Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii/The Baseball Project
That's What I Call Americana
Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii: Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii (Nonesuch)
The Chocolate Drops are an African-American string band from Durham whose first Nonesuch album avoided intimations of minstrelsy but not slavery times, which is when fiddle-banjo-harmonica-bones-kazoo ensembles first entertained both masters and comrades. As was both historically accurate and the thing to do on the folk circuit where they plied their trade, their first Nonesuch album was arresting but contained--soulful and rather slow, America having speeded up considerable since the 19th century. But on this EP they hook up with an NYC Gypsy band whose big moment up to now was one about puttin' the puddin' in the punum, and whoosh, they're off to the camptown races. All four songs are quick, sexy, and a trifle nasty. The first and last celebrate a "short dress gal" who walks "like a queen in the Amazon" from male and female perspectives, both of which focus on the same end. In between comes a fiddle-fed cover of the gold-digging Blu Cantrell hit "Hit 'Em Up Style" and one subtitled "Diga Diga Diga" that I say is about speed. Can't parse it further because it's in Roma. That's the 21st-century America I want to live in. A
The Baseball Project: Volume 2: High and Inside (Yep Roc)
These 13 excellent songs are sufficiently specialized to make you realize how classic Volume 1 was--and what a theme statement "Past Time" was. Here the lead "1976" mourns Mark Fidrych, and though those who don't remember how rock and roll the kid was should look it up, that choice signals a smaller compass and a focus on frailty and death. "Chin Music" cheers on bad-asses who throw up and in, but later beanballs have tragic consequences for Tony Conigliaro's career and then Ray Chapman's very life--in a closer narrated by Carl Mays, the submariner who delivered the fatal pitch. Just as sad and strong is "Twilight of My Career," narrated by a Roger Clemens they'll almost convince you is a tragic figure. Yet the new season always brings new hope--Panda and the Freak will win the Series, and Ichiro will go to the moon. A MINUS
I saw Carolina Chocolate Drops when they were first touring that dread folk circuit 5 years ago or so -- nice set, and really nice people too. Was disappointed that their first CD did not have the middle-aged tambourine player that I saw with them on it -- he was great.
And at another forum, my fave kind where everybody is cursing each other out alla time, there was what looks like a complete list of the Epic releases:
CHEAP TRICK "FOUND ALL THE RIGHT PARTS"
RICK NELSON "FOUR YOU"
PROPAGANDA "CALLING ON MOSCOW" (not the german band)
THE CLASH "BLACK MARKET CLASH"
NEW MUSIK "STRAIGHT LINES"
SHAKIN STEVENS "SHAKIN STEVENS"
GARY GLITTER "GLITTER & GOLD"
THE CONTINENTALS "FIZZ POP WONDER ROCK"
NINA HAGEN BAND "WHITE PUNKS ON DOPE"And there was also a reminder of the marketing idea behind it all -- essentially a corporate twist on the notion that a cheapie 45 would introduce you to the latest punk sensation for less than a couple bucks. Check out New Musik for less than the price of a whole LP!! (But Cheap Trick? Gary Glitter??)
Elton John came up hereabouts and just by chance I happened to notice that one of my favorite Elton numbers, "Ego," has never appeared anywhere except on a single from 30+ years ago. Amazes me -- it's one of his few, uh, "confessional" songs. The flip (also unavailable elsewhere), "Flintstone Boy," is pretty damned good, too. I wonder how many outstanding numbers by well -known performers have never made it off of obscure vinyl.
"nouriel roubini" "rolling stones" About 70,700 results (0.19 seconds)
'The kind of thing people say sounds "mature" because it's musically so middle of the road, though I don't see how post-breakup self-pity is "mature," no matter how difficult it is.'Michael Tatum - going back to one of your earlier points, I don't think Adele's new album is terrible! I think she has a good voice - which she has honed since her debut (literal growth?) - I do think that while some may say that her sparse arrangements make a mature sound I just think it's flat! :/ I think that is where her latest CD fails - the music - it could be more upbeat/layered. I do like some of the hooks (she) created. I think I'm more on board with Xgau's B+ now - at first, I thought it would be a ***. I don't think it's good enough to be EW'd though! Although, in Britain it's been no. 1 for a while now - maybe that's merit enough? (Probably not - the charts are full of holes!). And now to completely go back to your quote, I agree with the first phrase (very funny, btw) but not the second - I am not ashamed to admit, I became depressed after a split with a girl I was with for two years (were thinking about marriage, kids) which took me by surprise! I had never taken a breakup so hard - it was like moving away from home, never to see your family again (cheese yes, faux no). Yes, I agree childish self revelry is never a good thing (although, Modern Lovers pulled it off?) I don't think she's that bad? And, to go back to what I said, you can never know how anybody is going to handle something - in regards to music or otherwise.
JY47NY - *yawning I'm English, not Japanese! (I lived in Japan for a year and it became my handle. Yes, I'm one of these people who thinks the sun shines out of Japan's **** [education, health, recycling, metro, etc, etc] - aside from their politics and foreign relations with China!) ;)
Cam - hah hah!
I've already weighed in on the sincerity thing, so I'll only add that when I use the word it's as it's defined, without the baggage (both the deification and the irritation at that deification) that it's collected over the years, and repeat that, IMO, it's been a huge factor in many pieces of great art. Michael, I think that your review of Blessed (and most definitely the album itself) contain some wonderfully sincere lines. In fact, I'll bet there's more than a few hardcore irony addicts out there who are rolling their eyes at those lines as we speak...
“I could not believe when I was asked to play. ‘I thought it was a joke. I had dialogue with him before and he said, ‘I’m not anti-gay, I want you to come, bring David.’ My goal is for Rush to say, ‘I support civil partnerships,’ and if I rang him right now, I think he might agree. He was one of the first people to congratulate us on the baby.’”
Bonus - a few thoughts on Eminem
"I love him. He’s worked really hard at sobriety and it’s changed him so much. We have such a laugh. We call each other c**ts. I ask him how he's doing and tell him how proud I am of him. He’s got a great sense of humor. When David and I had our civil partnership, he sent us a present. In a case, on velvet cushions, were two diamond cock rings. So there’s a homophobe for you [laughs].”
Mixtapes Update: Still working on Sugar and Poison 2 and Last of the Red Hot Wacos. Mixtapes posted to date:
Louis Jordan: Moe Pie Please: Louis Jordan Feeds His Face
Jimi Hendrix: Live
'90s Dance Mix
Gimme Indie Rock Vol. 2
The Bonnie Raitt Collection
Comments and suggestions always welcome. More to come....
Cam, I read your list too fast. For a second there, I thought the 3rd one down on the list was by Japad Fair. No? Japad Fair and Half Japadnese? Well, we'll ask him when he wakes up.
OK, it's never a good idea to come back in after Xgau, but as promised, these are EPs I love that aren’t on any of Xgau’s lists that I am aware of—either graded EPs or in top 10 lists. In fact, I’m not sure that any of these have been mentioned in any way at all. There must be errors, and if I tried harder I could probably double if not triple the list of recommended EPs that meet these criteria. No particular order, although Ratcat and Jason are special faves.
Ride- Vapour Trails
Grant McLennan- Live Last Monday (Clouds plus She’s So Strange)
Jad Fair- Zombies of Mora Tau
Jason and the Scorchers- Reckless Country Soul
Meow (Neko Case! On drums!)
Motorhead/Girlschool- St. Valentine’s Day
The Breeders- Head to Toe
The Clean- In-A-Live
Built to Spill- Caustic Resin
Buzzcocks- Spiral Scratch
Life Without Buildings- Love Trinity
In addition, can I do a psychedelic handstand for the bonus EP that came with One Nation Under A Groove? Whoever mentioned Mesopotamia should check out the original David Byrne mix, which I’ve never understood why the kitsch band of my dreams turned away from. And, I know Xgau mentioned it somewhere along the way, but I want to make sure we are all aware of Chilton’s Singer Not The Song. His completely preventable death saddens me as much as his apparent late life satisfaction warms my soul.
The Mountain Goats - Yam, King of the Crops
My Bloody Valentine - Tremolo
The Nerves - s/t
Pavement - Spit On A Stranger
Shellac - The Rude Gesture (A Pictorial History)
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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