Music Notes April 2010

April 30, 2010 at 9:53 pm (Uncategorized)

This month’s list of fun things to do with your ears.

1. Jah Wobble – Chinese Dub (30hertz)

Who would have thought the former PIL bassman would have had such an interesting career? Chinese Dub is Wobble’s collaboration with noted Chinese singers and musicians, and what a collaboration it is. I’ll admit I prefer the instrumentals to the ones with vocals, but it’s all breathtakingly beautiful.

2. Loop – The world in Your Eyes

A recently discovery for me. This remastered 1988 release contains a slew of extra tracks including Neil Young, Can and Pop Group covers and demos from the original album. Spacey, trippy music with lots of feedback. Sure, they were accused by some of ripping off Spacemen 3, but the world is a big place and there’s plenty of room.

3. Clean – Original Soundtrack.

I reviewed the movie last week, but I just got the soundtrack. The soundtrack has music from Brian Eno, Tricky, Metric, and Dean and Britta, but most amazing are the tracks by Maggie Cheung. Cheung is featured on four songs, two by Dean Wareham and two by David Roback. All of them have a kind Mazzy Star feel, and Cheung’s vocals have that light, breathy style to them, reminiscent of Hope Sandoval. I’m not saying she’s copying, just that there is a similarity. Lovely anyway.

4. Patti Smith – Just Kids

OK, a book, but music related. Patti Smith is just one of those figures, isn’t she? I can’t remember when I heard her first, but it was probably “Because the night.” A while after, I saw a video of her doing “Gloria.” you know how it goes, ” Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine…” Wow.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this is Patti Smith’s account of her life with artist Robert Maplethorpe. It’s an amazing book. Full of rock nerd trivia and anecdotes, and some truly lovely photographs. Pick it up, and then listen to Horses again.

5. Rolf Harris – Sun Arise

Yes, it’s true. I owned a stylophone, the pocket electronic organ Rolf Harris promoted in the 70s. I wonder where it is. And the hits, I remember them too:  “Tie me kangaroo Down Sport” (with those questionable lyrics), “Jake the Peg”, “Two Little Boys” and more. There was also that Rolf revival prompted by Splogenessabounds in 1981. Still, “Sun Arise”   is a minor classic.

6. The roots of the Cramps

It’s only been a year since Lux Interior passed away, but it seems a lot longer. The Cramps were one of those great bands who were able to take a song and make it their own. This 56 song compilation gathers together lots of songs covered by the Cramps (“Faster Pussycat”), obvious reference points (Link Wray) and songs which were to become Crampified (“Can you Hossie do the dog?).  A marvellous way to recall the Cramps’ glory days. Set your hi-fi on fun.

7.  Sigur Rós

A few weeks back I’d never heard of this band. Then, after one track on the Mojo dream pop comp I fell in love. Icelandic space rock. Hypnotic. I should hate this kind of thing, but there’s something about the lush arrangements, the falsetto vocals and whatever else that makes me love it. I just got a DVD from the library, so that’s my weekend.

8. Roky erickson – True Love Cast Out All Evil

I saw Roky Erickson last year at Lee’s Palace, something I didn’t  think I ever would. Roky played a  greatest hits set, and while it wasn’t transcendental, it was enough. Now comes a new album of recordings. and it’s pretty much the same. Great but not transcendental. Roky’s voice has come a long way from the 13th Floor Elevators, and the songs have too. Not LSD fueled insanity, nor the psychedelic metal of the 70s and 80s; this is a slower rootsy feel, but it’s enough.  

9. Hole – Nobody’s Daughter

You can bet Courtney Love is on a few dead pools, and yet she’s still here. Although in the years since Hole’s heyday, Love has been more famous for her non-musical exploits that her musical ones. This record is the first since  the  disastrous America’s Sweetheart (look for it in the delete bins), and while I might quibble about the name of the band  (rather than a Hole album, it’s Ms. Love’s new band also called Hole), the music is undeniable. All the old Hole trademarks including great hooks and copious amounts of swearing.  Love is still crazy – a rambling paranoid interview in a recent issue of Mojo confirms that, but sometimes madness leads to great art.

10. She and Him

Yah! I missed out on tickets to the Show at the Phoenix in Toronto because I was too slow, but happily (as I suspected they would), the promoter moved the show to a bigger venue – this time the Sound Academy. Snagged two tickets. Winsome catchy country pop. Quite lovely. The second album is every bit as good as the first.

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