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Archive for the ‘Boredom’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JAMES TAYLOR-At Christmas (2006).

James Taylor is a folk icon with a smooth voice.  It seems like it would be perfect for a chill Christmas album.

Well, since I last heard Taylor (1976’s Greatest Hits album) he has gotten a little away from that folk sound (imagine that) and more into a kind of bland(er) adult-contemporary sound.  This album has hints of light jazz in it too.  And, worse yet, he tries to lighten some of it up with humor.  Gasp.

When we got this disc we were so disappointed that I don’t think it has been listened to since.  Well, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but it’s a pretty long slog through the holidays (and it was nominated for a Grammy, of course).  Almost any one of these songs is a fine addition to any Christmas mix, but too many will put everyone to sleep.

This was originally released in 2004 and distributed by Hallmark Cards, which really does tell you all you need to know.  This was resequenced and a couple new songs were added.

“Winter Wonderland” has all the jazz trappings–muted trumpet, brushes on drums and Taylor’s voice which isn’t quite as comforting as it used to be.

“Go Tell It On the Mountain” sees him modifying this song somewhat and turning it far away from the gospel tradition.

“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” has him scatting and be-bopping a little…which is not really his forte I hate to say.

“Jingle Bells” has him making it jazzy.  It’s a bit too much frankly.  Especially when it’s followed by

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” a duet with Natalie Cole, which really tells you everything you need to know about this disc–safe, safe choices.  The “joking” in this song was meant to be cute, but it comes off a little creepy.

After getting annoyed by the first half, I felt like the rest of the album worked pretty well.  He lays off the jazzyness and focuses on his voice.

“River” open with a pretty “Good King Wenceslaus,” on the acoustic guitar.  It switches to a fine version of Joni Mitchell’s “River.”  This is my favorite song on here and it was not included on the original Christmas release of 2004.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sticks in my head because he changes the words from “from now on” to “in a year our troubles will be out of sight.”  Why so specific?  And why every time?

“The Christmas Song” In this nice version, he sings “some holly and some mistletoe” like Paul McCartney does.  Interesting, as I don’t think he’s a vegetarian.

“Some Children See Him.”  This is a song I was unfamiliar with until a couple of years ago.  It’s quite sweet and suits him well.

“Who Comes This Night” I didn’t know this song at all.  But again the piano and bells suit his voice better than the jazzy songs.

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a slow song, but man he slows it down even more.  And the disc ends with “Auld Lang Syne” which is surprisingly long and would be much better served without the “wailing” guitar solo.

Not every Christmas CD can be a winner.

[READ: June 16, 2017] Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine

This is the third McSweeney’s book in a row (all read around the same time) that I really didn’t like.

It’s not surprising, as I tend to not like Diane Williams’ stories at all (looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever liked anything she’s written).  I only read this because McSweeney’s sent it to me.

The book jacket is just covered with hagiography about what great writer she is and how she upends convention and stuff like that.  But to me, these aren’t stories at all.  And most of them don’t even make sense as themselves.

Rather than saying much more, I’m just posting some stories in full, to show what I mean. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: YOU sleigh ME: Twelve songs from Twelve Atlantic artists for the twelve days of Christmas (1995).

This is one of the first “alternative” Christmas albums I bought.  At the time, I bought it for Tori Amos and Juliana Hatfield.  But this disc has not held up very well and collections have gotten so much better.

Between the poor song choices and the rather bland recordings, the whole things is kind of tedious.

MARY KARLZEN-“Run Rudolph Run”
I’ve said before that I don’t really like this song.  This version chugs along just fine.  The one thing it really has going for it is that she plays with the genders of the kids so that it’s the girl who wants the electric guitar. That’s cool.

COLLECTIVE SOUL-“Blue Christmas”
I don’t really love this song either, although surprisingly this is probably one of my favorite versions so of it.  The rhythm is a weird shuffle, almost like the hand-jive but I like the heavy guitars at the end of each verse.  Weird that his delivery is almost like Elvis though.

TORI AMOS-“Little Drummer Boy”
I can’t imagine when she would actually have sung this live (for it is a live recording). Typical Tori, her voice sounds great and it’s before she started singing in a weird style.

DONNA LEWIS-“Christmas Lights”
No idea who Donna Lewis is.  This song is a mild, inoffensive Christmas song that I can’t say much more about.

BILLY PILGRIM-“The First Noel”
I have no idea if this band is still around or even who was in them, but this version of the song is quite nice.  There’s pretty folk guitar and some great harmonies.  I can nit-pick about the No-ell-ell part but overall this one’s a keeper.

JULIANA HATFIELD-“Make It Home”
As I said, I bought this disc for Tori and Juliana.  This song is pretty, but it was used in My So-Called Life so it’s not special at all.  Boo.

JILL SOBULE-“Merry Christmas from the Family” (NSFC)
I’d always assumed that Jill wrote this song, although I see now that it was written by Robert Earl Keen.  This song is hilarious and mostly inappropriate.  And yet it also has a lovely sentiment (if you can get past the drunks and family problems).  It’s my favorite on this disc to be sure.

DANIEL JOHNSTON-“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
I just don’t understand why people listen to Johnston.  His voice is not compelling, and this sounds like someone making fun of the song.

DILLON FENCE-“Christmas”
This is a slick song that is about Christmas in some way.  It’s sort of blandly inoffensive jangle pop.

JAMES CARTER-“White Christmas”
This is an interminable 8 minute jazz sax solo version of the song.  Wow, it never ends.

VICTORIA WILLIAMS-“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Victoria Williams also has a take-it-or-leave-it voice.  I used to like her more than I do now, bu that could change any minute.  This song is faithful to the original and pretty if you like her singing.

EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL-“25th December”
Another bland folky song.  The chorus is catchy, but I can’t be bothered to figure out what it has to do with Christmas.

Overall this is a disappointing disc and there are far better options.

 

[READ: December 17, 2017] “Last Woman”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This year, there are brief interviews with each author posted on the date of their story.

Hello. Welcome. It’s finally here: Short Story Advent Calendar time.

If you’re reading along at home, now’s the time to start cracking those seals, one by one, and discover some truly brilliant writing inside. Then check back here each morning for an exclusive interview with the author of that day’s story.

(Want to join in? It’s not too late. Order your copy here.)

This year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection

I enjoyed this piece for the way it juxtaposed a woman living by herself with the last woman left alive in a video game. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKENYA-Oiche Chuin (1995).

I bought this 3-song single back in 1995.  A few years later Enya released a Christmas EP with five songs on it.  It contains the first and third songs from this single and then a few songs from her other records.

“Oiche Chuin” is Irish for Silent Night.  Her version of the song is beautiful and haunting.  The melody is the same, but it has all of Enya’s trademark sounds on it which makes it even more ethereal.  Having it in Irish in no way removes the power of the song, unless of you course you just listen for the lyrics.

“Oriel Window” is a pretty piano instrumental–very different from her multi-tracked productions.

‘S Fagaim Mo Bhaile” is a lovely Enya track.  Not Christmassey, but it’s in Irish so it doesn’t really matter what it’s about.  It translates as “And I Leave My Home,” so it is full of sorrow and yearning.

So not a full Christmas album but the version of “Silent Night” is wonderful.

[READ: December 12, 2017] “Souterrain”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This year, there are brief interviews with each author posted on the date of their story.

Hello. Welcome. It’s finally here: Short Story Advent Calendar time.

If you’re reading along at home, now’s the time to start cracking those seals, one by one, and discover some truly brilliant writing inside. Then check back here each morning for an exclusive interview with the author of that day’s story.

(Want to join in? It’s not too late. Order your copy here.)

This year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection.

I didn’t expect that these advent stories would be all sweet and full of Christmas, but I also didn’t expect to read about bodies being torn in half and flattened by tanks.

I have enjoyed a few stories from Boyko in the past.  However, this story is, as you can tell from the title, a military story.

What happens in military stories?  Somebody (sometimes everybody) gets killed.  And the rest of the time everyone else is more or less waiting to get killed.  Either you wipe out the enemy or they kill you.  It is a torturous time where any diversion is welcome.

But these frightening episodes don’t really make for compelling stories–especially if the person you care about is going to die.

So you can only read for the details of each story and hope they are effective..

The one nice change for this story was that most of the soldiers were women.

I guess these are actually five episodes within the story:

“High Ground” is about choosing the safest place from which to attack some one.

“Six Inches” has the soldiers talking about death (if she had been six inches to the left she would be dead.  And then they were all attacked.

“Mail Call” looks at what happens to the package of a dead solider.

“Still Alive” deals with a soldier’s fear of the dead and how to cope with it–by exposing herself to more dead bodies.

“The Cook Up” finally shows some leisure.  The soldiers are allowed to scrounge for something other than the lousy food ratios.  It’s nice to see them enjoying themselves for a few hours before they all die.

Being a soldier really must suck.

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SOUNDTRACKRHEOSTATICS-Fall Nationals, Night 6 of 10, The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (November 16, 2004).

The Rheostatics, live at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, November 14, 2004. This was the 6th night of their 10 night Fall Nationals run at the Horseshoe.  It was a free night and they still played for over 2 hours.

Two versions are available – Mark Sloggett’s soundboard recording and 8 track files provided by Steve Clarkson once again the Clarkson download is crisper and louder but with more crowd noise.

Not a lot of unusual stuff happens in this show.  “P.I.N.” is perfect.  On “Mumbletypeg,” Dave plays a new opening with some sliding notes. It’s a nice changeup, but it seems to mess up Tim–although he falls into place pretty easily.  After the song, Martin notes: “one guitar down, four to go.  Good thing we have a reserve.”  Then he introduces “this next song we’re gonna do is called “Marginalized” by Tim Vesely.”  Dave says,”And we have Chris Stringer on keyboards for the duration.”  Mike: “He’s on everything, it just looks like keyboards.  He’s just as equally on Jews harp.”  Dave: “And very close to being on drums tonight.”

Once again, Martin really into “The Tarleks” especially the loud ending part.  Then he says “More songs about invasions,” as they play “Aliens (Christmas 1988).”  In the quiet part Dave starts singing “Artenings Made of Gold” and then Kevin Hearn comes up on stage to sing “Monkeybird.”  There’s some wild noises and guitar nonsense in the middle.  And as “Monkeybird,” ends as Dave is introducing Kevin Hearn, Martin finishes up “Aliens” right where the song left off.

In the second version, you can hear a request–a big shout “Shaved Head” and a smaller shout for “Record Body Count.”

Dave says “Try To Praise This Ordinary World” which “features a poem by Ken Babstock.”  There’s no accordion this night and once again, you can’t hear the poem n version 2.  Then a surprise of “The Midnight Ride Of Red Dog Ray” which features Chris Stringer on the mandolin with a nice solo mid-song.
Time says “Here Comes The Image” is a song from 2067.  The year.” There seems to be a little trouble with the keyboard at first but it comes back and there’s a lovely solo.

Dave says “here’s a plaintive reading of ‘My First Rock Concert.'”  he also ups the line to “Michael Stipe was distant, he was nice (he wouldn’t let me touch his dog).”  Then he commends: “totally a Saturday night crowd on a Tuesday.  That’s was the Argos going to the Grey Cup will do to a Toronto crowd, I tell ya.”

Whether you listen to our new album in the comfort of your own home or a car or … a boat.”  Tim: “the comfort of your own boat.”  “For those of us who have boats.”   This is the first song you’d hear.  Tim says canoes the best boat.  Dave: “I don’t t know if it’s safe to have a portable CD player in a canoe or kayak.  Tim: “I took my canoe to Hot Rod Jimmy’s and had it decked out.  The subs are so… the ripples are just you don’t want to be camping next to me.”  The first song on that album is “Shack In The Cornfields,”  During the middle Dave says, “Stringer, stop stealing my tambourine or Jews harp.”  Mike: “Crank it” (Jews harp solo).  “Little Bird, Little Bird” has some slide guitar on it and “Pornography” is short and sweet.

Dave says “‘Loving Arms’ was sung by Sarah Harmer on the album and then she went on to be a big star.  So we take full credit for her career.  How many people were here for Jessie Harris and Justin Rutledge?  Thanks for donations tonight for Tim’s childrens’ and my son’s school Alpha Alternative Public School.  Mike: “Martin and I’s unborn children get nothing.”

“Saskatchewan” “reprising his starring role in Green Sprouts Music Week 1980 something: Justin Rutledge.” Justin: “It’s my first time playing the Shoe it’s very cool.”  He sings it with a nice drawl although the song is incredibly slow.

“Dope Fiends And Boozehounds” has a middle section of “Alomar” after which Tim says “wow, I think the sun shone for a minute there.”  After Martin sings “dark side of the moon,” the audience does the howling for him.”  Towards the end, Martin starts playing a lovely “Song of Flight.”

Dave says, “we don’t want to keep you out too late.  It’s a Tuesday night.  We all have cartoons to watch in the morning.”  And then they play almost 30 more minutes of music.

“Making Progress” opens with spooky trippy keys to open.  It’s followed by a really harsh and aggressive “Feed Yourself.”  There’s a long solo section with some spooky keyboards and them Mike says “play the big thing, frighten us, make it do scary shit.”  And there’s this huge build up.  “This is gonna be good. Wait for it.”  Martin:  “I hope it doesn’t blow up.”  Someone jokes: “Can you do any Tragically Hip on that thing.”  But there’s no pay off to whatever was happening.

During the encore break you can hear someone enunciate “Sweet.  Rich.  Beautiful.  Mine.”  But instead, Tim comes out to do “First The Wheel” solo.  Tim says, “personally I’d like to hear “Satan is the Whistler,” Dave if you’re listening.  “When he finishes, he says, “I’d like to welcome back the Toronto cast of Rheostatics.”

Dave mentions “the special guest vocalist night tomorrow with 28 different singers.  And Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle opening.”  Tim: “That’s definitely worth coming for.  Martin: “Rheo-oke.”  Dave says more like we’re the Blues Brothers band backing up these great people.

Thursday night, Danny Michel is here for a double bill and Mike’s brother John Wojewoda and Bluegrass Nightmare.  Friday night The Imponderables and The Buttless Chaps.

They honor Tim’s request and play a Rocking “Satan Is The Whistler.”  They do it justice and the ending really rocks. The night ends with “Soul Glue.”  Martin still has his robotic voice thing and keeps saying “Soul Glue” as an intro and they play a fun, spirited version of it, with Tim really vamping by the end.

[READ: April 22, 2017] The Time Museum

The story opens with a man traveling through time.  He is with a group of people whom he tells to flee when he sets off the machine.  Cut to 8 months later as the crew is looking for evidence of the man’s success or failure.  They don’t see anything.  Until the man (known as The Earl) appears from behind a rock with a glowing object which he declares “is TIME.”

Then we meet the main character, Delia Bean.  Delia loves science and is a nerd.  The other kids don’t love that so much.  But summer is coming so that’s okay.  And the summer means a trip to Uncle Lydon’s place.  He is the coolest because he is curator of the Earth Time Museum–a place outside of normal time where Earth’s wonders are displayed.

When they get to Uncle Lyndon’s house Delia is in heaven (her brother not so much).  He winds up going to the town pool but Delia does some research in the neighborhood.  While walking round she discovers a (quite frankly adorable) kiwi bird.  It licks her and then runs off.  By the time she catches it (and names him Tammany), it has led her right to the Museum.  The museum is amazing with sights and sounds and smells from the history of the Earth.  And that ‘s when Lyndon reveals a secret.  Yes, he is from Hoboken, but he is actually from the year 5079.  He’s a time traveler. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Buenaventura (2013).

Buenaventura was a bonus CD with Ventura featuring ten tracks handpicked from Phish’s March 21, 1993 Ventura Theatre show.

So, the same venue just four years earlier. The mix has a lot of bass—its not bass heavy but you can really hear all that Mike is doing.  There’s also a lot of echo on the voice.

“Maze” sounds great with a long keyboard solo followed by a long guitar solo.  “Sparkle” has some pretty piano and ends with some really fast guitar riffing.

“Divided Sky” opens with mostly with piano and bass (a high solo from Mike).  There’s some great solos where you can really hear mike playing along.  “Split Open and Melt” is great–a long ending solo where Trey goes nuts until it all just “falls apart,” ending with just drums and then some very sharp three note progressions.

Then you hear him say “Let’s do ‘Lawn Boy'” which he dedicates to the guy who taught him how to surf yesterday.  They follow it with “Tweezer” which is notable for there being a chorus of them singing “Tweezaaaah.”  After the Ebeneezer section there is noisy chaos and a noisy solo till it all sort of crawls to a halt.  Then they launch into a really fast “Llama” with lots of really fast keys from Page.  “My Sweet One” is also really fast and then segues into a “Big Ball Jam” which is mostly a wild drum solo with other instruments peppering it.  The disc ends with a romping “Cavern.”

After all of these full shows, it’s a little weird to not have excerpts, but it’s a nice sampling of a show from 1993 and it’s a great collection to boot.

The full show consisted of:

SET 1: Maze, Sparkle, The Sloth, Divided Sky, Esther > All Things Reconsidered, Split Open and Melt , Poor Heart, Punch You In the Eye, Lawn Boy > Possum

SET 2: Loving Cup, My Friend, My Friend, Rift > Tweezer > Ya Mar, Llama, You Enjoy Myself, My Sweet One > Big Ball Jam, Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin’ Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood , Cavern

ENCORE: Sleeping Monkey, Sweet Adeline, Tweezer Reprise

 [READ: November 21, 2016] The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device

Madras Press publishes limited-edition short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of non-profit organizations chosen by our authors. For this particular book, proceeds to benefit the Arkansas Literary Festival.

This book is a grown up choose your own adventure.  And who doesn’t love a choose your own adventure story?

The one thing that was a mite disappointing is that all of the stories end up in the same place, but I guess that is the point after all.

Your choices are things like: would you say that you’re not wasting your life? [page 33]  Would you say that you are? [page 109]
If you decide to stop for a while at the coffeehouse, go on to page 45 If you head for the McDonald’s across the street, turn to page 113.

If you decide to do a little grocery shopping, turn to page 93; if you decide to clean the bathroom mirror, turn to page 121

And the most realistic one for me: (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-The Quilted Bear, Banff, Alberta (February 11, 1997).

I am quite surprised that the Rheostatics Live site doesn’t make a bigger deal about this show, given its unique nature.  This is an acoustic show that sounds like it was played in front of ten people and a lot of beer.

The shows seems to have started with the second song (at least the way Dave introduces it).  But the first track is a romping acoustic “Record Body Count” (sound check? or maybe just put out of place?).  Whatever, it sounds great with some electric guitar squeals but mostly just folk style with lots of backing singers).

The show proper starts with Dave introducing “an Ontario drinking song.”  There’s lots of shushing as people keep talking over him (although those people might be Tim an Martin).  Dave says, “a drinking song, there’s got to be some drunks talking.”.  Dave tells the story behind the sons and then they launch into a spirited rendition of Stompin’ Tom Connor’s “Midnight Ride of Red Dog Ray.”

Next comes “Christopher.”  It’s hard to believe they used this version for Double Live because it is so imperfect.  Martin coughs in the beginning and his voice cracks a bit.  But it sounds great and is a wonderfully unique version, especially for the live record.

It’s followed by a folksy rendition of “Chanson les Ruelles.”  Although Tim is too quiet.  mid song, you can hear someone in the crowd says “is it in French?  Yea!”  The version of “Wendell Clark” that comes next is only the second part.  But it is stompin and rompin (with someone yelling “yeeeha”).  At the end someone shouts Wendell broke his back.  “He didn’t really break it.”  “Well, he hurt it.”

Someone shouts for “Palomar” (or “Alomar” that seems less likely).  But they play “Take Me in Your Hand” instead.  It is also a folkie version and the end features a percussion addition of wood blocks.

Dave shouts “Hey, Mike, you wanna do Noah’s Cage?”  I have to assume this is Mike O’Neill from The Inbreds (the song is an Inbreds song).  They play the song although Mike forgets the second verse so he repeats the first.   He says its been a while since he played it.

Martin introduces “Introducing Happiness: as “this is a song about being happy.”  Dave says, “I hope so.”  It’s followed by a surprising acoustic version of “P.R.O.D.”  Surprising only because the song tends to get noisy and out of control, but it’s not in this version.  Towards the end, Dave shouts “all percussion solo–whatever you got.”

Martin busts into the melody of “Dope Fiends” but instead they play a long funny version of “Desert Island Discs.”

Dave: AC/DC-Back in Black; Ramones-Rocket to Russia; Martha and the Muffins-Danseparc.
Tim: The Inbreds-Hilario; The Inbreds-Kombinator ; The Inbreds-It’s Sydney or the Bush.
Donny: Randy Newman-Creates Something New Under the Sun; Grace Jones-Nightclubbing; Herbet von Karajan conducts Beethoven’s… “Last Waltz?” (Dave: could you believe he said the classical one?)
An audience member: Kiss-Dressed to Kill;  The Beatles White Album, and… someone says Billy Idol-White Wedding.  Dave: Billy idol?  Gigs over.  And a later line: I’m going to get me to an island not with that guy though, he wants to bring Billy Idol. I don’t even think White Wedding’s the name of the album (it’s not)–although the fans argue the point).
One last guy: Pink Floyd-The Wall; Led Zeppelin-IV… how many picks? How many picks!?)  ZZ Top-Degüello.

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is sung my Tim, Dave sings “I wish I was back home in Derry” at the appropriate moments.

They end with a piano-based version of “Jesus was Once a Teenager Too.”  He has to start again (“it’s just that that thing fell over”), but when he does it sounds really good–very different.

What a fun show to have been at.  There’s a lot of interaction with the band and fans–I really wonder how many people were there.

[READ: April 3, 2017] “Girlfriend on Mars” 

This story is probably my favorite Lucky Peach story (even if it had nothing to do with food).  Although the end seemed to maybe spiral out of control a little bit–with a finale that was, possibly, a little trite (although, not exactly).

This plot is simple.  Amber Kevinn, the narrator’s girlfriend is going to Mars.  Well, maybe.  She has (unbeknownst to Kevin) entered a reality show contest in which two winners will be selected to travel to Mars on MarsNow.  They will live on Mars until they die–no hope for returning.  This story intersperses the contest with just how Amber’s boyfriend feels about the whole thing.

Amber and Kevin are drug dealers.  Well, not exactly–they sell drugs, but only to family and friends.  They grow them hydroponically–this skill with plants was one of the reasons she was accepted for Mars in the first place.  But why didn’t she say anything to her boyfriend (of twelve years!) until it got to this point?

She made a video, she sent in an essay she even met with the TV people–all without him knowing.  Of course, Kevin’s a pretty heavy stoner at this point so he doesn’t notice much. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE REPLACEMENTS-Let It Be (1984).

letitbeI had posted about this record back in 2009.  This is what I write nearly ten years ago, and I’m pretty okay with it.

This is the final album the Replacements made before they moved to the majors.  This disc represents the culmination of their pre-major label sound and is one of my favorite “college albums” of the era.

The disc retains a lot of their sloppy/punk sound of the time, but the songwriting moves forward a little further.  Westerberg wrote some timeless anthems for this disc (“I Will Dare,” “Unsatisfied”).   But, they also sprinkle the disc with silly tracks…not filler exactly…more like balance.  This keeps the disc from being too ponderous.

“I Will Dare” opens the disc. It is bouncy and poppy with an irresistible chorus.   But the bulk of the album is faster and more rocking.  Unlike on their their first two discs, however, the songs run a little bit longer, and they don’t attempt the hardcore feel quite as much.

In fact, there are a few songs that are quite clearly ballads.  “Androgynous” is a piano ballad (!) that could have easily been written by Tom Waits.  “Unsatisfied” is another ballad, although this one has more instrumentation.  Nevertheless, the feeling of yearning is palpable in Westerberg’s voice.  Finally, “Answering Machine” is another flanged-guitar filled song about romance in the age of modern technology (circa 1984).

These relatively light (musically, not emotionally) songs are balanced out quite nicely by the pair of punk/nonsense songs: “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” and “Gary’s Got a Boner.”  They add some (more) levity to the disc.  As well as some rocking guitars.

But perhaps the most surprising song is the cover of Kiss’ “Black Diamond.”  It is surprisingly faithful to the original, (at a time when Kiss was not even ironically cool) and it rocks just as hard.

This album showcases the diverse aspects of The Replacements perfectly.  While some people say their next album Tim is their masterpiece, I am more inclined to go with Let It Be.  And, for some reason, I really like the cover.

[READ: July 1, 2016] Let It Be

I have often thought I should read this series.  Of course, the last time I thought about it, there were 50-some books in the series and that seemed like way too many.  Well as of June 2017, there are 120 books in the series, which is an insane series to jump into.

But at work, four of the books came across my desk and if that’s not an invitation to read something, I don’t now what is.  So I’ve decided to read these four and we’ll see if that leads to more.

This was an interesting book to start with because it really set the tone for the series, by which I mean, as far as I can tell, anything goes.

Colin Meloy (this was written when The Decemberists were just starting to get a buzz around them.  In fact he references his girlfriend who is now his wife) makes this a very personal account about his childhood and his exposure to this album (and others) from his uncle.  So this book is a lot more about (young) Colin and his friend than the ‘Mats, but it’s obvious that the ‘Mats made Meloy who he is.   There’s very little in the way of production information or “research” (until the end).  Rather, it’s just a good story–from a future storyteller. (more…)

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