An Horse/PJ Harvey
There'll Always Be an Australia‑-Also a Canada
An Horse: Walls (Mom + Pop)
"You get up when I go to sleep/But that's just me and geography," expostulates Aussie expat Kate Cooper, who's now migrated to Montreal, at Aussie pat Damon Cox, currently situated in Melbourne, and to cover the distance she strums furiously as he barrages his kit. First emailed across the seas, then finalized in Vancouver, their music is to pop as hardcore is to punk, with the Joey Ramone fillip of Cooper's bizarre pronunciation. Search me whether they really say "Yaw hawt it seems just foine" down Brisbane way. Believe me when I say it's a hook even if they don't. B PLUS
PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (Vagrant)
Polly Jean Harvey was major when she meant to shake the world, a life project she gave up on after releasing her finest album in 2000‑-much of it set, as must be mere coincidence, in New York City. Creating a suite of well-turned if unnecessarily understated antiwar songs, she's a gifted, strong-willed minor artist bent on shaking England in particular. How much that work enriches anyone's understanding of World War I is open to a debate too niggling to pursue. What's certain is that her special interest in the Great War reflects the changing contours of her chosen chauvinism no less than her evolution from the rough-hewn Howlin Wolf she absorbed in downhome Dorsetshire toward the dulcet clarity of Lancashire's prog-folk Annie Haslam. "I live and die/through England/I live and die/through England"? You said it, lady‑-twice. B PLUS
And so now I must ask also, what do you think of the new Ben Allison
Chris, "Thought control" is your term, not mine. And of course echo-chamber thinking happens on the right as well as the left, though why you believe it happens more on the right I couldn't guess.
Congrats on reading Reason, a truly mind-expanding publication. But when you characterize Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks as reasonable, supposedly confirming your openness to right-of-center views, you may not leave the impression you intend.
Anyway, my goal is not to tell anyone they should do or believe anything in particular, but to point out the echo chamber that many of the comments here (and hardly just here) demonstrate their writers live in. It's something I strive against myself, and much of the time I probably fall short too. Nonetheless, my own bias is that the more a person exposes herself to diversity of viewpoint, and does so in good faith, the richer her experience becomes. Not to mention that whole "well-informed citizenry" thing. Thanks for engaging in the discussion.
Excellent site Christopher! Tons of content, you obviously put a lot of time/effort/passion into it. I'm glad to have it now and will mine its many veins when I can. I like the look and feel quite a bit I must say.
And so now I must ask also, what do you think of the new Ben Allison?
Yeah, I have to say the current critical take on the new Lupe is pretty disappointing, though Lupe isn't helping by dissing the record in interviews. (You should definitely check out that Complex interview I mentioned, though in my column I hit the high spots.) Your thanks should go to Tom, who brought it to my attention (though I'd like to think I would have gotten there eventually!).
(I could go on and on, but nobody wants that and it's bedtime for me. Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday!)
Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life
The 1961 book that put snowmen on the map, so to speak, all over the world. Read all you can by Sanderson -- he's like Frank Buck but with more humor and a better education, except less glamorous assignments;.
(Here's a real secret tip, folks -- Sanderson's description of Living Mammals of the World is one of the great nature books. His wacky loving attitude toward animals either gets you or it doesn't, but it was in place before '60s smarm. Get a copy and pass it on.)
Bernard Heuvelmans, On the Track of Unknown Animals
The basic text. Definitive, but -- Hard slog. Felicitous prose style was an undiscovered animal.
Richard Ellis, Monsters of the Deep
The mother lode of info. Writing does not plumb the depths.
Ryan: All the best!
You're probably the perfect age to experience Tunnel of Love properly now!!
Milo -- I don't know if you like/dislike Carl Sagan, but his Demon Haunted World is one of my favorite books about skepticism/debunking pseudoscience.
Ryan -- Happy Birthday!
Joey -- Haven't read your piece yet, but I've already pulled my copy of Layla off the shelf in preparation.
Consider the time and the media reporting on this. Something very uncommon but mundane is the best answer.
Record-collecting revelation of the day. I must have been 18 or 19 years old when I first got hold of Xgau's CG70s book. I dutifully picked up as much of the "Basic Rock & Roll Library" including all the '50s singles (boy that was fun). It wasn't until years later that I realized I should probably check out those compilations of '50s music that Xgau recommended in the intro to the BR&R Library, namely 18 King Size Rhythm & Blue**** and Echoes of a Rock Era and Atlantic's History of Rhythm & Blues, Vol. 3, and You Must Remember These and Golden Goodies and American Graffiti. Well, ok, American Graffiti I already had, and the cheap Echoes of a Rock Era double too. So I picked up 18 King Size Rhythm & Blue**** and Atlantic's History of Rhythm & Blues Vol 3 and filed them away, but never really got into them. Well, ok, the Atlantic was pretty great but there was so much duplication on it that I didn't play it much. But the 1968 Columbia comp 18 King Size Rhythm & Blue**** album - not sure why but I didn't get into it then. Ended up selling it when I was purging vinyl years ago as I did have some of it on other CD comps. But checking out the track listing again now, I only have 6 of the 18 tracks in my collection. So I burned a copy of the album onto CD and it's fantastic. Perhaps I was too young to appreciate it at the time, but it's killer. Too bad it was never reissued on CD itself. Highly recommended. Tracklist available online, but I'm not sure which part of Sonny THompson's Long Gone is used - Part 1 or Part 2. Also looking online to no avail for a quality scan of the front cover (back too if out there).
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.
live local music on
Enter your ZIP code to see concerts happening in your area.
Data provided by Zvents