Monday, July 14, 2008

Last Week (7/7/08)


Fata Morgana (Nico's Last Concert) - Nico

Haven't listened. Was driving all weekend and figured that Germanic harmonium drone music would be the wrong thing to listen to.

Pacific Ocean Blue - Dennis Wilson

Disc 1 is really good, but I haven't fully immersed myself in it. Suffice to say, it blows away most of the Beach Boys records made around that time (with the notable exception of Love You, which was essentially a Brian solo record anyway). And oh so overblown - there must be thirty tracks of vocals on "River Song" next to the horn section and the string section and God's own voice, etc. Disc 2 - eh. Methinks Bambu is no Smile, but some of it does entertain in a certain kitschy, late 70s-early 80s cocaine way.

Third/Sister Lovers - Big Star

Very good. I have termed Big Star as "end-of-the-movie music." Wake up Hollywood! Of course, their "In the Street" has also been ingrained in this generation's brains as the theme song to That 70s Show - performed by Cheap Trick, though. (Fuck you Rick Nielsen. Why does one man need so many fucking guitars? Most of them look worse than your jumpsuits)
So this is supposed to be a gloomier, confessional album, as opposed to the overtly Beatlesque #1 Record/Radio City predecessors. "Holocaust" and "Big Black Car" fit this bill - elsewhere I hear the strange song structures infused with sunny pop throughout. I don't know. Too spread out to give a real verdict on it yet. I like it and will return to it. But the "Femme Fatale" cover - featuring Steve Cropper on lead guitar and a FRENCH TRANSLATION of the chorus - was disappointing.

From Amazon Marketplace:

Bull of the Woods (French remaster) - 13th Floor Elevators

By far the best thing in this round, or the most satisfying. Looked at this at Amoeba several times but never bought it. Downloaded "Never Another" of iTunes and loved it...Well, Bull of The Woods is the weakest Elevators album - despite the fact it has some of the best songs the group ever did. Any song featuring wayward singer Roky Erickson on lead vocals (often with his voice mixed so high and dry it feels as if you're hiding in the basement with him, too) is amazing, featuring a deranged horn section, Stacy Sutherland's echoey guitar and some of the band's most inventive songwriting. Had they completed an entire album this way, Bull would have easily been the band's best. And "May the Circle Remain Unbroken" is so far ahead of its time - is this rock music? ambient? trance? A 2.5 minute sigh of resignation from Roky Erickson.
Elsewhere, Stacy Sutherland handles the songwriting and lead vocals (due to Roky and Tommy Hall skipping town, leaving him to finish the album with the rhythm section) to varying degrees of success. Stacy's voice is far less confident than his guitar playing and without Erickson - whose voice can often liven the most pedestrian songwriting - the songs lag in energy. But some, like "Barnyard Blues," "Til Then" and "Street Song" come through as solid blues-psychedelic-late 60s whatever tracks. Just nothing as earth-shattering as the full band work.
This hasn't stopped me from listening to this all the way through three times.

Acquired through friend of a friend's MacBook:

Both the state albums - Sufjan Stevens

I still don't like this stuff, but I'm bowled over at his recording technique. The one song about the immigrant worker on "Michigan" is good. And the second song on that album. But Illinois is nothing but a bunch of precocious, pretentious....ugh. Yeah. Maybe someday.

Tango in the Night - Fleetwood Mac

Maybe I'll stop talking shit on this band. This stuff seems to bring people great joy, and I enjoyed driving around Berkeley to "Little Lies" and "Everywhere" full-blast. Thank you Nick Weiss.

Unknown Compilation - Moondog

Unexpectedly great driving music. This is what? Latin-baroque-psychedelic what?? I don't believe I passed this stuff up earlier. It really does have to be taken in at once though - much like GBV or Jandek (I do feel comfortable making those comparsions), the fragmentary nature of the material is better swallowed up in one economy-size serving. I have no idea what the name of this album is....
Factoid - James William Guercio, the gentleman who produced Dennis Wilson's album also produced Moondog albums....

To get to from this score:
More Of Montreal albums
Brian Eno ambient

My brother bought:
John Cooper Clarke poetry album
Jay Reatard singles compilation
which will be in my computer shortly.

Also I was at a party in Oakland that was crashed & subverted by King Khan himself, who threw off The Traditional Fools while they were playing a rather good cover of Love's "My Flash on You." Shame on you, Khan.

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