Sunday, March 20, 2011

Music Library: Morphine, Morton Feldman, Moto-Litas, Motörhead, Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns, Mott the Hoople

(picture borrowed from Aquarium Drunkard)

Morphine - Cure For Pain (1993) and Yes (1995).  I had the good fortune to see Morphine back in the early 90s, and they were like no one I had ever seen before.  You probably remember them: drums, sax (often two-at-once, a la Rahsaan Roland Kirk), and two-string slide bass played by singer Mark Sandman.  Their music seemed created for film noir, with lyrics that told ugly stories of drug use, cheating, and depression, while the music growled and moaned.  Great stuff, and it has held up surprisingly well, especially the hits.  There's some slack on both albums, but it's forgivable.

Morton Feldman - Rothko Chapel (1977).  I'm not sure who the musicians are here.  The other copies of Rothko Chapel in my collection are currently filed under the musician's name with the album artist listed as the composer, but sorted by last name.  This is a different version than the other two copies in my collection, and that's all I can tell you about this album.  The composition, as I may have mentioned before, is the perfect soundtrack for Rothko and the Rothko Chapel in Houston.

The Moto-Litas - For The Greater Good (2001).  Fun punky band from Atlanta.  My old friend Erin plays bass.  The song "Cheated" should have been an anthem for the Sleater-Kinney crowd.

Motörhead - Ace Of Spades (1981).  Not a bad song in the bunch.  Great band, great album, great batch of smart-dumb songs, and I know I should pick up more of their work.  I had a few other Motorhead albums when I was a teenager, and sometimes I want to revisit them.  Not enough to make the leap yet, though.

Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns - In The Fishtank 10 (2003).  I love the Fishtank series.  I know that Motorpsycho is generally a throwback hard rock band and Jaga Jazzist plays post-rock.  Together, they've made an arty, jazzy album that sounds nothing like either band's usual output.  Very cool stuff.

Mott the Hoople - All The Young Dudes (1972) and Mott (1973).  Interesting to hear how Ian Hunter came to dominate the band between these two albums.  They don't sound all that different, but whereas All The Young Dudes has some tracks written by Mick Ralphs and Pete Watts, Mott is almost completely written by Hunter.  Mott The Hoople is one of those bands that exemplifies what genre-free rock music in the 70s was about.  They were associated with the glam rock movement - mostly because Bowie, who wrote "All The Young Dudes" was a fan - but they don't really fit into glam's hyper proto-punk style, nor were they country rock or hard rock or art rock or whatever.  They were simply classic rock, beholden to many and with many beholden to them.  Both of these albums are excellent.


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