Monday, December 31, 2007

...And I'm Spent!

It’s just after dinner – sending the year out with crab legs, (cheap) caviar, champagne – and time for TCM’s Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers’ “Revel Without a Pause” marathon. So we’re flying (if not Down to Rio) as we head into the final tally…

It came with the magazine:
1.HARP – November issue, Merge Records sampler
2. AMERICAN SONGWRITER – November/December 2007 issue
When did this magazine start giving out music? Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, Billie Holiday, Josh Ritter, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings! I hope they keep it up.

I bought it at the show:
3.SPOON – The Way We Get By

Misc. Puffy Envelopes:
4. BARCELONA – Absolutes (self-released)
5. GRACE POTTER and the NOCTURNALS – This Is Somewhere (Hollywood)
6. BEN ALLISON & MAN-SIZED SAFE – Little Things Run the World (Palmetto)
Points up front for the band name!
7. BRITTNEY ELIZABETH – Breathe In (self-released)
At first listen, the material didn’t slay me – average girl singer/songwriter stuff – but this Brittney at least writes most of her own stuff and isn’t batshit crazy.
8.LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu (Heads Up)
9. WINTERPILLS – The Light Divides
I wasn’t knocked out by the band live when I saw them open for The Kin at Jammin Java, but there is something soft and sweet about the CD.

10. FERRABY LIONHEART – Catch the Brass Ring (Nettwerk)
11. BELL X1 – Flock (Yep Roc)
Many moons ago, during a family vacation in Ireland, we were staying in the Temple Bar area and I went to a club just to hear some local rock. Bell X1 were playing and, though I’d never heard of them, they were great. (Now sure if this was before or after Damien Rice left the band.) And I wondered ever since why they hadn’t made it over here. The right will be wronged in January when the band finally releases an album here in the U.S.

12.WISELY – S/T (Oglio)
Official release duplicate of an advance I got earlier.
13.OVER THE RHINE – The Trumpet Child (Red Eye)
Another duplicate, reserviced when the band came back through town.
14.The TEMPTATIONS – Back to Front (New Door/UME)
15.KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic (Relentless/Virgin)
I like the way her label becomes Relentless Virgin, a good name for an album. Better than Drastic Fantastic, in fact.
16. ANDY DITZLER –Songs from Yes and No (Frequent Small Meals)
I wrote a longer piece about this CD when I first got it ‘cause I like it so much. Will post it “next year” since I think this is a guy I want to see live and hopefully he’ll be around in ’08.
17. The FRAMES - The Cost (Anti-)
Includes a band version of "Falling Slowly," the hit tune from the "Once" soundtrack. Much as Ive enjoyed this band in the past, this album has a somewhat forced big sound, as if they don't trust the audience to know that they're Making Imporant Music.

3-D – Digital Download Department
Another problem I have with the digital only scene – besides from missing liner notes and such – is that I frequently forget to count them! Here are some of the CDs I got online this year – from (so you RIAA types can leave me be!)

18. GIRL TALK – Unstoppable
19. ELECTRONIC ACOUSTIC – Various Artists (I-label)
Includes Peter, Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks,” a Feist track, American Analog Set and others.
20. The WEEPIES – Say I Am You
College Girl's new obsession. If I counted her iTunes purchases, I'd have a dozen or more releases to add here.
21. ST. VINCENT – Marry Me
22. The APPLE TREE - Original Broadway Cast
An underappreciated set of clever, sometimes very funny, often quite tender, tunes.

23. OKKERVIL RIVER – Golden Opportunities Mix Tape
A lovely holiday gift – available with red/green and blue/white cover pds – from the band to fans, recorded live on tour and available at the group’s web site.

The last CD to come into the house in 2007, arriving in today’s mail:
(drumroll, please…)
24. SCIENCE FOR GIRLS – S/T (self-released)

and still, I see some stragglers - a few discs in scattered corners.
Maybe a dozen or two more musical experiences not to be shared (this time).
Oh, the humanity.
But I have proven my point (whatever that may be).
Run the race.
Crossed the finish line.
I'll be more organized - even more OC/D! - next year.

and so, for year 2007, we come to the

OK, Kid. You can blow that New Year's trumpet Now!

Happy New Year's everybody. Thanks for blogging and slogging through 2007 with me!
Fred, Ginger...let's dance!

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming! (Last Day, Part Two)

Now you know why it’s called the O/CD Tally. I can’t stop myself!
(and I may be a little sloppy on label listings in the rush to finish).

Stories were Told:
These CDs came in relating to Post previews, the latest round of which will be up as links later this week, as Thursday, January 3rd brings a new pair.
1. GOOD For The JEWS – S/T (self-released)
2. BANDAZIAN – In Vacant Fields
3. BRICE WOODALL – Feathery Trigger

More Puffy Envelopes, previously missing in action:
A duplicate copy of the Scandinavian metal parodists, in case I missed “Everybody Loves a Chubby Dude” first time around.
5. BASSNECTAR – Underground Communication (Om Records)
6. The CLIKS – Snakehouse (Tommy Boy)
7. ELI COOK BAND – Electric Firewater (self-released)
Virginia-based kid, not yet 20, has the chops of a much older bluesman.
8. ROMANTICO – America (2024 Records)
RIYD: Wire, Girls Against Boys, Sonic Youth (that’s what they said)
9. The LOW FREQUENCY IN STEREO - The Last Temptation Of... (Gigantic Music)
A replacement copy for the album I was enjoying in the car – until I stepped on and broke. This, the band’s third LP, (its 2004 release was titled “Travelling Ants Who Got Eaten By Mollusks”)
was up for the Norwegian Grammy award - called a Spellemannsprisen - in the category of Best Rock Album of 2006 (it came out in the US last October). Comparisons are being made to the Doors, Joy Division, Can, Stereolab, The Jesus And Mary Chain.
10. LEYODE – Fascinating Tininess (Eastern Development)

Some May Call It Swag:
11. ANGELSPIT – Krankhaus (Dancing Ferret Discs)
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky…and they send swag – a ballpoint pen that looks like a hypodermic needle. Could come in handy for a Halloween costume.
12. The CRUXSHADOWS – DreamCypher (Dancing Ferret Discs)
Florida-based but world traveled outfit, played in China earlier this year. They also sent swag – a red and white pill case that looks like a really big…pill.

Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
13. SECRET ANNEXE – Seven Headed Monster (Ocelot Records)
I purchased a previous CD from this band, based solely on clever song titles and its lonely presence in the clearance section, I mentioned it in the blog, and one of the band members wrote to ask if I’d like to hear the latest release. Yes, please.

14. PET SHOP BOYS – Cubism in Concert (Rhino DVD)
A 27-track concert filmed last year in Mexico City. Good stuff, too.

YTD O/CD Tally: 978
And there’s more to come!

Last Day, Part One (CMJ redux)

My Best Intentions
I wanted to do a full CMJ summary in the days after the event, but got waylaid with other work and life and such. Here, at least, is the music tally from notes taken back then:

On the very first day, a nice pair of young rockers came though the pressroom, handing out CDs and touting their Saturday showcase (which I was going to miss), They gave me:
1.The BOY BATHING – A Fire to Make Preparations
A bit of “Beautiful Dreamer” tossed in, a happier, more nasal Bright Eyes
And much more varied styles – and a big band sound on a few songs, too! - than the indie element would have you believe. And some songs feature a sweet female vocal like a not-obnoxious Jewel.
2.VARIOUS ARTISTS – World’s Fair Fall 2007 Music Sampler (World’s Fair)
Picked up at the World’s Fair Showcase, where British Sea Power where stunningly good.

3.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Live from SF X SXSW – San Francisco Comes to Austin 2007 (Talking House)
Given out at the Talking House showcase, at Ace of Clubs, where Scissors for Lefty were adorable.
4. BLAMMOS – How Do You Know? (Front Burner Music)
Also at the TH show. Didn’t hear the Blammos, but enjoyed chatting with the guys at the long line of merch tables that ran along the side wall of the club. They gave me this collection of songs, in a cleverly-folded (rock origami?!) sheet of standard-sized, hot pink, printed
5.BLAMMOS – 4 Music Videos (Front Burner Music)
also from the same event:
6.MUD – Should’ve Known (Talking Head)
2-Track single
7. MICKEY ZETTS/MICKEY’S ICKIES – Life is a Dream (Superpickle Music Arts)

8. TEAM ROBESPIERRE – Summer 2007 (Impose Records)
Obtained at the Norwegian showcase at Knitting Factory, where Ida Maria won my heart.

Alas, Ida Maria had no music to share, but Team Robespierre had a few samplers on the freebie table. This looks like it’s a hand-painted disc – collectible, perhaps, but the band’s performance – all bratty energy, but little in the way of melody or charm – didn’t work for me.

Foraging at the Puck Building:
11. VARIOUS ARTISTS – CMJ New Music, Issue 151 (CMJ)

The French Music Export Office Booth:
12. VARIOUS ARTISTS - Generation Francaise 6 (Cavilam)
With Emilie Simon. Whom High School Girl caught on a video music channel and was charmed by.
13. VARIOUS ARTISTS – French Essentials III (Aureau Export)
“pop/rock & electronic music produced in France,” including Feist and Justice.
14. VARIOUS ARTISTS – French Essentials IV (Aureau Export)
“world music produced in France”

Various Others:
15.BAND B – Bent (self-released)
Can’t Judge a Book…dept. Simple black graphics and song titles imply something hard and metaled, but the songs are actually more mellow and melodic.
16. SAHARA HOTNIGHTS – Cheek to Cheek (Stand By Your Band)
From the Swedish Booth, a one track single, in cardboard sleeve.
17. VARIOUS ARTISTS – From Sweden with Love (Swedish Institute)
18. FRED – 3-Track Promo (RCM Records)
19. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Subtle Media Group sampler (Subtle Media Group)
On CMJ’s last day, the press room was closed, so I plunked myself into the empty exhibit across the way, where the Internet signal was still strong and a power outlet and writing surface were available. The proprietor of the booth, a lovely, talkative Irish man (is there any other kind?) returned and, instead of shooing me away, delighted me with an hour’s worth of fine conversation, industry gossip, and an introduction to his friend, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, who dropped by with the Irishman’s wife. The CD includes orchestral, film and television music, my host himself in a singer/songwriter role, and the band Martelo, which was the prime motive for his attendance at the event.

One small label, from Alaska, had its own table (was it worth it?) and gave out what you might call Real Chill Rap:
20. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Arctic Flow Records Sampler (Arctic Flow)
Snippets and full versions.
21. PHONETIC – The Notebook (Ice Box Entertainment)
2006 copyright.
22. AKREAM feat. JOSH BOOTS – I Push You Push (Arctic Flow)
2004 copyright, and yet this 4-track (all same song) single is said to be from the upcoming album “Digital Penetration.”
23. JOSH BOOTS – Possesion with Intent (Arctic Flow)
Front cover spells the word “possession,” side title uses “possetion,” and the first track is “possession…” . copyright 2005.

YTD O/CD Tally: 964

All Bets Are Off!

Less than 24 hours to go, and I’m just going list crazy!

Stuff I liked but didn’t get a chance to write about:
1. LE CONCORDE – Suite E.P. (Fourchette/Le Grand Magistry Records)
Stephen Becker, PhD, isn’t shy about his broken heart – his press bio is fraught with references to his broken marriage. I’ve seen him perform live twice, and both times his voice was disappointing, making me wonder if the beautiful, plaintive vocals here are a studio creation. But hey, if the end result is such lovely melancholy as this (and the beautiful previous release, “Universe and Villa”) so be it. Produced, BTW, by David Garnson of Scritti Politti (in LA) and Ken Stringfellow of Posies (in Paris).
2. QUARTET SAN FRANCISCO – Whirled Chamber Music (ViolinJazz Recordings)
How can you not love a group that records chase music from a classic Looney Tunes cartoon, written by the great Raymond Scott? And that’s only the first track on a fine collection of classical/jazz crossover.
3. 10,000 LAUGHS: The Best of the Boston Comedy Festival (KOCH)
Comedy’s tough. What makes me guffaw may not give you even a chuckle, and vice versa. Some of the comedians did one for me, some the other, some not even a smile. The generic package had no listings, so I can’t tell you who scored and who didn’t, unless I go back to listen to MC introductions (note to publicists – not helpful to potential reviewers).
4. VARIOUS ARTISTS - US VS. UK PUNK (Sanctuary Records)
My pal, Rhoda, a publicist from Back in the Day, wrote the liner notes for this nifty time capsule.
5. BRAZZAVILLE – East L.A. Breeze (Vendlus Records)
Heard a track from this on “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and then was amazed to see it being handled by Earsplit PR, who sends me the best/funniest heavy- and death-metal press releases. I’ve never requested stuff from them before, but I asked for, and got, this one, which is so mellow, it’s hard to know how/why the team got together. Led by singer David Brown, who played sax in Beck’s touring band, it’s actually the band’s sixth studio release! The depth of all the music I’ll never hear is mind-blowing.
6. GRAND NATIONAL – A Drink and A Quick Decision (Recall Records)
June 18th marked the album’s worldwide digital release, but the “deluxe physical CD release (w/ bonus tracks and media)” came out in September.
7. JENS LEKMAN – Night Falls Over Kortedala (Secretly Canadian)
I understand why some people might lose patience with this sweet, heavily orchestrated popmeister with the odd voice, but I think he’s fun.
8. LINDA THOMPSON – Versatile Heart (Rounder)
Originally released on Tom Waits' 2004 release Real Gone, "Day After Tomorrow" is an anti-war ballad written as a soldier's letter home from the Iraq War. Though Thompson suffers from a rare vocal disorder which makes it difficult to sing in public, she chose to record that one track before a live audience. She said this about the song: "Everybody loves the most wonderful Tom Waits, but let's not forget his co-writer Kathleen Brennan. I like the cut of her jib."
Above and beyond her talent – and bravery – here are two reasons I love that comment:
1) she gave credit to the woman behind the man, which is rarely done.
2) she used the phrase “cut of her jib,” which is a Connecticut-ism Hubby uses all the time, and I always tease him about it.

“Life is Short” Section (Stuff I still haven’t listened to yet):
9. M.I.A. – Kala (Interscope)
Embarrassed to admit that I haven’t popped this one in the player yet. She’s all over the Year’s Best lists, but I’ve just lost track.
10. LISA LOEB – The Purple Tape (Furious Rose)
I still have a chance with this one – it comes out January 22nd.
The release will include two discs. One is music - including an early version of “Stay (I Missed You)” - the other an interview with Ms. Loeb.
11. CORINNE WEST – Second Sight (Make Records)
12. RYAN SCOTT – Smoke & Licorice (Velour Music)
13. MAE – Singularity (Capitol)
14. J. HOLIDAY – Back of My Lac’ (Capitol)
A sampler – 3 tracks and 3 “snippets.”
15. MISS DERRINGER – Black Tears (Stay Gold Records)
16. BITTER:SWEET – The Remix Game (Quango)

Stuff I’m still not sure about:
17. JAMIE T. – Panic Prevention (Caroline)

Stuff That Didn’t Do It For Me:
18. PRINZHORN DANCE SCHOOL – S/T (Astralwerks)
19. AIDEN – Conviction (Victory Records)
20. BETWEEN The BURIED and ME – Colors (Victory)

YTD O/CD Tally: 941

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tick...Tick...Tick...(the New Year looms)

The emails keep coming, telling me I have just two days left to make my year-end donations. The same goes for the O/CD Tally, so let’s make a contribution now!

By Request.
I read the press releases that publicists send, and damn, if they don’t make just about everything sound good. I try to ask for only those albums that I think I may like or will get to cover sometime in the future (really) and here’s a few I asked to hear. For the most part, good stuff, too.
1. The HEDRONS – One More Won’t Kill Us (Measured)
I love when chicks rock. And the drummer goes by the name Soup!
2. XAVIER RUDD – White Moth
His first album left a good impression; I need to make time for this one.
3. The WEAKERTHANS – Reunion Tour (Anti-)
4. JOE HENRY – Civilians (Anti-)
Ever reliable, as a performer and as the Go-To Producer for artists who need creative rediscovery.
5. EILEEN IVERS – An Nollaig (Compass Records)
A gentle, but not sleep-inducing holiday album with a Celtic (obviously) slant.
6. THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS – The Else (Idlewild/Zoe/Universal)
Back in the Brooklyn days, the two Johns came to my birthday party, though they didn’t really know me. I still have the party hat they made me. Great guys, fun times.
7. NICK LOWE – Jesus of Cool (Yep Roc)
Deluxe reissue of the Britpop/new wave icon’s U.K. debut, which had its name, track list and sequencing changed for U.S. release. 2007 was a great year for Nick and his fans (like me) – “At My Age” was a fine release, and his Birchmere show in September was a thrill for those of us who got to see him and especially for the lucky few like myself who chatted with him afterwards. I will spare you the shot of me and him, but here’s a stage shot…
Next Saturday, Jan. 5th, the Wolf Trap Barns hosts a tribute to Mr. Lowe with a huge roster of local talent. I was gonna preview the show, but it sold out the day I was set to file the story, so the editor had me switch to another event. Anyhoo, the CD, with all the original material, plus added info and bonus tracks, comes out February 19th.

8. SEBASTIAN BACH – Angel Down (Get Off My Bach)
I’m not usually prone to hard rock, but I’ve had a soft spot for Bach since he started guesting on “Gilmore Girls.” I figure if the creator of that once-superb (until she left) mom-and-daughter dramedy could forgive him for wearing the anti-gay T-shirt that got him in trouble back in the Skid Row days, so can I.

Things that came unannounced:
9. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – Original Broadway Cast (Decca)
There aren’t many unsolicited puffy envelope surprises that make me say “oh yea!” but this is one of them, as I can quote from the great Mel Brooks comedy at length. College Girl saw and liked the Broadway show (scuttlebutt says the B’way community is not entirely thrilled with the way Brooks and Co. conduct bizniz, but I can say no more) but was more into the performers than the music. Given that one song’s chorus consists almost entirely of the word “tits,” no one will be mistaking this for the latest Sondheim.
10.JANN KLOSE – Reverie (self-released)
11. ROB JUNGKLAS – Gully (Mad Jack Records)

Advances for the New Year:
12. The AUDITION – Champion (Victory)
Out January 22nd.
13. ADAMA – Delicate Dragon (4Dpeople)
Out February 19th.
14. MATT KING – Rube (Montage Music Group)
Out February 5th.
15. The BILLIONAIRES – Really Real For Ever (Too Soon)
Out March 4th.


One More Lap Before Bedtime

All My Own Cash Money Edition!

Last visit to the CD Cellar for 2007:
1. VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Brit Box (Rhino)
Subtitled “U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, And Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millennium,” this 4-CD set offers 78 tracks that chart the rise of “Cool Britannia.” Featuring the likes of The Smiths, Jesus And Mary Chain, The Stone Roses, Teenage Fanclub, Blur, Oasis, Pulp, and a whole bunch that I don’t recognize. Usually, these boxes don’t offers lot of surprises, but there’s a lot here I’ve never heard. Found it at the used CD store for about $35 and, since it was trade-in credit and not real cash, that made it a steal. Alas, the Rhino Art Department, which usually makes the greatest fetishist packages on the planet, fell off a bit on this. The box is designed like a British phone booth, but the flashing lights are a cheap gimmick. The four discs are packaged in two double packs and, while the accompanying booklet is full of nice pics and info, there’s a lot of wasted space.
From the $1.00 Clearance racks:
2. VARIOUS ARTISTS –Only Rock ‘n Roll: 1960-1964 (Warner Special Products)
20 tracks, opening with Little Eva’s “Locomotion” and ending with the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ U.S.A.” As usual with these collections, I have many of the songs already (one day, I need to make a massive mix of all the 60s, 70s and 80s’ collections; it will probably create a full shelf of free space in the archives once I cull all the duplications) but there’s a few choice newbies: “I Like It Like That” (name the artist? Chris Kenner), “Tossin’ and Turnin’” (Bobby Lewis) and “Hey! Baby” (Gene Chandler) that I’m pretty sure I’ve been missing.
3. VARIOUS ARTISTS - ‘60s Pop Numbers 1’s (UME)
20 tracks, opening with Little Eva’s “Locomotion” (deja entendu!) and ending with Zager & Evans’ “In the Year 2525” (the very definition of both one-hit wonder and novelty tune). The choice newbies here: Len Barry’s “1-2-3,” Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints,” and the Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine.” Groovy packaging, too – die-cut cover that reveals the bright green disc within, nestled in some kind of cushy Styrofoam.
4. DAN WILSON – Free Life (American/Red Ink/Columbia)
Advance generic cover solo CD from the former Semisonic leader. This one’s watermarked, a trade-in risk I never take. “Free Life,” the track I heard on KCRW, is way catchy but I keep sticking on this bad couplet in the chorus: “And in the air the questions hang/Will we get to do something?” That rhyme needs to rhyme. But it doesn’t.
5. BOWERBIRDS – Hymns for a Dark Horse (Burly Time Records)
Generic advance cardboard CD-R with taped, typed song listings. A three-piece act with a quiet, pleasing sound so close to that of Sondre Lerche that my husband asked if it was a new disc from him. Saw the band do a few songs at CMJ day stage and remembered them fondly. And I have a photo…

6. SPARKY’S FLAW – S/T EP (Smash)
A freebie, grabbed (in duplicate, one for High School Girl) from a pro-looking display case on the giveaway table, which is usually stocked with stickers and postcards and the occasional CD-R. The two-color cardboard case, with band member photos, offers five tracks from the Charlottesville, VA band, which I discovered through HSG, who got some tracks (not, BTW, the ones here) from a friend on a mix tape. This band is quite good, in a Jack’s Mannequin/The Format kind of way. In fact, I mentioned them in a Post preview and would have written more about them, but they never answered my press inquiry. (Tsk, tsk.) They played Jammin Java the night of our big holiday open house, so we missed seeing the show. Rumor has it they will play the place again in January and we will be there, cheering.
7.TIEWEB – 3 track EP (self-released)
Speaking of freebie CD-Rs from local bands, here’s one.
8. JUBEUS – Samples from “Natural Mood” (self-released)
And here’s another. Four tracks, dating back to the band’s summertime CD release party, an invite to which is printed on the disc label.
9. BRADDIGAN & FRIENDS – promo sampler (Third Surfer Music)
This is a freebie that I think came from a recent visit to Jammin Java, also promoting a show, in October, by a guy from the local band Dispatch. Includes pre-release tracks from his CD “The Captive” plus original music from a film (“Walking on Water”) and even a trailer for same.
10. SHANE HINES – See Us Live! (self-released)
I use that title ‘cause it’s written in big type on the label, also a mention of a J2 show in December. Four tracks from a guy whose name I’ve heard a zillion times on the local scene. Now I can finally hear what’s up. It takes awhile, but these things work. And it’s in a nice slim-line CD case, which shows an extra touch of class.

A last visit to the Thrift store for 2007:
At $1.50 each, who can resist?
11. Highlights from MISS SAIGON (Geffen)
I am not a fan of this musical or its Glitz Above Content producers, but I am a big fan of actor Jonathan Pryce, whose performance of “The American Dream” gave this onetime Broadway Baby a guilty tingle when he performed it on the Tony Awards many, many years ago.
12. NO DOUBT – The Singles 1992-2003 (Interscope)
It’s missing the CD booklet, but all I need are the 13 songs, a reference library must-have. Gwen Stefani has more talent and class in her left foot than Madonna has in her entire body.
13. BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL – S/T (Playbill/Legacy)
Actually gave this CD to my mom as a Christmas present last year, but I didn’t break the shrink-wrap to copy it first. Didn’t know the guy except by reputation and it turns out he has a showstopper’s voice and a way with Broadway chestnuts like “Something’s Coming” that helps you hear the songs with fresh ears. Good choices, too: “The Best is Yet to Come,” “How Long Has This Been Going On” and such.

Also on the Broadway/Hollywood tip:
14. STEPHEN SONDHEIM – Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1 1962-72 (PS Classics)
HSG and I went to Borders with an “Any single CD for $10.99” coupon, searching for the “Juno” soundtrack before we realized that it was only (at that time) available as a digital release. When we couldn’t find that, I searched the soundtrack racks (only the big hits ever go on sale) for “Babel” (out of stock, tho’ my dear one found it for me for Christmas) and discovered this collection by my favorite composer. I didn’t even know he’d released these early demos. Not only does he do such favorites as “Losing My Mind” and “Send in the Clowns,” but also a song called “No, Mary Ann.” (I will forgive the spelling). No, he doesn’t have a strong voice, but I love hearing him present the tunes as the proud creator, complete with the occasional expositional aside.
15. THE DARJEELING LIMITED – Original Film Soundtrack (ABKCO)
Wes Anderson always takes such great care with his films’ music. This one leans heavily on East Indian soundtrack excerpts, along with a few tracks from my dear Kinks. Confession: was gonna give it to College Girl for Christmas but, after hearing it, I didn’t think she’d dig the Indian stuff so much, so I’m keeping it. (If she reads this and wants me to honor my initial intent, so be it.)

Bought Many Moons Ago, But Somehow Missed the Tally:
16. CHUCK KLOSTERMAN – IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Simon & Schuster Audio)
There aren’t many rock journalists who have a true Voice, or can make me laugh out loud. My one true star in this matter is Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield, who also wrote the heart-achingly tender “Love is a Mix Tape.” I don’t think Klosterman has quite the same reserves of sentiment, but I bet he makes me chuckle.

A few more samplers, MIA:
17. HARP magazine – Vanguard/Sugar Hill New Music Sampler
Eight acts, one or two tracks each, starting with our darling Matt Nathanson and wrapping up with the Infamous Stringdusters.
18. MOJO magazine – Best of 2007
True to its name, there’s a track here that made it to my Top Ten Songs ballot for the upcoming Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll (more on that next week/next year) – Cold War Kids’ “We Used to Vacation.” And while there’s a lot of other good material from bands I know and like – Shins, Decemberists, Sigur Ros, Interpol – there’s a nice sampling of Brits I’ve heard much less about – Hard-Fi, Cherry Ghost, Jamie T – so it’s nice to know what the Brits are rabbiting on about.

And we’ll end on an Old Skool note.
19. DECAYDANCE (Fueled by Ramen)
On a visit to Hot Topic with HSG some time ago, I found this set of five genuine 7” vinyl singles – The Academy Is…, Cobra Starship, Cute Is What We Aim For, Gym Class Heroes and Paramore – in the clearance section for about $5. Seemed like a must-have for my picture sleeve collection, though I was disappointed upon opening it to see that all of the records were in plain white sleeves. Will play ‘em when I get a moment with the turntable and/or put ‘em up on ebay someday.

So, where does that leave us?
YTD O/CD Tally: 906

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Race Continues

Gotta keep hammering...
Let’s start with a round-up of all the new Christmas Booty:

1. The NEW AMSTERDAMS – At the Feet of My Rival (Elmar/Curb Appeal)
Bought by me for College Girl, who requested that she get some actual CDs! Seems that even the hip youngsters like the feel of old skool jewel cases to go with their downloads.
2. SWEENEY TODD – Original Broadway Cast (LuPone, Cerveris) (Nonesuch)
3. SWEENEY TODD – Original Film Soundtrack (Depp, Bonham Carter)(Nonesuch)
College Girl gave me both versions of the score since she knows I’m a huge Sondheim fan, have the original Broadway run in both CD and LP (signed by Lansbury and Cariou) form. The film version is a store-bought, and she burned a copy of the revival from her iTunes purchases. So much music, so much blood!
4. BABEL – Original Film Soundtrack (Concord)
High School Girl, god bless ‘er, remembered that I’ve been looking for this soundtrack ever since being knocked out by the film. I was surprised to see that it is, actually, a double CD, spanning the globe with great sounds. There is one theme in particular that breaks my heart, just as the film did.
5. DAVID BYRNE – The Knee Plays (Nonesuch)
From me to Hubby, a callback to a great time in our young married lives, and a piece of music that still sounds great.
6. RUFUS WAINWRIGHT – Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (Geffen)
From HSG to dad, although we’re all psyched to her it.

7. The BEATLES – Help! (Capitol/Apple)
Picked it up for $18 at the Costco, as a gift for the whole house. Still not sure why that “deluxe” box is worth over $100. Seems like a (not)cheap way to milk Beatles fans.
8. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – Futuresex/Loveshow (JIVE/Zomba)
From Hubby to me, with a tag marked “for your fantasies.” OK.
9. ONCE – (20th Century Fox)
Also from Hubby to me. A film I’ve wanted to see since I heard it was a) a musical b) set in Dublin.

Oh, yeah. And I forgot to add that 10. GrandVist boxed Christmas set - and bonus disc - a copy of which is still up for grabs to the first reader who leaves a Grinch reference in the comments section.

YTD O/CD Tally: 887

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Race is On!

With just three days left in the year, I feel compelled to address, once and for all and in however brief a manner, all the discs that have piled up for the OC/D tally. Will the list crack 1,000? I think it can, but only if I stop wondering and start typing!
Here's a random batch pulled from the red plastic Tower records (R.I.P.) shopping basket:

1.The GUNSHY – There’s No Love in This War (Latest Flame)
Back in the days when he was touring with the late, great Troubled Hubble , Matt Arbogast, a.k.a. The Gunshy, crashed with them in my basement after a Galaxy Hut show, so naturally, I’m inclined to want to hear what he’s up to. This CD is a sweet departure from his usually highly introspective songs – a collection of letters sent by his grandfather to his grandmother during WWII, set to Guthrie-esque arrangements. Andrew Lanthrum of the Hubble gang guests on bass.
2. The DIG – Good Luck and Games EP (self-released)
There’s a song on this 6-track EP called “Marianne.” It’s a love song that opens with nice strings, and the titular (why does that always sound dirty?) character is a sympathetic object of desire, so I’m happy.
3. DADA – A Friend of Pat Robertson (self-released)
An undervalued trio that keeps putting out good records and playing fine live shows to a happy audience that knows it can rely on them. This 5-track EP is no exception. The title track mixes good politics with taut rock guitar lines.
4. COLBIE CAILLAT – Coco (Universal Republic)
The 21-year-old College Girl loves “Bubbly;” the 17-year-old High School Girl hates it. I don’t feel like it makes a big splash either way. But that reminds me…
5. JUNO – Original soundtrack (Rhino)
We all agree that we adore the film and the music from it, which HSG just purchased with her Christmas iTunes gift card. The simple songs never fall fully over into twee, probably because we are all smitten with the sweet sentiments left over from seeing the movie. We laughed, we cried, we sang along!
6. CAKE – B-Sides and Rarities (Upbeat Records)
I’m not sure anyone but a real completist needs this take on “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” but I always love hearing “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.”
7. AUSTIN LOUNGE LIZARDS – The Drugs I Need (Blue Corn Music)
Comedy country or smartasses who play banjos? The CD includes five songs the band was commissioned to write last year - three for the Consumers Union (the Consumer Reports people) and two for special-interest lobbies. They also address media consolidation ("The Tower"), consumer-preying charge-card companies ("Xmastime for Visa") and global warming ("Toast the Earth with ExxonMobil"). Vocalist/bassist Boo Resnick calls the album closer, "We've been Through Some Crappy Times Before” - "an uplifting rallying cry for poor, downhearted liberals who live in a little blue island in a big red state.” Thanks, I need all the help I can get. As my Bush Countdown Calendar tells me, there’s still 388 days left in this nightmare.

MOSTLY NO COMMENT (that’s not a dis’; I just don’t have much to say)
8. CRUXSHADOWS – Birthday (Dancing Ferret Discs)
9. CHAMPION KICKBOXER – Perforations (54 40 or Fight)
10. ERIC BACHMAN – To The Races (Saddle Creek)
11. HOOTS & HELLMOUTH – S/T (MAD Dragon)
Duplicate; reserviced when the band swung through town again.
12. JOHN FOGARTY – Revival (Concord)
13. FALU – S/T (Monsoon Records)
14. MARCEL KHALIFE – Tagasim (Connecting Cultures)
Not sure where it came from, but intriguing package, a CD in a small book, with liner notes in English, French, Spanish and Arabic – looks like new age touchy-feely, which could go either way.
15. LO-FI SUICIDE – Last Trip to the Golden Gate (self-released)
Intense bald dude with creepy eyes, but a way with song titles – “God Doesn’t Play Fair,” “Alien Tourist,” “Blacking Out is Part of the Fun.”
16. JAVAUGHN – Superstar (Tuff Gong)
Executive producers: Stephen and Damien Marley.
17. JOSHUA JAMES – The Sun is Always Brighter (Intelligent Noise)
“Come on love/Come on drugs/I need the help/Pick me up.” The lyrics to “Tell My Pa” are scrawled on the inside cover and I had to put the song on. It’s soft and sad, and now I’m curious to hear the rest.
18. KATE McGARRY – The Target (Palmetto)
19. MURDER MYSTERY – Are You Ready for the Heartache Cause Here It Comes (self-released)
“Indie rock sockhoppers” Out: January 29th.
20. MOTHER and the ADDICTS – Science Fiction Illustrated (Chemikal Underground Records)
Haven’t had a chance to listen, but PR says it appeals to fans of Jarvis Cocker and Roxy Music (good), The Fall and P.I.L. (not so encouraging).

21. JUNIPER LANE – Wake From Yourself (DJ Boy Records)
Quartet with foxy female lead singer.
22. CAROL GAYLOR & BRUCE KATSU – Feels Like Home (self-released)
Acoustic new age folk.
23. The INFLUENCE – S/T (self-released)
2006 debut.
24.The INFLUENCE – Pig Radio (self-released)
Stylishly package in a digi-pack with 12 square art cards featuring the pig radio mascot in various settings.

25., 26., MARAH – Angels of Destruction (Yep Roc)
Two copies, actually. An advance some weeks ago, and the finished version more recently.
Sixth release from the live favorites and first to feature new female keyboard player.
27. TURBONEGRO – Retox (Cooking Vinyl)
Second copy of the “faux-mo-erotic” Norwegian metal band.
28. SISTER HAZEL – Santa’s Playlist (Rock Ridge)
Pleasant enough, but nothing that rocked my socks for this year’s Cool Yule collection.

29. The RAMONES – It’s Alive! 1974-1996 (Rhino)
Gabba Gabba Hey! That's all for today!

O/CD YTD Tally: 877

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And so this is Christmas...

There’s a fire in the fireplace, a pile of fun presents (popcorn maker, learn to play harmonica kit (!), music to be tallied later, etc.) under the tree and we just finished watching the best 22 minutes of animated Christmas sentiment ever - “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” - after a delicious dinner. I hope you had as lovely a holiday as we did here at the CPF HQ, and I wish you all the best for a great ’08.

While sorting through some older December email this afternoon, I found a charming musical ecard from the folks at World's Fair, home to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, British Sea Power and other breakout acts of 2007. It's a sweet holiday tune, “The Morning of Christmas” by Eric Pulido of Midlake.

That's something for all to enjoy, and there's an extra little giftie that, alas, I can share with just one of you...

The first (and not, we hope, last) CPF Readers Giveway!
Nashville, Tenn-based GrandVista Music gave CPF an extra copy of its 3-cd box set “How Sweet The Sound” ("As Seen on TV!" it says here) to use as a giveaway for blog readers. It just arrived in the mail on Friday, so consider this a prize you can pack up with the ornaments and you'll be set to jump for Holiday Season '08.

The boxed set combines smooth jazz and orchestral arrangements of classic Christmas hymns in a gentle musical wash that works well as pleasant background during the endless dinner parties and (if you’re lucky) present-opening sessions that come with the season. A fourth, bonus disc, adds a children’s choir into the mix, but in a subtle fashion – as accent, not prime focus. (Let's face it - even at Christmas time, a little children’s chorus goes a long way.)

The members of the orchestra are pulled from Nashville’s local talent pool; collectively, the musicians and arrangers have worked with the likes of Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall and Alison Krauss. The liner notes, by Robert J. Morgan (author, minister, hymns musicologist) outlines the origin and history behind the hymns.

It’s not the kind of music that generally rocks this house, but it works for a mellow Sunday/holiday morning and would make a faboo gift for an older relative – Aunt Muriel, perhaps?

I'll personally mail it - with a copy of this year's highly-coveted (by CPFs everywhere) "Cool Yule '07" compilation to the first CPF reader to post a "Grinch" reference in the comments section.

Happy holidays, everybody. God bless us, every one (Tiny Tim made no exceptions)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CPF @ DNC - crashing the (political) party

We interrrupt the usual musical blather for an (un)paid political announcement, i.e. my day chillin' with the Big Dawgs of the 08 "Cluster&^%! for the White House" (come back, Jon Stewart! We need you more than ever!)

Got an email from the John Edwards campiagn last week, asking if I'd like to attend a speech he'd be giving at a Tyson's Corner hotel. Since I don't get out of the house often enough, and the hotel is only about 20 minutes away, I thought that sounded like a good idea. I RSVP'd and headed out on Friday morning to the Sheraton.

Was suprised when I got there to see all the Hillary signs - guessed her people just wanted to make their presence felt at the Edwards' event. But then I discovered - after finding the parking lots full and a crowd at the hotel door - that this was not simply an Edwards event. This was the whole dang dog and pony show, with practically all of the show horses due to make an appearance.

Camera crews and scads of volunteers, tables full of pins, bumper stickers and T-shirts...and a line for general audience admission that snaked through the building and out the door. I'm not good with lines. Besides, I doubted there was a ballroom big enough for all these people AND the state DNC reps as well. If I was goingt o put put in an overflow room, I might as well go home and watch CNN. Time for Plan B. I went searching for the Edwards crew, thinking maybe my RSVP was worth somehing. Found these two sweet college boys who were manning (boy-ing?) the table, anxious to give me a T-shirt and thank me for coming.

Alas, they said, even with an RSVP I needed to go the end of that horrible line. So I pulled out my massive digital SLR camera with the big telephoto lens (it's heavy, but makes an impression) and went into freelance reporter mode. I never once mentioned the Washington Post connection, since
a) I am not on staff,
b) I don't do politics for them and
c) they would snap me in two if I dared to even think it.
Instead, I stressed my blog ("cultural affairs" I pegged it) and showed off that telephoto lens. My "good luck charm" fellows told me they'd point out the campaign manager when she came by, and that alone emboldened me to walk across the hallway to the press credentials area. Again, I dropped no important names, just mentioned the blog and cradled my camera. The kindly young wonk said she'd see what she could do, walked off and came back moments later - with a "BLOGGERS" pass.

I never had of those before! And so, I strolled merrily into the ballroom...

My Edwards pals had gotten a seat in the small GA section in the back, while I parked my bag at a seat in the MEDIA section, also in the back. Wormed my way along the wall towards the front, where I was able to watch the color guard, pledge of allegiance (yes, we leftist commie pinkos do that) and the opening remarks by Howard Dean, who is a handsome man in a white-haired, Steve Martin kind of way, though I doubt he and I share the same sense of humor.

A grumpy guy with a clipboard saw my pass and told me to go back behind the red rope to the media section, so I had to catch the rest of the session with my telephoto. The first presidential hopeful to speak was Bill Richardson, whom I've touted in past discussions with friends as a guy to watch. He was lucky he went first, since his speech was adequate, but nowhere near as stirring as those that followed. I'll say now that he'd make a fine VP contender, but doesn't have the "It" factor to top the ticket.

And then my "inviter" Edwards appeared. Threw me a curve ball by walking in the side door and walking right past me. The best I might have done with my telephoto was get a nose-hair shot, so I waited while he gave a good, fiery speech about tearing down the wall around government that's been built by the Republicans and their Big Bizniz cronies.

But, betting on the fact that Edwards would leave the way he came, I got him on the return trip.

Obama was due next, so I cooled my heels at my seat, and observed the press types around me. Saw The Post's Dana Milbank, whom I recognized thanks to his appearances on Keith Obermann's Countdown. On the whole, the press was cool to all the activity going on around them...

But I was getting a kick out of seeing these movers and shakers in the flesh. I did see a guy carrying a FOX News camera and wearing a Hillary sticker (is that allowed at Fox Noise?) And there was a buzz when Barack Obama appeared, with a thunderous ovation from the overflow room, whose chanting and stomping could be heard - and felt - even as the quieter crowd in the main room waited for him to start his speech.

Like Edwards, he got the crowd riled up, but I was a bit dispppointed to hear him go negative, never mentioning Hillary by name, but obviously calling her to task for telling people what the polls indicate they want to hear rather than what she truly thinks. I agree, but it still felt like the wrong target.

I couldn't stay for the afternoon session, when Hillary, Kucinich and Biden were scheduled to speak, but that was fine with me. As it was, Hillary cancelled due to the hostage situation at her campaign HQ in a small New Hampshire town, so this is as close as any of us got...

all in all, a fun trip to the sausage factory to see how our tasty democracy is made.

Back again soon with music and CD tallies.
Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

So Many Ways to Buy Music…

A Genuine Record Store!

Last week, when I drove into DC to pick up College Girl for the Turkey Day Visit (ours was great; hope the same for you and yours), I left early, thinking I’d kill time in the Dupont Circle area and get a taste of city life.
And there, lo and behold, was a real record store! Melody Record Shop is a small space but crammed into every nook and cranny is a bigger and better selection than anything you’d find in a Best Buy. I was overwhelmed at first, not even sure what to look at/for, so I just wandered, past the classical and showtunes, letting the familiar and unfamiliar names wash over me. Then I hit the rock/pop section and began to focus.
There were reminders of many CDs I have at home and need to sample or revisit, along with new names that I’d heard something about. Now I could indulge my curiosity with visual cues. Yeah, it’s old skool to bother with cover art and liner notes, but it helps zero me in on what I might want to explore further.
The prices were higher than I’m used to - $15 and $16 for most titles – but some of the new releases weren’t much more than sale price at Barnes & Noble, who’ve gotten a lot of my money in the past year. There was a new Sigor Ros (but I think I want the DVD…) and a Jimmy Eat World that High School Girl might like for Christmas…
I picked up a Jamie Cullum compilation CD I’d not seen before (“The Mind of…”) and showed the back cover – full of titles and artists I recognized – whether it was an album of Jamie doing cover tunes, or a collection of songs he liked. The guy knew exactly what I was talking about (try that at Best Buy!) – it was the latter. “He has good taste,” I said, then added, “It’s so nice to be in a real record store again.” The guy gave me a bright, surprised smile. “Thanks!” he said.

How could I not buy?! I had to support the cause! I decided on these:
1. STARS – In Our Bedroom After the War (Arts & Crafts)
Not only a good price ($13) but a bonus DVD, too, and a real album package, with a set of 12 art cards with lyrics (a puzzle, actually, of the cover) and a very short story by Daniel Handler (a.k.a Lemony Snicket) - the whole nine yards (as hubby likes to say). It also earned me some street cred with college girl, who asked to listen to it on the ride home.
2. RYAN ADAMS & the CARDINALS – Follow the Lights (Lost Highway)
A 7-song EP for $6, so we beat the iTunes $1/song price point. Adams is prolific to a fault – who can keep up with all his releases? With downloads stealing the thunder of most full-length discs, CD singles and EPs seem to be evern closer to extinction, so I love getting them as a geek toy/possible investment for their inherent collector’s status. Listening to the songs as I type, this is the quiet, introspective Adams, not the trip-wire rocker.

And then, in that charming way that only independent music stores have, I saw the stack of freebies – not the corporate sponsored Shrek-commercials-on-disc that the big box stores hand out, but odds n’ sods that the store has lying around and offers to share. I passed on the foam-core mounted Magic Numbers poster, but besides the red plastic fold-out pocket mirror that will convince few people to buy the new Backstreet Boys “Unbreakable,” I scored:
3. KLAXONS – Magick (Polydor)
A 3-track CD single, apparently a British import. The UK press goes all soft like banana pudding when talking about this band, which took the Mercury Prize for its 2007 CD, touted as the future of recorded sound. While I have no argument with the appeal of heavy bass dance rock – especially at this price – I just don’t think it’s all that groundbreaking, and I happen to think The Rapture do it just as well, maybe better.
4. AC/DC – Plug Me In bonus CD (Columbia)
A two-track sampler tied to the box set of live tracks. “Dog Eat Dog” and “Back in Black,” the latter making it to my iTunes for my token metal moment and tribute to Lewis Black, whose “Daily Show” segments have forever lodged the tune in my brain.
5. JAVON JACKSON – Where is the Love (Palmetto)
I got confused, thought this one-track radio edit was a version of that inspiring Black Peas song, but it’s the old R&B soul hit, done in a totally lame “quiet storm” arrangement that reminds me of another great benefit to freebies – they can warn you away from stuff you need not pursue further.

At Eastern Market
This past weekend, taking College Girl back to the city so she could catch a train, hubby and I took a swing through Eastern Market which, despite losing use of its beautiful old building due to fire, still offers lots of cool tabletop merchants. The guy selling seemingly promo copies of books and one small box of CDs didn’t want to make the deal I proposed (4 discs for $22) but I got 3 for $20, two of them total WTF purchases, based solely on cool graphics, fun song titles and a good local rep:
6. URSULA 1000 – Kinda’ Kinky (Eighteenth Street Lounge Music)
Retro lounge music with titles like “Beatbox Cha Cha” and “Riviera Rendezvous” – plays as funny chill as it sounds.
7. URSULA 1000 – Ursadelica (Eighteenth Street Lounge Music)
A mix collection. The only artist that I recognize is Kraak en Smaak. But hey, I can learn.
8. STEPHEN STILLS – Just Roll Tape – April 26th, 1968 (Rhino)
A 2007 release, dug up from the Rhino files. Looks like an advance copy, in generic jewel case, with a nonetheless cool graphic on the cover – a simulated old, coffee- and tape residue-stained tape box. Some song titles I don’t recognize (anyone want to guess what “Dreaming of Snakes” is about?) and a few classics – “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Wooden Ships,” “Helplessly Hoping”…
And, as the Ryan Adams CD winds down, I realize that this particular disc fits very comfortably in the C,S,N&Y mode. Cosmic.

Back to the Big Boxes:
I do occasionally run into things I didn’t know I wanted at the retail giants, things like:
9. PAUL OAKENFELD – Greatest Hits & Remixes (Ultra/Perfecto)
An 80-minute seamless trip through some recognizable tunes (Radiohead, U2, Happy Mondays, Justin Timberlake and more) plus some things that are new to me, all with an energizing dance beat providing a dance floor bottom.
And stuff I knew I had to have:
10. FEIST – The Reminder (Cherrytree/Interscope)
It wasn’t just the endless catchy drumbeat of the iPod commercials, but that was the tipping point for finally breaking down and buying the full CD – even after High School Girl’s friend put that key song, and another good one, on a mix. And, in a rare bow to more HS sentiment, I bought my first round of ringtones, including “1,2,3,4” – which was ever-so-appropriate to hear when HSG calls me.
11. JOSE GONZALES – In Our Nature (Imperial/Muse)
It hasn’t caught on with the wildfire intensity of the brilliant first album, but the man knows how to croon, so I’m sure it will grow on us.
12. FLIGHT of the CONCORDS – The Complete First Season (HBO DVD)
My one beef with this collection – and I do so love being able to listen to/watch “Business Time” any time I want – is that there are no special features. Considering that there’s an HBO stand-up (actually, they sit and play) special of the guys, and a whole series of iTunes podcasts that take you behind the scenes and into the warped mind of Mel, not including a few extra tidbits seems a real shame. Spit roast?

Sometimes in places you’d never expect:
While exploring the strange new world of the Five Below store (like a Dollar store, but everything is priced…), I saw a rack of $5 DVDs, among which was a favorite music movie I muchly enjoyed on VHS and wanted to replace:
13. BACKBEAT (Universal DVD)
Iain Softley’s lovely and gritty evocation of the Beatles in their Hamburg days, with a stunning depiction of John Lennon by Ian Hart. Great music, too, by a band featuring the likes of Dave Grohl, David Pirner and Mike Mills. And interview and deleted scenes, as special editions should be!

Used, Cheap and Sometimes Unusual:
Way back in October, during my NYC/CMJ visit, I had a few minutes to explore a music shop in the East Village. My best buys were actually a stylishly frightening pastel green Clash shirt and an unfamiliar alien logo T-shirt for HSG, but I found a few bargains in the used CD bins:
14. TRACY CHAPMAN – Telling Stories (Elektra?)
$1.00, by request from HSG, who has developed a retro thing for the singer/songwriter.
15. The PIPETTES – We Are the Pipettes (Cherrytree/Interscope)
At $1.50, a cheap way to learn about a group I’d merelyheard of. Nice stuff, too – a ballsy modern take on the old girl-group sound.
And collected on the last two visits to my old favorite, the CD Cellar:
16. OKKERVIL RIVER – The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
Sure to wind up on a lot of Year’s Best lists and, while I’m not ready to commit to that just yet, the opening song, “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe,” will be making an appearance on my Best of 2007 tracks mix. Glad to finally hear what all the buzz is about (for $8) but I just noticed that the disc is marked “Special Radio Edit Version. FCC Clean.” What am I missing?
17. TODD SNIDER – Live at Grimey’s ( )
A 7-song concert CD ($8) recorded 10.20.06. Not sure if this is an official release or a promo? Wanted to hear if there was an anti-Bush intro/rant to go with the wonderful “You Got Away With It (A Tale of Two Fraternity Brothers)” but alas, no.
18. TINY MASTERS OF TODAY – Bang Bang Boom Cake (Great Society/World’s Fair)
It’s a bare-bones advance copy but the helpful clerks have added a sticker on the front that says the CD features Fred Schneider, Karen O, Gibby Haynes and Kimya Dawson (I don’t know that last name). Missed the band’s showcase at CMJ, so glad to catch up at the discount price of $4. Upon listening, I heard a sloppy but happy vibe, and then discovered that the players are actually two brothers, aged 13 and 11. That explains it, though I’m guessing it’s much more engaging live.
Purchase inspired by my cousin Brian, recently retired from the Navy (at the ripe old age of 47!) and the thrower of one bitchin’ party. (Tequila shots, anyone?) I may listen once, may even burn a disc for those rare occasions when I don’t feel my sweet country is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket, and then I’ll send it to him as a (gag?) gift.
20. WILCO – Kicking Television (Nonesuch)
We bought, and played the hell out of this album, for the last six months or so, but then Terry had his CD holder – filled with about 15 of his favorite discs – stolen out of his luggage when he was traveling. So I’ve been slowly replacing each album as I find it on sale. Since we still have the original jewel boxes, I buy the replacement, make a copy of the CD, keep the copy and sell back the original – guilt free because I paid for the original before it was lifted.
Practically stolen from the Buck Bin:
21. CRAIG NUTTYCOMBE & PIPER HEISIG – Two Buck Chuck (self-released?)
I wasn’t paying attention and thought is was a full CD in a cardboard sleeve, but it’s really just the one song. Luckily, it’s a funny one – about, as you might guess, cheap wine.
22. The AUTOMATIC – Not Accepted Anywhere (B. Unique/Columbia)
Ooops. A duplicate. Looking back in the records, I see that this was the first ”A” album to be tallied in the 2007 blog, grouped with the stuff that I purchased in England. HSG had fallen fort he band based on a photo in a British mag and I picked it up for her at the supermarket (surprisingly good selection) when we were shopping for dinner. This copy is in a cardboard advance sleeve that will save space when I trade in the other one.
23. MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNER – S/T (self-released)
Nice local boys who make pleasing indie rock. And who also make a point of sending me their new releases, sometimes in batches, as if I had some real power to distribute to tastemakers (I know one editor that I actually meet and eat with!). It seemed only right to buy this nicely designed neon-color-line-drawing cardboard sleeve copy, even if I turn out to have some/all of the songs elsewhere.
24. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Mainstream Radio July 05 (Promo Only)
Looks like it originally went out in copies of HITS magazine. 19 tracks that start off badly (Jessica Simpson’s massacre of “These Boots…”) and provides a time capsule of songs from two summers ago, a few of which (Gwen Stefani’s “Cool”) I may listen to again. Basically, a gift for the High School Girl, in case she missed ‘em on the iTunes.
A visit to the Thrift Store:
Looks like someone with a nice collection of well-kept pop standard CDs gave them away (or, gasp, passed on). From a bigger grouping, I pulled these for $1.50 each, thinking they’ll make nice stocking stuffers for the 70+ year-old ladies on my holiday list.
25. BING CROSBY - & Friends (Academy Sound and Vision)
Actually, this one I may keep for myself. Whatever his failings as a dad, Der Bingle Bingle could swing when he wanted to, as heard here on tracks with Johnny Mercer, Connie Boswell, Fred Astaire, Duke Ellington and others. Where else would I get to hear “The Waiter and the Porter and The Upstairs Maid”?
26. PERRY COMO – Forever and Ever (Rajon)
Two-disc compilation and yet, no appearance of the song I know him best for – “See the USA in Your Chevrolet.” But there is “Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba)”
27. The HAROLD ARLEN SONGBOOK –Various Artists (BMG)
Digitally remastered and released by a major label, more reassuring than the previous two releases, that seem to come from Sketchy Discount Label Land. A sterling roster of older talent, like Rosemary Clooney, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, and some schlocky stuff, too.

They Came with the Magazine:
I’ve fallen behind listening to the CDs I get with my monthly subscriptions and newsstand purchases, let alone reading all the printed matter! I may have to do a shred-and-purge/recycle on the paper products, but I will keep and enjoy all the following:
“15 tracks celebrating the pleasures of drinking and smoking.” Who could ask for anything more, except perhaps a bottle of Kahlua and a box of Camel Lights?
29. STONED (Mojo)
Songs made famous by the Stones – either original version of tunes they covered or songs that Mick and Keith wrote, reinterpreted by other artists (Nancy Sinatra’s take on “As Tears Go By,” Billy Bragg doing “She Smiled Sweetly”).
30 – 35. PASTE No. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 samplers
My problem with the magazine is that the print is too tiny for old folks like me who forget to bring our reading glasses into the bathroom. But the CDs are wonderful, like custom-made radio that you can keep and revisit.

By mail order:
36. KEITH URBAN – Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (Capitol)
My mother came to visit and left behind a People magazine with a cover story about Mr. Kidman, saying that Nicole saved his life. Maybe I’ll listen to this while I read, and imagine how beautiful their children would be.
37. SPRING AWAKENING – Original Broadway Cast (Decca)
Another selection. College Girl once summed up this show thusly: “If I were still in high school, I would SO be into writing the lyrics all over my notebooks.” With titles like “The B**** of Living” and “Totally F******” you know she’s right. My glory days of attending Broadway musicals are far behind me, but props to Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater for bringing some real life teen sexual angst to the Great White Way.
38. VH-1 STORYTELLERS – Various Artists (Interscope)
Damn. When I noted this in my queue, I didn’t see tha cover, or I would have known I already have it (I think…it sure looks familiar. Damn, I have too many CDs when I can’t even be sure….)
Anyway, a reminder that I’d better update my listings on the site, or pull the plug on my subscription.
39. HERNDON HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR – Fall Sampler Concert (RonArt Associates)
Hey, I ordered it for $12 at HSG’s performance last month, so of course it counts in the tally! And a copy will make a nice stocking stuffer for grandma.

At the Show:
40. A NIGHT OF PHIDELITY – Various Artists (Phidelity Records)
Purchased at the Marah show last month at Jammin Java. 16 tracks from the label, including the Marah boys, Christine Smith (who recently joined the band) and others.

And lastly, Ye Olde Digital Downlodes:
I have so many files – purchased and sent to me – that haven’t been tallied, but until I get around to it, let’s just pay tribute to the Grandaddy of Them All:
41.RADIOHEAD – In Rainbows (self-released)
I figure $8 is a fair price. That’s what Best Buy charges for a hot new release on its best sale days, and Thom and Co, don’t have to share it with label weasels.

YTD O/CD Tally: 848

Monday, November 19, 2007

ISP Troubles Persist; So Does CPF

So, it turns out that in "improving" its service, Comcast created compatability problems. This has led to an inability to view personal web pages with some web browsers, including Safari, which I, as a proud Mac user, prefer.
&^%$ 'em.
Guess it's time to check out Firefox, but I'm ticked every time I ask someone to check out my site and they come back to tell me there's nothing there. The wind is out of my proverbial sails, but there's a backlog of stuff to get to, so let's get...

As television becomes the new radio, Indie artist Ingrid Michaelson won plum position on the Hot Playlist - a new song of hers debuted over the final scene of the "Grey's Anatomy" season finale in May - her fourth track to be featured on the show. I don't watch "Grey's" myself - I was tossed out of the TV room by my daughters when I dared to laugh at Izzie's crazy plan to temporarily kill her hospitalizd boyfriend - and she got to keep her job, too! Hogwash, I say.

When Michaelson's CD arrived earlier this year, I paid little mind. But then that Old Navy commercial came along and I couldn't get "but I-I-I lo-o-ove the way you call me baby," out of my mind. Thought it was another Feist tune, actually, but when I learned the truth, I went back to Michaelson's "Girls and Boys" and found a new friend.

She played at Jammin Java this past Saturday night - a sold-old "late" show (that's 9:30 in the suburbs, and I'm fine with it!) and the crowd was 100% behind her. She paid back with a thoroughly charming set, as much fun for her rambling, totally spontaneous monologs as for her classically trained piano, cute ukelele moments (the Hawaiian Christmas song) and lovely voice.

I hung out afterward to say hello and for those of you care about my small Zelig moments, here's yours truly with Ingrid and her fine accompaniast, whose name I didn't ctach, but he's in a Brooklyn-based band called Fireflies...
(pic by the nice guy behind me on the merch line)

As we roll into the merry holiday season and obligatory Year-End-Best list, the question does not appear to be IF the CPF O/CD Tally will cross the 1K mark, but rather WHEN it will happen and WHETHER I get around to listing all the discs. (And, as my mom always says, let that be the biggest problem you have to deal with.)

I truly intend to listen and respond to everything that comes in (there are probably some publicists out there calling me names) but time, trouble, trivia and that frickin' ISP unhinge my best intentions.

So, let's blow off a few right now, with a a minimum of chat...

I'm still wading through the many samplers I picked up at CMJ (at this point, my Festival Summary will appear as some kind of Year in Review item!), such as these Various Artists collections:
1. Best of OurStage, Vol. 1 (
2. CMJ Presents Phase Five NZ Music – Guitar cover (NZ On Air)
3. CMJ Presents Phase Five NZ Music – Piano Cover (NZ On Air)
4. CMJ Presents Phase Five NZ Music – Kiwi Cover (NZ On Air)
5. AMP 6 Packs, Volume 28
6. Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Copenhagen Jazz Festival)
7. FILTER MAGAZINE – Subway Series (FilterMMM)
This one scores points for including genuine exclusives, like a preview (“Cowboys”) from the upcoming Counting Crows release, due this month, and the soundtrack to the Joy Division film.
8. Eyeball Awareness, Volume 1 (Eyeball)
9. CMJ 07 sampler (CMJ)
10. Severe Records Sampler (Severe)

And here's a bunch of recent promos that didn't make the Keeping Cut:
11. BLONDIE – No Exit (Eleven Seven)
Don’t get me wrong, Blondie was an important band, and Debbie Harry is a true rock icon, but this 1999 release, the first the band released in 16 years, has to be one of the group’s worst efforts, Some of it is just downright laughable (“Happy Dog”), and the overall feeling is of grasping at stylistic straws. I ripped the cover tune “Out in the Streets” for its retro girl-group lyrics, but there’s little else here to spark a revisit.

I don’t bang my head much anymore, so I don’t need:
12. The AUTUMN OFFERING – Fear Will Cast No Shadow (Victory)
13. ARISE and RUIN – The Final Dawn (Victory)
Can you match the band with its PR hype?
“The new kings of metal have arrived with a full keg of metal goodness.”
“Your favorite white trash sons of Southern-fried metal have returned!”

And from the Kids Corner:
14. DAVID GROVER and the BIG BEAR BAND – Listen to the Music Band (KOCH)
“singing songs…about loving to sing songs (about songs)”
I listened in the car and feared that, should there be an accident, someone would think I listened to this for fun, and not research, Pretty cloying stuff.
15. BARBIE – As The Island Princess (KOCH)
I admit, I was curious about “Love is for Peasants.” And “The Rat Song.” But it's basically second-rate would-be Broadway Kidz, clever and cute for the tykes but not much for the parents stuck in the car with them.

But just when I think I should send a note to the publicist and say that there’s not much sense in sending me the kids’ music, I get something like…
16. FRAGGLE ROCK – Fraggle Rockin': A Collection (KOCH)
A 3-CD in luxe fold-out package. Who knew the Fraggles and Doozers did 3 discs worth of music? It's not just a set of all those Other Land Down Under favorites, but surely must be every note ever sung on the show. Weighty, perhaps, but a treasure trove of memories come flooding back and I am giggly with the joy of my "job." Some days are like Christmas, weeks early.
I shook Jim Henson's hand once. But that's another story...

Who'd A Thunk It?I
The most obnoxious music ad in recent memory comes from a classical company. In promoting a performance of the Academy of Choral Art and Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Washington Performing Arts Society ran an ad in the Post Weekend section, touting baritone Dmitri Hvorotstovsky with this quote from The Financial Times:
“Sexual heat that burns up every female on stage.”
Really? Do we need fire-retardant opera singers now?
At least they didn’t use the word “literally” which a Post reviewer did recently, saying that a show was packed “literally to the rafters.” Where’s the Fire Marshall when you need him/her?

YTD O/CD Tally: 807

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"I Hate My Frickin' ISP"

Todd Rundgren sang the lyric, but I'm living the tale, since Comcast hasn't yet fixed whatever's keeping my web site from appearing when you type the URL.
I'm thisclose to switching to Verizon FIOS.
Gonna hold back on the CMJ report and instead shout into the void with a list of CDs that are collecting dust. It's not because I don't like 'em (many I haven't heard yet) but I'm falling behind in the tally so let's blow 'em off and pretend something got accomplished.

1.VOODOO GLOW SKULLS – Southern California Street Music (Victory)
2. CASSIUS – 15 Again (Astralwerks)
3. INFORMATION SOCIETY – Synthesizer (Dancing Ferret Discs)
4. ROBERT PLANT and ALISON KRAUSS – Raising Sand (Rounder)
5. BIIRDIE – Catherine Avenue (Drive-Thru)
6. The GOLDEN DOGS – Big Eye Little Eye (Yep Roc)
7. MAGNET – The Simple Life (Filter)
8. JOHN RALSTON – Sorry Vampire (Vagrant)
Is the art designer here the same guy who did the cover for Hellogoodbye's "Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!" 'cause they look similar - and they're both cool.
9. OS MUTANTES – Live (Luaka Bop)
10. CIRCA SURVIVE – On Letting Go (Equal Vision Records)
11. DROPKICK MURPHYS – The Meanest of Times (Born & Bred Records)
I went to a wedding this past summer, and the bride and groom walked out of the service to the sound of Dropkick Murphys, who also got lots of airplay at the reception. Cool.
12. The DIMES – The Silent Generation (Pet Marmoset Records)
13. SHAGGY – Intoxication (Big Yard/VP Records)
Out November 13th.
14. RUTHIE FOSTER – The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn Music)
15. The YARROWS – Plum (Empyrean Records)
16. JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO – Scarred (Hybrid Recordings)
Includes cool cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist."
17. VHS OR BETA – Bring Out the Comets (Astralwerks)
18. The GOURDS – Noble Creatures (Yep Roc)
19. SUZY BOGGUSS – Sweet Danger (Loyal Dutchess Records)
20. DEAD ROCK WEST – Honey and Salt (Populuxe Records)

YTD O/CD Total: 791

Friday, November 02, 2007

Damn You, Uber-Overlords of Information Dissemination!

I've been having a lot of internet problems lately. Photos not posting to the blog, CPF site unavailable for viewing and updating. If a blog falls in the forest, does anyone hear? Sigh....

Whenever you can see this, it's a bunch of random hits:

Breaking News Department
Sorry to hear that the Decemberists have cancelled their DC shows later this month.
An offical statment from the band, as sent by a Capitol records publicist, reads:

"With much regret The Decemberists have cancelled the remainder of "The
Long and Short of It" tour.

One of our band members has been ill for a while but we thought all
would be well in time for these tour dates. After a couple shows,
though, it has become clear that the illness is much worse than we had
initially realized. We need to return home so our friend can mend.

It saddens us to disappoint our fans. We hope everybody understands it
is only because of an extreme situation that we had to cancel a tour
we've all been excited about doing since the idea was originally

Of course, the main concern here is that the band member, whoever he/she is, gets well soon. This a act, one whose music I return to again and again and I'm looking forward to seeing them play again soon.

In other concert news, since we're playing newshound this time, hometown heroes Army of Me have a headlining date coming up in January at the 930 Club. I don't think the club has announced it yet, but I ran into the band's sweet lead singer, Vince Scheueman, at Jammin Java when he was hanging out with his new friends, Australian duo The Kin, and local singer Chelsea Lee. Army of Me had played a "festival" (Vince joked there were about 3 people in the crowd) to celebrate the opening of an...apartment complex, I think he said!? And the female teenage singer, a regular at J2, was a new Kin-dred soul who appeared onstage with the group to sing one of their songs. In Billboard magazine, shmooze photography fashion, here's (L to R) The Kin's Isaac Koren with Chelsea and Vince, doing the backstage hang:

Coincientally, The Kin were (was?) recently on tour with Pat McGee and Josh Kelley for 3 weeks, and that touring twosome was previewed in my latest
Post piece.
The other new preview is soul survivor Bettye LaVette, whom I would have loved to have seen (what tense is that?!) but for the fact that she played on Halloween night, which is a revered holiday in our house.

Anyway, back to The Kin, a very impressive new act, comprised of brothers Isaac and Thorry Koren. The former sings and plays keyboards and didgeridoo and looks like a young rocking Aaron Eckharrt...

while the latter sings and plays guitar and hides his good looks under his hat...

The pair's new CD (see the O/CD tally, below) came out the same day as the J2 show. Inviting comparisons to a more muscular Coldplay or a folkier U2, the brothers' press shots and photo-free album graphics play down the handsome. And it's only live that you get the warm and gently humorous aspect of their talents. You also miss out on touring drummer "Shakerleg"

who plays without sticks, but doesn't let that stop him from pounding away. Even with his fingers taped like a fighter's, that's gotta hurt!

Moving on to New Acquisitions:
1. The KIN - Rise and Fall (Aletheia)
2. BETTYE LAVETTE - The Scene of the Crime (ANTI-)
3. LEVON HELM - Dirt Farmer (Vanguard)
How nice to hear this distinctive voice again, especially when it had been literally silenced by illness and feared gone for good. Helm's a class act and a genuine icon from his days with The Band (look it up, kids!) and on first listen, I felt as if I were reconnecting with an old friend. Welcome back!
4. CATHY PONTON KING - Undertow (Long Gone)
Longtime local musician playing Bonnie Raitt-like rocking electric blues. Next week's Post preview, playing the Meadowark Botancial Gardens Atrium in Vienna on Saurday, the 10th. Sounds like a gorgeous place to see a show, and she's an area stalwart with a graceful touch and talented friends.
5. The STAPLE SINGERS - The 25th Day of December (Riverside)
Not just a potenial source of gold for the annual Cool Yule compilation, but one of those rare holiday CDs that you can put on all by itself and enjoy from first track to last. An early gift from the Conqueroo crew.
6. WEEN - La Cucaracha (Chocodog/Rounder)
Much as I love music with a sense of humor, me and the Ween-ers have had our artistic differences in the past. I find some of their humor juvenile in that annoying, but prevalent, frat-boys-with-guitars way. But there have been positive reviews from respected voices on this new one, so I'm curious to try it out. After all, if the Beastie Boys can grow up...
7. CHUCK PROPHET - Soap and Water (Yep Roc)
Another CD getting excellent advance buzz, and I don't fear the Prophet motive (sorry, couldn't resist). Coming to IOTA later thus month.
8. STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO - Somewhere In the Between (Victory Records)
Gracie really likes one of this band's previous albums and doesn't care for another. Something about a major personnel change taking place. And I don't know whether the pro or con team is in charge here. In stores 11.13
9. SONS OF WILLIAM - What Hides Inside (Red Lick)
Opened one of the aforementioned Pat McGee Band/Josh Kelley dates at the Birchmere.
10. HERBIE HANCOCK - River:The Joni Letters (Verve)
Between this and the excellent various artists Tribute to...CD, Joni Mitchell's star is on the ascent again. And my house hardly gets through a week without revisiting one of her classics, like Blue or Court and Spark. And yet, as much as we've enjoyed these homages, I can't get around to buying the new CD by Joni herself. It, and she, sound too strident in the press I've read so far. There's just so much cash on hand, and I spent it on things like...

11. BARENAKED LADIES - Extended Versions (Sony/BMG)
No, not disco mixes, but a live set of 10 songs, which I am suspicious about. It's a generic release that smacks of repackaging. Didn't they already do a live album? But I don't have that if there is one, and this was only $5 at Target.

YTD O/CD Total:771
and that's without the CMJ SWag Tally, soon to come!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Concert Photo Special (CMJ to come)

It usually takes about a week ro recover from CMJ, and the 2007 edition was no exception. I was very lucky in that almost evey act I came across - some by accident, others with schedule in hand - was enjoyable, ranging from just okay to wow! I'm still compiling the photos and text for the CPF CMJ Report, but first I have some catching up to do on other recent concerts.

Tuesday night brought Spoon to the 930 Club. Hubby and I feared chaos - ticketholders to the Shins/Spoon show at Merriweather on Monday night were offered free admission with ticket stub and some kind of special voucher. And this was in addition to those of us who bought tickets for either the Monday (cancelled) or Tuesday 930 Club shows. Admission was first come, first served (though original ticket holders got preference) and subject to capacity. We got there early, fearing a mob scene and what a relief that no such nightmare appeared. The club knows its shit and made things flow smoothly, there was no crowd crush (surprisingly, 'cause this band is poised at the brink of true greatness) and it was a wonderful show. Over two dozen songs in a little more than 90 minutes, deep catalog cuts (they didn't even touch the new album until the second half), a good horn section for "Cherry Bomb" and "The Underdog," spiffy guitar work, and a tight band that's equal parts solid craftsmanship and clever twists.

Right before leaving for CMJ, I got to see Marah play at my favorite little local joint, Jammin Java. I mentioned the show the last time I posted, but was having trouble getting photos to upload. So here's a few of that band...

Monday, October 15, 2007


Time is tight. Taking the Tuesday morning train up to NYC for CMJ, so most of the music playing in the house these days is stuff I’ve pulled from the shelves or requested from PR pals to help me prepare for the four fabulous days, three fun-filled nights (I return home on Friday) that lie ahead.

Among the bands I am listening to and maybe seeing live…
1. WISELY – S/T (Ella/Oglio)
2. SCISSORS FOR LEFTY – Underhanded Romance (Eenie Meenie Records)
3. T.H. WHITE – The Private Spotlight (Sky Council)
4. KAISER CARTEL – Live From Breakthu Radio (self-released)
Lovely little package – letterpress on craft cardboard, numbered 124 of 300.

Alas, though all of these CDs made initial good impressions, the bands are playing after I depart. Maybe they’ll come down DC way.
6. SLARAFFENLAND – Private Cinema (Hometapes)
7. AS TALL AS LIONS – S/T (Triple Crown)
8. OLIVER FUTURE – Pax Futura (Fireproof Recordings)

Not to be tallied (they were already), but worth mentioning if you're gonna be in town...
FUTURE KINGS of NOWHERE – S/T (307 Knox Records)
“10 Simple Murders” has a bit of a Decemberists vibe, and the whole thing is a simple, you’re-right-there-while-the-band-kicks-it-live thing happening. I have a theatre date with College Girl Tuesday night, or I’d try to catch their show.

Alaser, while I’m in NYC, I won’t be in DC to see one of my most favorite live acts:
9. MATT NATHANSON – Some Mad Hope (Vanguard)

And now for music related to recent Post previews:
10. The LASCIVIOUS BIDDIES – Get Lucky (Eastway)
Fun band – four wacky women (the alliteration is too easy!) who combine pop, caberet and a touch of jazz. Lascivious Biddies
11. OZOMATLI – Don’t Mess with the Dragon (Conchord)
12. FOOLS & HORSES – Pop Filter (self-released)
Two bands, one preview.

13. BROTHER SHAMUS – Manifest (self-released)
an older preview and a CD never tallied.

14. DENISON WITMER – Are You Dreamer? (The Militia Group)
I bought this CD, sound unheard, last year when Tower Records (R.I.P.) was having its Everything Must Go sale. It was probably about two bucks, and I was drawn in by the old-fashioned knitted words on the cover. Turned out to be a sweet, lo-fi collection of fine singer/songwriter pop by a guy from Philly. When I saw he was coming to town, I pitched him as a Post preview and had a brief, nice conversation with him. The record label sent me this duplicate of the CD, plus...
15. DENISON WITMER – Safe Away/Are You A Sleeper (The Militia Group)
A 2-disc set consisting of a new album’s worth of tunes, plus an EP of even quieter versions of songs from the afore-mentioned CD, plus live and bonus tracks. I was sorry to miss Witmer’s show, but I was home with the “Rock of Love” flu.
16. MARLA HANSEN – Wedding Day EP (self-released)
She opened for Witmer and I would have liked to have seen her, too. I may still get a half-chance, since she plays with My Brightest Diamond and they hit the IOTA on November 16th.

17. MATT HAIMOVITZ – After Reading Shakespeare (Oxingale)
18. MATT HAIMOVITZ – J.S. Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo (Oxingale)
After previewing this show for the Post, I was able to make it out for the night and was smitten by the sound of a single pure instrument put to stunning use. I don’t buy many CDs at shows, but after hearing the gorgeous opening and closing numbers at the IOTA show, both of them Bach pieces that made my heart happy, I splurged for $30 on this 3-disc set. I’d like to devote a rainy afternoon to listening to the whole thing all the way through, but the ones I’ve heard so far are a balm for the soul.

I also got out of the house to see MARAH -
a wild bunch, in the nicest way, reminiscent of young Stones or the Replacements at their boozy best.

Other recent Post previews:
Nick Lowe and Suzanne Vega (different shows)

PEP (Puffy Envelope Promo) Squad:
19. SHINY TOY GUNS – We Are Pilots (Universal/Motown)
A much better, more diverse album than I would have thought from the track featured on the Razr commercial, where an insufferably hip couple use their sharp (get it?) phones to cut each other’s clothing to shreds on a subway platform (violence is not sexy, OK?)
20. PLAIN WHITE T’S – Every Second Counts (Hollywood)
A while back, Grace and I picked up an EP from these guys, drawn to a song called “All That We Needed.” The featured song on the CD was “Hey There Deliah,” which is tagged on to this full-length as a bonus track. It’s the best thing here, a highlight of the summer passed, a sunbeam of a song, shot through with good feeling. The band is coming to town November 11th, opening for Fall Out Boy at the Patriot Center. I bet they steal the show.
21. COUNTING CROWS – August and Everything After DE (Geffen/UME)
UME gives value for your dollar. Resissue a classic album and nclude a second disc with something extra, in this case a concert recorded in France in 1994.

O/CD Project YTD Total: 760

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Struck Dumb by The Rock of Love

I have no moral authority any more to complain when my daughter watches crap TV. While I was fighting a bad head cold last week, I got pulled into VH-1’s “Rock of Love” marathon and spent almost 8 hours watching right through to the end (with some flipping to MSNBC news items and the second episode of “Reaper”). I saw the “Reunion” show, too, but College Girl gave me the wrong time (she saw my facebook posting about RoL and revealed she, too, is a fan) and I saw only the second half.

Still, I’ll always treasure those romantic moments:
“As I was pulling Brandi’s head out of the toilet, she said something that was one of the most touching moments of my life…”
(she told him, “I f*^#ing love you.”)
Bret telling the pole dancer, “It’s insanely awesome that you got my name tattooed on your neck.”

You’re better off without him, Jes.

Back to the O/CD tally. There’s a box of CDs old and new that need (?!) to be cataloged, and so we soldier on…

My Own Cash Money:
A return to Ye Olde CD Shoppe:
1. PETE TOWNSHEND – Empty Glass (Atlantic)
By request from Gracie, who’s smitten with the track “Let My Love Open the Door” as heard on commercials for the new Steve Carrell flick, “Dan in Real Life.” It’s funny, and fun, the way the kids pick up on old classics. Another current favorite – “September,” by Earth, Wind & Fire.
2. DAVE MATTHEWS BAND – Remember Two Things (Bama Rags Records)
I have been searching for a particular live version of “Ants Marching,” and alas, it’s not on this CD, either, but it’s a pretty rare 1993, non-RCA DMB set, so I’ll enjoy it for its historic value.
Which reminds me, I also have, from earlier this summer:
3. DAVE MATTHEWS and TIM REYNOLDS – Live at Radio City
A BG (burn gift) for me from Stacy, the supersweet fan for whom I picked up Craig’s List DMB concert tickets when I happened to be in the Albany area (long story).
4. SIGUR ROS – Von (Smekkleysa)
It appears to be an import, all of the info on the 1997 release being in another language (not the one they made up, I hope!) First listen sounded very instrumental/moody. Is it a film soundtrack?
And these great buys from the one-dollar clearance bin:
5. FRANK SINATRA – Songs for Swingin’ Lovers (Capitol)
Totally classic material from the heydays with the amazing Nelson Riddle. Can’t understand why it was only a buck. A mix of heavy hitters – “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “How About You?”- and amusing obscurities – “It Happened in Monterey,” “ You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me” (which always reminds me of Allen Sherman singing, “You’re Getting to Be a Rabbit with Me.”)
6. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Motown Remixed
I might have this already, but if I do, it’s a great buy that I can pass on to my sister or brother.
7. JUDITH OWENS – Happy This Way (Courgette)
I know this is a duplicate, but this advance promo of Mrs. Harry Shearer’s latest pop/jazz collection will go to the friend who attended and enjoyed her IOTA show with me earlier this year.
8. BACKSTREET BOYS – Shape of My Heart CD single (Jive)
I can’t help myself! Just a buck for “Loneliness is tragical…” and an a capella version of “All I Have to Give.”
9. MARY SUE TWOHY – Songs to Hang on Stars (Azalea City)
Twohy is one of those hard-working local musicians who doubles as a press agent for other HWLM’s and, while she tirelessly sends me material about her charges, she rarely promotes her own cause. So I’ll give it a listen and maybe I can write about one of her upcoming shows.
10. FLY PAN AM – Sedatif en Frequences et Sillons (Constellation)
Another $1 impulse buy, based solely in the striking package green cardstock CD envelope with letterpressed shocking pink graphic of I-know-not-what and French liner notes.

Other recent purchases:
11. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Across the Universe ST (Interscope)
Best Buy was promoting their 2-disc version as an exclusive, and I’m glad I went for it. The “normal” version doesn’t include
Eddie Izzard doing “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” one of my favorites from the film, which hubby and I saw Monday night. It was, simply put, audacious and delightful. I was (mis)led into thinking that there was next to no dialogue, with the Beatle lyrics covering all the conversation, but it was much more integrated than that. Hubby is particularly wary of Beatles exploitation, as he was a fanatic Back in the Day, but we were both pleased by the sincere, but not slavishly respectful, use of these modern standards. The casting was terrific (high school girl and I are now rivals for the charming Jim Burgess, who plays Jude) – a triple-threat talented group of bright young things. Julie Taymor’s vision is daringly idiosyncratic and yet approachable by anyone who lived through the times. Accept the fact that people are going to break into songs you think are carved in stone, and enjoy the ride.
12. JOSH RITTER – The Historical Conquests Of… (Sony/BMG)
Best Buy offered this with a 4-track bonus CD, so I had to grab it the first week it was out, despite not knowing a song on it. Ritter is a major talent. I’ve seen him live twice and loved him both times (the first time, we chatted afterwards and he hugged me when I told him I’d named “Hello, Starling” one of my Top Ten albums of 2005. He was so cute in his suit and red sneakers!). I’ll confess, no song grabbed me on the first listen, but I need to revisit. I trust him as an artist who’ll make repeated visits worth my time. My local NPR station is broadcasting live from tonight’s 930 Club show. Maybe that will kick start some of these tracks.
13. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Outlaw Country
Just shy of an hour’s worth of Sirius Radio as hosted by Mojo Nixon. Another Best Buy freebie they just had hanging about. The CD trade-in store offered me 25 cents for it.
14. SAINT ETIENNE – Travel Edition 1990-2005 (Sub Pop)
Has this band really had a 15-year run? Except for that lovely rendition of Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” I was never particularly smitten with breathy female voice/throbbing rhythmic pulse bit. Seemed a bit One Trick Pony to me. But the library was having a sale, and this seemed like a good $3 way to support the cause. Now that it’s grooving behind me as I type, I can see the trio had more to offer than I gave them credit for. (no, I’m not re-writing to fix that dangler…)
15. LINKIN PARK – Minutes to Midnight (Warner Bros.)
Another, older, CD trade-in, by request of HS girl, who sometimes needs High Angst Music for her teenage lifestyle. When she plays it in the car, I simply hang on, figuring I need to know what’s happening in the HAM world, but I know it’s not made for me. Though I needn’t hear “What I’ve Done” ever again, I admit that “Bleed It Out” is damn catchy, and any major label band that wants to make snarky comments about Bush is OK in my book.

Free Music Time!
So why does the cover of Bruce’s new CD look like a mug shot?
Borders is offering a free stream of "Radio Nowhere"
so you can hear for yourself how much it sounds like Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309 (Jenny)”

YTD O/CD Tally: 739