Fountains of Wayne/Stephin Merritt
Songs From Venus and Green Bay, Wisconsin
Fountains of Wayne: Sky Full of Holes (Yep Roc)
This leads mean, devastatingly so. The family who own "The Summer Place" is tragic and/or pathetic while "Richie and Ruben" and their "bar called Living Hell" are comic and/or repugnant, but both portraits feed off a dismay with the affluent professional world genius hookmeisters are privy to. Eventually the album warms up‑-"A Road Song," from a tour bus out of Green Bay, is the most touching love song yet from guys who've written more than you think, and "Workingman's Hands" dares Alan Jackson to cover it. What's missing is any sense of why these four songs are on the same album. Genius hookmeisters can do what they please, but here the genius has holes like the sky of the title, which were put there by a 21-gun salute it shouldn't have taken me 12 plays to notice. A MINUS
Stephin Merritt: Obscurities (Merge)
Nine seven-inches etc. plus five previously unreleaseds including three remnants of an abandoned musical obviously add up to an intentional hodgepodge. Still, I wonder whether the intention was to backload. I got dubious tracks four through eight, beginning with a faux Patsy Cline song that some find vrai and sounds like merde to me, only to be swept off my feet by Merritt thoughtfully intoning some little green men's "Song From Venus." Then there's the paranoid-robotic "When I'm Not Looking, You're Not There." It's just made for an arrangement that, according to Merritt, takes "random chord tones in random octaves, and hocket[s] them between dozens of instruments." A MINUS
Small also happens to be a wonderful person. I visited him and Neville in Spain several years ago and they were very gracious hosts. I was sorry to hear about Neville and hope that Small can carry on.
Here is her IMDB for those who are interested.Whoa, Britta Phillips is 5' 1"?? And 48 years-old?? That's it, she just got 10 times hotter.
Rod Stewart's Strip Actturns out, not as interesting a story as the side-bar title lead me to believe
I saw them do "Promised Land" (Springsteen, not Berry) at the Fillmore. It was great.
Now that's something that I'd like to know more about.
It's about the musicologist Christopher Small, who I wrote about in a Voice Rock & Roll & essay called "Thinking About Musicking" and later published a long interview with in Perfect Sound Forever. He's written three books: Music Society Education, Music of the Common Tongue, and Musicking, and I'm hoping that a few of you have read at least one of them. That's because he's very ill as well as bereaved by the death of his wonderful husband Neville Braithwaite, and a few of his close friends would like to cheer him up with testimonials from his many admirers. As my piece tries to explain, Small is a remarkable man who has changed lives. If he's affected yours, please post a few sentences (or more if you like) about him or his writing here and I'll compile them and send them along to Susan McClary, who is organizing this project.
So, the greatest artist of the past 20 years?"
Don't think I'd go that far (that Kanye guy is pretty good)
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.