era Beck,” and I can hear a little of that, and more to make me think there’s potential here.
Out July 11th.
51. The THEATRE FIRE – Everybody Has a Dark Side (Undeniable Records)
52. KAISER CARTEL – Double Standard (self-released)
As swag as it gets these days - came with a three-pack of crayons.
53. MICHAEL ZAPRUDER’S RAIN OF FROGS – New Ways of Letting Go (Howells Transmitter)
54. KATHARINE WHALEN – Dirty Little Secret (M.C. Records)
Coming to Jammin Java on July 12th. Compared to her first solo CD, with the Jazz Squad, which had a sort of watered down Billie Holiday vibe, this one rocks a bit more, with a touch of Debbie Harry solo (“I Want That Man” era) or echoes of Garbage, Cardigan.
55. The FINALS – Plan Your Getaway (Immortal)
Just heard they're opening for Whalen, which is an odd mix, given that they seem to rock much harder than her album does.
Out August 1st.
56. MARK ERELLI – Hope & Other Casualties (Signature Sounds)
57. GREG GRAFFIN – Cold as the Clay (ANTI)
58. FRANK BLACK – Fast Man Raider Man (Back Porch)
Not sure why I got two copies. He covers the Pogues' "Dirty Old Town," which is way cool. A slew of cool guests, too - Levon Helm from The Band, Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick, Al Kooper, P.F. Sloan (again!), and Simon Kirke from Bad Company
and Free.
59. JOHNNY CASH – American V: A Hundred Highways (Lost Highway/American)
He’s sometimes off-key and he sings some songs that you long ago dismissed as schlock (“Love’s Been Good to Me”) but still it works. ‘Cause he’s Johnny Fucking Cash!
60. BILLY JOEL – 12 Gardens Live (Columbia)
What, exactly is the point in another Billy Joel live CD? To prove that the guy, who has had less than flattering press lately, can still function on stage? I put this on in the car and had a ball driving around, singing along to “Only the Good Die Young,” “Goodnight Saigon” and the like, but there is no reason that I would come back to this when I have the greatest hits collection.
61. FRANKIE J – Un Nuevo Dia (Norte/Columbia)
62. JOSHUA RADIN – We Were Here (Columbia)

63. BRINDLEY BROTHERS – Filled with Fire (self-released)
This week’s Post preview
Saw the guys play on June 24 and was duly impressed. Especially fun to see how singer/songwriter Luke Brindley, who is one of the most soft-spoken guys I’ve ever met in his daily life, becomes a kicking, stomping, guitar-shredding rock star on stage.

64. MONTY ARE I – Wall of People (Stolen Transmission)
What I call a “crap shoot band” – could very well be big stars, and could crash and burn without notice, simply because it fits the formula. The first track is propulsive and wordy, like Fall Out Boy, with a touch of ska horns. The second song has classic rock bombast, the third has strings for that power ballad moment. You’ve heard it before. Do you want to hear more of it?
65. FLATTBUSH – Seize the Time! (Koolarrow Records)

66. The JULIET DAGGER – Turn Up the Death (Good Charamel Records)
67. LAST CONSERVATIVE – On to the Next One (Good Charamel Records)
These two acts are touring with Counting Crows and the Goo-Goo Dolls, which wouldn’t seem like a very good match but for the fact that the Dolls’ Robby Takac produces and runs the label.

68. WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY – Red-Eyed Soul (Chunksaah Records)
Another big, multi-instrumental band, a la Arcade Fire, making a big noise, on an Asbury Park, NJ label.
69. MADISON PARK – In The Stars (BasicLUX Records)
Somewhat generic but still quite energizing dance music, pure and simple.
70. JOHNNY CASH – The Man Called Cash (W Publishing Group)
A book on CD, read by Kris Kristofferson. I'm waiting for a long drive to get into this.
American folk icon.
Out July 11st.
72. The RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS - Don't You Fake It (Virgin)
Loud and fast, Warp-y style young men.
Out July 18th.