The Uncluded/Pistol Annies
Four spunky gals and a big smart galoot
The Uncluded: Hokey Fright (Rhymesayers)
In a year when someone named Binki Shapiro ain't Kimya Dawson, someone named Aesop Rock will wash Adam Green right out of your head. Protesting the decline of the laundromat and promoting the rise of organ donation, ecumenicizing "Superheroes" with "Fluffernutter/Shawarma/Reuben/Cuban" and eulogizing the friend of a friend who justified Dawson's fear of flying, it's the return of the deeply goofy male-female duet. The tunes are Dawson's because Ae-Rock doesn't do tunes, but his beats beef up those tunes just like his gruff, clotted flow beefs up her itty-bitty soprano. Most important, her poetic confessionals function as glosses on his rhymes, which are a touch more straightforward in any case. True, they bog down into his bigthink for a spell. But all is redeemed by a spirited finale designed to jar the downhearted from facing life, as they put it, tits up. A
Pistol Annies: Annie Up (RCA)
A lark evolves into a business proposition as an album of 10 inspired three-minute songs eventuates in an album of 12 expert three-and-a-half-minute songs. Because the three principals are still smart and spunky, some of these are superb: the family dysfunction playlet "Hush Hush," the objectification expose "Being Pretty Ain't Pretty," the 'til-death-do-us-part "I Hope You're the End of My Story." But because the three principals are Music City pros with a release schedule, some of them are merely expert, and two drag big time: the ensemble's five-minute "Blues You're a Buzz Kill," which is the latter solely, and Angeleena Presley's one-dimensional "Loved by a Workin' Man," which kisses up to the usual Nashville male chauvinist cliches. A MINUS
But only so that you know that it's still working here. As opposed to there.
By the way, as far as South African jazz goes, my longtime favorite is Dudu Pukwana's "In the Townships" (1973, later on Earthworks CD).
By the way, Jazz Prospecting up. Jonathan Finlayson has probably cinched "debut of the year," although Peter Evans' "Zebulon" is still the year's most imposing trumpet album (unless "Slippery Rock" is). Just found out that one label has been trying to send me stuff ever since their founding via the Village Voice. Only record the Voice ever (well, since 1980) forwarded to me was a Fall Out Boy advance. Impatiently awaiting the new batch of Clean Feeds. At least I'm still on Rodrigo Amado's mailing list.
All the same, perhaps best to avoid generational tribalism, and I sure as hell respect my parents, so those are welcome words of wisdom that thou dost bequeath to me, kevin john, or should I say, brother!
Still haven't forgotten that Stephen King quote:
"I don't want to speak too disparagingly of my generation... actually I do, we had a chance to change the world and opted for the Home Shopping Network instead"
And that Ginsberg bit certainly seems apt, and reads nice. I shall certainly read the whole. Always got time for a bit of Beat folklore.
(Like those Kimya pics btw)
Am I talking to myself?
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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