Music Notes: September 2014

September 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Ears wide, here’s good stuff.

1. Karen O – Crush Songs

Mmm. The debut album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman Karen O needs more than a couple of listens to appreciate its charms. The first couple of go-around are strung-strung, winsome singing, but after a few plays, its charms emerge. Less than half an hour-long means either you got ripped off or you can listen to it over and over again. (I’m in the latter camp)

2. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters  – Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar

There are much more detailed and insightful reviews of this album than this short, so if you want to know all the ins and outs, read them (Both Mojo and Uncut are featuring Plant these days too). Know this, this record is really quite sensational.  Rock, folk, African influences are all in abundance and mesh perfectly with Plant’s sensibilities.  My current favourite record. Oh and check out Plant singing “Duke of Earl” with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight show. Amazing.

3. XTC –Fossil Fuel 

Nice 2-disc singles collection from 77 to 92. XTC were one of those clever pop bands that when someone said name a song, you invariably mentioned their biggest hit (probably “Making Plans for Nigel” or “Dear God”), but when you listened there were all these great other songs too.  Solid investment.

4. Echo and the Bunnymen – Porcupine

Ah, the difficult third album. I only saw the Bunnymen once and it was promoting this album – 1984 at the Concert Hall along with Let’s Active and Breeding Ground. The band was terrific, and this album is pretty good too. It doesn’t reach the heights of Crocodiles, but with songs like “The Cutter” and “The Back of Love,” it makes an honourable effort. The current CD version has half a dozen alternative versions. .

5. Arctic Monkeys – AM

My son is learning guitar, and one of the bands he expressed interest in was the Arctic monkeys. So I got this for him, but he’d already listened on you tube and concluded he didn’t like it too much. Me? Yeah, a lot of it has that same easy groove meaning the songs all sound a bit alike, but that’s a strength as it stretches over the course of the record. For the record though, I hate the recording of John Cooper Clarke’s poem, “I Want to be Yours.”

6. Shonen Knife – Overdrive

How many songs have Shonen Knife written about kitty-cats anyway? Like the Ramones and many other fine bands, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. Some good, some great, some you won’t play very much. Overdrive is a fine addition to the set. (Should mention, the songs sounded great live!)

7. Jad Fair and Danielson – Solid Gold

As I mentioned in my review of their show earlier this month, Jad Fair and a gospel-pop band doesn’t sound like my thing, but it works. Jad’s great heart-wrenching vocals and Danielson’s cheery pop meshed perfectly.

8. Jad Fair and Phono-Comb – Monsters, Lullabies and the Occasional Flying Saucer

Pretty much what you’d expect from Jad Fair recording with former members of Shadowy Men. Surf out! Picked this one up with the memory of the show still fresh in my mind

9.The Jam –All Mod Cons

The story of  All Mod Cons is that after the disappointing second Jam album, Paul Weller turned in a third to Polydor. The rep told him it was rubbish. Weller then retreated, wrote new songs and came out with this masterpiece. “Tube Station,” “A Bomb in Wardor Street,” “English Rose,” and many more. Yes, there’s a nice 2-disc set, but really all you need is this one.

10. The Replacements – Tim

Now that the Mats are playing again, it’s a good idea to pull out the back catalogue. Tim is my favourite of their records. A good mix of the rocky, the funny and the sweet. Remember that video for “Bastards of Young.” Yeah, right.

Oh and East End Babylon The Story of the Cockney Rejects was going to be on this list too, but the review kept growing and growing, and will appear at some future date.

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