I haven’t hated as much stuff as usual, lately, but I know it’s coming, what with the usual, late Aug & Sept-onward flotilla of releases by every label under the sun. I promise: more spite in the new world.
But from the Dept of :et’s Get It Out of The Way: I’d like to say that Zipcar is disappointing. A deep read of their website reveals that car rental prices – even per hour, which is Zipcar’s main attraction — rise significantly on weekends, to the point where renting from a regular agency costs the same, or sometimes even less. Sure, if you need a car from 2 pm to 5 pm on a Wed, or for one day on the weekend (maybe), Zipcar’s great – but who, in the city, would bother? Cars are for leaving the city. And if you don’t care what you look like, you can rent a uhaul van for $10 and keep it all day.
Mew, drooled over by Droolfork, hit me squarley in the nowhere. They sound like a million major label signings whose 15 minutes of worth lasted for a single record circa 1995-1998. Suede comes to mind. They do it well, but I’ve moved on.
I love Electrelane more now, not just becuase they’ve released their worthwhile b-sides, but because they have side projects and writing gigs (guitarist Mia Clarke writes for Wired and classes-up spoogefork) and just kick it all around. And they made my daughter dance in utero. The new collection contains a sub-par version of their cover of Roxy Music’s “More than This” – the vinyl b-side I have is not live, but studio, and longer and just more pants pooping great.
Still don’t care for the Hold Steady after hearing the new stuff. I like my literature above the waistline section, music below. And that brings me to the Decemberists. The point of pop music is to create a world in less than 4 minutes – and Meloy has been mostly expert at doing just that. But do I want to hear 20 minute songs, however well written, from his — at the end of the day – weak voice and serviceable bandmates? I can think of chores I could do that would better serve 20 minutes of my time.
Recent resurrrection: Tenpole Tudor. I recalled hearing their “Wunderbar” in college, and loved it for its ditzy ineptitude, like (Adam and) the Ants fronted by Sid Vicious. I didn’t know that their two albums are pretty good documents of the Stiff label’s ability to leave artists alone. It seems they did here. You could never make this record now, it’s such a mess. And yeah, I know Eddie Tudor is an actor now, sang (almost) with the Sex Pistols, blah blah. This is his real contribution.
The new Junior Boys is a miserable dud. Again, guys, write songs. Oh, and while I’m at it, would you buy back your last album, vinyl version?
The Chad Van Gaalen tune “Dead Ends” has put me back onto Chad Van Gaalen.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow was growing on me until I heard their smart and maybe hilarious cover of GBVs’ “Game of Pricks.” Their unclear-structure-pop with a strong purpose reminds me of numerous likeminded outfits before them, but this is very well done, and I miss Life Without Buildings, Pylon, and early Delgados anyway. Someone in this band is thinking rather than trying too hard.
Say what you will or won’t about Springsteen, but “Atlantic City,” I don’t have to tell you, is absolute badass. And I’m a guy who spent a large part of his life hating the man. But I think this song might preview the future of popular music, in that Springsteen made it on four-track (!), and that’s all you hear, and it takes some real talent to create something like this, out of thin air, and have it be so deep with so little tech support. In the future, in addition to the TVs in our heads, there will be no labels – and bands will use myspace to promote their own stuff – and if they’ve got the real chops, what they make won’t matter on how much money they spent to get it done.
This week I’m stuck on these four:
Smog – River Guard
A personal theme song. One of his prettiest. Vinyl that got me through living in NJ.
The Sadies – Hold on Hold on
A Neko Case song, but they own it; saw them do it with her before her latest came out, and it sounded just a wonderful.
The Sadies – Dying is Easy
And it’s the one thing, one day, that everyone does.
Tobin Sprout – It’s Like Soul, Man
A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s cover of “Game of Pricks,” above, had me wondering what other GBV covers make the hit parade, and this one, really an expansion of a snippet by a former GBV member, but therfore a cover nonetheless, gets my top billing.