Friday, December 12, 2008

quick listens #1

(with a nod towards Robert Christgau (who is currently some place dry, I'm betting))

feelings of dread and foreboding abound.
Bettie Page died, Bank of America will lay off something like 35,000 workers once they swallow Merrill Lynch, KB Toys has filed for bankruptcy, again (this time they won't be coming back) and the Nikkei dropped nearly 6% overnight on the news that the Big Three bailout won't pass the Senate (and that item, of course, will have a much greater effect domestically).
happy Friday.

it is precisely nights like these that I wish that I worked in a more honest field (not that writing is dishonest by any means), that I worked with my hands, something like farming where there's a more direct relationship between the cause (the work) and the effect.

I received my Pazz & Jop ballot at the end of last week, and while I'm happy to be included my immediate thought upon receipt was, 'Well, that's one more thing to deal with.'
to combat and/or deal I created a playlist of everything in my iTunes released in 2008. but it didn't take long to discover that I'm missing a good bit.
not that I don't have the music at all (though there's some of that, obviously), but that for whatever reason a lot of 2008 music I do own isn't marked as such.
haven't come up with a great plan for gathering the strays yet.

but in the midst of errands - trips to the post office, the grocery store, the infrequent trip to the laundry room - I'm trying to work it through.
much, obviously, I'm already familiar with, but many discs have received little if any attention.
so, I try to work through a few songs from every album, giving each the slightest chance to catch my ear before they're deleted from the 2008 list and therefore removed from the opportunity of making the final cut of 10 albums and 10 singles.

Age of Rockets' Hannah
I can only assume that this is a concept album where I missed the concept as the phrase "you whisper" popped up in at least two songs in the 10 or 15 minutes I gave this. definitely a Death Cab chip on this band's shoulder, whether ending lines with harmonic falsettos or beginning them with a rather tepid, non-threatening (recently graduated emo fans welcome) whisper (both sung in and about in "Elephant & Castle" and "H. Soft Escape")

Chairlift's Does You Inspire You
the song in the iPod commercial, "Bruises," sounds like Camera Obscura meets the Thompson Twins. and that ain't a bad thing. but the rest of the album, at least what I made it through, is hardly reminiscent of that vibe at all. in fact, the lyrics of the first two tracks, "Garbage" and particularly "Planet Health," are so didactic and dumb I'm rather surprised I made it all the way to track four (the aforementioned "Bruises," which actually stands a chance to make my top ten singles).

Alejandro Escovedo's Real Animal
I've always been a touch suspicious of the No Depression/non-comm radio worship here, and suspect that most is a continuing and cumulative lifetime achievement award (not that there's anything wrong with that). I like "Always a Friend," but "Golden Bear" calls unnecessary attention to itself (and to producer Tony Visconti's previous work with David Bowie) with a too on the nose, bastard love child intro combo of "Ashes to Ashes" and Chris Isaac's "Stupid Game."

Alina Simone's Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware
yet another Brooklyn resident, though the only one (to my knowledge) covering an entire album's worth of material by a deceased "Russian punk-folk legend" I've never heard of. sung entirely in Russian, of course. as I do not have time to learn a foreign language before turning in my ballot, this one gets deleted.
as does . . .

Shugo Tokumaru's Exit
(though for some reason I've got that marked as a 2007 release).
and . . .

Sigur Rós' Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust
though one of the singles may make the cut as four minutes of patience is much easier to find and store than, say, fifty-five minutes of the stuff.

Crystal Castles' Crystal Castles
some people like feeling stuck in a video game version of a bad, early '80s club scene. I am not one of those people.

(and today's Amazon mp3 Deal of the Day is Jimi Hendrix' Electric Ladyland (not a 2008 release) for $1.99)

1 comment:

  1. Half the songs on Crystal Castles' album don't even have videogame sounds. Listen to Magic Spells here: