Friday, February 19, 2010

Music Library: Kris Kristofferson, Kristen Hersh, Kronos Quartet, KRS-ONE, Kurtis Blow, Kyuss, L. Subramaniam, Ladyhawk, Lair of the Minotaur

Kris Kristofferson - Kristofferson (1970), The Silver Tongued Devil And I (1971), Jesus Was A Capricorn (1972), Breakaway (with Rita Coolidge, 1974), Songs Of Kristofferson (1970-1976), and Singer/Songwriter (1966-1986).  I can't mention Kristofferson without referring to Nathan Rabin's excellent write-up at the AV Club from just last week.  Rabin's dead-on about Kristofferson: he's unique and and has a unique take on country music.  Take "The Pilgrim, Ch. 33," the song that so caught Rabin, in which Kristofferson breaks basic rules of English with the thrill of a Rhodes scholar ("all he ever gets is older and around") while simultaneously glorifying and mocking the archetypical self-destructive Nash Vegas singer-songwriter ("he's a poet/and he's a picker/he's a prophet/and he's a pusher/he's a pilgrim and a preacher and a problem when he's stoned").  Even though he's a singer with maybe three notes to his range, he somehow makes "Help Me Make It Through The Night" sexier than Willie Nelson's version and "For The Good Times" sweeter than either Al Green's or Isaac Hayes's versions.  Heck, the Singer/Songwriter collection pits one disc of Kristofferson's best songs with one disc of covers, and even though the second disc has such luminaries as Roger Miller, Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Bobby Bare, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin on it, the only ones even in the same room as Kristofferson are Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.  That's some rarified company there.  Kristofferson's been one of my favorite songwriters since I first really heard his music when I was 21 years old or so.  If I'd thought of naming my son "Kristofferson" before hearing it as a proper name in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, I would have been all over that action.   Even when listening through these albums for this project, I had to put the song "The Silver Tongued Devil and I" on repeat because I simply can't sing through it only once.  Or twice.  Or thrice.

Kristen Hersh - "Whole Heap Of Little Horses."  Kristen Hersh's take on "All The Pretty Little Horses."

Kronos Quartet, Dawn Upshaw, and Luciana Souza - "Tenebrae: Second Movement."  Lovely free track from eMusic.  I'm ashamed that this is the only Kronos Quartet I have in my collection.

KRS-ONE - "Uh Oh." A beatbox-driven track from KRS-One's first solo album.

Kurtis Blow - Kurtis Blow (1980).  The man kicks it old-school.  I just learned something: Kurtis Blow wrote his own Wikipedia page.  More power to the man.  This album is best when he's rapping.  Worst when he's singing.  But still, it should be said that an old-school rapper taking on soul music and a Bachman-Turner Overdrive cover is brave enough to forgive.

Kyuss - Desert Rock (homemade comp, 1991-1996).  I'm not a big fan of Josh Homme.  This is okay stuff, but not the revelatory stoner rock I was led to expect.

And that's the end of the Ks.  Onward!

L. Subramaniam - Global Fusion (1999).  Album from the noted Indian violinist.  I don't hate this, which makes it several steps above most worldbeat fusion things.  In fact, it's actually pretty good for the most part.

Ladyhawk - Shots (2008).  Canadian indie-rock that sounds a lot like an amped-up version of their Jagjaguwar labelmates Okkervil River.

Lair of the Minotaur - War Metal Battle Master (2008).  Is there a more metal album name than War Metal Battle Master?  In fact, is there a more metal band?  I mean, ignore the infinite subgenres here for a minute.  Lair of the Minotaur seem to touch on many of the core elements of metal without ever really being trapped in a subgenre.  There's thrash-y parts, sludge-y parts, death metal-y parts, grindcore-y parts, and proggy parts.  Perhaps I'm too much a dilettante to know that there's a subgenre (metalcore metal, maybe?) that works like this.  But I don't care.  Because this is awesome.


adam 9:59 AM, February 19, 2010  

Not sure what's on the homeade Kyuss comp, but for the full Kyuss effect, try Welcome to Sky Valley and follow the booklet. "Instructions: Listen without distraction." A thousand times better than anything Homme did post-Kyuss.

Hayden Childs 11:41 AM, February 19, 2010  

Will do! I've already deleted it from my ipod or I'd give you a complete list, but there's a song or two from each of the studio albums. I don't know what I was expecting. More guitar solos maybe. I got the comp from a friend about a month back and this was the first time I'd really listened to it. Maybe with time it'll grow on me more.

Anonymous 12:38 PM, February 28, 2010  

You're free to come and go or talk like Kurtis Blow.

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