Music Notes – October 2009

October 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm (Uncategorized)

OK, OK, nothing about Roky Erickson or the Stone Roses this month. It’s very hard though, especially when neither Now or Eye list this week’s Roky show at Lee’s Palace as a must-see gig.

Oh, and happy birthday to my son who turns six today.

1. It Might Get Loud

I’m not a fan of U2. I can take or leave Led Zeppelin, but I do like the White Stripes. Given that, a documentary about the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White might not seem like my cup of tea. That would be wrong though.

I saw the film last weekend, and it’s definitely worth seeing. The documentary explores the back story of all three guitar players, and culminates in a sit-down discussion/jam session between the three. I’m not a guitar player, so perhaps I was unable to appreciate all of the technical points, but there are plenty of moments for the average music lover. Check out the moment where Page casually plays Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love while White and the Edge look on in awe. Worth seeing, and seeing again when the DVD comes out.

2. Elvis Costello – Live at El Mocambo

The same day I saw It Might Get Loud, I picked up Elvis Costello’s Live at El Mocambo CD. The show was recorded and broadcast on Toronto’s CHUM-FM just a few days before Costello’s second album This Year’s Model was released. The sound is a little flat, but it works: you can imagine you’re in the audience at the Elmo. The set list is drawn from Costello’s first two albums, but the songs are played a lot harder than on record – just listen to the version of Miracle Man that the attraction play to death (far better that the version recorded with Clover, although the version on the Live Stiffs album is even better – worth looking for) . BTW, how can you tell when it’s a real live album, not one with applause inserted between songs? The audience yells during the songs. Such is this. A magnificent new wave band, even before the term existed.

 3. The Raveonettes

If you’ve listened to the last couple of Raveonettes releases, you know the pattern now: The Jesus and Mary Chain meet the Everly Brothers as recorded by Phil Spector. Love it or hate it, they seem to have found something which works for them. The new album is more of the same (good as far as I’m concerned). If you get the I-tunes version, there’s a 20 minute film about the making of the album.  

4. LCD Soundsystem – Bye Bye Bayou

New release from LCD Soundsystem. Officially out in November, it’s already all around. An Alan Vega cover. The band gave away 20,000 downloads (sorry – all gone! I got mine!)  through their mailing list, but you can hear it on their myspace page. ) New album in 2010.

5. Skiffle

Skiffle? Yeah, the last great British innovation before Merseybeat. Except that it wasn’t. as usual, an American idea the Brits stole and sold back. I picked up 2 2-CD volumes called As Good as it Gets. Probably everything you need, with generous helpings of Lonnie Donegan, the Vipers, Chris Barber and many more. Mixing country, jazz, bluegrass and folk in a D.I.Y. fashion that punk took up two decades later, skiffle was simple, stripped down music. Sad that it’s all but forgotten.

6. Goodbye 20th Century

It was a biography of Sonic Youth, it had a great, vaguely Situationist title, and it was in the sale bin at my local bookshop. What reason was there not to buy? Haven’t started it yet (it’s  reading matter on a plane trip next month), but a thumb through reveals it’s worth having for the pictures along. Author David Browne also wrote a biography of Jeff and Tim Buckley.

7. Buzzcocks – Time’s Up

Buzzcocks are known, of course, for the outstanding singles compilation Singles Going  Steady. But they were so much more. They released on of the first punk indie records, the Spiral Scratch EP on their own New Hormones label.  Just as they were building, singer Howard Devoto quit and formed Magazine. Time’s Up are the demos recorded before he quit. Slightly different versions of the songs on the EP along with covers of the Trogs and Captain Beefheart. Mine had a video of Boredom done live. Close your eyes and remember those perfect moments again.

8.  John Cooper Clarke – Twat

I love John Cooper Clarke. I still use his poem I Wanna be yours in class. Here’s a clip of him reading Twat for Australian TV. Check out the honey monster clip too.

9. Madonna’s Glee

I hear that Madonna has cleared her catalogue for use in Glee. Smart move. Can’t wait to see the results.

10. Vortex Records

Long the best used record store in Toronto. On my last visit, I picked up an autographed Dean and Britta CD and Brian Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain. They have a new website and blog which is worth bookmarking (best place to hear about sales )

UPDATE – I was so taken by my comments about skiffle, that I dug out the CDs mentioned above. I was about three-quarters of the way through the first one, when my wife reminded me we were not living in the Ozark Mountains. Ouch!  Still, if you want a nice introduction pick up the 2000 Van Morrison Lonnie Donegan, Chris Barber collaboration The Skiffle Sessions: Live in Belfast. A treat.

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