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Archive for August, 2007

persuasion.jpgSOUNDTRACK: LUTHER WRIGHT AND THE WRONGS-Rebuild the Wall (2001).

wright.jpgI first heard Luther Wright on an episode of Robson Arms, a weird, funny show on CTV in Canada. They were playing “Broken Fucking Heart” a fabulous country-punk song. So, I had to find out more about this guy, and it turns out he did a country-punk, but mostly country, version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It was with much trepidation that I dared into this most unusual of covers, because I don’t really care for country, particularly, shudder, new country. But, wow am I glad I did.

It’s hard to know even where to start, but it is amazing how well the songs translate into a country motif. I’ve loved Pink Floyd’s The Wall ever since it came out. I have very fond memories of reading the lyrics on the record sleeve when I bought it back in 1979, sitting in the back of my mom’s car as she drove myself and my aunt back from the mall. And, I have a fond memory of the resurgence that it had for me in college when evidently every angsty boy in my dorm felt the need to play it ritually.

I was prepared for the worst, but I never had any regrets of this cover version. I’ve even played it to friends who’ve thought it was really good as well. It all sounds like a joke, but the musicianship is top-notch (Sarah Harmer is back with great backing vocals), and the appreciation of the original is evident from the start. I encourage you to track down this album if you like the original. Give Luther some of your cash!

[READ: August 20, 2007] In Persuasion Nation.

This completes my recent spate of books that I read about somewhere, and can’t remember where. I maintain that it was in The Week by a former Simpsons’ writer, but I have to wait about a month before that issue gets online so I can confirm it (boo!). At any rate, I was led to believe that this was going to be a book of funny essays. And, well, it’s not. It skewers contemporary society, and it has moments that are definitely funny in a hmmmm, sort of way, but laugh-out-loud funny this is not. (more…)

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inbetween.jpgSOUNDTRACK: RICHARD THOMPSON-Sweet Warrior (2007).

sweetw.jpgI recently posted a bunch of reviews of RTs back catalog, and here’s his latest release. I almost feel like it’s a waste of time for me to review this because, what can I say? It’s great. Strong songs from start to finish. Catchy rockers, bitter ballads, everything is fabulous. My only negative mark is that the third song, a slow ballad, is really long, about 7 minutes, and there’s nothing remarkable about it to justify that length. It’s a pretty enough song, but could have a few minutes lopped off of it. Otherwise, the album is great.

During his earlier releases, he seemed to have a hard time finding producers who could really capture a sound that suited him. I’d say his last two or three releases, including this one, have found him with excellent production values. They really capture a full sound of RT’s guitar and his vocals are always strong in the mix. This is a great place to start for getting into the RT catalog, and no doubt, half of these songs will become classics. Just looking at the track list, I see these outstanding songs:

Needle and Thread, Mr Stupid, Dad’s Gonna Kill Me, Poppy-Red, Bad Monkey, Too Late to Come Fishing, Sneaky Boy, Johnny’s Far Away, and Guns are the Tongues.

Stellar collection again, RT.

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misfor.jpgfragile.jpgSOUNDTRACK: THE FRATELLIS-Costello Music (2007).

costello.jpgI was watching the Brit Awards recently and The Fratellis won for Breakthrough Act (whatever that means). I didn’t think too much of it, but then I heard some great reviews of their album, so I decided to check it out… it is so much fun! Sarah and I have been enjoying it immensely since we got it. It’s easy to play “spot the influence” or “who does it sound like” and my first thought is that it sounds like early Supergrass. Perhaps not the most obvious sound-a-like (as clearly, there’s some Bowie, Beatles and Clash in there) but the attitude that Supergrass demonstrated on their first two records is here in spades. It’s brash, young, snotty and very very catchy. The sing-a-longs come fast and furious with swooping choruses. (more…)

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peculiar.jpgSOUNDTRACK: TORI AMOS: The Original Bootlegs (2005).

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I have commented before about how much of a diehard Tori Amos fan I was. [See What I learned… (5)] I have seen her live many times, on a few different tours. One of the things that I never got to see was a live solo show. She has always had a few piano-only segments during her shows, but from the time I started seeing her, the shows were always full band. And the thing is that I really like her with the band. Her drummer, Matt Chamberlain, is first rate and her bass and guitar fellows make great noise together. But even though I enjoyed the band, I still wanted to hear the solo article. Then, for her Original Sinsuality tour, she did an all-solo tour. And here are some recordings from it. Six concerts selected from the tour. The Holy Grail of Tori live. Or so you would think. (more…)

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rule_the_web.gifSOUNDTRACK: JUNIOR SENIOR-D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat (2003).

junior.jpgJunior Senior is this bizarre dance band from Denmark. They have a new album coming out that has gotten good reviews, so I went back to listen to this debut. This CD has a nice memory for me as being the CD I was listening to on either the day I started a previous job or the day I went to pick up my stuff after being laid off from said job (the latter day being even better than the former); for some reason I can’t recall which day it was. At any rate, this record is a crazy mishmash of dance and grungey rock with lots of shouting and repeated choruses and fun fun fun. It’s like a raucous straight and gay orgy condensed into 35 minutes. It’s pretty much impossible not to like unless you really don’t like dance music. And, the songs are short so they never overstay their welcome. Go Junior! Go Senior!

[READ: Ongoing, Fall 2007] Rule the Web.

This is the kind of book that I can’t say I’ve actually “read”, and I know I won’t read everything in it. Nevertheless, it is AWESOME! (more…)

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drblack.jpgSOUNDTRACK: ARCTIC MONKEYS-Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007).

arctic1.jpgI really enjoyed the first Arctic Monkeys CD a lot. Despite the hype from England, or perhaps because of the hype from England, I sought out the first record and really dug the aggressive musical style, the funny lyrics and delivery and the great basslines (which, especially in the last song, reminded me of The Jam somehow). They were part of a group of “garage-y” bands at the time like The Vines, The Hives, The Strokes, and I guess even The White Stripes were lumped in there too. I enjoyed most of these bands’ debuts, but didn’t bother with the follow ups.

I felt the Arctic Monkeys were different enough to warrant checking out their second disc. I was a little disappointed on the first listen through because it didn’t seem to have the same quality as the debut. (more…)

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What I learned today is that my vacation cost me a chance for unparalleled glory! While I was away, I decided to really sink into a vacation: absolutely no contact with email or blogs or even cell phones. Just total isolation. And, it was delightful. I really enjoyed relaxing and having fun with friends. [Note: Cleveland is far too maligned. It is a delightful city, with cool shops, access to a beautiful Great Lake, and charming houses. In fact, I have visited several towns in central Ohio which are so much more depressing that, you could shoot an hour south of Cleveland and easily have a more deservedly mocked city.] But I digress. (more…)

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