Saturday, September 10, 2016

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Skeleton Tree)

I don't know what other people call the genre – But I call it, "Existential Modern Crooner"

Mark Lanegan. Grinderman. Greg Dulli. Tom Waits. Leonard Cohen. Hell, even Amy Winehouse and David Lowery dip into it.

And. Nick Cave.

"Skeleton Tree" came out yesterday.

I screwed up, and despite having it my calendar, missed the one-night theatrical showing of the partner film for the album, One More Time with Feeling, screened in theaters.

"Skeleton Tree" is moving, cutting, and complicated. It's a short album – only eight songs – That feels meaty and long.

Until it's over.

Then it feels I-need-more-short – So, I play it again. And it feels meaty and long again, and doesn't get old as I cycle, rinse, repeat.

Sure, I have a bias.

Not the I-["♥"]-Existential-Modern-Crooners bias.

Not the I-like-Nick-Cave-and-I-like-Nick-Cave-and-the-Bad-Seeds bias.

It's the "I'm a dad. And I can't even imagine."

"Skeleton Tree" has a lot more in common with Cloud Cult's "They Live on the Sun" and "The Meaning of 8".

And if you let it, it will wreck you.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Nerf Herder (Rockingham)

Rockingham – The new album from referential pop culture band Nerf Herder – is probably the best thing I've heard all year.

I listen to a lot of music (don't think I don't just because I'm not moved to post it here), and I was good-shocked at how this thing grabbed me.

The band, fronted by Parry Gripp, with current members (I think) Steve Sherlock, Ben Pringle, Linus of Hollywood, brings their distinctively fun, clever talent (that has a bit of a not-mean-spirited bite) to play on topics as diverse as the hipster hype of the city of Portland ("Portland"), to the crazy hard absurdity that are pop culture conventions ("At the Con"), to the cleverly insightful (and hilarious) diatribe against our societal buy-in to stock photo models in "Stock Photo Girl".

I don't even want to mention the other nine tracks, because part of the fun with this album is discovering the song titles and song contents, and chuckling throughout.

Honestly, a big part of Parry and Co.'s mastery in their work is in their clever, nuanced treatment of societal stuff – They wrap those in pop-culture topic and meme breading, creating what could be dismissed as a light-hearted, silly throw-away wrapper of a song, that has parfait-like layers of poetry and/or punny-ness.

(I don't know where that dessert metaphor came from.)

Whatever – Buy Parry's new album.

(And enjoy this.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol.1

The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is ridiculously great.

It's more than being just great collection of tracks in and of themselves.

It's more than "it does that thing good soundtracks do" (invoke memories of powerful key moments in the movie).

I guess really what makes it stand out is the soundtrack is a key component of the character film.

Not to overstate it, but it's pretty much a proper additional actor in that ensemble cast.

The Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol.1 does all of that. Without being pretentious or heavy-handed.

Track list:

  1. "Hooked on a Feeling" (Blue Swede)
  2. "Go All the Way" (Raspberries)
  3. "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum)
  4. "Moonage Daydream" (David Bowie)
  5. "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" (Elvin Bishop)
  6. "I’m Not in Love" (10cc)
  7. "I Want You Back" (Jackson 5)
  8. "Come and Get Your Love" (Redbone)
  9. "Cherry Bomb" (The Runaways)
  10. "Escape (The PiƱa Colada Song)" (Rupert Holmes)
  11. "O-O-H Child" (The Five Stairsteps)
  12. "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)

                      Monday, June 27, 2011

                      LADYTRON: Best of 00-10

                      You kids today, with your Metric, and your Shiny Toy Guns (Carah Faye Charnow or Sisely Treasure or Carah Faye Charnow) -- your electronica synth sounds and your sexy, female vocalists.

                      You should listen to LADYTRON.

                      Because it's got two sexy, melodic, wailing vocalists, that are kind of like if Janis Joplin is still alive and pushing the aural envelope in the 2000s, and not caring if all "sounds the same".

                      And because it's got "TRON" in the band name. So it's topical. Ish.

                      LADYTRON, for those who don't know, is a long-time electronic band from England (Liverpool?) that has bravely not stuck to any stylings, and made greate music for more than a decade. Kate Bush and Lady Gaga owe these people.

                      And the reference to Joplin is intentional. One of the criticisms of LADYTRON's work is "it's not consistent". No, no it's not. Thank goodness.

                      That's because their sound is innovative. They're always doing slick, complex, changing craftsmanship, without getting stuck in what's "in" -- so they're not riding the crest of in-vogue electronica, they're out playing in their own deep water. Think Janis Joplin doing electronic, melodic wailing as she cuts her own swath through the genre.

                      And the "not consistent"? Brian Eno allegedly called them "the best of English pop music" -- and look how consistent he is (but I dig him, too).

                      Then add another female vocalist, so in addition to Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo (who also do synthesizers), add Daniel Hunt (electric guitar and synthesizers) and Reuben Wu (#### it, more synthesizers).

                      This compilation album has seminal songs from 2000 through 2010 -- plus a couple of brand-new tracks. The collectors edition has a photo book, if you're into that kind of thing (I am).

                      Check out the album. So worth it.

                      Now I probably need to go pre-order Gravity The Seducer -- on vinyl. Because my kids are going to grow up with vinyl.

                      (Oh, and I do totally dig Metric and Shiny Toy Guns. Can you believe Carah's back? I know.)