Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Library: Okkervil River, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Old 97's, Olivia Tremor Control

Okkervil River - Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See (2002), Down The River Of Broken Dreams (2003), Sham Wedding/Hoax Funeral EP (with Shearwater, 2004), Black Sheep Boy (2005), The President's Dead (2006), and The Stage Names (2007). Okkervil River is a band that I like but do not love.  I wish it were otherwise, especially now that they have added the ultra-talented Lauren Gurgiolo to their line-up. Actually, that is unfair, as I have heard nothing from the new album, which the one she plays on. I might love it. These albums, unfortunately, have not given me much of an incentive. I really like Down The River of Broken Dreams, which sounds like a kaleidoscope version of some amalgam of The Band and Neutral Milk Hotel.  The next few albums and EPs, though, give me diminishing returns down to The Stage Names, which moves me not at all.

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (1995). Yeah, this is fun.

Old 97's - Wreck Your Life (1998), Fight Songs (1999),
Satellite Rides (2001), and Blame It On Gravity (2008). Like Wreckless Eric, The Old 97's are a power pop band masquerading as a flavor of country.  As a power pop band, they are pretty good if never hands-down great.  As an alt-country outfit, they're a bar band.  The best of these is Satellite Rides, which abandons most of the country for some pure pop hooks.

Olivia Tremor Control - Music From The Unrealized Film Script, Dusk At Cubist Castle (1996), Explanation II: Instrumental Themes And Dream Sequences (1996), Pre-Cubist Castle Demos (1996), The Opera House EP (1997), John Peel Session 3/18/97, Live At Terrastock 4/27/97, Live in Chicago 5/1/97, Live In Atlanta 11/22/97, Live At The Emmaboda Festival (1998), Black Foliage: Animation Music (1999), Live In San Francisco 4/23/99, Live in Toronto 11/5/99, tracks from Smiling Pets (1999), "European Son," and Presents: Singles And Beyond (2000). As this list might indicate, I love the hell out of The Olivia Tremor Control. Dusk At Cubist Castle was a favorite way back in 1996, when I was just starting to figure out the greatness of the Beach Boys and quite into 60s psychedelia in general. I enjoy OTC's forays into electronic weirdness, too, although too much of it at once can tip it into boredom.  All of these live bootlegs are somewhere between fun and disposable, though.  The OTC is best at studio-level production.  If you're just looking for one or two albums, I think you will be plenty happy with Dusk At Cubist Castle and Singles And Beyond. Leave the rest for fanatics.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

At The AV Club: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Episodes 2.9, 2.10, and 2.11

In which I review three great episodes before our TV Club Classic Avatar coverage goes on hiatus for a few months.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

At The AV Club: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Episodes 2.7 and 2.8 plus Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis

In which I review "Zuko Alone," which is my favorite Avatar episode, and "The Chase," which is pretty well close.

In which I review the latest episode of Inspector Lewis.

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