Odds and Ends 016
The Young Songsters, Band Division
The Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)
Melodies you want to hear again for their shapes and harmonies alone, lyrics of discernible emotional import that include the cheerful verbal preset "that doesn't make any sense what you just said" ("Maybe That Was It," "Dance for You") ***
The D.A.: You Kids! (self-released)
Driving, melodic, engaged, humane, disillusioned v-k-g-b-d-trumpet from El Paso, which emerges as one of the cities David Byrne ended up living in ("We Hungry," "Orange & Black") ***
Leland Sundries: The Foundry EP (L'Echiquier)
Not Lou meets Leonard, children, Eef meets Jonathan, and just as dark and droll ("Giving Up Redheads," "Apparition") **
The Soft Pack: Strapped (Mexican Summer)
Out on their own, g-g-b-d survey the song-friendly precincts of the big wide indie-rock world and try a little of this and a little of that ("Saratoga," "Bound to Fall") **
Carolina Chocolate Drops: Leaving Eden (Nonesuch)
Novelty revivals yes, theme statements no‑-please, I'm begging, no-o-o-o ("Boodle-De-Bum-Bum," "Ruby, Are You Mad at Your Man?") **
Swearin': Swearin' (Salinas)
As her sister Katie toegazes with her Waxahatchie side project/one-off, Allison Crutchfield dons the grrrl-punk mantle with less musical, verbal, and vocal distinctness ("Movie Star," "Hundreds and Thousands") **
The Very Best: MTMTMK (Moshi Moshi)
They'd be better off not being Bloc Party if they didn't wish they were ("Rumbae," "We OK") *
Phineas and the Lonely Leaves: The Kids We Used to Be (lonelyleaves.com)
Memories of a Dutchess County puberty ("Come Back to Peekskill," "The Bros. of Summer") *
My Liberace Museum Xmas-tree ornament is doing just fine, as is the Elvis-themed diner-style napkin dispenser from the defunct Elvis Museum, thenkyou, thenkyou, thenkyou verra much.
Billed as the second best outside of Graceland, it wasn't much of a much. The Plain Dude supermuscle limo-car he had before the marvels at Graceland was fascinating. There were other trinkets. You had to pay extra to hear the Elvis imitators. Oh, man. Place got burglarized, which led to the downfall. We can't go on together with suspicious bottom lines.
Nice (and kind of sad) part of Neil's book is page 45 when he talks about Bruce losing Clarence and him Ben Keith, and how there's like an empty place where their parts were; they are irreplaceable personally but musically also: "Those parts are not going to happen again. They already did. That takes away a lot of our repertoires."
Gary Johnson for Pres.
Indeed. There's a sad footnote, though. The Liberace Museum, which ends the essay on a note of triumph with its grand opening, shut down in 2010. Two big problems: it was built on land Liberace owned, but it was out in the middle of nowhere, a good ways from the big Vegas action (this was also a liability for the Elvis Museum in Vegas, which likewise closed); the museum undertook an expensive renovation/expansion with exquisitely bad timing just before the economy hit the dirt. A shame -- the revamped place was as glam and glory as anybody could want.
"Air Guitar is a better book than I Lost It at the Movies, Against Interpretation, or, sh!t, Grown Up All Wrong. "
Peter Schjeldahl's Let's See: Writings on Art also belongs in that stellar company...
Somehow I did not know this. That sux -- thought that teaching gig was one of the rare examples of just rewards in the arts-writing world.
Air Guitar is a better book than I Lost It at the Movies, Against Interpretation, or, sh!t, Grown Up All Wrong. See the LA Times review I wrote on my site. When I taught it at Princeton, several students said their lives were changed. Hickey hasn't been tenured at UNLV for years and currently resides in Albuquerque. Politically he's kind of a centrist Democrat only ten times smarter and less predictable, as he is about everything. He looks like he should play a deputy sheriff in Hud.
The Yankees, of course, are the GOP of MLB. They use their built-in financial advantages to keep others locked out of the post-season and lure away talent from less wealthy teams. Trickle-up economics in action. (The Red Sox are hardly better for that matter.) So go ahead and hate my Rangers--I sure do today--but don't pretend for a second that the Yanks are somehow morally superior.
Now the A's? I'd love 'em if they weren't in the AL West, and will root hard for them when (not if, I fear) the Rangers are knocked out.
"New Dylan album-much better than a B+."
I concur. But only if you skip the last two songs.
so please don't kill me because I've always wondered something.
Is Greil pronounced as grail, greel or greil ( rhymes with style and "Heil!")
And Dawg-gonnit, I've been inspired to finally pick up his very vintage collection of short stories, *Prior Convictions.*
"I had a similar experience to Milo's re seeing The Corin Tucker Band, in that their CD sounded even better after seeing their show."
Yeah, to reiterate, for me the effect of shows on albums has been contained though coherent:
An album I like already can sound better after a good performance
A good performance can make me give an album I can't decide about a serious second chance
A lousy performance does not drag down an album I like already -- the more humane conclusion is that the performers can't bring the recording to life just yet, or that they had an off night.
Finally -- and this is the one that drives PR people crazy -- I have never had a strong performance change my mind about an album I truly did not like -- the more sane conclusion is that the performers can't translate the stage to the studio just yet. The PR pitch is strictly a one-way avenue: if you like the show, the album is better than you think; if you don't like the show, well, they just had a bad night.
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.