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Nellie McKay – Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day

by on Nov.12, 2009, under Good Music, Video

The evolution of Nellie McKay has been one of the more intriguing stories to follow in the world of music. Her first record, Get Away from Me, is a critically lauded classic, considered the antithesis of Norah Jones’ release at that time, Come Away with Me. Initially, Get Away from Me was to be a single LP but became the first double disc debut ever released by a female after McKay charmingly, but forcefully, schmoozed Columbia record execs into seeing it her way. She tried the same thing with the follow up, Pretty Little Head, but with far less success. This lead to a long delayed self release of what also ended up being a double disc, and then a subsequent reissue of the discs back on Columbia where she started. The on-again/off-again relationship produced a final product that had some definite gems, and more good songs than bad, but also a few tracks that really maybe should have been left on the cutting room floor. She took these lessons well for the release of her third and finest album, Obligatory Villagers. It was concise, raw, and very in touch with her jazz roots. Alongside of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and Rufus Wainwright’s Release the Stars, it was easily one of the three best albums of 2007. Musically, she was exactly where she needed to be. So what now?

Well, now is the release of her fourth studio venture, Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day. As the title implies, the disc is comprised primarily of songs once sang by Doris Day (with one original). As to be expected for something like this, McKay’s volcano has cooled since Obligatory Villagers. Everything is nice and minimal, laid back and soft. While this may be off putting for the Nellie fans among us who were hoping she would grow her balls bigger and bigger, rather than chopping them off completely, it’s still an intricately touched, beautiful collection of songs.

Let’s be clear. This is technically a jazz album. From the album art to the actual content of the disc, it smacks of Susannah McCorkle or…well…Doris Day. At its heart, however, McKay makes these songs her own and wears them well. She is, after all, not just a vocalist, but a musician as well. This gives her an additional connectivity to the music that a vocalist alone might not always have at her disposal. The result is a collection of pointed arrangements that accomplish a lot within a small amount of space. Yes, this is technically a jazz album…but it sounds like something just slightly beyond the genre.

The two more upbeat tracks, “Crazy Rhythm” and “Dig It,” are infectiously swingin’. She visits Sioux musical interpretations on “Black Hills of Dakota.” She seems to border on surrealistic dreamscapes of sound on “Meditation” and the quaint “Send Me No Flowers” while tapping into something darker, but more awake on “Close Your Eyes.” The sole original, “If I Ever Had a Dream,” fits seamlessly among these classics. The whole meal is peppered with ukulele, brass, violin, mostly light percussion and some masterfully dizzying guitar by Jay Berliner.

From here, I’m hard pressed to wonder if McKay will continue in this vein, or move back toward more irreverent and monumental musings. While I have always hoped for the latter in the past, I can now delight in the knowledge that, really, either direction would be just fine. It seems that young McKay’s golden touch gets a bit stronger with each passing year, anyway. Of course, it’s doubtful that she would follow an album of covers with another album of covers next time around. (But wasn’t it doubtful that she would follow a double disc with another double disc, too?) So while her take on more classic notions of music is so very welcome and so wonderfully executed, no matter where she ventures next with music, I definitely look forward to hearing her rattle off a few swear words.

Here is some video of her being all cute and talking about the new album…

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Chicros – Radio Transmission

by on Nov.08, 2009, under Good Music

chicrosradiotransmission3I was very excited to receive a disc from French band, Chicros, as the French are quite often ahead of the curve when it comes to smooth music production. Plus they apparently had a track on a Record Makers (Air, Sebastien Tellier) compilation, which is instant credibility in my book. I camped out beside my mailbox for a week and then it finally arrived, a disc called Radio Transmission.

Despite being French,  every aspect of their album is in English. Through Wikipedia, their press release, their myspace page and Chicrodelic.com, I was able to draw a few conclusions about them. Apparently, they have been compared to every band that has ever existed. (Seriously. Music reviewers can’t ever make up their mind on this.) I also learned that the only way you can actually get your hands on this album (aside from their personal website) is by agreeing to review it or by traveling to France, Switzerland, Belgium or Japan. Lastly, they seem to be pretty no-frills, laid back and humorous guys, one who resembles a French counterpart of David Davis. (Their website bares the warning: “IF YOU DOWNLOAD ILLEGALLY THESE RECORDS, WE WON’T PROSECUTE YOU, BUT WHEN YOU DIE YOU WILL GO TO HELL.” Heh.)

Okay. So… The music. Listening to Radio Transmission one learns quite quickly why anyone who reviews this band tends to pull out so many disjunctive comparative names. It’s especially fitting here, considering that this is a concept album and the diversity of styles and genres is central to the gimmick. The concept, as should be obviously derived from the title, is that of radio, itself. Throughout its duration, there is not much of a song-to-song play through. Instead, we hear static bursts and fading in-betweens as an invisible hand switches the dial from station to station. Sometimes the fictional radio stays put for a bit, as in the case of “Radio Depressed,” which features the lonely ramblings of a Steven Wright sound-alike. He introduces the next song, a cover of the Dead Kennedys’ “Straight A’s,” which ultimately begins skipping, causing our down-and-out jock to stop the fictional disc and apologize.

These moments of silliness are listenable, but generally much weaker than the more seriously crafted and executed gems. Of particular note among those gems is the steady paced breakup song, “Without You,” featuring vocals by Brisa Roché. A piano base complimented by punchy Beatlesesque guitar work and dueling male-female vocals makes this an unconventionally accessible sing-along song. A few tracks later, we are graced with “New Orleans,” a macabre observation of said city immediately after (and maybe during) Hurricane Katrina. The lyrics point to evidence that Chicros apparently believes New Orleans is in Mississippi. This is easily overlookable, however, when surrounded by talk of death, destruction, zombies and lyrics as pointed and cutting as, “The white evacuees are far from New Orleans.” By the time they sing that famous George W. Bush line, “Doin’ a heck of a job,” the listener really does come to revisit something of a disturbed fear deep inside.

Chicros also conjures up other musical ghosts, most more welcome than Katrina. They channel The Specials on “Radio Drugs,” Belle & Sebastian on “What’s New On TV Today?” and Pink Floyd (or is it Explosions in the Sky?) on “If You Leave Me, Leave Me Running.” They also visit 1950’s era prom rock with “Why,” gospel on “Winos for Jesus” and even rap music on “Big Daddy Pimp Jr.” where they get away with saying the “N word” far more times than any group of white guys could get away with in America.

Despite the naive, unauthentic racism, Radio Transmissions is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It’s playful and dark, at once. Having acquired distribution in four countries, and filling their disc up with English language songs while soliciting American review sites, I imagine their current goal is to take on The States. I wish them the best in this regards.

MP3:“What’s New Today on TV?” by Chicros

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freesoulJAH – Light Headed

by on Nov.03, 2009, under Bad Music, Good Music, mp3

light-headed_coverSo I get this email from this dude called freesoulJAH. He’s encouraging me to check out his 2007 release, Light Headed. Now I also put an album out in 2007, myself, and as far as the music reviewing business goes, that shit is dead. However, I can’t really resist mentioning this release for a couple reasons. First of all, you can download the whole thing, which is always a treat, no matter what it is. Second, I’m so conflicted on this release that it earns this strange categorization of being in both “Bad Music” and “Good Music.”

freesoulJAH signed his email to me, “with peace.” He doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that seeks conflict, and maybe he’s trying to get on my good side in advance. I don’t know, but he doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that deserves to have his feelings hurt either (unlike Buckcherry or Asher Roth). So though my case about this album could perhaps be more effectively made by presenting the evidence of “good music” before that of “bad music,” I’m going to cover the bad of it first. All in all, it’s because I’d rather freesoulJAH smoked his dope, read this review and came away saying, “Okay..that’s cool…that’s fair.” You know…instead of saying, “Those be some negative vibes, mon!”

I’ve got to poke a little fun at the guy though.

So okay. Bad news first. freesoulJAH initially comes across as a ridiculous stereotype and I cannot, in good conscious, argue otherwise. A visit to his website reveals a dread headed white Rastafarian looking dude. (“What does being white have to do with it, mon? Why you be such a racist? Jah’s love is for everyone!” Right?) His site decor is apparently fashioned in the colors of Ghana or the Congo, most likely. Maybe Bolivia, but I doubt it because Bolivia isn’t a very cool place to most enlightened Rasta homies.

“It takes a lot for me to really like modern reggae music,” I think to myself as I shake my head in a complete lack of faith in freesoulJAH. Then I read the titles to his music. Suddenly, a thought hits me…

“What is this crap?”

Here are but a small sample of song titles that make me sigh, roll my eyes and swear off weed forever so that I don’t ever act like this: “Peace to the People,” “Can You Feel My Love,” “Love Your Brother,” “Singing to the Birds” and the list goes on and on. (Those are just my favorite…to make fun of.) Alright! Peace and happiness and love and blah blah blah. That’s all fine and well, but can’t it be a little more poetic? A little more obscured? Of course love your brother. Of course peace to the people. Anyone that gives this album half a chance after looking at the album cover sure as shit isn’t hoping to meditate on Slayer.

What the fuck, freesoulJAH?

Okay. Then I gave this heaping pile of Jamaican wannabe shit a listen and was amazed to learn that it’s not actually a heaping pile of Jamaican wannabe shit! It’s just immensely misrepresented. Hence we move into that which makes this good music.

freesoulJAH is not another fly by night dumbass Rasta wanker and this is not a reggae album. Though everything this guy advertises is contradictory to what he actually does, he deserves some credit for throwing it back to a movement that everyone respects but few people attempt (or attempt well), the beat generation. On closer inspection, there is evidence that freesoulJAH may even be aware that this is his true niche, as he does have a song called “Next Beat Generation” tucked away among those other, more sterile titles.

Granted, his lyrics are still not all that prolific. Some of them are pretty much just the song titles repeated over and over again. Yet, I can forgive this because freesoulJAH is getting high and making shit. It’s minimal. It’s rough. It’s beat poetry…for better or for worse. That I can respect.

You listen to all this shit on the radio and you hear cookie cutter bullshit, formed to spec for the purposes of making more money and feeding more cocaine to superficial music executives. Focus groups and demographics testing can tell you that the beat in the new Miley Cyrus “song” should include a different kind of snare because children under the age of 14 will like it better. Then some guy gets in there with a computer and makes the change to make Billy Ray’s daughter a corporately constructed, achy breaky star.

Fuck all that.

I imagine freesoulJAH’s process to be something like this: He plugs his guitar and a mic in his 8 track, hits his bong a few times, then lays it the fuck down. It’s great to him because he’s stoned and his overdubs make it better. Then other people also like it because they are stoned, which is a much better reason than liking something because everyone else likes it, or because the sound is like everything else you listen to.

As for me, I’m not stoned, and I can still hang with this. Not repeatedly, mind you. Not at a party. Not in my car with a girl. But late at night, as the evening winds down and the politics of the day resonate around, it’s listenable because it’s real.

You’re a quirky dude, freesoulJAH (and “State of the Union 2007” is, like, uhhh yeah…) but as far as I’m concerned, you’re still in the cool club. Sorry for the negative vibes, mon.

Download freesoulJAH’s beatnik bullshit here. (Then burn it to a CD-R, write “New Unreleased Hannah Montana Album” on the front with a Sharpie, and give it to the nearest 12 year old girl.)

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Ween – Knoxville, TN – 10.28.2009

by on Oct.30, 2009, under Good Music, Video

weenknoxville10-28-2009As I was purchasing my ticket to this show at Knoxville’s Valarium, the dude behind the counter at the record store mentioned to me, “Hey, you know Ween is sober now, right?” Given Ween’s reputation as a hard partying act, one which I have seen barely able to finish a set coherently at times, this was a bit startling to me.

“Sober?” I asked, “Like, completely?”

“Yeah. They don’t even drink anymore because they think it will lead back to worse things.” Interesting, and what was not to believe? Though I have probably seen Ween play live more than any other band out there (except maybe Wilco, who might be equal in this regards), it had been some time. Since before La Cucaracha was released actually. I had no idea what was up with them these days.

I bought the ticket, went to the show, and quickly noticed a few differences from the last time I had seen them. For starters, Gene Ween is kind of looking like Daniel Johnston these days. Also, they’re stage show has become filled with lots of fog accompanied by an expensive and powerful light show. Lastly, they have stepped their musical performance up to a level far beyond that which I have ever seen them at before. This was easily, the best all around Ween show I had ever seen.

It’s not that they did anything especially novel or different than any other Ween show. It was simply that they played really well. They also played really long, topping out at almost three hours with no set breaks. As always, they hit on many favorites as they crossed this expansive amount of time, pulling songs from each of their albums but The Pod. This night, there seemed to be a particular propensity toward Chocolate and Cheese and The Mollusk. Of particular note was a rather booming version of “Ocean Man” on which Gene played a mandolin. They also finally delivered a “Roses Are Free” that worked as a worthy visitation to the studio version, whereas usually this song falls flat live when compared to the one found on Chocolate and Cheese. (Phish’s recorded live cover of the track may have set the bar high for Ween, ironically enough. At this show, they certainly cleared it by miles.)

As mentioned, they came this time with a ton of fog and lights. Their liberal use of both made for an incredibly surreal visual experience. The downside is that the haze often obscured Claude Coleman on the backline, which is unfortunate since his powerhouse drumming is something to see. The trade off, though, was a very good light operator who was obviously familiar with the material. Hence, his contribution to the show was also something to see, indeed.

When all was said and done, Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) hit the road immediately. I was, however, permitted to go back stage to attempt to interview Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) for this blog. I figured, after such an intense show, three simple, irreverent questions wouldn’t be too intrusive. Perhaps I could make three question interviews a regular staple of this site. I sat down catercorner to him, introduced myself again (it was the second time I had met him, actually), explained the deal, then fired the questions:

1. What are you listening to currently?
2. What is the one influence you’d like to keep away from your son?
3. What are you going to be for Halloween?

He looked at me blankly as I rattled them all off at once. Then he broke eye contact, shuffled his head around and mumbled something like, “I don’t know…whaaa mmuuhh hhnnnn.” The girl to his left answered two of the questions for him. According to her (though I question the authenticity of these answers) he was going to be a banana for Halloween and he was listening to…Belinda Carlisle? Yeah. I don’t know.

I tried to thank him for an excellent show, letting him know I had seen many and this was the best. A slightly disturbed look came across his face as he mumbled something else through more slurred and discombobulated speech.

“Well whether or not it felt to you like you did a good job,” I consoled, “from the objective viewpoint of an audience member, it was fantastic.” It still didn’t seem to register with him. Just more incoherency.

The announcement then came that the bus was rolling out and it was time to go. I exited without any of my interview questions really formally answered (though maybe he is being a banana for Halloween and maybe I misheard Belinda Carlisle). However, I did have a larger, more pressing question answered for me and I didn’t have to say a thing.

Is Ween sober these days? Absolutely not.

Here is some video from the show:


Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)


Fat Lenny


The Mollusk

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Matgo Primo – El Deth Halloween 2004: Dead & Live

by on Oct.28, 2009, under Good Music, mp3

Back when El Deth Records was a newly budding record label, they used to have some insane events around the southeast United States. Their El Halloween was always perennial favorite that generally brought excellent music, packed houses and enough damage that they’d have to change locations every year. The one five years ago, the 2004 edition, occurred on a huge tree farm south of Knoxville. The line-up included David Davis, Dire Con, Obadiah, Next to Never and Matgo Primo, who more or less owned the better part of the night. Now, to commemorate the five year anniversary of that powerful night, and just in time for Halloween, El Deth has released El Deth Halloween 2004: Dead & Live. It’s a recap of Matgo Primo’s set that evening, in it entirety.  (Granted, a bootleg of this night has been floating around for years, but now it’s remixed and remastered from the original tracks.)

Nowadays, Matgo Primo is a very refined band that is about as top notch as music can get in the southeast. Back then, in their infancy, they were no less excellent, but a whole lot more raucous. They often wore strange costume fashions while performing, but on this evening they were decked out in zombie gore. They must have played the part well because this recording captures a very uninhibited, gruff aggression on the stage.

None of the songs performed would eventually end up on Matgo Primo’s debut disc, None, Never. Many of them were recorded in the studio at one point for a great lost album that was produced by Simon Belmont. Though those sessions never surfaced, this live recording is still a pretty good document of that time period and some of their earliest songs. Musically, the most immediately engaging are the ones with member Dorain DeLuca shredding a guitar, rather than keys (“80’s Pop” and “Get to the Show,” for example). There is, however, a noticeable and refreshing increase in the intensity after the cops show up and force an intermission. “In Advance of a Broken Arm” pound swift and steady amid shouts of “Fuck the Police!” “Swamp Thing,” written specially for the show and whose sequel appears on None, Never, is a perfect Halloween song with dark noodlings that climax into an impudent horror show of guitars and yelling. Oddly enough, the whole thing begins with a cover of the Ducktales theme song.

There is a deal of banter on the disc, including an entire track of stage announcements warning of police outside the gates. Most of it is engaging as it’s aimed at the audience. None of it detracts from the meat of the thing. Plus it all sits on the ends of each applicable track, which makes for easy skipping if you really can’t handle the swears and nonsense.

If you’re curious about exploring Matgo Primo more, as you very well should be, but can’t seem to find their catalog hanging around, you’re in luck. El Deth Records has the entire Dead & Live set for free download on their websiteClick here to go there and check it out.

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The Ghastly Dreadfuls – Atlanta, Georgia – 10.25.2009

by on Oct.26, 2009, under Good Music, Video

ghastlydreadfulsAround Halloween, my girlfriend, myself and another couple traditionally venture down to the Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, Georgia. It is perhaps the largest, most professional and damn scariest haunted house in America, and well worth the visit. This year, however, we decided to cram in a few other festivities for the weekend. On Sunday, this included a visit to The Center for Puppetry Arts to see a performance by The Ghastly Dreadfuls. The official title this year is actually, The Ghastly Dreadfuls II: Handbook of Practical Hauntings and Other Phantasmagoria.

When the idea to check this show out was presented to me, I apathetically agreed to doing so but left it at that. A puppet show…okay. Sounds good. Whatever. I soon learned that the Ghastly Dreadfuls are far more than a puppet show, and far more entertaining than I had initially imagined. The Ghastly Dreadfuls, themselves, are a group of seven vastly talented musicians, actors and puppeteers. Their show combines all three of these art forms into a very slick, very engaging performance.

On the music front, they move around their instruments with a skillful ease. No one seemed to miss a beat. Using keys as the backbone, they dealt out a number of macabre originals, as well as more popular songs, both classical and contemporary. Everyone shared in the singing duties, though their soprano, Reay Kaplan (as Lady Dreadful) stole the show numerous times. Also of particular note is their absolutely affecting string section, comprised of Scott Depoy (as Dizzily Dreadful) on violin and Kristen Jarvis (as Daftly Dreadful) on cello. These two elements added immensely to the dynamics of the sound. Said sound, itself, resonated around the room with crystal clear acoustics. Sound designers, Elisheba Ittoop and Mimi Epstein, were wholly on top of their game in this regards.

As for the acting and puppetry aspects, they basically depicted several spooky stories from around the world, including some originals. These stories were largely predictable, mainly because most people have heard similar versions of them already at one time or another. This was no matter, though, for the execution was fantastic. There was a large variety of puppet mediums used, from hand puppets to marionettes to large cardboard cartoons. Sometimes the puppets and the people interacted with each other as part of the storyline. Whatever the case, there was no lack of emotional gravity. Mostly, it was humorous, but they also delved into some disturbingly sad material (The Deep End of the Pool) and also displayed moments that were downright touching (11:59).

The whole thing culminates into a finale (“All Hallows’ Eve”) that manages to be eerie and uplifting at once. As strange new lights appear, the performers console us: “Open up your eyes / Take a look around / No one ever dies / What is lost is found.” The effect is stirring and a perfect close to the show.

The Ghastly Dreadfuls’ performances are running until November 1st at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. If you are anywhere near the southeastern United States, this is completely worth your time and money. It should be noted, however, that the material is not exactly for children.

Co-writer, Jason von Hinezmeyer, put together this sampling of last year’s show. It’s out of focus and certainly doesn’t convey the quality of the actual show, but it might give you an idea of what you are missing…

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Built to Spill – There is No Enemy

by on Oct.22, 2009, under Good Music

The new Built to Spill album is called There is No Enemy. Before I listened, I was under the impression that I was about to embark on a journey of rainbows and happy faces. Then I saw the album cover and expected something a bit different perhaps. Maybe something deep and dreamy, resonating the idea that everything is going to be just fine. Finally, I let it into my ears and realized that, no, everything was not going to be fine. For an album called There is No Enemy, this album sure has a lot of somewhat depressing insights into the human experience.

I was right about the deep and dreamy, though. Musically, it’s shimmery guitar work is captivating as in any of their prior releases. It also has the odd distinction of a slightly new production style. With the exception of their earliest works, most of their stuff sounds like it’s coming down from a mountain. This one sounds kind of like it was recorded in Doug Martsch’s den. The drums are softly implied and the vocals…well…they might have been recorded in the bathroom. This does not detract, though, at all. On the contrary, it seems more personal and simplistic. This album is for you.

So what kind of things do they have to say to you on this go around? Basically that everything is a mess, everyone has been a bit mislead through history and nothing is going to sustain forever. Perhaps the most jarring of these assertions comes in the song “Things Fall Apart,”
which boasts a fantastic horn solo. Affecting and prolific, Martsch deduces, “If no one thinks of no one / Then no one believes in no one / And no one fucks with no one / Then no one’s afraid of no one / We’ve all seen enough, now it’s time to decide / The meekness of love or the power of pride / It doesn’t matter if you’re good or smart / God damn it, things fall apart.” He gives the impression that he doesn’t just believe it, he knows it…and it’s been on his mind a lot.

All of these fantastically somber lyrics come painted on music that does not cover any new terrain for the band. Everything drifts along pointedly and profoundly, which is to be expected for Built to Spill. The guitar work is strong and detailed and, as usual, repeated listens expose subtle nuances in the music. Yeah. It’s Built to Spill. You know what to expect. It’s good. It’s safe. You can trust it and get a lot of quality time out of it. Just watch out for the bite of those lyrics, damn it.

So given those lyrics, why do they call it There is No Enemy? Well, this is where the poetry of it all is tied together in a neat little package. I’m pretty sure that the reason the album is called There is No Enemy is because all of these human faults and emotions which are brought to the center are pertaining to all of us. Generalized pronouns such as “everyone” and “no one” are abundant here. Our fears are internal and our fates are eternal. There is no enemy because we’re all trudging through the harshness of life together.

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Mixtape Podcast: music for murdering your darlings

by on Oct.20, 2009, under Good Music, Podcasts

musicformurderingWe at GMBM would like to share a recent podcast we were invited to check out. It’s by our friend in Kentucky, Mariah Franklin, through 8tracks.com. As you may have already concluded by the title of the thing, it’s kind of a moody ride, but worth lending your ears to nonetheless. If you’d like to listen to it (and you should), then click the link below. It will take you to the site where it is housed, as opposed to allowing you to download a full length mp3 like our other podcasts. If you’d rather listen on site, you can simply use the embedded player at the bottom of this post.

PODCAST: music for murdering your darlings

Tracklisting:

“Northern Sky” – Nick Drake
“Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen
“Losing Your Affection” – Future Bible Heroes
“These Fangs” – Say Hi to Your Mom
“Daria” – Cake
“I Don’t Mind” – MC5
“Rome” – Dear Neal
“No Children” – The Mountain Goats

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Jim O’Rourke – The Visitor

by on Oct.16, 2009, under Good Music

Jim O’Rourke pretty much does whatever the hell he wants and more power to him. His production style always feels warm and eccentric, regardless of what he is touching. And yet his roster of things he has touched is rather eclectic. He has produced the likes of Wilco, Kahimi Karie, Stereolab and Joanna Newsom, to name a few. He has scored film by Werner Herzog. He’s been a full fledged member of Gastr Del Sol, Loose Fur and Sonic Youth. He played for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He’s pumped out almost two dozen solo albums. He’s received grants and a Grammy. Now he lives in Tokyo, Japan and, to reiterate, he does whatever the hell he wants.

And again…more power to him.

His newest solo effort, recorded in his Tokyo apartment but sounding much larger, is called simply, The Visitor. It is one long and ever evolving track, clocking in at about thirty-eight minutes. The standard O’Rourke fare is ever present. There are clean, acoustic guitars, delicately touched piano keys, soft ambiance, 70’s era electric guitar flourishes, darkish downturns, distant pedal steel sounds, and touches of driving beats with an emphasis on snare rolls. Yep. It’s all there and eloquently arranged as always.

The tone of the piece may perhaps go through the perceived emotions felt through the duration of the title visitor’s visit. That’s just the obvious assumption, though, and the true intent is between O’Rourke and his music. Suffice it to say that the work changes its colors several times through its duration. As best I can figure, there is an undercurrent of longing that seems to hold the whole thing together. It’s dotted along the way with moments mostly comprised of whimsy or mystery, and a sense of intense satisfaction just before the longing and sentiment return for the very end.

It’s a powerful arrangement of sounds. It would serve well as background music, though to fully appreciate it takes a few close and purposeful listens. There are no vocal parts, but it feels as though dialogue is being traded somewhere in the mix. I suggest a dark and quiet room when you are ready to tune in. You’ll have to make a trip to the record store first, though. There are no digital sales of this one.

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Flaming Lips new one, Embryonic, out tomorrow…and very inexpensive

by on Oct.12, 2009, under Good Music

Flaming Lips - embryonicNormally I wouldn’t make a whole new post just to tell you an album is coming out today. I would think my readership to be competent enough to stay on top of their own interests. However, this one deserves a bit of special attention.

As you probably read in the title of this post, the new Flaming Lips disc, Embryonic is out tomorrow. Okay great. The additional excellent news, however, is that the price is down 43% from the suggested retail here in the final hours before release.

That means you can order the whole disc for just $7.99 from Amazon. (The expanded version is $16.99.) That’s less than what you would pay if you bought a download for each song. Additionally, this is one of those records that you don’t want to listen to with space between the tracks.

Click here to read my review of Embryonic.

Click here to purchase Embryonic for CHEAP.

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