Music Notes August 2010

August 31, 2010 at 1:26 pm (Uncategorized)

Many fine things reached my ears (and eyes) this month.

1. Dean and Britta – 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for  Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests 

Here’s the story, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips compose 13 songs for the film collection of Andy Warhol’s legendary screen tests. Sounds simple. Beautifully so. This double CD package contains the 13 songs from the film plus eight remixes by Sonic Boom and others. There’s also two versions of the rare Velvet Underground song  “Not a young Man Anymore.” My copy came with a free poster!

2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

I know there’s already the beginnings of a backlash against Arcade Fire and Merge, but who cares if they are popular? The Suburbs is a return to the glories of Funeral after the dip of Neon Bible. Full of mini-anthems, you really should buy this instead of just downloading it from somewhere.    

3. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks

People hated the Sex Pistols. I mean hated them. I don’t think most people have ever heard a song by them, but they still hated them. Just the idea.  The Sex Pistols had that effect. Thirty years after this record was released, it’s still incendiary, still unplayable on the radio, still terrifying.

4. Hoodoo Gurus – Stone Age Romeos

When I was in the third year of university, the Hoodoo Gurus  played a show in Toronto, or rather they didn’t. The show was cancelled and somehow the McMaster Students Union got them to play in the campus pub instead. The cost to us? $1. Amazing show. This, their first record, doesn’t quite have the consistency of later releases like Mars Needs Guitars, but it does have such irresistable numbers as “I Want you Back” and “Kamikaze Pilot” Should’ve been huge.

5. A Neon Rome – A Neon Rome

Another band from my youth. Punky and also trippy, A Neon Rome were important in the mid-eighties and often lumped in with others like Groovy Religion. This release seems to be A New Heroin  with one song different. Winding down music

6. Spacemen 3   – Playing with fire

Spacemen 3 always had great album titles. (My favourite titles were the post-Spacemen Taking Drugs to make Music to Take Drugs to and For all the Fucked up children of this world we give you Spacemen 3 – both demo collections) Playing with Fire was the band’s third album, and contained maybe their best-known song “Revolution.”  Combining elements from their first album (rock) and the second (drone) this one fairly crackles along. If you get the 2 CD version, you get three different versions of the 12 minute “Suicide” along with other demos and live cuts in addition to the album itself.

7. Captain Beefheart – Safe as Milk

In its own way as odd as Trout Mask Replica, and in others the most traditional of Beefheart’s records. Pop, rock, blues, theremin, Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder and much more.

8. Quest for Fire – Lights from Paradise

Ex-Deadly Snakes regroup as psychodelic  rockers? Was that a headline? Nevermind, this Toronto group’s second record comes out today. Have a listen at their Myspace page , and then go to the release at the Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday. It’s $8 for the show.

9. Gimmie Shelter  

Finally got around to seeing the documentary about the Stones’ disastrous free concert at Altamont Stadium. It’s a difficult experience, and directors Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin capture the feel with unerring accuracy. It’s terrifying. It’s horrific. It’s absolutely essential.

Within minutes of the Stones arriving Jagger is punched in the face. Marty Balin from Jefferson Airplane is knocked unconscious by security. The Angels attack the crowd with weighted pool cues, and finally there is the death of Meredith Hunter. 

Harrowing.

10 Robert Greenfield – A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones 

You’ve heard the album now read the book. Taking its title from the Rimbaud poem, Robert Greenfield’s book about the recording of the Exile on Main Street, than an extended look at the milieu of southern France as the Stones recorded the record. Essential if you’re a Stones fan; compelling if you’re not.

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