Thursday, December 20, 2012

Music Library Catch-Up!: Can, Cardinal, Cat Power, Nick Cave, A Certain Ratio, Chaise Lounge, James Chance

Can - Lost Tapes Box Set (2012, recorded 1968-1977). A boatload of studio outtakes and demos compiled, mastered, and generally overseen for release by Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, the Lost Tapes is occasionally brilliant and sometimes illuminating for showing how certain songs were completed. It's a must for a Can fanatic, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone before picking up a copy of, say, Tago Mago or Future Days. Studio Can. Live Can. I wrote those posts almost four years ago. Geez.

Cardinal - Hymns (2012). The great supergroup of Richard Davies and Eric Matthews join forces in the studio after a 15-odd year hiatus. This album is lovely but unfortunately missing something. I've never quite grasped what, though, and hope that it will grab me at some point. Because I wanted to love it straight out of the gate.  More on Cardinal.

Cat Power - The Covers Record (2000). The stripped-down cover album can be done right. Much in the vein of Mark Kozelek's radical reinterpretation of his covers, Chan Marshall turns the songs inside-out and makes them her own. Usually. Sometimes not. Anyway, this is half-great and half-dull. More Cat Power.

Nick Cave - Tender Prey (1988), The Good Son (1990), Henry's Dream (1992), Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus (2004), B-Sides And Rarities (released 2004), Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2008). It's only been a little over a year since I started getting into Nick Cave, but I definitely still dig the guy. The best of these is Henry's Dream, which works in an extended reference to John Berryman's Dream Songs, but that's only by a hair. The worst is the B-Sides collection, but even that has some striking gems among the misses. Excellent stuff. I'm saving the Grinderman albums to the Gs. Here's a little more on Mr. Cave.

A Certain Ratio - Early (1981-1985). This is an interesting compilation of early singles from the English post-punk band. I had only heard a track or two from them before and found it rather striking.

Chaise Lounge - Symphony Lounge (2010). A swing + symphony album. I'm so not the target audience for this, although my wife likes it. Seems a little out of date, even for the swing fad of the 90s.

James Chance/James White and the Blacks - Off White (1979). No-wave punk provocateur makes racially-charged impossible-to-dance-to dance music. Cool.

Monday, December 10, 2012

At the AV Club: Ken Jennings's Fun New Book On Received Parental Wisdom

Check it out!

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