Saturday, May 28, 2011

Music Library Catch-Up: James Brown, Byrds, Cars, Cheap Trick, Chic, Alex Chilton, Clem Snide

James Brown - The Payback (1974). The Godfather of Soul's afrobeat-inspired funk masterpiece.

The Byrds - Preflyte (1964), Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965), The Ballad of Easy Rider (1969), Live At The Fillmore February 1969, (Untitled) (1970), Byrdmaniax (1971), Farther Along (1971), Live At The Royal Albert Hall 1971, The Byrds (1973). Picked up pretty much all of the Byrds albums I didn't have from a a friend.  The first two are tesimony to the power of Gene Clark as a songwriter.  Both live albums are freakin' excellent.  Easy Rider and (Untitled) are spotty with some real high marks.  Byrdmaniax is terrible. Farther Along and The Byrds are mostly terrible.  The latter has some great Gene Clark tracks, though, which also appeared on some of his own albums.

The Cars - Candy-O (1979) and Complete Greatest Hits (released 2002). The second Cars album isn't quite as chock-full of hits as the first one, but it's pretty good.  The Greatest Hits collection makes a strong argument that the casual fan such as myself needs something like that more than any of the other albums.

Cheap Trick - At Budokan: The Complete Concert (1978). "I want you... to want me!"

Chic - Dance Dance Dance: The Best Of Chic (1977-1982). As much as I like Chic's weird semi-robotic funk, this may be a little too much of it for me.

Alex Chilton - KUT Session 1978, Dusted In Memphis (And Elsewhere) (1980), Feudalist Tarts EP (1985), No Sex EP (1986), High Priest (1987), Black List (1989), and Loose Shoes And Tight Pussy (1999).  Some fine examples of the man's post-Big Star boogie period.

Clem Snide - Hungry Bird (2009) and The Meat Of Life (2010). As with the Eef Barzelay solo albums I wrote about here a few weeks ago, these are both gorgeous albums from a masterful songwriter.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Music Library Catch-Up: Andrew Bird, James Blackshaw, Blue Öyster Cult, Bonnie "Prince" Billy

More brief catch-up reviews!

Andrew Bird - Soldier On (2007).  Pretty good EP of outtakes, early takes, retakes, and B-sides.

James Blackshaw - Sunshrine (2005), Lost Prayers And Motionless Dances (2007), Waking Into Sleep - Göteborg 27.05.06 (2007), and The Cloud Of Unknowing (2007).  Four excellent albums of trance-like acoustic music from the current master of trance-like acoustic music.

Blue Öyster Cult - Agents of Fortune (1976), Some Enchanted Evening (1978), and Fire Of Unknown Origin (1981).  Good. Great. Okay with moments of greatness.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Little Lost Blues (2006) and Beware (2009). Compilation and studio album.  As always, great stuff from Will Oldham.

Monday, May 23, 2011

At The AV Club: Celebrity Apprentice finale!

In which I ruminate about The Donald and other important issues.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Music Library Catch-Up: Annuals, Ayler, Azeem, Band of Susans, Barzelay, Bee Vs. Moth, Jorge Ben, Chuck Berry

More catch-up albums.  Remember, I'm being brief as possible with these!

Annuals - Sweet Sister EP (2010).  I hadn't checked in with The Annuals since 2006's Be He Me, which I liked a lot.  This EP is chock full of fun folk-based indie pop, and I definitely intend to listen to more of their music when I can.

Albert Ayler - Witches And Devils (1964), Vibrations (1964), New York Eye And Ear Control (1965), and Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe (1969).  More powerful, emotional, and haunted free jazz from the brilliant sax player.

Azeem - Show Business (2004).  I had a track or two from this album before, but I've picked up the rest of the album in the meantime.  And, yep, still good.

Band Of Susans - Blessing And Curse EP (1987).  A lucky find!  Great little EP from a fantastic band.

Eef Barzelay - Bitter Honey (2006) and Lose Big (2008).  I thought that the difference between a Barzelay album and a Clem Snide album was that the former would be all acoustic, but Lose Big isn't. In fact, Lose Big sounds almost identical to a Clem Snide album.  Either way, both of these are fine albums from a clever and funny songwriter.

Bee Vs. Moth - Acronyms (2010).  This is the sophomore album from my favorite real fake jazz band from Austin, and it's no slump.  It swings, sings, rocks, and brings in a welcome dose of jagged, noisy guitar.

Jorge Ben - Africa Brasil (1976). Funky Brazilian pop.  Rod Stewart apparently stole the melody to one of these songs for "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?".

Chuck Berry - The Great Twenty-Eight (1955-1965). Delivers exactly what it promises.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Music Library Catch-Up: AC/DC, Acetone, Aceyalone, Aesop Rock, Afghan Whigs, Akron/Family, American Music Club, Laurie Anderson

I mentioned last time that I have an unbelievable backlog of passed-over and recently added albums.  In the months since I have caught up, I've raided a few friends' collections and added ordinary purchases.  Plus I had a bunch that I missed the first time around through misclassification or fatigue and have subsequently listened to.  Anyway, I hit most of these albums a while back, but it's taking me a little while longer to find time to work on this project these days.  So these will be brief.

AC/DC - High Voltage (Australian Version) (1975), Let There Be Rock (1977), and Powerage (1978).  The latter two are pretty much my favorite AC/DC albums (along with Highway To Hell).  The former is ok, better than the US release of High Voltage but not quite as good as what the boys would do through the rest of the 70s.

Acetone - Acetone EP (1993), Cindy (1993), I Guess I Would EP (1995), Acetone (1997), and York Blvd. (2000).  This band was just plain extraordinary.  I regret that I only discovered them within the past few years when my friend gave me a copy of their 1996 album If You Only Knew.  I managed to get my hands on the rest of their output during 2010, and man, do they blow me away.  Psychedelic, countrified, poppy, soulful: these guys have influences from all over the map.  If they had hung in longer, they would have been as popular as, well, Yo La Tengo. A favorite is "Sundown" from Cindy, which rips off the distinctive guitar riff from Isaac Hayes's "Walk On By."  But all of these albums are just plain phenomenal.

Aceyalone - All Balls Don't Bounce (1995) and Magnificent City (2006).  All I had when I hit Aceyalone back in 1923 was a track from Grade A.  I'm glad I delved further!  Bounce is pretty excellent, and Magnificent, while not quite as good, has some amazing production from RJD2, including the track that provides the theme song to Mad Men.

Aesop Rock - Day Light EP (2002) and Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives EP (2005).  Good stuff.  I had a few Aesop Rock albums already, but these are interesting additions.

Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen (1993).  I wasn't that crazy about this album back in 1993, but it's grown on me a bit since then.  I'm still unsure as to why so many people love the hell out of it, but I do intend to read the 33 1/3 book at some point.

Akron/Family - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey of Shinju TNT (2011).  Newest release by one of my favorite current bands.  Is psychedelic as all-get-out.  Hasn't grabbed me as much as a few previous yet, but there's time.

American Music Club - Everclear (1991). Love me some Mark Eitzel and company.

Laurie Anderson - Live In New York (2002) and Homeland (2010).  As a demonstration of how long it's been since I caught up, you can read my reviews of these albums in the overview of Anderson's career I wrote for Dog Canyon back in July of last year.  Speedy, I am not.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

At The AV Club: American Experience - "Soundtrack To A Revolution"

In which I review an excellent documentary about the Civil Rights Movement that is marred only a tiny bit by a gimmicky conceit.

Monday, May 09, 2011

At the AV Club: Treme 2.3: "On Your Way Down"

In which I found myself disappointed by an off episode from a generally great show.

Friday, May 06, 2011

At The AV Club: Precious Life

In which I write about an Israeli documentary appearing on HBO that has some startlingly great moments.

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