Odds and Ends 033
Women of the world
One of our finer big-guitar bands‑-and without a hint of macho, including the "ironic" kind in which cred-hungry young horndogs camouflage their ignorance of history ("Mayhem," "D.I.Y.") ***
Mariem Hassan: Shouka (Nubenegra)
Sahrawi powerhouse finds new Sahrawi guitarist and rides the haul music they share as hard as she can‑-for non-Sahrawis, maybe a little too hard ("Maatal-La," "Haiyu") ***
Kiran Ahluwalia: Aam Zamen: Common Ground (Avokado Artists)
Pan-global chanteuse clothes her fine sentiments in grooves that hail from Islamabad and Timbuktu too, and picks up momentum along the way ("Mustt Mustt [Extended]," "Zindagi") ***
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito (Interscope)
Compelling sound, constricted souls, Kool Keith, and cash flow ("Mosquito," "Sacrilege") ***
Anaïs Mitchell: Hadestown (Righteous Babe)
Classically-themed new-folkie operetta lets Mitchell warble her some Euridice, Greg Brown dig deep into Hades, and Justin Vernon spare Orpheus his falsetto ("Wedding Song," "Way Down Hadestown") **
Nikki Lane: Walk of Shame (IAmSound)
Greenville, South Carolina, rebel learns what she means by country music in LA, NYC, and at long last Nashville ("Walk of Shame," "Gone, Gone, Gone") **
Bahar Movahed & Ali Akbar Moradi: Goblet of Eternal Light: Maqams of Kurdish Tanbour Music of Iran (Traditional Crossroads)
Ayatollahs or no ayatollahs, she will too sing these devotional love songs ("Beloved," "The Desire of Union") **
Lana Del Rey: Paradise (Interscope)
Continues to project a hedonistic lassitude and desperate edge you wish you could warn your buddy off ("American," "Body Electric") **
Are you still hanging tough with The Oblivians? I got it in the mail last week and after 4 or 5 plays, have it down as "Undistinguished. Fast and cheap is fun the first time but wears out quickly." I do like the threesome that goes "Call the Police" (which you mentioned hearing live), "Woke Up In A Police Car", and the improbably childish "Pinball King". And I like the fact that one song sounds like The Ramones and one like it's from *Pink Flag* and one from The Stooges and one from The Standells. And for a minute there I thought that would pull me over the top. Give them credit for keepin' on keepin' on, and I bet if I knew them personally I'd like the record better. You?
Up too late already and lurking too long --- Low A MINUS for Bettie Serveert, low B PLUS for Tegan and I haven't gone back to either since Winter. And...much respect to Milo.
Welcome Jake, it seems we share a couple of the same difficulties. Not just the albums you listed but the artists in general. Specifically Pere Ubu and Arto Lindsay/Ambitious Lovers. I finally came around on most of their stuff but it took some time.
Never had that problem with Field Day
Wish I could help you with your in the Storm query but I don't remember or can now find any evidence of a review or grade.
Heartthrob is not tricky. It's a very simple album and a very friendly album. Not especially ambitious or complex or adventurous, the lyrics not designed to be superspecific expressions of left-field or complex emotions. Not really worth comparing to stuff like Lily Allen because it doesn't come on like a challenge. The point, as I hear it, is to pay happy and or cathartically teary tribute to an inorganic sound that has a very organic thrill and charge embedded. Basically full-throttle synthy-shine, pretty pretty pearldrop melodies, pastiche as joy for pop history. Greg Kurstin has never sounded less chintzy, more convincing (Brad kind of got at that down there), and that the sound is fuller and deeper than his usual it's on the strength of those melodies. Tegan & Sara's work has always suffered when it's downplayed their ability to really nail soaring major-key melodies, which are a rarity in a day when pop isn't really a zeitgeist even if it's an elastic term and something is always selling millions.
So it's a promising but imperfect producer finally going balls out for a musical love of his that makes for visceral electricity when done balls out, and promising but imperfect songwriters doing the same. That's very heartwarming and very generous. It does nothing to merit shitting on beyond not being exactly what you expected.
So I've almost finished organizing my iTunes folder, but I'm left with 5 tracks that I don't know the year they were recorded. Spent a lot of time looking online to no avail, so I'm asking if anyone has any of these compilations and can take a minute to check what year is listed for the track, that would be most appreciated. Here are the songs and the albums (mostly comps) they appear on:
1. "Dancehall Brawl" by Mighty Sparrow on Sparromania! (2011)
2. "Hager" by Fathi Abou Greisha on Egypt Noir: Nubian Soul Treasures (2010)
3. "Tsahpinoula Moy" by Giasemi & Nikos Saragoudas on Rough Guide to Bellydance Cafe' (2008)
4. "Umaduna Omnyama" by Ubhekitche Namajongosi on Next Stop...Soweto (2010)
5. "Uoba Darta Rawarem" by Ahmad Zahir on his album Hip '70s Afghan Beats (2011)
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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