Odds and Ends 002
Notes for a Revised Paleontology
Wilco: The Whole Love (Anti-)
Full-on Radiohead electronica Americanized with aw-shucks diffidence, red-blooded guitar, sharp tunes, and exceptionally dull poetry ("Standing O," "One Sunday Morning") ***
The Mountain Goats: All Eternals Deck (Merge)
Four great songs, all of which address mortality directly instead of implying it the way the nine merely ambitious ones do ("Estate Sale Sign," "For Charles Bronson," "Sourdoire Valley Song," "Beautiful Gas Mask") ***
Radiohead: The King of Limbs (XL/TBD)
So much more fun than Eno these days ("Little by Little," "Bloom") **
Comet Gain: Howl of the Lonely Crowd (What's Your Rupture?)
Desperate times catch up with desperate punk love poetry ("Clang of the Concrete Swans," "Ballad of Frankie Machine") **
Giant Sand: Blurry Blue Mountain (Fire)
With nothing much at stake but the shape of his life, Howe Gelb keeps his slow hand in ("Fields of Green," "Better Man Than Me") **
Faust: Something Dirty (Bureau B)
Synth-free after lo these many decades, their experiments have more oomph, especially the Hawkwind homages ("Tell the Bitch to Go Home," "Dampfauslass 2") **
Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)
Even formalists get the grays--well, especially formalists ("Bad Worn Thing," "Please Take") **
New York Dolls: Dancing Backwards in High Heels (429)
Weary blues from trying ("Talk to Me Baby," "End of the Summer") *
Joe Y: My copy of Day By Day, by E. T. Mensah, has orange-colored paperwork. The CD is green. The booklet gives a London, UK address (26 Gassiot Road, SW 17) for RetroAfric. This UK address is also on the CD, but the CD also says "Made in Germany" - I presume the physical CD was manufactured in Germany.
The horn players are sitting in a picture on the cover of the CD booklet. There are 15 tracks. This is also identified as "RETRO3CD", released in 1991.
(It would be nice if Xgau also provided this much info about what he reviews. (Just kidding!!! JUST KIDDING!!!))
Hope this helps. I took the occasion to reaquaint myself with E. T. Mensah, and I'm currently listening to it. My initial thought is that it's a Latin / Calypso sound similar (and influential) to Ochestra Baobab.
Chris: Order of preference pertains in both O&E entries and will continue to do so. Would probably prefer to lay it out with one pick and top and two centered side-by-side halfway down, but can't figure out how.
trapped in snow for ten months of the year
still no mekons . . .. . . and today would have been the perfect day. (Scratches head. Plays Black Stars. Forgets Mekons.)
Without Johnny and Jerry, a compleat comeback wasn't possible, but they deserved some kind of curtain call. Now it's over. Only honest title available for the future: Too Little, Too Late.
early Stones and Dylan's first are so heavy on covers that they would also presumably be eliminated
Keep in mind that the Dolls' second album is also "heavy on covers", though the Dolls' versions are probably better known by now than most of the originals.
the Faust/Hawkwind thing was written well before the relevant discussion here.
Also, I'm really enjoying the O&E poasts. They are quite fun and informative. I side with Chris M on the Wilco (Cline especially so) because I'm a fanatic of theirs and no poetry expert. They're more a band of sonics and sound than lyrics. But occasionally they capture lightning in a bottle with both. Goes to show a great band can cover up a lot but not everything.
But how do you think a Johnny/Jerry reformed Dolls would have sounded?
Since every answer to this is as worthwhile/worthless as every other, I don't think it's an interesting type of question.
However, it does give me yet another chance to plug one of the finest forgotten rock-and-roll books, Mark Shipper's Paperback Writer (1978 -- likely washed away in the wake of John Lennon's assassination). Says all that can be said about the yearning for band reunions and the (at best) ambiguous real-world results. Time's arrow can hit you in the heart.
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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