Thursday, March 26, 2009

Music Library: Bottle Rockets, Bottom of the Hudson, Bournemouth Symphony, BR5-49, and Brainiac Plus Ass Ponys and Bonnie "Prince" Billy

The Bottle Rockets - Bottle Rockets, The Brooklyn Side, "Love Like A Truck," and Songs of Sahm. The Bottle Rockets write songs that amble drunkenly around Americana, sometimes folk, sometimes ZZ Top-style blues-rock, sometimes Replacements-ish folk-punk, basically the epitome of everything the No Depression insurgent country movement wanted from a band. Their schtick is fully formed on self-titled debut album with every song built on the same foundation and yet every song having a different style, a sort of cohesive variance. The Brooklyn Side is more of the same and yet also better. The opening track, "Welfare Music," starts with a great dig on Rush Limbaugh from way back in 1994. I should probably pick up more of their later albums. "Love Like A Truck" is from Brand New Year, but I've never heard the rest of that album. Songs of Sahm is a tribute album to the great Texas songwriter Doug Sahm and his genre-busting Sir Douglas Quintet, and the Bottle Rockets kick those songs out like the kindred spirits they are.

Bottom of the Hudson - The Omaha Record. Interesting lo-fi indie-rock album from a few years ago. "Chilling Sorceror," the reason I bought this, is the standout track, starting out like Donovon and bam! turning into Pavement. The other tracks are okay, but few are that memorable.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop - ADAMS: Shaker Loops/Wound Dresser/Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Three compositions by John Adams. "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" is some lovely minimalism. "Wound Dresser" is an operatic treatment of a Walt Whitman poem of revulsion at war and barely restrained desire. I like it more when I can read the poem while listening. There's an arrangement of "Berceuse Élégiaque" by Busoni, and I don't really know who he was or what that means that Adams arranged his work. "Shaker Loops" is a lovely slice of minimalism.

BR5-49 - Live At Robert's EP and "Bottom of Priority." Cornpone Nashville band with classic country writ large upon their music.

Brainiac - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture. Skronky glitch-punk that's about a decade before its time. It's all glam and industrial and electronic and fairly awesome.



The Ass Ponys - Mix By Leonard Pierce. I'm shocked at myself for not listening to these guys sooner. What a fantastic band! All clever lyrics and bar band bluster, with a feel somewhere between Clem Snide, the Handsome Family, and the Hold Steady. I intend to start picking up their albums post-haste. Thanks, Leonard!

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Master and Everyone. Will Oldham plays sweet acoustic Will Oldham music.


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