The Freelance Mentalists.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
  Don't Curb Your Ork: Pazz & Jop 2015 ballot & comments (plus)

Albums (10 Points Each):

1. Sleater-Kinney: No Cities To Love (Sub Pop)

2. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom + Pop)

3. Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men Too (Big Dada)

4. Algiers: Algiers (Matador)
5. Laurie Anderson: Heart of a Dog (Nonesuch)
6. Arca: Mutant (Mute)
7. Tal National: Zoy Zoy (Fatcat)
8. Neil Young + Promise Of The Real: The Monsanto Years (Reprise)
9. Mbongwana Star: From Kinshasa (World Circuit)
10. (various artists) The Rough Guide To Latin Disco (World Music Network)


1. Zane Campbell: "Bringing The Boys Home" (Emperor)
2. Carla Morrison: "Tu Atacas" (Cosmica)
3. Guerilla Toss: "Realistic Rabbit" (NNA Tapes)
4. Battles: "Summer Simmer" (Warp)
5. Arthur Russell: "Lucky Cloud" (Audika)
6. Hieroglyphic Being/J.I.T.U. Ahn-Sahm-Buhl: "Cybernetics Is an Old Science"
(RVNG Intl.)
7. Smokey: "How Far Will You Go?" (Chapter)
8. Smokey: "Million Dollar Babies" (alt. take) (Chapter)
9. Grupo Fantasma: "Cayuco" (Blue Corn)
10. Wussy: "Lavender Blue" (Shake It)

Comments (also screeds, scribbles, posts here and there---bookended by actual Comments sent w ballot----they didn't use any such from us plebes, but pretty good roundtable with xgau, Greg Tate, and Ann Powers, for instance):
After a decade's hiatus from recording and touring together (while experimenting with other, relatively more cautious, less consistently compelling projects), Sleater-Kinney's No Cities To Love celebrates  their comeback by immediately spewing dread and cold sweat, in "Pricetag" : "The kids are reaching for the good stuff," and the whole daily realness is so auto-involving, so diffuse and endlessly, hypnotically detailed---but snapped back to the realization,"Nobody's checked the pricetag!" Which further unleashes energies and appetites, giving 'em enough to possibly tangle, loop anyway; only way to counter the potential for stampede and burn-out is to use common, "relatable" concerns to sublimate, subsume, or maybe upstage S-K's private/professional hang-ups, rallying us loyal troops and themselves, via, for instance, what sounds like," We win/We lose/Only together, can we make the rules," later "break the rules": racing the old streets like Ferraris, sometimes suggesting the potential of Elena Ferrante-class creative frenemies with everybody and everything else (people and other stuff); fueled, anyway, by creative friction, forces and perspectives swerving expertly, compulsively: "It's not the cities it's the weather we love/It's not the weather it's the nothing we love/It's not the weather it's the people we love," and "We bury our friends, we're wild and weary but we won't give in," and some love of the we of the me and vice-versa in the lovely turns and cool matches: definitely built more for speed than comfort, but not austerity, and some of it likes to dance.

Tal National, Zoy Zoy: I think of it as Afroprog, "prog" in the sense of something compulsively complicated, which can work, when it's a matter of setting up probs/props for yourself (which, in some cases, can also stand for those imposed by the outer world) and knocking 'em down, kicking out more than one kind of jams . xgau: "moving parts"---o hell yes.

Wussy, Public Domain Vol. I: "Lavender Blue" most fully compelling performance/production/maybe selection among this capful(EP) of trad ballads, discreetly and boldly adjusted. I tweeted:
Shamelessly sensitive melo("music")drama as increasingly cosmic noise rock folk, always true to the tune & words/plot

Smokey, How Far Will You Go? beyond programmatic efficiency (incl novelty appeal and some clattering anthems ready for way off broadway reviews, for inst)  the voice of Smokey (frontman of the duo who masterminded this always listenable collection of early 70s gay-in-your-face mini-parades, some incl. a couple of underage, future Hair Metallists)  goes further than  handy Ig-Alice-Jumbo-Jimbo-Morrison homage-poise-projection on a few really outstanding tracks, esp. the title song, where a dolorous daddy calls after his wayward, ambitious boyo. all along a  mesmerizing, slow-mo descent of melodic staircase/fire escape; "Million Dollar Babies" (not the Alice Cooper number) is in effect something of an answer song, and the second version of it is even better: leading/following the Babies out to streets o' smokin' gold, under the stars you can't see for the big city lights!

Indie Girls & Assocs.:
From a land down under, also from late '14, Allo Darlin' 's We Come From The Same Place brings us the fetching voice of Elizabeth Morris, with pleasingly creative turns in her accent and songs that don't get in her way, yet demo-bare tracks that kinda do, in terms of distracting inertia, while others put ribbons on the slack---but when the whole band gets it together, pretty nice indeed.
Still, any Oz rock Svengali might well consider putting Morris in a whole new musical setting, yadda-yadda check it out.
Evans The Death's Expect Delays, on the other hand, def; has the impressive, sometimes awesome sound, but Katherine Winslow can (sometimes) seem too winsome Therapy Girl (the one who really really gets into it, while the girls who are only there by juvie judge mandate grind their teeth ). UK Rock Svengali, send your sib the Rock Doctor, but only if he really knows how to cheer up (not just adjust) young Londoners by safe means.
Back in Australia, Courtney Barnett, like her Melbourne neighbors Dick Diver, seems to have learned from the Go-Betweens, especially Forster (whose own, long-awaited return is mostly too much a nostalgic, watered-down recycling, though I do like the samba[?!]), re how to compress and clarify (with oblique strokes) her observational verses, wand her guitar on the choruses, as she says, draws on Television, for bracing yet partial release from verse situations---partial cos she's neurotic(does have a sense of humor, though). The double-EP was lyrically denser, but also excellent. Dick Diver are more chill. Melbourne, as Barnett points out, ain't got a beach, but DD name their latest for (beachy) sister city Melbourne. Florida, and sound intriguingly at home as they contemplate, propose, and probably practice tearing the posters down (or do they just let other kids do it and get in a sweat and/or trouble---anyway, groovy).
(Dick Diver share the label Chapter Music with Smokey, a various-artists gay lib comp, old and new music from Australian 80s indie rockers Cannanes, elusive American singer-songwriter Kath Bloom, and a distinctive taste for other cognescenti-bait; check out their stash on Bandcamp.)

Young Fathers, White Men Are Black Men Too: a title which may be outreach in the sense of brotherhood, like, "We all have a cross to bear," and "Stop fooling yourselves, we're all moving targets for something and someone, even if you've found or been found by some juice," and just a big ol' Rubik's Cube of identity and truth in the personal-political crosstown traffic, sidewalk, bedroom, headphones, voting booth, whatevs, convey these sideways children of Gang of Four and Public Enemy and others.

Algiers, s/t: Is that as in Algeria or Louisiana or both? Other?  New resonance in call and response with echoes of some ancient place or places, across history not too smooved over,  and this phantasmagoric sound of men workin' on the chain gang, sometimes  at improbable speeds/efficiencies (and geologies, considering that Algeria and Louisiana aren't known by us foreigners for  subterranean passageways),  swoops up gospel, pop, punk (when early Siouxsie and the Banshees were earning their name) charivari. all memories and fate, vital transience spinning crossroads in and out of hurricane roulette season, but never getting too dizzy: it might be a white-knuckle ride at times, but not a neck-snapper (it's just the beginning, though; looking fwd to their next).

The Mountain Goats, Beat The Champ:
I had to make myself keep listening, but sure glad I did. Initially, it just seemed wayyy too refined and introspective, in a chamber-y way, for an album about wrasslers (long ago, I reviewed a collection of wrestlers' entrance themes etc., back when The Rock and Mankind were first hittin' it big, and the refinement was there, but had to go w deft, deadpan flourishes of grandiosity, re art metal and soundtracks, like John Carpenter's music). The opening track still seems a bit too much like early Randy Newman, maybe, and could also live without the coda to "Heel Turn 2": a little too exquisite here, for me, also overselling; I get the nuances already.
Mainly, I find myself drawing back from the bits that get me drifting off into thoughts of all the short stories, movies and songs about decaying regretful sports performers---there are some great examples of course, like Fat City, but mostly not musical. The latter tend to be tasteful-to-tearjerky, and very predictable, like Paul Simon's "The Boxer." In this category, though, Waits' voice kinda works for me: at least he *sounds* like a broken down old mug with a cauliflower ear and bent brane, subsisting on Lucky Strikes and undershirt sandwiches. Not that I want that from this album, but the chamber-y bits bring it all to mind (well written, arranged and played, but can be a bit much in this context)(like maybe why Dylan ultimately decided against crowding "Sign In The Window"[as written and sung, a song about feeling utterly alone, wet and seedy] with Al Kooper's bright, classy consort of instruments, in that excellent-out-of-context out-take). And John D.'s vocal limitations are more apparent when he does get colorful and gleeful, like on "Foreign Object."
But otherwise---with the volume way up on non-audiophile headphones---really liked the rest (well the one about San Juan still seems a bit diffuse lyrically, but music no prob). That Wurster's a pretty good drummer, hey.
Bout time for an MGs tribute album, also occasional covers hither and yon. I (usually) like his voice, but wouldn't hurt to hear others. Red Hot Mountain Goats? Let's do it! You first.

marginalia on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly:  self-excoriating, scourging (punishment and cleanse, relief of putting it out there? Letting it run, that kid he meets!) putting it out there for more, counter yet add to the pressure, affirmation, himself as part of his world-view, the teeming details, cells, units of life and energy, step back for the scope and scape of contours, the cities: what you call your urban music. Also the focus of the music, the placement of the words, rallying, rallyed. But when do focus on specifics, some of his self-involvement and comments on social problems not really hold attention or that striking?? Will keep listening--meanwhile, the roiling structural elegance draws me into a sense of seven-league boots stepping through storms, with customizing by George Clinton, Thundercat, Robert Glasper, and the imaginary conversational realness of Tupac, among others.

Joan Shelley, Over and Even: where the picking, much of it by Nathan Salsburg, is mostly(?) acoustic or discreetly plugged-in (sounds like a nice warm hollow-body on the title track). She's been around and thought about it, with the end of summer gliding by. Seems more consistent in the second half, and "Subtle Love" is the perfect closer, as patterns blossom into Patty-Griffin-Sandy-Denny-Rthompsonesque autumnal allure. Sorry to mention influences/associations but they're pretty up-front, and you gotta have the chops/touch/shit together to wear 'em well, as she mostly does here.

Grupo Fantasma's Problemas immediately had me walking into the club, eyes all over the place behind my shades; eyes all over the joint all over me too, with searching horns, especially: nuanced but never navelgazing, reaching and pushing, rough-edged and thoughtful and alert. Haven't gotten equally into all tracks, but several things are remarkable (intriguing fade of penultimate, which I'd love to hear further explored live; casually complex flair of finale "Cayuco", for two). The bolero version of Los Beatles' "Because" ("Porque") will get them played and maybe interviewed on World Cafe etc., but they go way past that all the time. Listening on sub-sub-audiophile headphones and distractable work computer, but pretty sure it's pretty good.

Los Lobos, Gates of Gold: Sun-dried rough-edged West Coast splendor, variegated, acerbic and aspirational. still got the touch & the L.A. River

marginalia scribbles on Tinariwen Live In Paris: sound older but into it, some Dead appeal? Their first (after her tiresome intro) even got some of an American folk-country allusion illusion; whole thing cranks up, shifts back down, steadily with  low-flying clouds of sharpness, flying insects in desert? Here? (wha?)

Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are: Now digging about half, other the indoor soft bright light to lite, w certain short phrases and instrumental intersections creating a foreground, then repeated quite a bit not always work, esp when he singing solo, which is most of the time zoning out in dentist's chair, this result of spending a lot of time in studios and doctor's offices? Maybe *about* that kind of normal medium filtered outer inner median interface and how it feels when something more attention getting converges configures kinda Wilco studio, some of it, but no Cline factor (last one gets boisterous insofar as vocal samples, also the fe voices come in toward end, but soothing ears into anesthetic maybe or death or end of the music, Clark sounds like Stipe here, distracting, nerfing)

Big Data, 2.0: always good strong electronic pop-rock intros, almost a One Down thing sometimes, but can get too measured, cued effects and middling tempii, however a little faster and more build on "Sick For Me" feat. Bear Hands and finale "Perfect Holiday" feat. Twin Shadow, also like ones w Jamie Liddell, Kimbra, Jenn Wasner, Dragonette.

Arca, Mutant: much more fun right away than xpected from xgau's description. "Solchiro" one of those reminding me of Death Grips a bit why he works w Kanye heh. Not Just Another Green Death Grips? Horsehead Nebula Piňata? True enough.

John Renbourn, The Attic Tapes: They go back at least to '62---he died before getting all the dates, but his commentary is really fluent, analyzing some of the songs, without getting pedantic, and talking about how several of them came together, incl. ones whose (probable) sources were unguessed way back when he learned 'em: who knew "Can't Keep From Cryin'" was a Blind Willie, and it's one of several familiar titles who sound really different from any version I knew.
He also talks about finding traces of the UK songster Davey Graham in various cities, ideas that lodged in the heads of musos who may well have had no reel-to-reels, or anyway didn't need one to summon the bits that JR puts together here. Mind you, he does give Graham the writer's credit for the opening tightly loose bedsit version of "Anji"(that's from the box marked "1962").
Most are like that, as he says up front, with no thought they'd ever be heard---apprentice JR, but he's already got it, and the audio's a lot better than I expected: just whoosh on the hemp carpet, and You Are There. Ditto the live tracks, where you can tell he knew somebody was listening.
He's an okay-to-good singer, maybe more the former, but we also get a couple of nice jolts from Beverley Martyn, on young Donovan's Jansch-y "Picking Up The Sunshine." JR mentions her being on the cover of a Jansch LP...need to check out more of her stuff; I only know her from the album with hubbie John. She's even better on a tight blues. Though actually most of this is pretty concise--20 tracks in 60'48"---with no lack of atmosphere.
Also a couple guest shots from the Hurdy Gurdy Man, Mac MacLeod (vocals and guitar only), and the grand finale teams JR with Graham himself, on "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out": jazzy-bluesy, duh, and rawther magical.

Carla Morrison, Amor Supremo:
NY Times' Ben Ratliff tags this as "single-minded," and more so than her previous album, but it's not relentless in the onslaught sense--more about sustaining momentum that's persistently infiltrating (all these little turns, shadings, variations, dynamics I mean) in the overall straight-ahead, and the language barrier/difference is so nearly sheer at times: mostly, I think, such an intimately expressive effect (I just know the seemingly simplest words, for all I know it's all overwritten as hell, for those who really speak the language, but doesn't sound that way). Even if it's all basically one song, "fortunately (as Creem's Richard C. Walls said about late 70s Van Morrison), it's still a hell of a song."
But if you don't happen to like any given track here, you're probably out of luck re the rest.
(Speaking of ah, Twin Peaks, also check Whitney Rose, Heartbreaker of the Year, produced by Raul Malo, who also sings on it from time to time)

response on ILXOR:
As someone who understands a good lot of Spanish, the lyrics fit the music perfectly.
And after sitting with the album for a couple weeks, I'd venture to say that 'Tú Atacas' is the big standout.

Yeah! Also "Un Beso": strong opener; could def see these two as singles.

I can hear a house remix of 'Cercanía' as well.
Listening more, I do notice a few that seem too dependent on repetitious effects. Another reason to look for mixes. Most of it still seems pretty damn good.

VU's complete Matrix Tapes:  although I'd heard some of it before on the live mid-70s twofer (and yet more had been on The Quine Tapes and wildly deluxe editions of studio etc., so it's not on this year's P&J ballot) was immediately astounded by entering the bluestopia of an epic, post(?)-doowop slow groove "Waiting For My Man. Plus, the most beautifullest "I'm Set Free" imaginable, so far ("What in the wor-rld/Is/Happening to me-e," and I'm rising, swooning). Margarita  is waiting so patiently, stoically---"Between though and expression/Lies a lifetime"---'til she sees in Tom a suitable case, a suitable candidate----maybe "just" Mr. Right Enough, but her standards are...high.  It's as uneven/predictable  at times as a three-night club sojourn far from home is likely to be, with moody Lou as punk priest/tour guide. sometimes taking us from ritual invocation and philosophical testes cases to routine--- but the brittleness of some performances (the strongest of these "Pale Blue Eyes," especially) blends with the wariness of themes, implicit and explicit conundrums: how and why and when and etc. should you could he stick strictly with the pleasure principle, and guard it hard (leisure becomes a full-time job, depending on patterns of floatation; then again these can find "a wealth in confusion!")----keeping it all to and for yourself/trust another person, considering that they that anybody could be just as weird as you, given what you know about personhood. (While bouncing off Dylan's contemporaneous "Someone thinks that they have found you!")  Also, no matter how incredible thee ongoing seemed last night about this same time or tyme (onstage, for instance) tonight and tomorrow are just some other times, exciting or not---and "Lisa Says" has nothing beyond cuteness to add to this inquiry, and "Ocean" once again seems too conceptual---"I never get things done," okay, but beating your head against the waves doesn't have too much impact here, and time and tide and wet sand all seem too vaguely implied, if even that, at such length, for instance--maybe it's a test: can we strike wet matches, abstaining from all the usual signifiers? But even such frustrations pull me into the club, the extended stay vacay, and oooweee (and finally all in stereo, so even on so-so headphones,  even familiar tracks can be revelatory).

Ork Records New York, New York is amazingly undated, consistent and increasingly good. Also on so-so headphones, was struck by deft, prob very low-budget production touches on so many tracks, the pop x punk showmanship. Don't love every track, but overall it's amazing. Springtime for Chilton, but he's got a lot of competition here. (Didn't finish it by P&J deadline.)

Compilation's 19 songs include hits plus 13 unissued bonus tracks.
All were produced by Jerry Ragovoy, and not previously available on album.
Mostly the top end of that xpost four-octave range, or pretty far up and out there, at least: bold, sweet and raspy, inexhaustible, though sometimes exhausting (at least in a 66-minute bloc, but that wasn't the goal). Sometimes he could use a little edit, and having horns etc. try to answer, rather than accompany, can lead to overheating (mostly in the second half, incl. several outtakes), but the rhythm tracks cook like they should, and the few ballads are mostly revelatory (damn I even almost like "The Long and Winding Road,"in this instance). Rec. to fans of Howard Tate, Janis, Aretha, early Rod, Little Richard, Little Jimmy Scott, even (he's not any of them but maybe close enough if you're jonesing).

Best Of Laurice Vol. 2':
Laurice is a trip, kind of a Freddie Mercury voice, but I had several things pegged as 60s, not 70s (listening before I read the press sheet, to get the freshest impression). Especially "Baby Tomorrow," and "Dark Side of Your Face," which seemed like they could be lost Lee Hazlewood compositions (desolate, bitter, B-movie imagistic, more than a touch on the morbid side). And "You Gotta Take The Good With The Bad," with its hyperventilating hook on the chorus, had me thinking of Gene Pitney (and even pre-rocker Johnnie Ray, The Atomic Swami,The Prince of Wails, as they called him in the early 50s). Also like the airport-suitcase spin of "Boston City," the soldier song "Goin' Home" (Freddie Mercury/Gene Pitney as hell), "Flying Saucers Have Landed," some others may grow on me.

Rough Guide To Latin Disco  is pretty damn good, for the most part. The first three tracks feature compressed busywork, and seem like generic knockoffs, kinda timid, but "C'Mon Baby Do The Latin Hustle" is confident and tight, with good flute, synth, guitar picking---purposeful and spacious enough for detail, with no filigree.
"Combate A Kung Fu" is the right flavor of cheese, and the shortest track, a true appetizer.
"Ritzy Mambo": cross-influences w Dr Buzzard crew?
"Dancin' & Prancin': just enough electronics for texture: the vibrant contours of all things tonight
"X-Perience," "the song already in your mind," approximately, the answers already half-known, the me you recognize, disco mystic parts the invisible curtains, sax and timbales build (fade, no climaxes disturb the groove)
"No Llores Mas," luminescent babe voices, second wind between the strata, moving right along to (two rhythm guitars w own distinctive sounds) "Firewalker," and "Everlasting Love," which is not the one you're thinking of, I don't think.
Dancing in my headphones: "Must---get---timbales!" Yes.

The Muffs' s/t debut reissue w bonus tracks: "pop-punk," some call them, and I've seen comparisons to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, but Kim Shattuck sometimes relies more on on vocal scrunchies than hooks---still, good some good chord changes and textures, with a few guest sounds, like theramin and organ: part of the variety of arrangements *eventually* shaking up the 16 tracks of the original album.
But the 10 bonus tracks, mostly four-track demos, provide a lot more breathing room for vocals and guitar, like maybe the studio sessions were more labored, sometimes (not so many direct comparisons; several of these songs didn't show up on the finished product). It might help that most of the demos have only a tambourine behind the slightly echoing, gnarly jangle (but one of the best, "Ethyl My Love," has what sound's like a full trap set). I'd say that, if you like the original album or the band as you knew them, or, even if you haven't heard them, but are into what turns out to be indeed pop-punk, with even a bit of power-pop---but more get-lost gusto than moony romance---then the demos make this worth checking out, for sure

I like most of the original album too. But could've been 12 instead of (these) 16 tracks, I suspect. Guess it was just unthinkable to use a 4-track demo as a master in those days, eh?

Fresh And Onlys,  Early Years Anthology: One for the fan club, I guess, as the title suggests, but didn't convert me. Starts with the sympathy-inducing "Tongue In Cheek," which the singer acknowledges is so firmly lodged, "If I had a secret I could keep it," confessional and regretful--he knows he ain't that deep---so they turn up the music, but bringing in elements of "I Can't Turn You Loose," and he orders, "Push it down, push it out," determined to find *something* in there after all, which, in hindsight, is not so wise, because a lot of the following tracks highlight words that don't sustain interest (and standard jaded/resigned mid-Atlantic male hipster vocals don't help), Can still listen around the words, and do okay that way, sometimes, but best when the words are challenged by onslaughts (or semi-onslaughts, but at least noisy, in a good way), especially on "Don't Look Down" and, best of all, "Deviants Within," with hordes of other voices pressing in from thee other side).
Otherwise, you'd be better off going over the Pavement family tree again, ditto Spoon, Black Lips...

Good musical use of alienation and ennui--times palpable anger, so much more de facto flower punk than these FAO tracks usually manage---can be found on the  Litmus soundtrack. The movie, which I haven't seen, is a supposedly "avant garde" vintage surfing doc, with recordings by the auteur's Val Dusty Experience blending seamlessly and variously with newer contributions from Galaxie 500, Yothu Yindi, The Screaming Orphans, maybe more (no annotations yet).
There's an eerie flute, calmly noting the smoggy sunrise, while a female voice is calling---
a sun bouncing like a red rubber ball over dang-a-dang human juice harp, not waiting to be told about no Tuvan throat-singing---
a big ol' smogfest for Wicker Man fans, with females making something else out of "Black Is The Colour"---
a nerdy male folkie voice (prob the filmmaker's; he's all over the terminally plaid "folk-rock" soundtrack of Glass Love, the Litmus sequel) is put to good use here: he bleats "Wanna be a cow," while a sardonic surfer voice (the manly, nasal kind heard so much in that other surfing doc, The Endless Summer) drawls out all the things that can happen to a cow nowadays(an increasingly tasty list, I say).
There's also (female voice again)"Elizabeth, you're so gorgeous and tall," tyme to get real, in a world of world-destroying illusions (think Lou Reed would like this and others, however grudgingly, given his view of "California trash").
Also a very poised, somewhat grizzled Brit male voice, very tuneful and articulate re sailing away from lands where "the ghettos are concentration camps," and all the captains have gone missing, but no prob on the horizon, the voyage is under way. Sufficient gravitas, but much less solemn than "Wooden Ships," also no "sil-ver/pee-pul," nothing "ver-ree free 'n' easy," none of that stoner shit, just the sea and all that goes with it ("Come along if you can," is the implication, of course).

Notes on live Go-Betweens:
For me it's the overall effect, good phrases and ones I don't always catch, caught up in the music. Re the rain at an outdoor show in Denmark, one of 'em says, "We'll try to do something about that," and they already are: sounds like the sun's keeping time as they lope through the dust and rust of Down Under distances, which keep getting "older and longer and higher," while the singers are older anyway, not pretending to be wiser, but been at it so long, can't help remembering some of how people places and things go, despite all the flights and a few fights, at least. Not that they're really tough guys: the epic finale is about bugging on a librarian who "stands behind the counter, and solves all the problems I encounter," in terms of finding books, anyway. On the road to that counter: "Visions of blue! Might be perverse but it's true," and "I don't blame her, people don't know what they want," and "Clouds lie on their backs and rain on everyone/You're always dry, gotcher own pirate sun...People say I'm mad to want you." Good set: a coople of fast-enough strummers, then the whole band.
Even better sound quality on this Grant/GW McLennan collection I'm listening to: euphoric, driving full band show on the first ten tracks (with a really good singer-guitarist he addresses as Anna; Anna who, dammit?). 15 more solo acoustic, also clear and strong, so far.
And now for something--not completely different, but the earliest and post-punkiest Go-Betweens I've heard, as a trio, on a good live FM tape from Sydney, in 1982. Short, sometimes curt phrases, tending to staccato and oblique strokes of pen and guitar, but some supple turns of phrase come through clearly enough already, like "His inner self left him for someone else," and "I know you, you're easy to find/Come see me," and lots more in the second half, especially starting in "our big single, that put us on the road to success," which sounds like they like the early Cure: "And with all of these things that are said/Sometimes I think I need two heads" (mention of a "child detective" in here too), followed by a semi-cryptic sex song--"This is what comes of dressing up like spies"---again, getting clear enough. especially after a penultimate scramble: "I forgot my jeans/I forgot your name."
Would like to hear some of these mixed in with their later, better-known style, especially when the transition happens in songs like that last," "Near The Chimney," but much moreso in the next one, "Undo What You Did": "Now---I can't--"
("He can't") "--say what I like, in front of, in front of---undo wot you did!/Take away the times/That I/Ev-en said…"(guitar comes in to save him).
They also sound like they like Joy D. and early Wire (Tyler Wilcox suggests The Birthday Party and The Fire Engines). But you can tell it's them, rattling along in an absurdist, earnest, worthy-apprentice way:

Karin Krog, Don't Just Sing/An Anthology: 1963---1999:  Good stuff. "Ode To Billy Joe" doesn't really suit her, but otherwise yeah: she sounds like she's been around, all the more reason to go for the finer things in life, o baby. The more cosmic (more atmospheric, less earthy), still sensuous tracks later on--fave so far: "Don't Just Sing," with her tonal shifts mirrored and/or aided & abetted by studio and synth effects---rec. to fans of Sheila Jordan, maybe more than Annette Peacock, who's got something of a different (or just more) attitude. Krog sounds smart, sometimes sly, confident, like the lady who runs the detective's favorite bar (might be a bar with weed).
Not so crazy about the sax solos on here, but usually she's just got keys, bass, drums, occasionally other percussion, that's all she needs.
It def sounds like a bar with weed.

Notes on live Feelies (etc.):
Finally getting to these guys, via 1977-80 shows, also The Willies (AKA Feelies), and a recent Feelies performance on YouTube. The '77 set takes off, has to u-turn and grab me up (so far), but that it does; some later boxcar flotation zones me in and out later, a few Willies numbers are too shiny-happy for me, but more often than not, here be meditative momentum, even a few American Dancestand work-outs, and tendrils of sweet potato love in my cellar. The Willies version of "The Great Pretender," between Leggo, Eggo and regggae, has me chanting, "Duke, Duke, Duke." They know about Dick Dale's flaunted Lebanese heritage and why some Creem reviewer once mentioned that early solo Eno "plays synthesizer like the Ventures."

Now chasing Sunday dinner with Left Lane Cruiser's new Dirty Spliff Blues: garage-y no-muffler boogie, obv. they like ZZ Top's more jack d.-jim b.- jimson-agitated shuffles from the get-go, and 'round about "Tangled Up In Bush," started getting further into drones, sustain, eventually pedals: they also like Motorhead, prob Weedeater, maybe Parkay Quarts ("Skateboard Blues," eh?)

Initial vid---not the best track, but only cos it builds:
from my RT
Drone, buzz, cut, swing that axe, "light years" from here, "in a hotel room" anticipation as delivery
Alive Naturalsound @AliveRecords
Song Premiere: Left Lane Cruiser's 'Cutting Trees'

Another Alive Records electric lunch break< with 37'58" more sustaining than a lot of double-LPs:
Sonic Praise, the 6/30 debut album offering of Ecstatic Vision. Philly souls are among those who already Know, but new to me.
"Journey" arrives with the droning sting of a dinosaur's tail, bass & drums bouncing and swaying over thee ancient dust of another Monday, replenished by well-timed injections: pedals and petals of guitar, keys, maybe a sax sometimes---obv. they like Hawkwind, with Lemmy-like throats.
"Astral Plane": better keep your butts in gear up here: "Look in the mirror and tell youself, space is the place to be....believe what you want to believe..." *What* a balancing act.
Somewhere in here (scribbled notes) is either "Everyday we work now behbeh," or is it "Everyday don't work"? Both? They both fit, over and under onslaughts/
"Don't Lose The Vibe," with an exclamation mark after each word in the chanted title.
Title song sounds like they also like bands with "Temple" in the name*, while getting further from the sludge appeal, kneeling on and rattling International Dateline---
"Crossing The Divide" puts it all back together, as Sasquatch drums reappear, bidding bobbing heads to rise and dance through aurora borealis (might be some buzzsaws working overtime in there).
*Bio sheet adds influences of Aphrodite's Child, Olatunji, Can, and early Amon Duul.
Also for fans of early Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly.

Tarana, A Fire Of Flowers Grows Around Us:
Co-produced, -generated by drummer Ravish Momin and trombonist Rick Parker (cumulatively, they've worked with for inst Tim Berne, Mingus Big Band, Shakira, Wu Tang, baby): bluesy, spacious, sometimes hungover hornorities meet bracing beats, working through strata of data under Polar stars (ain't no sunshine; none needed). Salt and tackle provided, tronic taxonomies left 2 U: (if could only pick one: "Safar," with searchlight phasing; if had to flush one: "Nanotronic")

Green on Red, Raleigh '85:
Same source as the Jason & Scorchers set posted (in 2014  Freelance Mentalists Country etc round-up), though not as consistent: they're having occasional mic problems, as they eventually mention, though it's most noticeable early on, although the playing is pretty straight-ahead. Only prob: almost an hour of mostly mid-tempo, and Stonesiness can slip into Pettyness, though I realize most people wouldn't mention TP in a negative sense. Vibier levels do open wider in "Down By The River" and "Sea of Cortez," back to back in the middle; ditto the locomotive finale, "Fading Away." Also good "Hair of the Dog" and others. Works better when the keyboards get more room, but some quite pertinent pickin' too. H'mmm, wonder what GOR Spotify might have? Oh yeah, the link!

The Dream Syndicate: Days of Wine and Roses with bonus tracks: Never have bought Wynn as front man for the most part: seems most effective when he sets up an okay ominous verbal intro, then steps aside for Precoda's swarms (and his own rhythm guitar gouges pretty good too). Sure wish Kendra Smith got to sing more than one song. The rehearsal tapes sound good, esp. since Wynn's voice is off to the side, and my fave of them is the strictly instrumental "Outside The Dream Syndicate," 10:43 and already well under way along when track starts.

Long Ryders, Stache's, Columbus OH, 4-2-84:
Good sound, though kinda monotonous at first, but they crank up the jangly cowpunk in the second half, starting with "Final Wild Son," about "a friend of ours who's in trouble," a guy from Memphis, who isn't worried about dead legends cos he's livin' his, and the devil won't take his soul; he'll smoke it up before he goes. They close with "The Rains Came" "(adding lyrics:"Augie Meyer is our friend" and "Haven't seen Doug Sahm since he left this town"), "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," "You're Gonna Miss Me," and "Jumping In The Night." Not a medley.

Continental Drifters: Drifted: In The Beginning and Beyond:
Big ol' L.A.-to NOLA (incl. Katrina-era) tribe of musos, incl Vicki Peterson and Susan Cowsill,  more consistent than any of the male vox here, although Peter Holsapple's good when he doesn't push his luck.
Initially, I like about half of this---16 tracks---but those are strong (songs w burned bridges, for inst, meaning life-experience, not musical bridges) and others may grow on me. Wasn't expecting such intense, on point instrumentalism: truly electric fedora.
hat was an amazing live band.
how is the demo of Tighter, Tighter?
? campreverb, Tuesday, 2 June 2015 23:38 (7 months ago) Permalink
Like the other demos here, sounds fine, performance and recording-wise, but the chorus keeps heading toward "Piece of My Heart" distractingly derivative, like some other tracks. (Male voices again, a bit harmony-challenged, beyond getting the notes out. not too distinctive). Although I prob wouldn't mind it in the middle of a show---some of these live covers are amazing, especially "When You Dance" (damn, if you're gonna do an electric Neil Young song, that's how to do it, son!)

Neil Young, Bluenote Cafè:  Disc 1. The sameness of so many heavy shuffles, despite good touches, turns, and solos (horns and guitar),especially on headphones and high volume, got to me eventually, way before the end. But the more supple "Don't Take Your Love From Me" was lovely, ditto "One Thing," while "Bad News Comes To Down" is perfect, prob "Twilight" too--when he really blends Neiliness with blusiness, rather than basically just tweaking a very familiar and long-winded late-60s-early 70s blooze approach, results awes.
But prob some more of this disc will grow on me (I'd just rather get a live album all at once, like I'd rather get it all at once if I'm at the show).

from ILXOR:

It's kind of amazing how flexible "On the Way Home" is, obv the original is great, love the folky version on Massey Hall & as I said upthread the soul version here is great as well
― Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown)

Disc 2 does meld the horns and keys into Neilness more, might be prob is better, seems more consistent for sure, though wouldn't want to be without those 4 that I initially picked on Disc 1, or most of the rest of it probably. "Doghouse"!

Arthur Russell, Corn: Haven't done any comparative listening, but these versions are consistently perky, with the usual wide open spaces for contemplation (his "Buddhist bubblegum" ideal is not too far away). Demo-y at first, but  more vivid, detailed sketches at least, as it goes along. So not too odds 'n' ends, far as I'm concerned. Of course it's an album assembled by other hands, but works well enough as such.
Later:  Several if not most are what a lot of people (quite possibly excluding AR, as usual) would consider good finished product. Faves so far incl. "Lucky Cloud" and "Corn (Continued)," which got me up and dancing in headphones, and the finale, which sounds like he might've had Hendrix on his own headphones while playing.

Richard Thompson, Still: Album version of "Guitar Heroes" isn't as good as live, being a born showstopper from his geek prodigy bedroom mirror, but it incl. a good twinkly, trippy homage to Les Paul's own studio sound. Also like his take on Hank Marvin (an audible influence on his own sound, or just slightly subsumed by it? Both?) Too many fingers for Django. Funny verses along the lines of, "My parents are gonna kill me, my life is a mess, got nowhere to go, better hurry up and sound like [insert guitar hero quote here]."
Initially,several tracks seem mostly notable as guitar vehicles, and, while the guitar-playing isn't big slick rough fun on an Electric scale, it's pretty good! And I do like the writing (and playing) of "She Never Could Resist A Winding Road," "Josephine," "Pony In The Stable," for instance. So far, seems like the best overall tracks---playing, singing, vibrant atmospheres---are "Broken Doll" and "Where's Your Heart." Best RT illin': "No Peace, No End."

Live-blog notes on performances by Cassandra Wilson and Kamasi Washington, which may still be around online:

Cassandra Wilson Sings Billie  Holiday:
Violinist Charlie Burnham, of Blood Ulmer fame, is playing some deliriously deft solos, fit right into the calmly committed (in more ways than one!) "Crazy He Calls Me." he's distilling Van Dyke Parks' string arrangements (for the studio album). Also on stage: Jon Cowherd, Kevin Breit, Lonnie Plaxico, some others I don't recognize (later: several turn out to be from the Bad Seeds axis). "All of me..." OMGF

Kamasi Washington performs music from The Epic on Jazz Night In America:
"Askim": KW ripping holes in gutbuckets, amidst blissful strings, choir, with several drummers, a couple keyboardists, Thundercat's bass, others. Chat says one of the drummers set 30 mics, and sound is very clear.
Turntables and samplers coming to the fore, drums more hip-hop now and then, live choral theme recurring (damn who was that trumpet soloist) Volcano
Cool how the conga player, Tony Austin and other kit drummer, Miles Moseley on acoustic bass and the synth vamper come up with transitioning grooves behind soloing trombone, trumpet--and now keytar (Thundercat's back in there too).

ballad about his grandmother, "Henrietta Our Hero," sung by Patrice Quinn--"Had no armor, no weapon, but a power"---with his father, Rickey Washington, on flute, and a cast of thousands rolling and out, with no overload. Contemplation's rhythm.
Man, his father can play the hell out of the flute. This show will be posted tonight or tomorrow, says NPR host.
This is running 'til 11 Eastern. And NPR's Patrick says they recorded over two hours more.
Brandon playing a very nasty electronic keyboard solo now, lots of brown and yellow/YOLO
from the Funkadelicized portion to this section, incl. Miguel's improvised string cues---"like Phil Jackson calling plays," as one of the participants observes in chat, now that he can see more than he did on stage---and Leon Mobley's hand drums--what we used to call "Afro-Cuban" (is that still a thing) to more of a Pharoah-meets-Sun Ra interlude. Can see how this kind of intense derivation might be too much in a three-disc studio album, but works pretty well in this concert experience (will check album).
Ascension voices, briefly! Will shut up now, they're almost through anyway.
Jazz-wise, most (though certainly not all) of their sources seem second-tier, but chosen and further honed for populist drive, immediate appeal. robust focus. commitment to soulful showmanship as collective personal expression (goes with  these funk and hip-hop elements).

Promise of the Neil World
Having cruised the neighborhood of Sun Studios for several days, young Crown Electric driver Elvis Presley finally parked his truck, long enough to enter yon booth, available to the public, no appointments necessary, and make a record he could take home to  his dear old Mom that very day. A good boy, salt of the earth, keeping history fresh---although a newer meme-theme is that really he was hoping to get noticed by Mr. Phillips, and put on a rocket to stardom----roll over Sputnik, and tell yadda-yadda the news: yadda-yadda, 60-odd years later,  Neil Young enters Jack White's triumphantly restored recording booth in Third Man Records' Nashville storefront, and, doing his version of resting (from the labors of having creating Pono, a format and device ("Where Music Lives,"  especially Classic Rock, like it did in the days of easily available, affordable, analog vinyl) quickly records A Letter Home, an authentically staticky-sounding,  antediluvian-amateur-ready-default set of oldies. Neil Young, an ambitious old man, as was said of Ronald Reagan, whom Young briefly endorsed, back when he  also proclaimed that there comes a time "when everyone has to stand on his own two feet, or one leg or half a leg or whatever he's got." Which was also when, as Young later confessed, he, buying into California's Human Potential Movement, was desperately trying to will his very young son past or straight through disabilities which seemed like new wrinkles in a variable heritage (Young's own strain of epilepsy, for instance).
Having long outlived such illusions, incl, that of  Reagan, who long outlived himself, and in the midst of an anti-nostalgia campaign that may have germinated when he recorded Prairie Wind, right before lying down for a neurological operation from which he might never have truly awakened----though said campaign was definitively underway later, when his doctor  glimpsed something in his head that made him actually stop smoking pot, after 50 years, and launch the uniquely Neilian timespace groove jams of his first book, Waging Heavy Peace---Young-in-the-booth also recorded a new letter to his own long-dead Mom, allowing as how she wouldn't believe what in the world they're doing to the globe, like it was a piňata, and one you could keep coming back to, any old time.
Yadda-yadda: with so much done, via the release of songs old and new, or both, in the case of customized Americana; so much still in the works, as a legacy, for posterity---what if there is no posterity, to speak of, or to speak, period? Moms, Dads, Grandpaws, everybody falls into the Great Chain of Being---but what if the Chain falls?  
Rust never sleeps, after all, especially when jacked up on The Monsanto Years' bad, diddled-with,  trademarked seeds of time: megacorp-to-corpse grains in the red-eye weather of a world stewing in its own fossil fuel juices, via the release of what may or may not turn out to be the ultimate parody and travesty of liberation. Yet here in this kind of free world, with old comrades having fallen by the wayside, old Young  and young sons-of-Willie-led Promise Of The Real keep on seeing and raising scorched-earth economics with the sonic equivalent of Earth Strikes Back! headlines, worthy of the backdrop for a headbanger's midnight matinee, live at your local drive-in, or even more like its afterimage, exhaled way out on the highway, where the suburban sprawl finally gives the day's heat up to the cold, clear desert sky once again, and a few harmonies rise like an invisible rainbow, not too far from a x-times-second wind-tuned "Wolf Moon," taking it in, drinking deep as  he and they and we can stand.
                                                            ------don allred

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