Odds and Ends 017
The young(ish) songwriters, pop/rock division
JD McPherson: Signs & Signifiers (Rounder/Histyle)
Reformed Oklahoma art teacher nails rockabilly originals like he's writing haikus ("North Side Gal," "Signs & Signifiers") ***
John Mayer: Born and Raised (Columbia)
Grammy-crushing craftsmen can be damned good at saying something in 80 words or thereabouts‑-say 61, or 116 ("Love Is a Verb," "Speak for Me") ***
Jens Lekman: I Know What Love Isn't (Secretly Canadian)\
Lost affair leaves him mooning, melodic as ever but too crestfallen to do anything about it ("The World Moves On," "The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love") ***
M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion (Merge)
Sad singer-songwriter loses his marbles one marble at a time‑-says so himself ("Primitive Girl," "Clean Slate (For Alex and El Goodo") **
Roxanne Potvin: Play (Black Hen)
Clean-cut Canadienne tops shows of intelligence with novelty cover ("I'm Too Sexy," "Barricades") **
Stew & the Negro Problem: Making It (TNP)
Back to writing show-tunes-sans-show‑-rock and roll show tunes, sometimes, but always set pieces ("Black Men Ski," "Speed") **
Carsie Blanton: Idiot Heart (Carsie Blanton)
Clever gal will sell you impeccably catchy collection of coy songs about her sexual peccadillos for whatever you think they're worth ("Chicken," "Little Death") **
Carole King: The Legendary Demos (Rockingale/Hear Music)
Just '60s reference tracks, many piano-only, but the young mother sings the words, especially the ones she didn't write, with such innocence and hope ("Take Good Care of My Baby," "So Goes Love") *
Michael, Neil Young is a great artist and a great crackpot. If he had his way, Chief Running Sore would be president and we'd all be wearing moccasins, riding mules, toking whacky tobacy all day. So I admit to ignoring chatter about him and his pal Steve Jobs conspiring to make the world safe for audiophiles. Until now. Don't know what claims he makes for Pono in WAGING HEAVY PEACE, but the reporting done by James Trew, Jared Newman, John Biggs, Chris Davies, and Duncan Geere certainly raises hopes. If it's not a pipe dream, it might be something classical, jazz, pop and every other kind of recorded music fan can join hands on.
a quick public service announcement from Jamrag Records:
so remember when Cam said: “I gave each of [the members of Wussy] an EW-related gift (about which you’ll hear more later) that totally blew their minds and led into a discussion about our host and EW”? Remember?
well this is that gift, and it’s probably not quite what you expected.
after seven months of (extremely lazy) toiling, seven Witnesses (in order of appearance: Joey the D, Dr. Cam, Dan “Freelance Hellraiser” Weiss, me, Jacob Swift-Bailis, Juan “jcarru” Carruyo & Minister Gubbels), with immeasurable assistance from brilliant actual female person KT Lindemann and an aes-tot you may know about named Mingus, have finally finished constructing this outsider art tribute to seven years of Wussylove – dubbed by Jason “a perfect combination of reverence and ****-all”. Damn straight.
it is with semicompromised pride that I present to you the first full-length example of the fleeting craze ‘EW-rock’...
FUNERAL DRESS III: goo.gl/qQ6Zb
Dan, the cat behind the quip that engendered the concept, drew up a guide for yez:
airborne is joey and kt
funeral dress and don't leave just now are cam
soak it up is me
shunt is cam and ryan
conversation lags is jacob
humanbrained horse and motorcycle are ryan
crooked and bought it again are juan
yellow cotton dress is jason and his son
in addition to Wussy (who have officially bumped it up to Funeral Dress II), it has also been pitched, with love and apologies, in the direction of preeminent Wussy proponents Carola and Robert (who are no longer speaking to us). Despite a decent surprise showing (#87!) on the Kiwi R&B charts, it is humble work. But we hope you think it’s cute.
Since I'm not sufficiently qualified to know the diff between the two, and certainly not qualified to go on the record about Christgauvian mistakes of all things, I'm rolling it all into one big ball called "Things I Play A Lot And Have For Long, Long Time; Loved Them Then And Love Them Now aka Meanwhile, I Was St-i-i-i-i-l-l Thinkin'"
and 3 not reviewed.
Chronologically they go 70, 73, 76, 77, 78, 78, 81, 83, 98, 06. I was born in 1950. The obvious mathematical conclusion (6 before I turned 30) is also tied to Christgau access, Christgau commitment (my commitment to his work, meaning, not some reflection on him) and some elements of what is frequently called personal maturity, although any list of the greatest rockandroll songs of all time that doesn't include "Hot Rails to Hell" is flawed by def'n, imho.
If someone told me the XX were playing tonight-a few subway stops where I attempted
to grow up- in the Bronx-I'd tell them bllsht. But it's true.
As regards Robert Christgau's review of Pete Townshends autobiography
in this Sundays' NY Times-buy the freakin' paper will ya please. The
newspaper industry needs all the help it can get. Jeez.
And as for Carole King, I'm just glad to see her on a "young(ish)" list again.
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.