Music Notes May 2010

May 31, 2010 at 9:40 pm (Uncategorized)

Music notes for May 

1. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

Possibly the final record from LCD Soundsystem, and it’s a good one. After a couple of weeks of fairly solid listening, I’d say that it’s the most consistent of their three albums, and while it doesn’t always hit the highs of LCD Soundsystem or Sound of Silver, it avoids the lows. As with other releases Murphy wears his influences proudly. A casual listen reveals Bowie’s “Heroes”, Iggy’s “Nightclubbing”, the Talking Heads, assorted Gang of Four riffs, and the Velvet Underground (listen to “Drunk Girls” after “White Light White Heat,” you’ll see) . Will this be the last record? Dunno,  but it won’t be the last we hear from James Murphy. Check out the Greenberg soundtrack for a different side of the man.

2. The Pack A.D. – Funeral Mix Tape

Blues-punk minimalism from the West Coast. Becky Black and Maya Miller have produced three loud, primitive class albums. Hard to pick a favourite. It’s all good.

3. The New York Dolls – Lipstick Killers

How you gonna call your lover boy? The New York Dolls didn’t last too long and only produced two actual albums (sorry David, I don’t count the two new ones) . However, their shadow is long. Live albums and demos continue to appear. This collection of demos from before their first album with original drummer Billy Murcia first appeared on the cassette-only label ROIR in 1981. The nine songs on this album are pretty much only for collectors, but it is interesting to hear how different these songs are from the final versions. Plus, “Don’t Mess with Cupid” was never properly recorded.  

4. How to Destroy Angels

The new project from Trent Rezner. Never a big fan of Nine Inch Nails. OK, not a fan at all, but I love the debut release, . Very trippy, very Portishead. Sung by Rezner’s wife, Mariqueen Maanding, ex- of West Indian Girl. But wait, it gets better. The debut EP is out on Tuesday June 1 as a free download. However, for a measly $2, you can get the EP in standard MP3 format or in lossless, “the Believers” and a video. Nice. Order from their site

5. Massive Attack – Mezzanine Remixes

Yeah, remixes are for fans only, but this nice i-Tunes collection gives you several versions of the best songs from Mezzanine.

6. Rolling Stones –  Exile on Main Street

And speaking of remixes…Yeah, yeah hoopla. A mate gave me a bootleg of some tracks from the session in all their tape hissing and popping glory. Still, I was intrigued by the new version, although I tend to agree with Keith Richards who argued he didn’t want to alter the Bible. The outtakes have been circulating for years, so why not release them officially. However, the idea of redoing them with new vocals filled me with dread.  Still, I have to admit that version of “Loving Cup” is pretty amazing.

On this whole thing, a friend of mine wrote,

 ” picked up the reissue this week at Chapters ($20) and attached two c.d. players, via different input channels, to my stereo. On one I put my old copy of Exile, in the other, the reissue. After a few false starts,  I managed to start them both at exactly the same time and was able to switch back and forth to “A/B test” the results. In my opinion, the new reissue has a clarity and “high ended-ness” lacking in the original “muddy sounding” C.D. release. At first, I suspected that this was due to the higher volume level of the new reissue, but, after also compensating for this difference by riding the volume level when switching from one to the other, the clarity remained. The horns are sharper, the acoustic guitars more discernible, and I can hear subtleties that were not apparent in the original analog to digital transfer.

7. Destroy All Monsters

The sweet sound of Detroit. Take some ex-Stooges, some ex-MC5ers, and Niagara, and you get an intense punk metal sound. An acquired taste to be sure, but worth it. Start with Bored.

8.  Renegade Soundwave

Why is it some groups are successful while others, more deserving,  are not. If you’re interested in the force behind a lot of nineties electronica pick up the two-CD Renegade Soundwave collection. All the hits and remixes from this criminally overlooked band. Have a read of an interview here.

9. Shellac – At Action Park

On a recent drive to Montreal, I put on Shellac’s debut album. If you know Steve Albini’s work in production or with Big Black, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I had forgotten just how good it was. Melodic, though not catchy, muscular post-punk (I’m sure Steve will hate that description!) Quite lovely noise.

10. Dennis Hopper.

Not a music note really, but I would argue Hopper was as rock ‘n’ roll as actor as you get. A truly incredible career appearing in such great films as Rebel without a Cause, Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, The American Friend, River’s Edge and of course Blue Velvet: An amazing talent. Hopper was also the first man buy a Warhol Soup Can painting. Dead at 74 of prostate cancer. A major loss.


1 Comment

  1. Paul said,

    re. Exile Redux

    You’re probably right: the “Loving Cup” outtake may rival the original found on the album.


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