Then Oases, Now Encampments
Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)
Of all the Saharan musicians to surface in the past decade‑-more than any American could have figured, and more than any non-Saharan has much practical use for‑-this three-man Tinariwen spinoff are the catchiest and most hypnotic. Stay with them a few hours and their every tune will stake a claim as both your trusted companion and the music's reason for being. Stated solo and then reprised in chorus, each is repeated by Diara or Sanou's no-nonsense guitar, supported by Abdallah's trickier bass, and nicely embellished by fourth-wheel French percussionist Matthias Vaguenez. Sanou sings roughly, Diara sweetly, but ample translations revisit the familiar concerns of the once-nomadic Tuaregs: "freedom" and cultural unity to counteract the displacements of African nationalism. It's the music of wise elders, and of restless men economically dependent on a skill that would have meant less to them in better times they still yearn for.
Tinariwen: Tassili (Anti-)
The first Saharans to break internationally are forbidding even by the sere standards of the region. But they calm rather than mesmerize, which together with some subtly shameless showmanship helps sell them to peace-out types. Having found 2009's widely praised and supposedly "traditional" Imidiwan too lulling by half, which may be because I joined the caravan before Pitchfork and Entertainment Weekly and is definitely because they should rock out a little, I was disappointed to learn that this one is where they abandon electric guitars. But since there's never been any Agadez ax-god abandon about headman Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, the difference is marginal, especially given the help they've gathered on their first album for Epitaph's alt-trad label: Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone on guitar and/or vocals on five of the 12 tracks, Dirty Dozen Brass Band on a sixth. The collaborations are subtle but telling, as are Alhabib's deep melodies. Not "desert blues." Sadder than blues‑-too sad to be merely calming. A MINUS
A couple of comments from the house curmudgeonUs curmudgeons prefer the term "dissident reality-checkers." Still, you have a point, and it's (needless to say) a thankless role, one that gets to be less and less fun.
The alternatives are, first, dishonesty -- a fate worse than living death. Second is to work on, like they say, "disagreeing without being disagreeable." Sounds reasonable -- on the surface. Odd, though, it's never coupled with "agree without being fervent." Usually the opposite -- "agree with passion, disagree with diffidence." To me, sounds too much like "cheerleading accepted, wave-making denounced." The third option is to start packing. A good idea whenever I sense what I call the Backpat Circle is kicking into higher gear. I'm a slow packer, but I've started.
"But the idea is to provoke and persuade, not to soothe. And the best way to make an argument is to make it, straightforwardly, honestly, passionately, without regard to whether people will like you afterward.“Now yer talkin'. I gather that Alex directed some pointed comments at me, but since I usually skip his posts, I would suggest his doing the same to mine might be a wise course. Somebody suggested I showed contempt for people posting in EW. You can't show contempt for somebody you don't know. I can find some comments contemptible, no problem. But "I and my posts are one" is another pernicious modern misapprehension.
As to my last comment. If your leader seems determined to go into a gunfight armed with a velvet glove, maybe it's time for his supporters to get more militant.
I must, however, remind myself (again) to not read political blogs and comments while I'm posting anywhere else. Does nothing for my mood.
Finally, I'd like to thank Cyclops for mentioning Scrawl, a band I've always liked a lot, which reminded me I'd never gotten a copy of Nature Film, which is quite their finest work. So, thanks.
I've been reading over everything after a few days of absence and I've just got to say you people are completely freaking ridiculous.Flattery will get you nowhere.
I've been reading over everything after a few days of absence and I've just got to say you people are completely freaking ridiculous.
Ron Paul is our saviour! *Shoots lasers from eyes.
You got itI say, "Meh" to paying. I'm previewing my all time favorite Pavement album right now in expanded format...Sordid Sentinels Edition before I plunk down some shekels for it . Wowee Zowee indeed!
Patrick-- That's 20 minutes of my life i'll never recoup.
*edit* BTW you can stream ELP's Tarkus right now too*L* That's where I was listening to it the other day!
I'm sort of catching up in reverse right now and you have no idea how much this threw me off.
Joey R. (walks in room): Hey guys, what about my song “Doreen Is Never Boring”?
Johnny: ****, you’ve been pushing that song down our throats for 10 years. No way we are doing a love song. Especially since it’s about my wife. ****.
(Joey storms out of room, door slams. Five minutes later, door opens, Joey marches into room.)
Joey: Hey guys, what about my song “Touring Is Never Boring”?
Johnny: Rock and roll!
Just listened to Tinariwen. Great night music.
*edit* BTW you can stream ELP's Tarkus right now too.
Actually Blair, as I don't have to tell you, WWII was started by Nazi Germany. Is your neighbor upset that we didn't let them take over the world?
Ask him if he was a fan of "America First."
The first thing we can do to stop this . . . is to put aside our own opinions temporarily and just listen to other people’s.
GMort- thanks for posting what you posted.
When I was home in southern Delaware for a wedding I was ganged up on by some local men (one of them a neighbor of my family for 20+ years) for being too liberal and such. Because my mother was at the table -- she also lives and interacts with them on a daily basis --I kept most of my opinions to a minimum.
Though, when I mentioned Bush II and the last two wars, they fired up and my neighbor cried out, "Listen here, banjo! World War I and World War II were started by democrats!!" I completely backed out from that point onward and listened. I did learn about them more so than had I retorted with what was stewing in my head at that moment. Plus, I really couldn't take offense at being called "banjo."
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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