Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A, part one.

Ryan Adams- ‘(Rock N Roll)’

The next in the seemingly endless line of self-important singer/songwriters. (Whatever happened to ol’ Terence Trent D’Arby, anyway?) The whole alt.country-to-rock switcheroo got our boy some press when this record came out, to be sure, and lord knows all the denim hipsters around here seemed to love the man and his records. Having said that, though, the squarest of my exes thought this record was pretty good.
So here’s the deal: I bet a lot of these songs sound good on shuffle in yr. iPod or something- solid, well-produced rock music. The whole record, start to finish, though, proves to be little more than an exercise in trying to figure out which riffs are being stolen (seemingly all of them) and from whom (Cars, AC/DC, and T. Rex, right off the top of my head.) If you a) listened to the radio growing up, or b) have a collection of more than like fifty records, the exercise becomes a little tedious after four or five songs unless you’re like listening to all of your records in alphabetical order and feel obligated to hear everything start to finish.

Aerial M- s/t

I bought this right around Christmas one year that I was working at Newbury Comics- a favorite of all the kids in the company who, like me, dug June of 44 and the Crownhate Ruin and the rest of the bands in the mathrock stable. Dave Pajo from Slint, etc.
All told, the record’s pretty good- a little bit droney at times, maybe. Having said that, this one still gets pulled out every couple of months for the times when I want to engage in a little passive listening- it’s pleasant, non-obtrusive instrumental stuff.
MIX TAPE: ‘Always Farewell’

American Music Club- ‘San Francisco’

I’ve got mixed feelings about these guys. American Music Club has always been fit into the tiny space in my mind reserved for bands that are supposed to be like seminal but very few people that I know actually listen to- one or two, tops, certainly not anyone I know’s favorite band or anything. Pretty morose, which I can dig, and intensely lyrical. I was soured to ‘em a little bit after seeing ‘em play recently- every fucking song found Mark Eitzel changing the words to insult George W. Bush. I know people are pissed, and it was early November when I went to the show, but man, come on! Preaching to the converted!
My re-listen, the first since the show, confirmed my earlier thoughts on the band: they grow on you more as you spend time being actively engaged by the lyrics. The uncredited cover of ‘California Dreaming’ at track sixteen is pretty ill, too.

Antarctica- ’23:03’

‘Ex Christie Front Drive’ had me sold in 1998. I remember reading reviews of this three song EP that un/favorably compared it to ‘Faith’ era Cure and left it at that. Not a bad assessment, but one that’s a little too simple for my liking.
CFD was one of a bunch of bands that were playing what I have always thought of as cornbelt emo- moody, pulsating music that was more about atmosphere than whining about some girl or a too-tight sweater vest. Boys Life, for example, made perfect sense to me after I had a chance to watch a storm roll over the cornfields of Indiana (more on that, and them, later on.) Christie were pretty primitive musically- there wasn’t always a lot seperating them from John Mellencamp, say, or Tom Petty- but played with an intensely atmospheric vocabulary that kept them linked with the rest of the bands of the genre (if you wanna call it that.)
So, the breakup, and the next project. Yeah, it’s got the Cure thing going on- grim, long songs, minor keys- but it’s a progression nonetheless. Varied instrumentation and more focused production continue the tradition of landscape, but, as the name implies, things are way less immediate. More distant, chillier.

Antarctica- ’81:03’

More atmospheric stuff here, except on a double album and with way more of an electronic bent. The most obvious namecheck here is New Order- I’m reminded of stuff like the end of ‘The Perfect Kiss,’ which is obviously electronic in nature but isn’t annoyingly so, like a lot of the electroclash that I was hearing a few years back. Electronic elements being used well from a songwriting standpoint rather than as signifiers, and back in 1999. Is the whole electro fad over now, or has it just gotten watered down and filtered into alternapop?

Aphex Twin- ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol. II’

I’d be willing to wager that there won’t be another time during the alphabetical marathon where I listen to two double albums back to back.
I’ve been listening to these records a little bit recently- nice stuff to put on in the background as I get work done. When these (actually, any) CD’s go in, my computer’s jukebox program calls up a record name and a list of song titles, unless I’m listening to some record that is a little on the obscure side- some of the Jandek records, say- which no one has played on their computer. When such a scenario transpires, it’s up to the listener/me to enter the record’s name, song titles, and genre.
So when the ‘Twin Cd’s get played, a list of titles comes up, and they’re all of the dada variety: ‘rhubarb,’ ‘’wicker,’ etc. I’m not sure if there’s some Aphex Twin fan page that lists the proper composition names, or if someone was just being a smartass at the jukebox prompt. Either way, the whole thing is pretty funny.


Blogger Lilian Philips said...

Aloha Mike,

You wondered "Whatever happened to ol’ Terence Trent D’Arby, anyway?"

Well, he just finished a new album, "Angels & Vampires", which is not pressed on CD yet (will be later this year) and already available on his official site.

There you will also find his former album to listen to, "WildCard! - The Jokers' Edition" which was released gradually from 2001 to 2003.

He uses Weedshare to spread the songs: this makes it possible you can download the songs for FREE to have 3 listens, if you like the song(s) you can buy them and make money yourself on them as well and share them even when you didn't buy them.

Check out http://www.weedshare.com if you like, he's also topping their all time Top 100.

Plus more songs you can find at "Songs!" at his site :)

The site contains loads of info for if you wanna know more as well.

his webmistress

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