Before Swearin' and Waxahatchee, There Was This
With one slow and excellent exception and a few deviations, all 13 punky songs on the second album by the first (recorded) band built around Alabama's twin Crutchfield sisters are defined by a crude, catchy, commonplace guitar riff and proceed over drumming that keeps its figuration simple and repetitive when it doesn't bang outright. Simultaneously hesitant and forthright, singer Katie Crutchfield sounds above all brave as she pronounces and occasionally mispronounces her lyrics, which dwell on botched communication both verbal and emotional. Her language is usually plain ("Your eyes go crossed like mine/You'll regret that when you're older") but sometimes gawkily high-flown ("Your endeared negligence," "The cold and correlated closely flock"). On my favorite track, "Pink Sheets," it combines the two: "Rose quartz, star charts/We heal our broken hearts/With warped reality/And practical psychology." But always there is the sound of becoming that the young treasure for one reason and the ex-young value for quite another. A MINUS
P.S. Eliot: Introverted Romance in Our Troubled Minds (Salinas)
Their 2009 debut LP is palpably younger‑-slightly quicker and considerably more high-flown, the vocals longer on forced scansion and childish drawl. The tune prospecting is almost as astute, however, topped off lyrically by the 20-is-forever fight song "Tennessee" ("Baby let's push our limits") and the tell-me-your-feelings critique "Like Who You Are" ("We always discontinue what we don't misconstrue"). What will become of them, you can't help wondering, already knowing that in not too long they'll discontinue. B PLUS
Well that was surprising,
We've met the enemy and he is "me". Thanks for the genteel condescension.
I don't go to many concerts, but I have been to shows where I felt the demographics should have been different.
Stevie Wonder, Jones Beach Theatre, audience was, and I'm being generous, 80/20 white/black, at least up in the cheap seats where I was sitting. Yes, it was fun, and yes, I was disappointed.
And yes, you should have gone with your wife, might have been fun.
I do remember that review, but came away with the feeling that he wished Bruce's audience in the States could skew younger with a more balanced gender mix. An audience he deserves, rather than the audience he gets here too often, as Jeff described so well.
Best crowds for me have been for Dylan. Generally respectful, there to have a good time.
Most women at a show? That would be a tie between Shakira and the Dixie Chicks.
Not responding to any one in particular, just wondering why the need to bring up the ethnicity/gender mix in any concert review.
BTW saw Patti Smith in 1978 at I think Lincoln Center. She said she had never seen so many flannel shirts in her life.
The most demographically balanced show I have probably ever seen was George Clinton in Portland earlier this year -- age, gender, race, sexual preference, income, fancy clothes/funny clothes/casual clothes, you name it.
I still remember a moment at an REM concert at SUNY Binghamton in 1985 (in the Men's Gym, you could look it up) when I looked around at the crowd and realized that we all looked exactly the same. I mean we were all wearing exactly the same jean jacket.
Surprised to hear the surprise at the ethnic/gender mix at a Bruce concert. Who'd ya think would go to his show?
Where was the question raised for the last Dylan, Leonard Cohen, or Wussy show?
The only time I see a mix is when I catch a re-run of the T.A.M.I. show, or maybe a Murray the K show at the Brooklyn Fox. (Or Sergio Mendes at Schafer Music series at Central Park).
But during the two hours we waited inside on the ramps, hoping for the rain and lightning to stop my brother and I had to do a fair amount of disciplining of a few different packs of young men. He's a child psychologist and has skills in that direction. I literally saw three different guys flexing muscles during the waiting time. And I don't mean to be ageist here: the worst guy I dealt with all night was 55 easy. He was part of the reason my sister left early, for the first time ever in all her Bruce going years.
I'm not that touchy at shows generally. I've been to a gazillion and I'm good with the usual elbowing, jostling, puking, whatever (I'm tall too, which helps). I'm sure in the 1980s I was a d!ck my fair share (I summon Frank O'Hara: "I have been to lots of parties/and acted perfectly disgraceful/but I never actually collapsed"). But this Bruce crowd felt really malign--just really hostile and entitled seeming.
So it got me wondering and bands and their crowds. Who's got the good ones?
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.