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Mon, 30 Oct 2006

Love Their Country / Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Sacrilege! But in a good way, at least if you come by your reverence via the ir- prefix. What we have here is a punk band doing a number on a set of classic (but not in the sense of my last review) country tunes. To hear John Denver's Annie's Song get punked is either horrifying, listenable or just very, very funny. (Maybe all three at once.) And the number they do on Kenny Rogers' She Believes In Me is no more than it (or he) deserves. As for their take on Smokey And The Bandit, well, I wouldn't mind seeing that version of the movie. Love Their Country
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 13 Oct 2006

The Woman In Me / Angel Travis
The Woman In Me Angel Travis sounds like the name of a country singer, and if you've been reading this for a while, you know my views on country singers. She even has the look of one, at least on her album cover and in the pictures on her website. But that's where it ends. Ms. Travis's material and performances are more mainstream, more pop ballad than either country or rock (which is where the iTMS -- I guess the M can stand for Media now -- places her). Her voice is rich and a little bit haunting, which is perfect as we approach All Hallow's Eve. If I'm gonna be haunted, these are just the kind of shivers down the spine I want.
[ Category: Rock | 1 comment | Link ]

Fri, 29 Sep 2006

Soft Machine / Teddybears
Soft Machine Part of the fun of listening to Soft Machine is trying to spot the influences in each track. I'd swear there's some hip-hop, some reggae, lots of electronica and probably a bunch of other genres I'm too old and/or too unhip (or maybe just un-Swedish) to recognize. The results are both accessible and weird, like the bear-headed vixen on the cover. Is it right to be turned on and creeped out at the same time?
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 27 Sep 2006

Pretty Little Stranger / Joan Osborne
Why can't Joan Osborne settle down? Sometimes she's rock, or at least rockabilly, sometimes blues, sometimes jazz. And with this single she's solidly country. How can I be expected to pigeonhole someone who refuses to be pigeonholed?

Okay, I'm sure you didn't buy any of the preceding rantlet. Truth is, there's something about her delivery that makes me like all those genres when she's the one performing them. And this is no exception. I could learn to like country the way Joan Osborne does it.

Pretty Little Stranger
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 08 Sep 2006

Razorlight / Razorlight
The reviews I've read of this, Razorlight's second album, complain that they've sold out, gone bland and middle of the road after Up All Night, their kickass debut. Me, I think Razorlight the album is smoother and more polished. Which I suppose comes down to the same thing. I leave it to you to decide if that's cause for praise or censure. Razorlight
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 04 Sep 2006

Dreams / The Whitest Boy Alive
Minimalist. From the art on the cover, which even I could have drawn, to the drums, bass and guitar backing Erlend Øye's vocals, to the vocals themselves, everything about Dreams shouts minimalism. But quietly, if one can shout quietly. It's an attention-getting device, and one that rewards those who notice. Dreams
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 01 Sep 2006

Riot City Blues / Primal Scream
Riot City Blues Several of the reviews I've found of this and other Primal Scream albums seem less than enthused at the way the band defies expectations, changing styles whenever it suits their fancy. Me, I like not knowing what to expect, whether it's the pure rockabilly of Country Girl or the faux early Stones of Hell's Comin' Down. When did predictable become a virtue anyway?
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 25 Aug 2006

I Don't Feel Like Dancin' / Scissor Sisters
I Don't Feel Like Dancin' sounds so much like the Bee Gees that I have to wonder what's the point. Wasn't living through 70s Disco once enough? I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 14 Aug 2006

Kick Up the Dust / Blood Meridian
Kick Up the Dust I'm typing this from the world's smallest New York hotel room, or at least a contender for that honor. That means I'm sampling music on the Dell laptop I use for work, rather than my Mac Mini. And that makes a huge difference, as even the best music sounds pretty awful on a D610. Maybe that makes me a tougher critic. Or maybe I just feel glum listening to such limited sounding... sounds. Either way, I find something soothing in the Neil Young-ish stylings of Blood Meridian. Can't wait to get home to my Mac with the adequate speakers to see if I feel the same way then.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 11 Aug 2006

The Pale Green Girl / Penelope Houston
I bet they would have loved this in the 60s. The Pale Green Girl is a throwback to a time when I was just starting to develop my musical taste. It could easily have been the soundtrack to a long ago hippie relationship movie, or even a subversive faux-hippie flick like The President's Analyst. Which I remember as being much better than it was. Unlike this album, which I can't remember since it didn't actually exist back then. But it should have. Or am I repeating myself? The Pale Green Girl
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 09 Aug 2006

As Cruel as School Children / Gym Class Heroes
As Cruel as School Children What can this mean? Me enjoying hip-hop? Okay, it's more of a fusion with rock. But still, there's some serious crossover action going on with these guys. Either that or my tastes have turned a good 270° when I wasn't paying attention. Which happens a lot these days, now that you mention it.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 07 Aug 2006

Birthday Suit / bill
This is about bill, a band from San Diego that should not be confused with Bill, an electronic band that names all their songs using phrases from my resume. The lowercase bill is way more analogue, which is a good thing. Although they seem to have a real handle on this digital world, offering tracks on podcasts and, so it appears, even giving free downloads of their album to folks who discovered them back in January. Which lets me out, more's the pity. As usual I'm a day late. Okay, a hundred and something days late. Fine. Birthday Suit
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 26 Jul 2006

Wait for Me / Bob Seger
Wait for Me Talk about your "Good News/Bad News" jokes! The good news is that we finally get some Bob Seger on the iTMS; the bad news is that we still don't have any of his classic tracks. The good is that there's new music and that he sounds as great as ever; the bad is that it's one lousy track. No, not lousy in that there's anything wrong with it. It's just too little, and way too late. Where's Night Moves? What about Still The Same? Or We've Got Tonight, one of my all time favorites?

I could go on and on. But neither of us wants that, do we? But if somebody doesn't do something soon, I might just have to...

[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 19 Jul 2006

Modes Of Alienation / The Alien Blakk
Joshua Craig would appear to suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder, at least if we're to believe the evidence of Modes Of Alienation. I mean, how else to explain the entirely New Agey The Audition, or the countryfied Twin,Twang Twung among all the metal tracks? Although suffer is the wrong word here. Craig seems to do quite well with all his personalities, at least the ones on this debut album. I even like the metal tracks, which either means my tastes are expanding or they aren't really all that metallic after all. Modes Of Alienation
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 05 Jul 2006

Dusk and Summer / Dashboard Confessional
Dusk and Summer is a potential soundtrack for the kind of angsty teen drama The WB loves to put on, full of (Dawson's) Creeky heartfelt emotions and wistful longings. Which puts me nowhere near their target demographic, my own teen years being dramatic mostly for their complete lack of drama. But of course your mileage may vary. And if it does, and if you're in the mood for a good wallow, well, this will do until The CW picks up where The WB left off. Dusk and Summer
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 30 Jun 2006

When I Woke / Rusted Root
Late to the party. Again.

I discovered Rusted Root by accident, after spending some time listening to a solo album by Root's ex-vocalist, Liz Berlin. Her AudioBioGraphical has some impressive tracks, especially the a capella and I assume overdubbed Evening Prayer. Which made me curious enough to track back to When I Woke, a 90s folk/rock album that sounds more than a little like Paul Simon, specifically in his post-Garfunkel but pre-Graceland Rhymin' Simon period. Which, if you must be trapped in a particular period, isn't a bad one.

When I Woke
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 26 Jun 2006

It's Alive! / The New Cars
Speaking of Spinal Tap, as I was in my last post, I'm reminded that they once called themselves The Originals, only to discover that there was already a band called The Originals. So they changed their name to The New Originals, which is both funny and ironic. And sad; funny and ironic and sad. (Geeze, now I sound like a Python routine.)

I mention this because my first reaction to The New Cars is that they ain't the same as the old Cars. They sound like a cover band, doing Ric Ocasek's vocals as if they'd never heard the real thing, or at least didn't appreciate the sound that made them a success. Sad, really. Not as sad as The New Originals, but not good.

(And I'll mention in passing that the band's name caught my attention largely because I'm about to pick up my own new car. Which I hope will be better than this one. And which is wholly irrelevant to the theme of this blog, not that that's stopped me before.)

It's Alive!
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 23 Jun 2006

Hello Master / Priestess
Hello Master I'm impressed; in Priestess we find a metal band where the raucous and the loud don't overwhelm the music. It's as if Spinal Tap had amps that only went to 8. 8.5 tops.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 16 Jun 2006

Move By Yourself / Donavon Frankenreiter
An emailer recently accused me of being fixated on elevator music, by which I assume he means my preference for mellow over headbanger rock. If so, I'm just providing more evidence here. Donavon Frankenreiter is pure funk of a low key sort. He's a throwback to the music of my younger days, but thankfully not exactly like those younger days. It's like returning to an old friend, but one who's capable of a few surprises. Move By Yourself
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 09 Jun 2006

Fictions / Jane Birkin
Fictions A couple of hundred entries ago, I blogged about an album by Marianne Faithfull, whose experiences since her pop success in the 60s had taken a serious toll on her voice. Which is why it was such a shock to listen to these recent recordings to a contemporary. Jane Birkin had her first hit in 1969, and yet her voice here is as waifish, as gentle, as fragile and as pure as ever. There's something hopeful in discovering that getting older doesn't have to mean getting worn out. At least not yet, it doesn't.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

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