Music Notes January 2012

February 1, 2012 at 1:38 am (Uncategorized)

Must be the first of the month – here’s last month’s music notes…

1. Wild Flag   – Wild Flag

Depressed that Sleater-Kinny will never make another record? Fear not, Wild Flag has 2/3 of the band, and the debut does have a bit of that vibe. And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Wild Flag has a guitar heavy post-punk sound that will quickly find itself in regular rotation in whatever musical medium you favour.  And it’s brought to you by those fine people at Merge.

2. Mr. Gnome – Madness in Miniature

Read about in Rolling Stone of all places. A folky psychedelic country and western. I know that’s a terrible description, but it’s ever so seductive. And they’re from Cleveland. Check out their site for free stuff.  I love the fact the latest comment someone from Toronto begging them to come here. Yes please.

3. Wooden Shjips – West

Space rock from San Francisco. I’m not usually a bit fan of stuff like this (oh who am I kidding?), but the drone-y aspect of this is really nice. It burns a hole into your skull and sits there. If that sounds appealing, you know where to go. And if you don’t, try here.  

4. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Everybody’s record of last year. It’s quite tremendous. That’s all I need say.

5. Gordon Gano – Hitting the Ground

I saw the Violent Femmes the first time they played in Canada. It was in 1993 at a little church called Canadian Martyrs across from McMaster university. Great show. Loved their first two records, but not much after that. Gano’s first solo record (from 2002) is a mixed bag, and features vocals from John Cale, Mary Lou Lord and Lou Reed among others. But the kicker, the absolute kicker is PJ Havey’s version of the title track in her best Patti Smith vocal. Worth the price of admission.   

6. Jah Wobble – Psychic Life

Julie Campbell sings lead on this dance themed collection from Wobble. But for many people, the most exciting thing is the presence of ex-PiL guitarist Keith Levene on a number of tracks.  

7. Sigur Ros – Inni

Ooh, a two CD live set and a live DVD. Absolutely essential stuff. (OK, I haven’t watched the film yet). After you’ve regained muscle control, head over to Sigur Ros’  web site to see all the other cool stuff there.

8. Wilco – The Whole Love

In a comment on my review of Toronto’s show last year, one poster suggested that the reason I didn’t like the first half of the show was because it was primarily new material with which I wasn’t so familiar. I was willing to conceded that possibility at the time, but after listening to the record, I think I’m right. I still think the band was having trouble finding its groove, and the reason is this is a pretty good album. It’s full of great hook and memorable songs. Another great record by Tweedy.

9. Widowspeak – Widowspeak

Currently getting a lot of notice for their moody cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, Widowspeak (is it Widow’s peak or Widow speak? It took me a while to figure out Alexisonfire too) play swampy atmospheric pop. Worth a listen.

10. The Doors – LA Woman

I was in HMV a week or so back and ran into an old friend from university. We talked about the decline of the music business and record companies. It seems as if the companies have become convinced that the way to make people pay for music is not to attract new buyers, but rather to make the people like me re-buy their entire collection by releasing anniversary  or special editions. Since I only ever owned the first Door’s album, I’m not sure that applies here, but I am sure plenty of Doors fans will line up for it. A new Doors song and some alternative versions  (none quite as good as the finished versions), but for the fan, yup, they’ll be handing over the dollars.

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4 Comments

  1. Joe said,

    I dunno if you’re into them, but Guided by Voices reunited their old lineup and put out a new record earlier this month and it’s pretty good. Same ol’ dirty lofi sound, nothing too memorable but a solid album IMO.

    • fischerzed said,

      I have to say, I’ve never been a follower of GBV, but I do like what of their stuff I’ve heard. I saw them open for Urge Overkill in, maybe, 1995 (after Exit the Dragon anyway). Good show. Haven’t heard the new album, but I do have the single Doughnut for a Sowball, and it’s pretty good.

  2. joe said,

    I’d recommend picking up Alien Lanes, it’s their most solid album and definitely one of my “desert island” picks.

    • fischerzed said,

      Well, all right then. I shall add that to my list. Thanks for the tip.

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