Battles/Archie Bronson Outfit
Genrefication Minus One
Take the title literally. The prospect of touring having proved too much for leader-keyboardist Tyondai Braxton, out go the castrati choruses, the precision interlocks, the neatness that is the curse of math-rock. Instead, general pitch levels drop while the drums explode. "Like a car wreck, only in tune," I heard one guy puzzle as he left a show that revved up all the consequent incommensurabilities even further. So much better than a Ferrari that never needs a tune-up, muse I. In the studio they're less accident prone, and they still tintinnabulate some. But now they also grunt. A MINUS
Archie Bronson Outfit: Coconut (Domino)
This strange album features a nuevo garage trio who got signed after playing the local of a Domino honcho. Leading with the lasciviously macho "Cherry Lips," their 2006 album swore fealty to the garage-revival ethos, but though Time Out! and Mojo liked its testes, sales did not ensue. So in 2010 they handed production to a DFA honcho. At their best‑-namely, the echoing hypno-raves "Magnetic Warrior" and "Wild Strawberries"‑-they now sound like the Seeds turning into Joy Division after somebody spiked their hash with MDA. Admittedly, they do occasionally get embarrassed and try to respect their roots‑-the garage kind, and even the roots kind. One way or the other, however, the singer's buried so deep you couldn't figure out what he was saying if you cared, which you don't. 'Course, sales did not ensue this time either. B PLUS
I think Burst Apart is receiving near universal acclaim, so I'm clearly in the minority on this one. Which may well mean I'm wrong.
Got the Chi-Lites CD I ordered used online today:
The Chi-Lites: Greatest Hits (Epic 1983) CD
Appears to be a straight reissue of the 1983 album that Xgau recommended in ACN at the time stating it was an improvement over the 1972 Brunswick Greatest Hits LP.
Only 10 tracks - but they are the very best - including "I'm Ready If I Don't Get to Go"
1. Have You Seen Her
2. For God's Sake Give More Power..
3. Stoned out of my Mind
4. Oh Girl
5. Lonely Man
6. Coldest Days of My Life Part 1
7. I'm Ready ...
8. Homely Girl
9. A Letter to Myself
10. We are Neighbors
check out Milo Miles's review of the Elvis Is Back! reissue at npr.org.Thanks, Jacob. For whatever reason, I usually cannot bring myself to plug my own stuff. I would only ask that, when folks check out radio material, if possible you do it the way it was intended to be apprehended -- as a spoken piece. I'm not particularly fond of the way the scripts read on the page.
I also dig Vol. 2 of Kristian Bezuidenhout's Mozart: Keyboard Music series on Harmonia Mundi. Yeah, I know... But seriously, check it out. It's quick and light and the fortepiano provides a more abrasive, tinny tone than a lush piano performance would give. I like it. But I like Mozart. (I'm not a classical snob! I swear!)
For Christgau picks, I'll reorder them like this: so far I've really enjoyed Stampfel & Lewis, and play Those Darlins, and Rainbow Arabia a lot. Simon and Tune-Yards are both really beautiful, but I don't throw them on as much as I expected that I would. My wife and I also play the Hayes Carll a lot, but we're a Hayes Carll kind of house; we played out the last one.
I'd like to add that, though I don't hate the new Lucinda Williams album, I am getting sick of the recent way in which she interprets her lyrics and melodies. It's like she's trying to pull expression and emotion out of lines and melodies that just don't have a lot of expression or emotion in them. But maybe something will break through for me. That's what's nice about loving music in the 21st century--we can listen to it over and over again whenever we want.
Might not be for a while, though, because at the moment I just want to play the McGarrigle box over and over.
Oh, and my favorite songs on Burst Apart seem to have the titles that get you guys laughing, so check this one out: "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out."
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.