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
Last night's Ar an Imeall is now at http://i.mixcloud.com/CB6OUk
More music from 1972, may be of interest to gdash and Ryan. Several examples of playground songs from the Children of St Mary's Primary School, Divis, Belfast, recorded by poet David Hammond and available on the album Green Peas and Barley-O. Elsewhere: The King, The Stones, John Prine, Loudon Wainwright III, Merle Haggard, Tom T Hall, Dolly Parton, Grin, Morris On, Fairport Convention, Rod Stewart, Randy Newman, Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Al Green, Stevie Wonder. Inspirational verse from Dolly: "I've seen Mama laying and suffering in sickness in need of a doctor we couldn't afford"
Total number of tattoos on the arms of both lead singers times percentage of stage time male lead singer wears his glasses on top of his head times the sum of the number of pedal steel players the band has plus the number of bald headed bass players the band has, that total cubed and then divided by the number of drummers. That whole total multiplied by 1 if the phrase "The way you looked at the fair" is uttered, and by 0 if it is not.
I thought everybody knew that.
Six years and one week ago the formula was slightly different -- Percentage of female band members times the number of times one lead singer sang the words "Call the doctor" while the other lead singer screamed/shouted times the combined average number of notes the lead singers played on their dual lead guitars in any one song divided by the number of drummers in the band. That whole total divided by the number of bass players so that if, by chance, the band had none the final result would be infinity.
Well said Jacob, just wait til' Che disses Joni Mitchell. Then we'll really see your nasty side.
OK, I got The Rough Guide to Highlife today and have a question regarding Track 2.
Towards the end, at around 4:50, there's either a "sound effect" on the record, or my CD has a small "skip".
Any one else hear this?
"Che," me pappy said, "man who makes an assertion, without making an argument, ain't worth a warm bucket of duck urine." A wise man, me pappy. Though at the time I didn't even know ducks had to pee. Thought they just recycled it. Point is, nothing shuts people up faster than saying those two magic words: Prove it.
"Best rock band in America." Prove it. Can't? Then it's just flackery.
Hark, the deafening silence.
Since nobody else seems to have not-seen this any less than I have, I will only offer the rather snobbish notion that since I've see Fela there's no reason to see "Fela!" -- as I've said, one of the supreme unreleased-forever tracks is Fela's rant about his posthumous popularity.
I thought the soundtrack was a bit, um, er, whitewashed (and not good for Anitbalas, though that could be shortsighted) and that half-punting his sexism undermined his liberation message. Still, I'm glad the play exists to the max and thought Fela deserved the due.
Wussy at AMPLYFi, L.A.: Would you believe that the best rock band in America (according to no less an authority than Robert Christgau, the Dean of American Rock Critics himself, here), unable to get its own L.A. club booking, appeared smack in the middle of a bill at an all-ages venue off an alley in back of the Happy Days-style Astroburger drive-through on Melrose next to the Paramount lot before a crowd that couldn’t have numbered more than 50 in a space the size of a suburban rec room? Well, me neither, but this was the first L.A. appearance for the Cincinnati-based band—fronted by former **** Ponys lead singer Chuck Cleaver and his ex-wife Lisa Walker—after five full-length albums and an EP since 2005. After rolling up in their van, the group posed for pictures with a blogger, then took the stage at precisely 9 p.m., apologizing for the lack of banter, better to squeeze in 10 songs in the half-hour they were allotted, starting with a mesmerizing “Funeral Dress” from the album of the same name, then into “Pulverized” and “Mountain of Tires” from their most recent effort, Strawberry. Within seconds, I was transported back in time 36 years ago, when I first saw Television at CBGB, camped myself in front of the stage with a big, ****-eating grin, luxuriating in the lush sound and indelible melodies, this cross between vintage X and Richard and Linda Thompson. Cleaver and Walker exchanged one-liners like they were arguing in the bedroom, with the rest of us eavesdroppers, the maelstrom given a plaintive country edge thanks to John Erhardt’s sawing pedal steel. The ethereal “Pizza King” gives way to the back-and-forth “Airborne” (“You love me but you really don’t love me”), the cathartic “Waiting Room,” with its almost unbearably intimate memories (Walker sings, “It’s funny what you do, do to get my goat/Well honey you’re the pain and the antidote,” only to have Cleaver respond: “I remember puking down the side of the car/The cost of drinking liquor from the mouth of jar”). By the time they got to the closing “Rigor Mortis,” the lucky gathering wouldn’t let them leave even as they reluctantly gave way to the fourth of five bands still scheduled to play that evening. “I will sling the epithets at everyone but you,” wails Walker over a grungy roiling beat that grabs like an undertow, the set suddenly over, but the room still vibrating as the band begins to pack up their gear and load up the van for another stop, leaving us all blown away by what we’d just seen and heard. It might’ve been just another night for Wussy, but one to remember for those of us lucky to be there with the best band in America.
I see the Broadway show Fela! is coming back. I missed it first time around. Worth seeing? I've heard mixed reviews. Anyone?
Which then reminds me how much I liked the Lee Ranaldo album. That's probably more what you were asking about. It's been a while since I played it so I need to go back and revisit it next week. It was a clear Top Ten for the year the last I checked.
But sheesh, can't discussions go more toward music? What are bands that makes sense out of sound? What are bands that are more sound than sense? If by "sense" I mean lyrics what does that mean? Not dumb questions or topics, sez me.
Artie [in "Larry Sanders Show"]:
"there's not a whole world of difference between your argument and the one I hear at work all the time"
the f*ck there isn't.
This blogging stuff is exhausting; I don't know how you guys do it.
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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