Music Notes December 2013

December 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm (Uncategorized)

Post X-mas, here we are.

1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Live from KCRW

When I look through my record collection, Nick Cave occupies a significant part of it. This live-in-the-studio set follows and nicely complements Push Away the Sky. It’s a little quieter, but there’s an authenticity, an intimacy that’s really beautiful. Even in the quietest moments.

2. The Housemartins – Now That’s What I Call Quite Good

It’s really quite difficult to find Housemartins stuff these days, so it was nice to come across this set in a used bin (OK, OK, write and tell me how easy it is to find thin sounding MP3s). This 24 song collection misses a few things no doubt, but it has some rarer things too and curiously listings for how many records they sold in New Zealand. Take, Marx, Take Jesus, Take hope!

3. Billie Joe and Norah- Foreverly

I almost bought this last week, and a few hours later a friend gave it to me as a gift (Thank you Mr. Faulkner).  Foreverly is Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day and Norah Jones from, well, Norah Jones (I was going to say Ravi Shankar, but decided not to – oops) taking on the Everly Brothers 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. It’s a charming, faithful version, and if it encourages anyone to seek out the Everlys, that’s a good thing; however, it also begs the question, why do it? A cover really should put a new stamp shouldn’t it? Otherwise stick to the original.

4. The Strypes with Wilko Johnson -“Roxette”

OK, the video and audio are terrible, but it’s Wilko with the Strypes! Oh, you lucky people in Toronto. The Strypes are here in just a few weeks at Lee’s – I’ve got my ticket!

5. The Ramones – End of the Century

As this  album was released in 1980, many reviewers scratched their heads noting it was still two decades till that event. Still, the album was ambitious, trying to create one those great rock n roll albums,  and it was produced by Phil Spector. Unfortunately, it’s a mess. True, there are some great moments (“Danny Says” and “I can’t make it on time”), but a lot of it sounds confused or re-treads (“The Return of Jackie and Judy” and “This ain’t Havana” are sequels!).  On “Baby I Love You” though, Joey proves he can sing pretty much anything and be amazing. And those demos on the remastered album are really worth having.

6. The Oxford American

One of the great things about this season is the new issue of the Oxford American’ s  music issue. This year the magazine focuses on the music of Tennessee and has a 50 song 2 CD set (almost three hours of music!) The songs range from the 1920 to this year and covers pretty much every musical style: jazz, blues, folk, punk, country, soul, you name it. And you get a very cool magazine about the music. Quite indispensable.

7. Velocity Girl – EP

Remember Velocity Girl? No? Too bad. A Maryland sugar-pop band with an amazing name from the 1990s. This six-song EP is actually a collection of singles, but for me, it’s their most perfectly realized record.

8. Sam Cooke – The Hits

15 essential songs. Just because.

9. Eddie Vedder with Jeane Tripplehorn – “Shattered”

Now read what I wrote about Foreverly and see what I mean. This is inspired. Just watch it.

10. No One Likes the Dik Van Dykes / Waste Mor Vinyl

I was in Hamilton, ON last night to see the Dik Van Dykes at a reunion show (full review later). Everyone in attendance got a download card for CD Baby for both albums.  Go here now to hear them. I now the tag is friends don’t let friends like the Dik Van Dykes, but I’m not your friend.

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