A Place to Bury Strangers
What? Sex? I Can't Hear You. Sex?!
A Place to Bury Strangers: Worship (Dead Oceans)
With Oliver Ackermann a guitar effects tycoon first and a bandleader second, I hear them as an electronica outfit whose inhuman beat happens to be all volumized hard-rock boom-boom, only less funky than that stuff can get with sentient humans leaking flesh and blood on the tubs. What few words you can make out have the rare virtue of straightforwardness and are less miserabilist than you might fear‑-compelling sex in make-her-scream mode can cheer up a fella whose political-existential irrelevance is getting him down. But the album's logic is musical‑-even, plausibly, sexual. Beginning with a lyric whose faint eroticism is buried by the two-word theme statement "all alone," it works up to a provisional climax, tails to a lament followed by a dirge, and then explodes into overdrive: "Why I Can't Cry Anymore," Goth dread at its sanest and most desperate, followed by the breakneck rancor of "Revenge," presumably directed at the departed screamer. Lyrically, a dumb sequence‑-at least the two could have been reversed. Sonically, it's dynamite. A MINUS
A Place to Bury Strangers: Onwards to the Wall (Dead Oceans)
The placeholder EP is blunter and slighter than the album, two pieces of echoey roar fore and aft flanking a title song whose surprising "I'm still in love with you" is enunciated credibly and of all things breathily by‑-of all things‑-a goil. Alanna Nuala of Moon, to be precise. You know‑-Moon. Actually, neither do I. A MINUS
ris, agreed. I'd thought the Robertson quotation spoke for itself, but you proved me wrong, well said.
Jason, thanks for the Ann Powers article.
Thenk yew thenk yew, all (except, Walter -- I'm confused??? can't figure out what you are referring to??). (Bing Cosby, maybe? Was firmly not part of the Rat Pack. Not louche enough. But I have always good things to say about him as a singer. Not as a person -- pee-yew, as they would say in the parlance of his time..)
I think the format I would recommend for Dwight Twilley Band is the single-CD collection on Raven (Australia) that includes Sincerely/Twilley Don't Mind and four tracks of about the same vintage, never released until much later.
Here's the thing -- Dwight Twilley taught me about hitting a wall as a songwriter as much as anybody. Once Phil Seymour split, it was "what is this sh!t" from Twilley for the rest of time. That's why all the talk about "if only 'Shark (In the Dark)' had been released as a prompt follow-up to 'I'm on Fire' ..." doesn't resonate. Yeah, it's the coolest number you never heard by these guys (and it was rejected for the fish-brained reason that it might seem like a cash-in on Jaws, yargh), but Twilley had 20 top--notch numbers in him and that was it, man, it. So he might have had two or three hits instead of one. Ehh.
Ah, Kevin Coyne. Lessee what we got here on the funny-sized CD shelves ...
Siren, Ruffstuff (pre-Dandelion material from 1969 -- completists only: Coyne had yet to learn how to write his own songs in the manner of the blues rather than do oddball echoes of tradition).
Kevin Coyne with Siren, Dandelion Years 1969-1972 (half clunk sexism, half probes into the bent minds and withered lives he made his specialty -- standout is Case History, the final volume).
And finally, the one I recommend to established fans --
I Want My Crown: The Anthology 1973-1980
Anybody who complains they don't need two live versions of "Poor Swine" on Disc Four is not gonna get talked to.
Looks like David Lowery was optimistic.
Of course you now sent me to check the web to see how original I am on this reading of "ghosts of electricity" as being about electroshock. And I seen that not only is this a completely conventional reading (I'm ok with that. In the academic game we call that "parallel discovery") but there is also quite a bit of agreement that the line is about Edie Sedgwick and her particular experience with electroshock therapy.
Kevin Ayers type title on new Andy Sheppard/Trio Libero album, recommended by Jason recently, and which I've been enjoying: "Whereveryougoigotoo".
Well done to Ryan for the Bringing it All Back Home review, though it doesn't convert me to "Gates of Eden". Interesting ideas from gdash and Jeff Melnick about "Visions of Johanna" too - I always thought the "ghost of electricity" line was about a darkened room, people coming down after a party, with a neon light being reflected in someone's face, but the word "howls" always jarred with me.
Thanks to Greg for the AV link, interesting article.
Nick C, was there a booklet in your Mundo Civilisado? It looks like there's space for one but I didn't get it in mine. Nice packaging all right, Invoke is similar.
And have a safe trip, Bob.
Ryan, they're just having us on, that's not really the cover. It's not, really it's not, because
it couldn't be.
Since Ayers was more or less finished by the '80s, the proper time didn't arrive: neverdidseeareview.
Brief report about the Wussy show to follow up on Jon LaFollette’s generous remarks. It was a pleasure meeting Jon and his girlfriend. Jon is indeed younger, and also more handsome, than I had imagined (we are supposed to be a motley bunch, no?). (Jon is also right about Achtung Baby.)
Louisville is a sort of homecoming (notice how I did that?) for the band, being 100 miles from Cincinnati, so everyone except for Mark had their S.O. at the show. (That may explain why Mark and I spent about 90 minutes talking at the bar.) Mark is a lovely chatty guy, a schoolteacher during the day. He said that overall the tour was a big success from the band's perspective. He talked about all the sights they saw during the trip and how passionate the crowds were. He singled out 3 shows as letdowns (Dallas, Friday night’s Nashville show, and San Diego) but went on and on about the others, especially the Seattle and LA shows. He says they lost money on the tour (duh) but everyone was happy about it. He expects they will start working on the next album this winter.
The band were clearly in good spirits for the show. Lisa wasn’t above giving the crowd a hard time from the stage., and Mark was doing his best Springsteen moves (which my open tab can take some of the blame for). Overall the band was tighter than the show I saw in Cleveland. Pulverized, Motorcycle, Pizza King, and the Rigor Mortis encore were all standouts, but my favorite moment was Mark playing his accordion parts for Don’t Leave Just Now on his bass guitar. Overall, a band both worn out and rejuvenated by their tour. Lisa and Chuck are doing some shows in England later this year. Let’s home those go well and the whole band can do a European tour after the next album—who doesn’t think they deserve it?
Don’t Leave Just Now
Encore: Rigor Mortis
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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