Music Notes December 2011

December 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm (Uncategorized)

Snow’s on the ground. Sun is shining. It must be time for the December Music notes. Maybe some of these found their way into your stocking. If not, that’s what sales are for.

1. She and Him – A Very She and Him Christmas

Christmas records, like tributes,  are often difficult to get right: Sometimes too faithful, sometimes not faithful enough. At times, this one seems a little too gentle. Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of the duo, this 12-track record of Christmas covers will nestle nicely in your collection for eleven months of the year, only to be brought out each December. not essential, but a nice addition.

2. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls

Ok, some people will make a case for Emotional Rescue, fewer for Tattoo You, but for me this is the last great Stones record. It’s a sprawling mass of sounds from the disco thump of “Miss You” to the hick country of “Far Away Eyes” and even the Chuck Berry punk of “Respectable” (I have a 7 inch of that one somewhere). On this, the Stones react to the forces of punk and disco and try to prove they not the cultural dinosaurs everyone assumed they were. Leaving that aside, the remastered album is worth a look for the dozen unreleased tracks which come on a second disc.  The songs have a bluesier more traditionally Stones sound than Some Girls. The songs have a jam session feel, as if they got together just to play for the fun of it. It’s a rare treat especially since the Stones are now just a business. This is a better time.     

3. Oxford American – 

Every year Oxford magazine devotes an issue to music, and includes a CD. this year, the focus is on Mississippi, nad in my opinion, one of their better issues. (Which is praise indeed, since they are always worth having). In most collections, some parts are unlistenable, some are so-so and some are magic,  but Oxford always seems to find something that makes me go wow. A great CD and a great read.

4. Don Pyle – Trouble in the Camera Club

Don Pyle used to be the drummer in Shadowy Men, but before that he was an amateur photographer. His photos document the punk revolution in Toronto and are perfect for any music fan. This book collects dozens of Don’s amazing photos. You owe it to yourself to own this collection. Have a look at some of them here

5. Ren Harvieu 

I read about this new artist on the Mojo blog, a couple of months back then lost the link. Fortunately, her name came up again. Ooh, she;s going to be big. A voice that is frighteningly good. You didn’t hear it here first, but you did hear it. Say it again: Ren Harveau

6. Galaxie 500 – Don’t Let Our Youth go to Waste

I was late to catch Galaxie 500, but when I fell, I fell hard. This two DVD set includes all of their videos, plus live stuff, TV appearances and bootlegs. Not all of it is pristine quality, but when you consider just how little of this stuff there is, it’s a gold mine. 

7.  Hearless Bastards – “Parted Ways”

I think I first heard the Heartless Bastards on Carl Wilson’s Zoilus Blog (no longer updated it seems). Saw them supporting the Decemberists.  And I’ve waited long for the follow-up to The Mountain, but there’s a new HB record out in February, and a tour (they play Toronto too). Here’s a lovely taster for the record. Yours for the price of your email.

8.  Dorian Lynskey – 33 Revolutions per Minute

Music and…poliitcs, OK, I’m interested. Lynskey’s marvellously entertaining book hits all the right notes, spanning decades and genres. Very impressive, very readable. Have a look at the blog.

9.  Black Keys – El Camino

My favourite record of late. It’s in non-stop rotation. It’s short. A little under 40 minutes, but from the opening drumbeat to the dying riff, it’s a thrill. Play loud the label instructs. Disobey at your peril.

10. Lykke Li – The Lost Sessions Volume 1.

It’s Lykke Li and it’s free. What more do you want? Get it at her site


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