Music Notes November 2014

November 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm (Uncategorized)

I know I should really be finishing some other writing projects, but still…

1. Ex Hex – Rips

Rips it does. A punk rock glam rock debut of sorts by Mary Timony, formerly of Wild Flag and Helium. Very loveable.

2. The Professionals – I Didn’t See it Coming

After the crack-up of the Pistols, Steve and Paul bummed around for a while before they formed this outfit. And while it’s isn’t the Pistols Mark II, the Professionals were a credible band with catchy songs and singalong choruses. But to be honest, the bonus tracks on this release, mostly singles, work better for me than the album. Fun fact, a while after this album was released, some of the band were involved in a serious auto accident, making the title mildly ironic.

3. The Pop Group – Citizen Zombie

The first released track from the new album. When I was about 16, I bought a copy of the Pop Group’s For How Much Longer Do we Tolerate Mass Murder? It’s a dizzy trip. Punk, funk jazz, even a Last Poets track, and a bunch of posters in the sleeve. This track from the new album doesn’t quite reach those heights, but it’s funky and scary. Have a listen at their site.

4. My Chemical Romance – “Desolation Row”

Re-watched Watchmen the other day. I still prefer the comic book, but the movie is quite, er, watchable (as opposed to some other adaptations of Alan Moore’s work) . My Chemical Romance cover Dylan’s “Desolation Row” over the closing credits (the video is included on the Blu-Ray release). Sure, it’s no Dylan (it’s about a third of the length), but it’s a pleasant punk rock rave up.

5. Bob Dylan and the Band – The Bootleg Series Volume 11: The Complete Basement Tapes

With the advent of downloads, a lot of bands have opted to release live rarities and dodgy demos from their catalogue in order to boost flagging sales. A friend and I keep wondering when Dylan will scrape bottom. This isn’t it. Sure, the 2-CD version will appeal to fans, but a six-CD complete set of the Basement Tapes just in time for Christmas. Wow!

6. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle volume 2

If you wanted to skip the albums and get all of the singles, Chronicle volume 1 was the one for you. The second volume cherry picks the albums, and in some ways it’s more interesting than the singles collection. Fogerty and co reinterpret blues, country and folk, making for a somewhat different Creedence than you hear on classic rock radio.

7. De La Soul featuring Chuck D – “We the People”

New track available at the De La Soul web site

8. Oxford American – The Music Issue

The annual music issue of the Oxford American is due to be released on Monday, and this year focuses on Texas. It’s a wonderful magazine with an amazingly varied CD. Every year. Need something to read and to listen to this Christmas? Now you know what.

9. Gang of Four – Shrinkwrapped

I was a big Go4 fan when I was a teen. I played and played Entertainment! but never got to see then until a few years back: The original line up playing hits. I don’t usually do reunion tours, but I really wanted to see them. And they were great. They’re touring next year, but it’s only Andy Gill, so I’ll pass. I was digging through some boxes the other day and came across a copy of  1995’s Shrinkwrapped. And while everything the band will ever do will be unfairly compared to that debut, this holds up pretty well. Slashing guitar, anguished call-out vocals and maybe even a hit or two. Cool.

10. One Direction – Four

For a while I thought their 15 minutes was up. My daughter who was a huge 1D fan had drifted to other things, but with the release of Four, just in time for the holidays, she’s back. The songs seem to continually be playing in the house. Is it great stuff? Not to my ears, but it’s perfectly serviceable pop music.


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