Music Notes February 2011

February 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm (Uncategorized)

 This month’s picks to click.

1. Tender Trap – Dansette Dansette

Every time there’s a line-up change in Amelia Fletcher’s band, the name of the band changes. OK, maybe not, but through Talulah gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and now Tender Trap, Ms. Fletcher has been effortlessly making classic punk-pop records.   Dansette Dansette is more of the same: A brilliant blend of punk guitars with catchy tunes and sugar-sweet vocals; something to brighten everyone’s day.

2. Sea of Bees – Songs for the Ravens

Another new one on me. First heard of the band with their track on Mojo’s Xmas CD, and there was just something seductive about the sound. Backwards tracks, almost jazzy vocals, but it pulls you in. Even in the quietest moments.

3. These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid

Hey, what’s your favourite number? Heavy Gang of Four-ish dance music made by this Southend-on-Sea four piece. This is their first album (they have a second). Not always my kind of thing, but the mix of weird half-shouted vocals and thumping beats is strangely addictive

4. Iggy Pop and James Williamson – Kill City

Remastered, but just as lovely. The often overlooked nugget in the Ig’s catalogue. Iggy is a more traditionally rockist pose that usual, but still worth the time of day.

5. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands

I bought this when it came out, but after the visceral thrill of Psychocandy it was a bit of a letdown. Over two decades later, I can see what a brilliant little bugger it is. Sure the feedback has been muted, but the songs are still amazing.

6. Rogues Gallery

On paper it doesn’t seem like a good idea at all: A 2-CD collection of sea shanties. But when you look at some of the performers, you get a faint feeling of hope: Nick Cave, Richard Thompson, Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed, Jarvis Cocker, Stan Ridgeway, Lucinda Williams and many more. 43 songs in total, and you can sing along to them all. Inspired.

7. Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend (Legacy Edition)

I saw Matthew Sweet in the mid 90s when he was touring in support of 100% Fun. Good record, good show, but it was a little formulaic. I wish I’d seem him promoting this album because Girlfriend is utterly fabulous. Terrific songs (“Divine intervention”, “Evangeline”, the title track and many others) and some truly talented sidemen including the late lamented Robert Quinne. The Legacy edition is a 2-CD set which contains demos, alternate versions and a few live cuts. There’s also an essay about how the record came to be released.

8. Kate and Anna McGarrigle

When I was about 18, I got into folk music in a big way. Dylan, Ochs, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie and so on. But I don’t think I would have liked this one much. Too winsome. Just goes to show, if you wait, you can end up liking things. It’s a sad, beautiful album with great songs and harmonies. Perfect for days like today when the snow is blowing, and I can immiagine it’s even colder in Quebec.

9. Heartless Bastards – Stairs and Elevators

I got into the Heartless Bastars through their third album, the Mountain, but I’ve been listening to their first quite a bit. It’s a little more garage than the later one, and for some reason it just resonates right now. New album out this summer, but no Toronto date yet for the tour.  

10. Lykke Li – “Get some”

OK, guilty pleasure time. My wife is a bit fan of all things Swedish, but I’m not sure about how she feels about Ms. Li. Saw the video for “Get Some” where she comes off a little Theda Bara-like.  And you can still get this one as a free download from her site. Go on, you know you want to… (new album out Tuesday)

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