Saturday, December 30, 2006

“Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

...now if you will pardon me as I dust myself off after crawling out from under a massive rock, or should I say slabs of limestone, granite and skids of cherry ply…

Frankly it’s been hard for me to get into any new music recently. I seem to have spent much of my time in the past year removed from my primary source of all things different, CKLN. It would seem that their 10w transmitter can’t quite reach the likes of Orillia and Glen Abbey. I spent much of the year acquiring some older music and making an unsuccessful attempt to learn about all things great in jazz. …I’m still working on it! I might try and post an addenda in 2007 or 2008. (haha!)

I don’t think that anything I bought that was released in 2006 is going to stand the test of time and be one of those albums in my collection that i can’t be without. Did I miss that much? Was it a lousy year for music? Am I just getting old and out of the loop?

Some notables that I actually did enjoy and think are well worth a listen:

Sergio Mendes, Timeless
Electrolane, Rock it to the Moon (2005)
Yo La Tengo, I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass
Jamaica to Toronto, Soul Funk & Reggae
Soledad Brothers, The hardest Walk
Konono #1, Congotronics (2004)
Gotan Project, Lunatico (If any album is a must have, it is this one. Includes some very interesting work with Calexico)
Dirty Three (don’t own it but will)
Grupo Fantasma, Moviniento Popular (2004)

…but I must admit that no disks found their proverbial grooves worn thin through endless play as is the norm.

Favourite singles:
Crazy, Gnarles Barkley, (St. Elsewhere)
I got cash, Lati Kronland & Sylvester (from the Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Make ‘em like it) This is such a hilarious track you have got to check it out for yourself. DUMB FUCK! (actually released in 2000!)

…ah, if only I had a tiny bit of time to put together a couple of compilations.

Other musings on the year:

Worst concert of the year: Calexico and friend @ the Docks
Best Concert of the year: Calexico @ the Phoenix

What I would most like to ask of a rock star: Mr Dylan, what motivates you to do this year after year? Certainly there must be something else that you would rather be doing with your life than playing the same brilliant tunes over and over again in soulless and lacklustre arrangements with a band of musician you don’t seem to be able to communicate with or relate to? That having been said, Bob, I did like a couple of the cuts you performed from your new album; they were fresh and you actually put some of your heart into them. …but really. What’s with the endless tour? …is it some kind of drug for you that numbs pain? … why do you do it? Unlike other “rock stars” you don’t look like you even enjoy the adulation!

Best to all in the New Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

final pre christmas thoughts:

1-marc, are you still alive, man? your christmas disc is in the mail...look for it next week. stu, bri, big daddy d...i'm bringing yours to bettys tomorrow.

2-any comments on the pitchfork list? i had the usual, logically inconsistent reactions...a tiny thrill of validation when one of my faves was chosen (they are so right), immediately followed by scorn derision when something i hated (they know nothing, nothing!), was also lauded. have any of you ever bought an lcd soundsystem disc? for some reason, this band seems to make 2 to 3 per year and they're always included on pitchfork's year end list. also, for all the music that i think i've heard over the past year, i'm still way behind. it's fun playing catchup, though.

joyeux noel.

Friday, December 15, 2006

i just happened to have 13 remaining downloads, the total number of 'The Thrill of the Hunt' disc, so i picked it up, figuring it to be a sign of some kind. going through the first listen right now. lyrically and vocally closer to neutral milk but the quieter guitar strumming is reminiscent of earlier elliot smith and heatmiser. i'm doing a lot updating of spreadsheets and other somewhat tedious work today so i'm enjoying listening to some interesting music in the background.

also occasionally looking around for any albums that would qualify for 'worse' covers and realize that there are far more good covers than bad. for example, if you troll through the list of albums released in 2006 at metacritic.com, you'll see what i mean.

found a more interesting set of 'best of' lists at popmatters.com. most of the hip-hop is what i'm seeing in most places but the indie list contains many unfamiliar artists, and there are plenty of free mp3 links and youtube clips for each entry. just realized that if i ever decide to pursue a music career, it will be in electronic music, where the competition isn't as fierce; if herbert and the latest basement jaxx (a truly godawful album) can make a best of list, pretty much anybody can. enjoy.
Another record I really enjoyed (but forgot) from 2006 was Kind of Like Spitting's - The Thrill of the Hunt. This is really a one-man show, the guy's name is Ben Barnett, who's released six or seven records since 2000. He's essentially a folk writer who sometimes rocks out, sings and performs in Neutral Milk Hotel meets Elliott Smith fashion, and is a pretty compelling writer. Never heard of him until this year, discovered through Pandora (my favourite site five days a week) and explored more through emusic. Well worth a listen.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

worst album covers of 2006, courtesy of pitchfork. kind of a bland list. surely there are worse. i'll try to dig some up myself. as for best, i kind of like the cover of thom yorke's solo disc, which is reminiscent of an edward gorey poster.
OK, so it turns out that many of my fave 2006 disks were released in 2005. I was afraid of that, so just checked before launching myself at my best of list. Ah well..... (bloody rug rats are keeping me from being optimally cool). I will list them anyway because they were still the ones I purchased and enjoyed most this year. Hoping none of them was on your best of 2005 because then I'd really feel schmuck-esque.

Novillero - Aim Right for the Holes in Their Lives (June 05) - some of the best song writing, arranging, and performance of power pop in years.

The High Dials (July 05) - the second best songwriting, arranging and perfomance of power pop in years. I mean it, this is fantastic stuff. The Holy Ground is a song for the ages, to be featured on my best songs of this (OK, last) year. This band has more JOY in it then I have in my little finger - or something like that. Sure makes me feel good. Thanks to Kyle for pointing me/us at this one on the blog early in 2006 (OK maybe late 2005).

The Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers...sort of Malkmus meets Stephen Merritt meets Lou Reed delivery...these guys have been around for a while but hadn't released a record for a few years when this came out in October (I mean, come on, it was OCTOBER) 2005. It's great.

Yo La Tengo - I am Not Afraid ....hey, a 2006 record! I think this is very strong stuff, bringing the usual disparateness and great songs. The only question with YLT is are they still "relevant" in the way they were ten years ago. Certainly I enjoy the music a lot, but it doesn't astound me like Electropura and I Can Hear The Heart did. The moral is, it's hard being a pop star, 'cause things are often not judged purely for what they are.

Eleventh Dream Day - Zeroes and Ones....OK, I'm rolling now. ANOTHER 2006 record for the big guy. No, don't congratulate me....unlike YLT, this band, which has been around longer (like, 23 years?) still manages truly to kick my ass every time they release something. This one's no exception - simple-ish songs delivered with urgency and heart. Even their irony sounds like they mean it. Heartfelt irony, if you will. Great flipped out guitar solos and Chicago midwest drawls on their oft-shared girl boy vocals. Reminds me of a non-quirky Feelies sometimes (another old fave of mine), in terms of their construction of songs from the bass and drum groove up.

I also love the Kingsbury Manx one that Kylie listed. Quite a unique band this, making music that is not particularly in style, doesn't feel that much like other quiet folk, country rockers...I hear some early seventies influences like CSN. And the National record (Alligator) is a fine 2005 release, though I am slightly more troubled by what I feel are its pretensions.

TV On the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain. Uber cool record. These guys are working in a creative space on their own (as far as I know). A fascinating channeling of influences, technologies and technique with a strong enough vision to tie it together into a digestable piece of art. Makes me think of the Books (another '05er that I discovered this year....dammit) only in that they are consciously trying to break down boundaries and create new music. The Books sound nothing (much more self-conscious basement-studio music) like this but their last record is well worth investigating.

The Young People - All at Once. Incredibly moody, dark, mostly quiet, but with the occassional Sonic Youth dissonant moment...I really like this band. This year's record might not be my favourite (go with the first, eponymous one from 2003) but it's still very interesting.

I also spent a lot of time catching up on small-label music from 2000 - 2004 or so, thanks primarily to emusic. Some of my recommendations from that process are Movietone and The Microphones (these references are mostly for posterity, as I already spoke of and played both of these at CD clubs).

I don't know all of the music that was on your lists but will for sure check it out in due course. I can say that I thought the Cat Power record was a little boring for Chan compared to her previous. I have only a very small soft spot for quiet country music, and it seems there is a plethora of it right now, so I've stopped giving artists the benefit of the doubt. Same is true for me of M Ward's latest- I love a few of the songs (Right in the Head for example) but the production grates a bit on me (way too much reverb on the vocals and drums), and I think many of the songs are frankly dull. If you're going to have soft simple country songs then the lyrics and vocals need to step up to create the connection or else it can become trite (Stuart, I'm waiting.....). So I found the record uneven.

I didn't buy much in the way of new classical or new jazz this year I don't think. Still mining chestnuts that I'm more interested in right now.

I'll get back at this next week with songs and other stuff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

my bad. i had mistaken 'make the cut' for 'make the grade'. thanks for the clarification, as i was beginning to regret including a mountain goats song on your disc.

the end-end lists are beginning to appear online. here is the onion/av club's various best of lists. not that much different from what we've shared thus far.

also, rollingstone (are they still around) have their list of best songs, most of which i've never heard. not sure in this case that i'm too worried.
I guess my rant in error had nocked Brian out of metabeats, I will have to buy him a beer now .....Kyle the emily haines (thanks to you) and the Gonsalves disc would probabl;y make it to my list...I went back last night to gop through what i bought last year and I had forgotten about the Ascobi disc which I picked up at soundscapes a few weeks back and reallly love...(I was planning on bringing it to the next cd club as I new you and Derek love that shoegazer stuff...damm you both) The Junior Boys disc aklso makes it....I played that for Marc and he and mary Ellen flat out rejected it....just shows to go you....I TOTALLY agree on the Kaos, I simply dont get it, but Derek you must pick up the previous disc Kyle referred to as it may be my favorite Hip hop disc ( although its kinds hip hop / pop) Its amazing how the new one sucks so much....I like what I hear on the beck disc as someone at the office plays it, I will get it shortly...
My classical and jazz lists and more concert faves next.....
Please note that the title "missed the cut" is an indication of 5 albums that I enjoyed very much but if I'm creating a top 10 list I had to unfortunately leave them off. Thus Asobi Seksu, Beck etc are some of my favourites from 2006. So there was no about face on my part. Hope that clarifies the situation.
I should have posted earlier. Now it looks like I’m cribbing from the notes of Messrs. Watson and Mercer. Damn!

Reflecting on the list, it appears I’m either mellowing considerably with age or the pop world has failed to provide me with a sufficient array of rock-all-out selections. Let's go with the latter.

Derek, I think you nailed the overrated albums. Can’t believe all the press for Herbert, which annoyed me from the get-go and had me clicking ‘Move to Recycle Bin’ after 2 or 3 listens. Loved the 2004 K-os album. The new one kind of sucks, which I attribute to the fact that it's played regularly on both CBC’s Metro morning and Here and Now, which consistently praise shite music.

However, I do like Asobi Seksu. I must point out--but not in an aggressive, Stuart-style nail your ass to the wall tone--that you recommended I download this album a few weeks ago. Did you have a change of heart after repeated listens or you were trying to get me to blow some of my allotted monthly downloads? Either way, I’m happy with it so no harm done. Not a profound record by any means but a pretty nice, airy, poppy record with sweet, Lush-meets-Pizzicato-Five by way of Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins vocals (like my Pitchfork impersonation?).

Onto the list:

Best

Jose Gonzalez - Veneer – Hurray Stuart for introducing me to this artist and this album, which has such a quiet, beautiful integrity to it.

Patrick Watson – Close to Paradise

I brought his first album to Stuart’s in the spring; this is his most recent and is a little more varied than his other work. At times, his voice reminds me of Rufus Wainwright, at other times Grant Lee Buffalo, at other times M. Ward, though his music recalls a dreamier, more ethereal Devendra Banhart. I could try to cram a few more names into this review but I think you get the idea.

Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton – Knives Don’t Have Your Back
I’ve never been that big a fan of Metric, as I’ve often found their lyrics and sound a little bracing. This set of polished, predominantly piano-driven lullabies complement her warmer, sophisticated vocals and I dug it big time.

Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Can she do any wrong? Methinks not. From the first listen, I knewthis was going to be one of my favourites of the year and it has not disappointed on repeated listens. She can belt out a heart-on-your sleeve lyric without sounding self-absorbed (see singer-songwriter discussion from a few months back) or precious (see Newsom below).

Cibelle- The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves
Though the English songs detract from the album as a whole, those sung in Portuguese are beautiful and more than compensate.

TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
Easily the most interesting album of the year, with some songs sounding like musical experiments (the opening I Was a Lover veers from off-skilter syncopation to ear-splitting distortion to a dub-interlude), flat out rockers (Wolf Like Me), to Peter Gabriel impersonations (Dirtywhirrl).

Beach House – Beach House
Kind of sounds like a cross between Stereolab and Mazzy Starr, with occasionally more heartfelt vocal expressions than either of these reference points. Only discovered this one in the last month and it’s very much a winter-album, so may explain be why I’m enjoying it so much.

M. Ward – Post-War
An album which caused me to go back and listen more closely to his earlier work. My only complaint is that it’s only 37 minutes long and I could do with a more Sufjan-sized helping.

The Submarines – Declare a New State!
Pretty songs about breakup and unhappiness and sunshine and rain that don’t push any boundaries but aren’t overly sweet, with some nice arrangements. Very similar to artists like Stars or the Delgados.

Best Songs:

Crazy/Gnarls Barkley
Wildcat/Ratatat
Hang Me Up to Dry/Cold War Kids
SexyBack/Justin Timberlake
Wolf Like Me/TV on the Radio
Black Swan/Thom Yorke
The Funeral/Band of Horses
Woke Up New/The Mountain Goats
Drain Cosmetics/Serena Maneesh
Chinese Translation/M.Ward

One final note on the best list: expect to find some or all of these artists on your Christmas cds, which were completed yesterday and will be delivered this Friday evening at book club.

Best Comebacks/

Tie: Yo La Tengo & Belle and Sebastian

Best 2005 albums that I discovered in 2006/

The Kingsbury Manx-The Fast Rise and Fall of the South (with a tip of the hat to Brian, who brought it to a meeting)
The National – Alligator

Huh?:
Joanna Newsom-Ys – No

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Have to say that 2006 was another interesting year in music, discovering interesting new bands (The Drift, Nomo, Islands) and welcoming back some old faves like the always underrated Lloyd Cole. Couldn't really say there was a specific direction in music this year and for me that's always a good thing and it's probably reflected in the albums that make my best of list which is as follows:

Neko Case - Fox Confessor (I still think Neko has a wall-to-wall brilliant record in her and I look forward to it but this came the closest so far)

Calexico - Garden Ruin (after seeing them at the Docks I wasn't sure these guys had much left in the tank but this was a brilliant return to form, sadly overlooked)

Nils Peter Molvaer - An American Compilation (hardly the greatest title for an album but it does tell you exactly what you're getting. Norwegian trumpeter who works with the likes of Eivind Aarset and Rune Arnesen and yes it's electronic jazz and very fine)

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain (their 2003 EP and 2004 LP had moments of brilliance but who knew they had this in them. My fave of 2006 and a record that like Cormac McCarthy's latest dark book stays with you for days and days)

Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye (never understood the hubub over their 2004 release but this one I got in a big way. "In the Morning" is the "Destroy Everything You Touch" for 2006. Assuming the kids still dance? this should keep them on the floor)

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (It's been 8 years since I liked a B&S album this much but it was worth the wait. There are a few missteps "The Blues are Still Blue" and "Sukie in the Graveyard" but the remainder more than makes up for it.

Manu Katche - Neighbourhood / Martin Speake - Change of Heart - I'm cheating here by putting 2 picks as 1 but they're both on ECM and in a similar languid but challenging jazz style. Katche is a French drummer and Speake a British saxophonist and both their combos make beautiful 21st century jazz with players like Tomasz Stanko, Bobo Stenson and Paul Motian in the mix.

Gabriela Montero - Piano Recital (a young Venezuelan pianist plays beautiful music by Rachmaninov, scriabin, liszt and others in a disc that came out in 2005. The real bonus is the 2nd CD of jazz style improvisations on classical pieces. Brilliant stuff and it sells for the price of a single CD.)

Field Music - self-titled - another disc from 2005 that I came late to. Really the only true indie pop record that appears on my list. Fans of the Shins, High Llamas, Apples in Stero should give them a spin.

Easy All Stars - Radiodread - yes Radiohead's music done in reggae fashion. Sounds like a terrible concept but it really works. Listen to "Airbag", the Specials like sound of the horns in "Paranoid Android" and "Let Down" sung with upbeat, infectious reggae stylin.

Albums that didn't quite make the cut - Beck, The Mountain Goats, Asobi Seksu, Califone and The Knife.

Terribly Overrated - Ghostface Killah, K-Os, Herbert and most definitely Danielson, the most annoying record of 2006.

Disappointments - Destroyer, Cat Power
Haven't finished my list yet but it will likely contain some of the albums listed here. If you haven't yet subscribed to this podcast yet, I recommend it. The conversation is particularly interesting whenever they have a panel discussion.

Cat Power's The Greatest is one of those discs which hasn't quite clicked for me. It's bound to be on many a top 10, or even top 5 of the year but I guess I'm amongst those who find the admittedly professionally sounding music a little too conservative or polished, how you say...without ze edge....for my liking.

How can you say you liked Cache, Brian, when only a few posts ago you ripped it for being....okay, thought I'd riff on the stuart gaffe a bit....glad you enjoyed it. We must discuss it soon.
i really should proofread my stuff...the decemberists reference at the front of my list was trying to refer to last years favorites , where the decemberists album and concert were my favorites....
OK so best albums of 2006;
For me hands down my favorite album and concert was Band of Horses...(interesting how for me my favoerite disc was also my favorite concert with the Decemberists)
Band of Horses to me does it all....sincere heart on your sleeve stuff , but not cloying....interesting lyrics that stand up after repeated listenings.. I dont know that they bring in anything all that new and the lead vocals are perhaps a little too much the sound of the band , which might make the next album difficult to build upon, but the songs are so damn good that I cant stop listening to it...
second best album for me would be cat Power the greatest....wherein our heroine pulls together a tight nashville band to bring out all the nuances of her insecure songwritting abilities...Though I like bits of her earlier work a great deal, this album is consistent all the way through and agin the songs are the main strength...
Sure the band is professional ( to a fault for some) but for me its about the songs and though I have a soft spot for the nashville sound , I dont think it matters with this record...her doing all the songs solo like her show at Lees did just that and though it had a few weak moments , those renditions were very strong too...
Albums by Sparklehorse, decemberists , M.Ward (thanks Kyle)and Neko Case all worked for me this year and though I have multiple albums from these bands, and though they dont offer anything new from their old sounds ...they can keep cranking them out if they keep up the consistently high quality songs.....
I will add more albums later.....we should all try for 10 as some of our lessor faves might be good for others amongst us...
Stu, who loves ya baby.

Kylie, emusic actually has a pretty decent collection of classical. Not sure how much time you've spent looking so you may already know this....I find it's best to choose by composer -Janacek's sinfonietta, a lovely piece as Derek pointed out, is available, just as an example. As long as you have some idea what you're looking for you often find it. It's mostly Naxos on emusic but that label is much better than it used to be.

And, pardon the rambling, but Janacek's other chamber music is outstanding - his solo piano music is somber and gorgeous, and his string quartets are among the finest you'll find. In fact, I would argue that a Best of the Czechs, from Smetana and Fibich down through Dvorak, Janacek, and Suk is about as good as classical music gets. Nothing like a downtrodden culture to create good art (though the Poles appear to have leaner pickings...well, other suppose there's Szymanowski, who also has beautiful piano music and fine symphonic work).

Starting to think about my best of the year as well, though it has mostly been a year of accumulating music from other periods, and a really low film-seeing year. I'm sure I have a few. Kyle - I saw Cache the other day and loved it. What a fantastic film.

Monday, December 11, 2006

oops...damn I guess i shopuld read more carefully, the quote on the 8th is actually by Mr Mercer.....damn I had such a smug look on my face when I was nailing Brian to the wall there....I should have known it was too easy.....well Brian , I will eat humble pie and try with your shortlist of symphonies and see if I can be moved.....
sorry Brian, I cant let this go....(you know i love a debate)....On the 8th you said "I cant think of a single symphony that I turn to when looking to be thoroughly moved by a classical piece" yet on the 11th you say "and you guys who cant find a favorite symphony are missing out....." for me if it dont move me, it cant be a favorite, or at least to me a favorite of a list of classical pieces that dont move me is somewhat irrelevant....sort of like my favorite Van Halen songs list ....(please no letters about how great van halen are.....)
An admitted greenhorn when it comes to classical music, I find that I also lean towards the quieter chamber pieces and the concertos. I'll have to branch out and start trying some more symphonies. For Shosto, I probably most familiar with his 8th String Quartet and Cello Concerto No 1 so these would currently be among my 'faves'.

Merci, Monsieur Mercer (3 pts for alliteration, 2 for french) for the tip on Lilburn. I’ve been looking to download a few more classical pieces from emusic but haven't been sure about any of the recordings. May have to pick up a guidebook on classical over the holidays.

Haven't seen this much buzz about physical attributes of a female performer since stuart brought the carla bruni disc to the cd club. But, you may well ask, which of the two wins a googlefight?

As for end of year picks, I'm hoping to post these sometime this week. I will include a list of favourite songs, albums, films, and possibly books. I'll also link to any articles with interesting end of year selections.
Actually, Derek, I was looking for your favourite Shostakovich music. I often have trouble with the English language....so thanks. I'll come up with a brief list of favourite classical pieces in a separate note.

Some of my favourite Shosta music is: the 24 Preludes and Fugues (piano), the Bolt Overture, Cello Concerto #1, the Piano Trios #1 and 2, Symphony Numbers 1, 5, and 10, and String Quartets 8 and 12.

And you guys who can't find a favourite symphony are missing out! I love the concertos, and the chamber and smaller pieces too, like you, probably more overall, but some composers were at or near their best in symphonies - Brahms, Sibelius, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and to debatably even Beethoven and Mozart. Bah! Hayden is a total yawner in my opinion but even he had some great symphonic moments! Particularly his London symphonies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hey Stuart, couldn't agree with you more where Ms Grimaud is concerned. She should be a French movie star. I've yet to see a bad picture of her in any of the magazines or CD covers she appears on. Anyone ready to start posting their 10 fave discs of the past year? Any definitive list toppers out there?
by the way Brian I just picked up Grimaud ( man aoh man she makes me hurt)
doing Schumanns piano concerto (rather then me unfortunately) ....only listened a few times but it has potential....glad to see its on your shortlist...
I gotta say, the symphonys or symphonics works in general just dont rock my boat either....
My current faves for larger scale works are all concertos....Vengerovs Shostakovitch Violin, Sibelious violin, Brahms Piano #2, but I really have a soft spot for the etherial sparseness of solo Violin or cello partitas Bach, or Chausson poem (op25) or Grieg solo piano...etc......Shostakovitch sure takes a thumping from the press in general, even on his centennial...pour guy ...Id like to see the critics trying to cope with Stalin as their boss...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some classical favourites of mine include Chopin's Piano Nocturnes, great late night listening music, Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite No.2, Ysaye's six solo violin sonatas, Schubert's masterful piano quintet in C major, Janacek's Sinfonietta which I've listened to about 20 times since only really hearing it for the first time at the CD club, Schumann's Piano Concerto, Britten's Phantasy Quartet, Barber's Cello Concerto and pretty much any of Saint-Saen's 5 Piano Concertos.

Strangely enough although it was complete symphonic music that drew me to classical music in the first place I can't really think of one symphony that I turn to when I'm looking to be thoroughly moved by a classical piece.

FYI in last month's BBC Music magazine the recording selected as the orchestral CD of the month was a Naxos disc of works by New Zealand's late and most renowned composer Douglas Lilburn. It is also a disc of the month in December's Gramophone. This disc is available for download at e-music and at 75 minutes and only 7 tracks is a steal.
If you listen at all to CBC Radio Two, then you're aware that 2006 is the centenary of Shostakovich's birth. You might have known that anyway. They're playing lots of his music currently (focusing it in a few week period) which has been awfully nice, as I personally am a fan. Washing the dishes, just as an example, is a much more rewarding task when accompanied by a Shosta Cello Concerto. I have a bunch of his output on record but nowhere near a complete collection, and have heard a number of pieces, primarily chamber, that were new to me. And gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

On that note, for those among us who are classically inclined, how about a brief list of some favourites.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

stuart, it's probably better to listen via itunes, which is generally more stable than the website and plug-in (real player, windows media) option. itunes is a free download (suggestion, de-select the two email box options so you don't have to enter an email address).

once it is downloaded and installed (shouldn't be more than a few minutes), you can choose the 'Radio' option from the menu on the left, then click on the arrow to the left of the 'Eclectic' category. KCRW is among the choices, listed alphabetically. KCRW music will get you just the music played on the station. KCRW simulcast will play what's on live, which includes all the NPR (talk) programming, also quite good.

just tried the kcrw site, which looks a lot brighter than the previous, black and green incarnation. i moved my mouse over 'Music' on the yellow-orange menu bar, then clicked 'KCRWmusic.com' from the drop-down menu that appears. in the middle of the screen, to the top-right of the picture of the washed-out-charlie-watts-looking nic harcourt is a little headphones icon with the word 'Listen' beside it. when i clicked on this, it launched that little real-player window, which did play a 15-second ad, but then went right into music.

anyhow, hope it helps.

btw...anyone notice that the who played last night? i saw a clip of their show on the morning news and i've gotta say...they were completely dreadful. an elderly drunk man who's just had his balls kicked in would have belted out a finer vocal performance of 'i can't explain' than roger and pete croaked out. who still goes to see this s-h-i-fucking-t? good god.
It may be my ludite capabilities with computers but the KCRW morning becomes eclectic website is driving me crazy...I used to be able to hit the "listen w realplayer button " and stream the previous days show with no problem but now you get 3 options at the top of the morning becomes eclectic page....listen live, listen, and something else and none of them get you the show (it throughs you to a different show entirely), and when you go to past shows an advertisement comes up saying listen on demand to previous days show, but there is no button to click to do so.....do you now need to subscribe to access this? any of you having better luck... its my favorite site

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yeah I bought This is Anita last year second hand for $10. Got lucky on that one I guess. I tend not to mention it only because it was the last of many orchestral recordings of her that I own and so I haven't spent as much time with it yet. And I still think the Peterson disk tops all of them (wait, did I say that already?). I will track down Cool Heat, Stu, thanks for the tip.
I have to echo Brians sentiments about Anita Oday.....One of my faves as well, though I might give Billy and sarah the nod over her.....I have generally the same Oday records Brian has, but I also have 2 others (mid fiftys) which are my favorites....The essential ( Brian you may want to get this too) is This is Anita with the heartrenching take of wHEN A nightingale sang in Berkely square (one of my fave songs ), amongst other great performances..the other disc is Cool heat , which is also perfect straight through , mixing well known (mack the knife) with great lesser known (to me) songs...These 2 discs would be my recommended starting point. but you will have to pay, I think they are only available as japenese imports....Sorry to here shes gone....It may make more sence for me to digitise this vynle for all of you, I just have to get my tecnology together....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hey Kyle I wouldn't bother with any of the Anita O'Day offerings on the e-music site. As with a lot of jazz available on their site it isn't really up to snuff with the best of her material. You might want to check out the new Max Richter CD (Stuart can give you some words of wisdom on his earlier release) or the Toronto based band Woolly Leaves which I've read some good things about.
Very much appreciated input, bri. I put "Odessey and Oracle" on my christmas list so I'm hoping that Santa comes through. Any of the Anita O'Day offerings at emusic seem interesting? None stood out for me, but I'm again away from home and my Penguin and Rough Jazz Guides don't travel well so perhaps I'm missing the opportunity to snatch up a few gems with my remaining dowloads for the month. I may just have to go to one of those places where you can buy music on these shiny discs in plastic wrapping.

Two links, to get you through your day:

The first, is a Slate.com article about Pitchfork, which attempts to explain why music lovers hate but read the site (short version: we like confrontation).

The second, is a clip from the Ricky Gervais show "Extras", which features David Bowie hilariously demonstrating his song-writing process, at the expense of poor Ricky. First embedding attempt...

Monday, November 27, 2006

So I stopped checking for blogs after a few weeks, since the BD blog-compulsion had become almost masturbatory....what with Kylie travelling, Derek daddying, Marc remaining strong/silent, and Stuart sticking to his strength as a blog-counterpuncher, well, I was tired of blogging with myself. But anyhoo, glad to see some life in the old girl yet (am I mixing metaphors?).

And Derek - since reading your blog, I've been racking my brains trying to remember when you and I saw Anita O'Day sing in the past six months :) (and it hasn't come to me....so are you sure she's dead?)

I will chime in on the raging Joanne Newsome debate with a strong "no thanks", based on the few samples I've done, and let one of you (Stuart, it sounds like) convince me of the error of my ways.

And today I get to blog on Anita and The Zombies. fun fun fun.....

Anita O'Day is my favourite jazz singer - her voice the perfect mix of scratchy world weariness ala Billie Holiday, tongue-in-cheek-we-all-know-this-is-just-a-song jazz irony, and, yet, heartbreaking, soul-searching sadness. Doesn't have the pipes of say, Sarah Vaughan or Ella, or the come-hither sexiness of Helen Merrill or June Christy....more of a blend of the above, and still unique and utterly unmistakeable. If you haven't spent any time with her music, you've kinda got to (sorry, you have no choice). I have a number of her recordings, mostly from the mid-late fifties. My favourite is her stripped-down session with the Oscar Peterson trio called "Anita Sings the Most". Much of the rest of her ouevre is working with medium to large bands, all of which is good, and some fantastic. Of these, I would go with This is Anita, AOD Sings the Winners, and Pick Yourself Up, all released within a few years of each other.

Re the Zombies, true enough there is really only one album, Odessey and Oracle, in my view one of the top three or four pop records of all time. It's been described as "the Zombies' Pet Sounds", but I think it makes mince meat out of Pet Sounds. The quality and variety of song, and the beauty of their performance are extraordinary throughout. The Zombies were an anomaly - way too sophisticated to be lumped in with the other British Invasion pop bands of the 64/65 timeframe with their strong jazz influences combined with choral harmonies and incredible melodies (not to mention interesting lyrics), but that's where they ended up. The band didn't last long as a result, record companies looking for hits that they couldn't hear, and broke up in '67, just after the release of Odessey and Oracle. The album wasn't released in the States until a year later, and Time of the Season didn't chart until almost two years after their demise. Anyway, buy it, full stop, and then we'll talk some more.

However, by only picking up that record you're missing out on some great songs (incl Tell Her No and She's Not There), which would best be found on one of the numerous singles compilations out there. Those of us who like Belle and Sebastien will hear clear influences in the Z's earlier material, with Colin Blunstone's breathy vocals, simpler arrangements then on O&O, and often that groovy jazz compositional underpinning. These are some of the best songs coming our of Britain in the mid 60's in my opinion, still way underheard and underappreciated. My faves include Smokey Day, Whenever You're Ready, Is this the Dream, If it Don't Work Out, I Love You, You Make Me Feel Good, Imagine the Swan.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

In the spirit of the alternate universe "me" I have listened to the Joanna Newsom disc. There's no need to open it when it's downloaded from e-music. As I adjust to my changed lifestyle I was up at 6am this morning and at the St Lawrence market at 7am. As it was a beautiful still fall morning (pre-fog) and the sun was just breaking over the horizon it seemed like an ideal setting for listening to the precious Ms Newsom. Still even with the perfect ambiance I can't say that it did much for me. I understand where Kyle's coming from with the Fiery Furnaces reference but with their disc there were some vital moments that I knew with repeat listenings would etch themselves into my brain. The Furnaces also managed to change tempo many times within the same song. On Newsom's disc I'm hard pressed to find any variation across it's 50 minute running time.

I might be jumping the gun here but I'm fairly certain it won't grow on me with time. Hate to say it but I think I concur with Perlich on this one.

As an aside the great jazz singer Anita O'Day passed away on Thursday at the age of 87. I know some of her music but the man who can pass along some recommendations is still MIA on the blog. Look forward to hearing which discs one should own.

Friday, November 24, 2006

brian, wakey wakey....i just lobbed one down the middle of the plate....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I do like her voice....kind of reminds me of Coco Rosie . It's her rambling delivery, accompanied by the off-kilter orchestration that has me a little puzzled, which of course will lead me to play it over and over, which will lead me to...okay I've covered this already. Thanks for feedback, though. I await the Zombie reco from bri....
Kyle, I previewed the disc and I was just saying to Derek that it sounded pretty great to me and her voice was much fuller then her first disc, which I found to be too forced....I have in fact picked it up but in the spirit of Mr Mercer have yet to open it....recall though that I am a folky at heart and it doesnt take much to turn me on in that style...As for Zombies there is only one album, but I should let Herr Doyle give you the 6 paragraph statement of artisitc merit that he will no doubt want to....
Guess we've all settled down for a long winter's nap, eh? Or perhaps we're all busy compiling our respective year end lists but are afraid to reveal your hand before we even get to December? Is that it?

I blame my inactivity on work travel but now that I'm back in the office for a few days, I have no excuse not to post. So, some questions for the esteemed panel:

Has anybody listened to the Joanna Newsom disc? If so, any impressions? I'm at the 'can't believe it's one of the highest rated albums of the year what the hell is this' stage, last experienced, to this extent at least, by the Fiery Furnaces' Blueberry Boat. I'm hoping that the next couple of listens takes me to the, 'kind of dig parts of it but aren't really all that sure as a whole' stage so that I can later progress to the 'simply brilliant, multi-layered work, what sort of philistine doesn't like this' stage?

Has anybody seen the Von Triers' scripted/Vinterberg directed film, Dear Wendy? I watched it a few days ago and, apart from finding it kind of brilliant, if flawed, I loved all the Zombies songs in the soundtrack. So which Zombie albums should I put on my shopping list? I could always pick up a best of/greatest, but I'm thinking that at some point, I'll want the original albums. Problem is, they seem to have released a lot of 45s that may not appear on any original albums and allmusic hasn't shed a lot of light.

Hope I've given you some good ideas to chew on. At the very least, you should all have 'She's Not There' in your heads for the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Well parried Stuart, as I expected. But I still think we tend to exaggerate the value, talent, etc of pop musicians, because their music makes us feel good. And certainly I would be most happy to contribute to a Genius List. Just to provoke controversy, I'm saddened to say that Neil Young would not make my list.

Re experiencing life through pop, Stu, I wasn't excluding other forms of music as avenues to experience. Far from it! (pop/rock/folk/punk comprises about 20% of my listening these days (I am truly getting old)).

And I was serious about the "anyone know any good new punk" question.
a litlle post script that might prove to be the exception...
by sheer coincidence , I heard this great modern choral work on CBC yesterday and loved it...Karl Jenkins - Requium... I just discovered that he was the keyboardist and I think a composer of the pop group soft machine....I will look into it further and get back to you
genius (oxford) ....special mental endowments, exalted intellectual power, instinctive and extraordinary imaginative creative or inventive capacity...

If Bob Dylan or Neil Yonge dont have this , I dont know who does...OK Maybe not the mental endowment parts , but extraordinary instinctive imaginative creative capacity,
no question, especially the instinctive part, which is paramount to pop music and maybe different from the more cerebral classical (sorry formal) music.

I dont mind using the term for pop musicians , but I use it very sparingly ( I can see another top 10 list in the future)...Generally, I also agree with the article , but I dont like the typical backhanding to pop stars that is always associated with this position...for instance the put down on Tommy or the Wall , which are very creative within the genra of pop music..but I guess when sir Paul and the like try these embarassing musical experiments , they do a diss service to pop music in general, which does fine on its own without this bullshit search for musical depth,
that only seems top affect the top most pinacle of pop stars, such as Sting and Paul and thats likely because they cannot live in the real world anymore because of their extremes of sucsess...
Fianally, Brian, try driving up a beautifull snowy road in north ontario listening to Sibelius violin concerto and one could argur that the mirror of life to music applys to all forms, perhaps I'm a litle simplistic with the analogy , but you get my drift (so to speak)
Loathe to admit it, but Sting's latest probably does mirror the life I lead right now. And no, I will not be purchasing it, listening to it, or referring to it in future blogs. Anyone heard any good new punk music?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Does this mean Brian that you wont be purchasing the latest Sting CD because he really doesn't mirror the life you lead? Or would there be other more prudent reasons for that.

One of the discussion points that came out of this article was the offhand use of the word genius, applied to any artistic endeavour but in this case musical genius. It seems to me that that the label is fairly meaningless if we anoint the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Thom Yorke, Paul McCartney etc with the musical genius tag. Put any of the names above into a google search and tack on the word genius and you'll see what I mean. I'd like to believe that genius isn't something that comes along every day as much as I love the music of the aforementioned fivesome.
Gotta say I wholeheartedly agree with the article on many levels. The difference, let's say chasm, between writing a cool pop song, or even an intricate, multi-level pop/rock classic, and composing in a formal musical context (let's avoid the word classical) is so huge as to be pretty much untraversable. It generally goes in only one direction (pop can't do formal), though, and I think the article got this right too, there aren't any notable instances of formally trained composers writing a fantastic little hip hop number, or some such thing.

In my view, pop music, that THING which we obsess over, mirror our lives through, and (to a degree) live each day to re-discover, is the output almost exclusively of musical lightweights. And yes, I would include most of our guitar and drum heroes in there too. That doesn't make the music any less important for me, though, might even make it more relevant.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I discussed this article in a rather drunken fashion with Stuart on Thursday night. Like to hear any more sober thoughts on this issue.

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1931560,00.html

And as a side note re classical music, I was in Atelier this afternoon and for all of October and November they are selling all Hyperion discs (which normally chime in at around $26) for 30% off. Pretty good deal.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I bought point of departure in scotland and I love it, thus I will check out your tips....It seems I have a very disproportionalty high number of jazz piano records, and aside from coltrane and davis, much less trumpet or saxophone stars, thus I was hoping to reconcile this imbalance by getting some favrites of of you lot...we should all really finish those jazz lists...I think I need to ad my final 7, so hopefully next week....
A normal morning for me, riding the subway, sardined in with hundreds of others, holding my thankfully small soft-cover book above heads to pick up as much of the yellowed light as possible, and listening to my iPod on shuffle - the usual jarring mix of folk, pop, rock, jazz, and classical....when I hear an understated, groovy, modern-but-not modal drum and bass beginning, followed a couple of bars later by a flute and trumpet harmonizing on a simple line, and thereafter jagged piano comping, and then, a seven or eight piece ensemble. Don't recognize it, and am fascinated with the colour and tonal depth of it - reaching into my briefcase (trying not to grope too many people on the way down) and discover that it's Andrew Hill - "Noon Time" from the Passing Ships record. An album recorded in the late 1960's but never released (why did jazz labels do that so effin' often?) , which I bought with excitement when the tapes were found in 2002 or 3, but clearly never really digested. It's outstanding.

As more recordings emerge, it seems to me that Andrew Hill's stature as a jazz giant is growing - for me his best are Black Fire and now, maybe, Passing Ships, with Point of Departure and Grass Roots an excellent next tier down. Amazingly, he's still going strong - "Dusk" from 1999, is one of my favourite contemporary jazz recordings - I'll bring it to a CD club in the future.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thanks Marc (belatedly).

I should mention that all four of my picks are available on e-music (www.emusic.com), to which at least Kyle, Derek, and I subscribe - not sure whether anyone else is in the team. Comes highly recommended by me - they offer monthly subscription packages ranging from (I think) $10 - to $25 (or $30?), and for that you can download between 40 and 100 songs. I'm on the $15 / 65 song program and always seem to devour my 65 songs within about two days of my monthly renewal.

The site has a diverse and interesting if far-from-complete catalogue, focused more on releases from 6 months ago and previous, but will surprise every now and then - Yo La Tengo's latest, Thom Yorke's solo record were both there early on - and has some nice search engines to help you find music that you would otherwise never have heard of, and that fits into your musical wheelhouse. Can't beat it for the money.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Warren:
Alice Russel – My Favourite Letters
J Dilla – The Shining
Gerardo Frisina – Hi Note
Ghana Sounz – Sound Way

Kyle:
M Ward – Post Ward
Serena Manieesh – Self Titled
TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
Emily Haines – Knives Don’t Have Your Back

Stuart:
Lullaby Baxter – Garden Cities of To-Morrow
Vangelis L’Apocolypse des Animaux
Jose Gonzalez - Veneer


Kevin:
The Henreys – Desert Cure
The Henreys- Peurto Angels

Brian:
Movietones – The Blossom Filled Streets
Last Days of April – If You Loose It
Magali Souriau Orchestra – Birdland Sessions
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass


Marc:
Sergio Mendes - Timeless
Ray Lamontagne – Till The Sun Turns Black
Soldad Brothers – The Hardest Walk

Friday, October 06, 2006

Stuart, I like your point about guitar vs. piano, which is something I hadn't considered. Agree that it is harder to express an emotion with piano music without coming off as maudlin; there's something just more dramatic about the sound of a piano which easily lends itself to this evocation. The mass popularity of rock/pop music can likely be attributed to the fact that guitar-based songs are more accessible to people because they don't sound like the musicians are putting on airs. Also, guitars can be a lot more visceral, and therefore more immediately satisfying for the listener. When a piano tries to be visceral, it just sounds over-dramatic, and there we come back to the 'putting on airs' critique.

Which brings us to Brian's point, about liking female singer-songwriters who are more 'male', which I take to mean more aggressive in terms of lyrics or arrangements. Was thinking of my favourite female singer-songwriters and they aren't necessarily the ones that sound 'more male' but those that are 'edgy' in a different way. Those female singer songwriters that do it for me tend to be those who are more 'feminine' in a lot of ways, but produce either a lusher sound or are quirky-edgy instead of agressive edgy (ie. Bjork or Cibelle versus Emm Gryner). I realize that Emily Haines may fall into the latter category, at least with respect to her Metric work, but what I like most about this solo disc is the lusher, more feminine feel to it.

As for yuppie romantic drivel, much of the work of Sarah McLaughlin, along with that of Norah Jones, Chantal Krevetsiak, Michelle Branch, et al falls into a genre that can best be described as "Starbucks", as this is what you usually hear whenever you're ordering that skinny double venti latte no foam no whip.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

thought i'd waid in since no one likes wussy music like me...
seems like there are 3 points here for me;
1) "buying into the emotion" a topic much discussed by us , but I think it is the core of the issue wether male or female singers. dont know what makes it work for some and not others ( I actually like some of Sarah Mclauglins music and Brian has hated her for years)..
2) I never thought of the guitar vs piano aspect, but I do believe it is harder to come off "real" when playing piano as some you point out...hardly seems fair given it is just the instrument, but I guess like black tower wine...once a bad taste gets lots of airplay (think -you light up my life for instance -debbie boone or any bad 70's piano ballads)its hard for serious drinkers to get back in tha game - hense the good prise of alsatian reislings these days...
3) I think its imprtant to seperate band songwritters ( Bjork, Pat Benetar, Kate Bush)vs singer songwritters because I see the complexities of Bjorks music for instance putting her in a completely different catagory .... as far as true singer songwritters ( early joni mitchell, sandy denny, june tabor, or current Chan marshall,Julie Doiron (i bought her last album last winter -love it- ) or say Aimee mann or Natalie Merchant...all of this some of my most favorite music -piano based -
and totally honest no ironic stance at all....just goes to show ya ...whatever the hell my point was?????

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tough call. I think the expression of emotion is at the core of good art (Coltrane, punk, Pollock, Beethoven, you name it), so what we're really disliking - and I agree wholeheartedly about the singers you mentioned - is the particular idiom. I was saying just the other day that I have a limited appetite for the singer/songwriter genre, and I think that's what it boils down to. And yes, for me, moreso female singer/songwriters. There's nothing as nauseating as hearing Sarah Mclaughlin lauded for writing material ostensibly so "close to the bone", when to me it sounds like yuppy romantic drivel. Thank GOD she seems to have stopped producing hits.

I think the reason we bristle is what we're hearing, or not hearing more accurately, is true and real expression, so we're not buying it. Doesn't necessarily apply to all females s/s's - I connect better with PJ Harvey, though I don't always love her music - but there are few exceptions. And the ones that we like tend to be tougher, and more male in their expression.

As an aside, the same can't be said for jazz singers, interestingly, where the melancholy milieu works brilliantly for me.

I do keep dabbling in female s/s's, with only modest success - downloaded some Laura Veirs tunes in the early new year after she was well reviewed, which are squarely in the "not bad" category, and have recently discovered and quite enjoy Julie Doiron's music (she of Eric's Trip), which has been around for years. Any exceptions for the rest of you?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Listening to the latest edition of NPR's All Songs Considered the other day a similar point was raised when they got around to playing a snippet from the new Joanna Newsom CD. There were 4 or 5 people in the discussion as they were previewing the best of the new fall releases and the divide between them on Newsom and others of her ilk was quite stark. They either loved or loathed her.

As much as I enjoyed Newsom's debut CD on the first 3 or 4 spins I really haven't touched it since. Same thing happened with Tori Amos' "Under the Pink" CD of about 10 years back and with Fiona Apple's debut "Tidal". A few spins then filed away to gather dust. The panel on the show also threw Kate Bush into the mix but I'd say she's had a much more varied output than the 3 women above.

Does the impatience with this sort of music have anything to do with the fact that Apple and Amos play the piano and Newsom the harp? We're much less inclined to vent when someone like Elliott Smith or Sufjan Steven get all maudlin on our ass.

I'm not sure it's really a female-male issue (as Haines seems to state) though as I'm just as impatient with songsmiths like Damien Rice, Ryan Adams or even Conner Oberst at times because like you said Kyle "yes, we get that you're in pain" now shut the fuck up.

I think for me as well it also comes down to the simple fact that over a 4 or 5 record span (as much as most performers will ever release) a group of talented musicians will almost always win out over a solo perfomer in complexity, variety and freshness of sound.
Apropos of nothing (and aren't you ready to just frickin hate anything that comes next when I start a post this way)....I'm really digging the new Emily Haines disc and may burn a copy for others to play at next week's CD club, which I will not be able to attend.

I especially like this quote from Pitchfork (which references another article):

"I really don't relate to the female singer-songwriter," Haines said in a recent Under the Radar interview. "You're all precious and everyone has to hush while you go over the shadows of your emotions. I've always hated that."

Amen. While there's something to be said for beautiful songwriting, and the often beautiful songwriters who appear front and centre, in billowing white dresses with whispy, wind-blown hair, on the covers of all the cds they put out, I've always found artists like Tori Amos and Fiona Apple a tad off-putting by their, for lack of a better word, histrionics. Yes, it's admirable when artists are willing to put their emotions out there but I think this sometimes is considered an achievement in itself, without a consideration as to whether or not the resulting music is any good. ie. I get that you're in pain but I'm not feeling the vibe.

Am I way off the mark? Please feel free to either put me in my place or stroke my ego.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Well, just imagine how good round two will be now, after the inevitable disappointment of round one. Har har.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

That was only round one Brian.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Great. You completely shut me out. 0 for 3. Or was it 4? My choices were carefully considered and unique, not just the same old "Monk, Coltrane, Mingus" nonsense.

I may have to go for a beer at McV's to get over this....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thanks for the advice guys. I decided to go for Tenor Madness by Rollins, Brilliant Corners by Monk and Mingus Ah Um. I'll be re-checking the suggestions when I'm ready for more.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I think the only week night Im no good for is friday the 13th (in october)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rob, I seem to recall from past conversations that you have explored jazz somewhat, so you'll likely know a bunch of the names being thrown around in our Top 50's.....but at the risk of recommending some obvious stuff, and given your plea for melody, I'll put a couple of names out there for you. First off, early-mid sixties Dexter Gordon is can't miss ("Doin' Allright", "Go", "Our Man in Paris", a few others), plus same period Hank Mobley is among the best of the beat-based Hard Bop movement (I love "No Room for Squares" but others point to "Soul Station", "Straight no Filter" and "Workout as his best - fact is they're all very good). In terms of piano music, my obvious favourite is Bill Evans, and he practically reinvented melody on piano (try Moonbeams, Portait in Jazz, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, or Exploration), but of the many many others, I'd start with McCoy Tyner's "The Real McCoy", which has the benefit of the outstanding Joe Henderson playing beautifully on the tenor.

Re our CD Club meeting, Kyle and I went off-line and he said that we should go ahead and book a night and he will come if he can...he schedule is pretty ugly for the next couple of months. Given that, can we look at mid-October again? I'd be good generally for the week of the 9-13th, or 16-20th (though the Thursday of that week is probably the next book club).

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hey Rob, welcome. I’m not sure if you picked up on the top 50 Jazz list we are composing on the blog. The idea is that we all nominate our (up to) 50 “favourite” (for whatever reason we feel fit) jazz recordings of all time. At the end of the year we will finalize the vote and I will compile a list.

That having been said, if you dig back in the blog archives over the past couple months you can check out some of our nominations. I would say that there is nary a harsh note in any of my top 20 posted on Sept 4th. I personally feel that you can’t go wrong with any of them; but then of coarse that’s why I put them on MY list!

If you can find a copy, I would particularly recommend Toshinori Kondo & Dj Krush – Ki-Oku. Modern beats mixed with some stellar Milesesque horn playing by Kondo. Still make me feel good every time I throw it on… think I’ll go back to the house and grab my copy now ….combat the grey sky within!
Sonny Rollins - tenor madness....my favorite sax blowing session....Monk Brilliant corners ....songwritting.....Coltrane Love supreme, my favorite jazz album of all time, we have also spent the best part of the year trying to make a top 50 jazz albums of all time list, but it has been somewhat sporadic,

On a seperate note, on this day of matrimonial bliss , I thought maybe we should have a list of you know...." we're going to the chaa-pel and we're ...goin to get mar, ar,aried, yes we're going to the chapel of love" ......you know....best wedding songs of all time ( heres to you Derek and May....) damned if I can think of any others, but there must be some....??

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thanks for the welcomes guys. Stu, didn't you sleep on the sidewalk outside Cheapies to be first in line for that Asia album?

I'm surprised Boys In The Bright White Sports Car wasn't mentioned. Sure, there's more than a hint of nostalgia to liking any of that stuff, but I gotta confess that I still find that choking guitar solo pretty tasty, if derivative. (Paul Kossoff, Carlos Santana...see Kyle? I can do pretentious just fine.)

Okay boys, how about a little assignment to help the new guy out; what three jazz albums would you suggest an almost-neophyte pick up to begin filling out a tres sparse jazz collection. And please, a touch of melody. I already have some Soft Machine and Beefheart.
Sorry guys. Just realized I have a previous commitment (annual hockey pool draft) early that same week. So back to square one.... Kyle, which days are you actually available in october?
I fear we're headed into a discussion of Asia's "Heat of the Moment". Should that occur, I may have to dynamite the blog entirely.

Welcome, Rob! Don't be intimidated by any of our comments. Ten minutes of listening at sites like BetterPropaganda and Insound and a good thesaurus will have you sounding as pretentious as the rest of us in no time.
Welcome Rob.

OK let's go with October 2nd. I haven't checked with my gatekeeper but I'm (just) man enough to commit without requiring permission (and hope for the best).

Re Trooper, for me it's always been about "We're Here for a Good Time" and "Two For the Show" (although Santa Maria is equally fine). Which reminds me, why does no one talk about Prism? Why is it always Trooper? It's not right. "Spaceship Superstar" was quite inspiring when I was thirteen, and "Armageddon", equally anthemic.
I figured there was no point in throwing my 2 cents worth into the mix as long as we're still waiting for Brian and Kyle to cement a date that all can live with. I'm fairly flexible with any date in October at this point so I will leave it in the capable hands of the rest of you.
monday oct 2 is good for me.....I think Brian and Derek still have their heads stuck in the film festival to confirm thats ok...as for trooper, all I have to say is that at this blogsite ...round round we go to raise a little hell ...so to speak ( OK thats really lame...apologies)..."santa maria" is the song that does it for me from them...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thanks for the invite guys, although after a quick look around I fear I may be out of my league. Doesn't anyone listen to Trooper anymore?
I've linked both to the new Yo La Tengo album and David Cross in the past and I will do so again now, because I found this review of their new album, released only yesterday, to be very funny.

You may agree. You may disagree. You may completely ignore the invitation to blog here, causing Stuart and Brian to look like major liars. You may, in fact be drunk, sitting at a bar, but still alert enough to make use of this temporarily free wifi thing in the city. At any rate, enjoy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

mon oct 2nd works for me but i think Brian might be out of commission for that week...Brian?
Monday October 2nd is the only early in the week date that is looking promising for me right now, which I know is a kind of crap night to listen to music and have a few beers. Of course, it might be fun to have something to look forward to on a Monday night. Hope it works for some of you. Again, if not, no worries.

To those who are new to the blog or have received the invitation to post and are a little apprehensive about taking the plunge, let me posit a question.

What are your top 5/10 'best/most effective' uses of music in a movie? It can be use of a song (ie. Dick Dale's 'Misirlou' in the opening credits of Pulp Fiction) or just most moving score (ie. Morricone's soundtrack for 'The Mission'). I'll come up with some better answers myself but you get the drift. Look forward to you joining us here!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Kyle, are there any beginning-of-the-week dates in October that you can do? I can’t bear the thought of a club meeting without you!

Brian, forgive me, but does not the presence of your mother in law make it a good week for another excuse to get out of the house?
kyle, would any beginning-of-the week dates work for you in October?
my schedule is almost completely booked for october so none of those dates work for me. i'd suggest you go this one without me.

brian, digging the kingsbury manx, which you brought to the last club and which i recently downloaded from emusic. for other emusic people out there, i recommend a band called Maritime, whose 'We, the Vehicles' album is pretty good, as is the Submarines 'Declare a New State!', which is steadily growing on me.

also, i've been really digging, perhaps overselling, the new M. Ward disc, a recent release and available on emusic as well. i'd really only downloaded the odd song by him in the past and i know that one of you (brian, derek) brought one of his discs to a meeting recently so i'm going to have to revisit some of his previous discs as well.
I have my mother in law visiting from Oz for that week....I'd prefer to look at the Thursday the 13th if that works for others.
im good for either date

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Actually, Kyle, my offer for a “listening party” was in response to Brian’s query of when the next “cd club meeting” was; a term you all know I am loath to use because, in fact, I am a snob! …but I like the idea of a jazz night as well.

Starting with the cd club, how would October thurs 5th or fri 6th work for people? or earlier in the week if need be. …or following week?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Perhaps it is I who should be explaining himself! Now while I’m sure that Brian is simply thinking that I am merely trying to be my usual wanker self, and Derek is sure to think I am taking the piss, I assure you I am not; maybe. It is interesting to make a list of this type because it all depends on what your criteria are as to where something ends up on a list or if it ends up there at all.

Now, while it might well be argued that Nightmares on Wax is not even Jazz, it can not be argued that I, (rightly or wrongly) consider that it belongs to one of the genres that jazz has evolved into and is in itself acid jazzesque.

To suggest that Carboot Soul is actually more important, more significant or any way better than A Love Supreme is unequivocally absurd. The list is a snapshot of the jazz that I love most at a given moment in time (1:48am), and what I find intriguing is that given that, it might look completely different in three months time. I can honestly say that throwing on Carboot Soul gives me marginally more pleasure than listening to A Love Supreme. …and isn’t pleasure what it’s all about?

Btw, does any body have my copy of Carboot Soul? I seem to have lost it and actually need to listen to it to refresh my memory of it... I don't really remember it that well.
Fresh legs, posters are always welcome. Please extend this invitation to Rob, Greg, Mike, Dick, Harry, Jane, Cubby, Binky, Small Bob, Big Bob, and anyone else who would like to contribute to this space. You can either post post or email me their contact information so I can send them an invite.

Also, with the TIFF upon us, let me invite you all to share you comments at our September-only sister site Toronto Filmfestiblog. This year the official TIFF website has links to various blogs and I've submitted ours for linkage so this could be your chance to shine in front of a wider audience.

I like Marc's suggestion for getting together and playing some of this music on the list but September is a bad month...perhaps sometime in October. Marc, I noticed that you have Brian's #1 pick in your top 10 but Brian doesn't have Nightmares on Wax anywhere in his Top 40. Brian, care to explain this omission on you part?
Marc - good to see you back on the blog, (a) to provide your input on the jazz list, and (b) to comfort Stuart, who was lonely. Life can be tough when you under-appreciate fantastic music from iconic sixties bands, as Stuart is discovering.

Over the past couple of months in various conversations I mentioned the blog to a few of my buddies (who will be familiar to most of you - Greg, Gerald, and Mike Charbonneau), and there was some interest on their part. Stuart, I know you had thoughts of inviting Rob McGoogan.....how does everyone feel about opening the space up a little bit?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ah yes, my much neglected Jazz list. I had suggested this exercise in large part because I was interested in becoming more familiar with the great jazz recordings . For me, the making of the list has only served to underline just how little I know about Jazz (or anything for that matter) and how much there is to learn.

As I had suggested, I would like to at some point tabulate the results, just for the hell of it, but first, I would like to give a good solid listen to some of the other nominations. I have managed to tackle several of them, but I must admit that I find the Jazz is a genre that takes a while for new it’s new experiences to marinate and make it to a favourites list.

I will spend the next several months making a concerted effort to dig a little deeper and would hope that my final vote might look a little different by the end of the fall. For what it’s worth, here are my top 40.

40. ‘The Mercury Song Book’ 100 Jazz Vocal Classics – 1995
39. ‘The Verve Story’ 1944 – 1994
38. John Coltrane – My Favourite Things
37. John Coltrane – Blue Trane
36. Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd –­ Jazz Samba
35. Brad Mehldau – Art of the Trio
34. Billie Holiday – Lady’s Decca Days
33. Grant Green – Alive
32. Bill Evans – Live at the Village Vangard
31. Coltrane – Coltrane Time - 1958
30. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew – 1969
29. Next up is Duke Ellington - ‘S.R.O.’
28. Miles Davis – Birth of Cool
27. Charlie Parker & Dizzie Gillespie - Bird and Diz
26. Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
25. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
24. John Coltrane – The complete Africa Sessions
23. Art Tatum – ‘Tea for Two’ 1945
22. Ornett Coleman – Shape of Jazz to Come
21. Oscar Peterson Trio – Night Train
20. Herbie Hancock – Empyrean Isles
19. Freddie Hubbard – Anthology 66-82 Soul Brother Records
18. Grant Green – Solid
17. Miles Davis – In a Silent Way
16. Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
15. Bill Evans Trio – Waltz for Debbie
14. Duke Ellington – Ellington Live At Newport Jazz Festival 1965
13. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Gilberto /Getz
12. Art Blakey – A Night at Birdland
11. Bugge Wesseltoft – New Conception of Jazz, FiLM iNG
10. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
9. Nighmares on Wax – Carbout Soul
8. ‘The Jazz Scene’ – Verve 1994
7. Kieth Jarrett – The Koln Concert
6. Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
5. Toshinori Kondo & Dj Krush – Ki-Oku
4 .Charles Mingus – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
3. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
2. Modern Jazz Quartet – European Concert Volume 2.
1. Dave Brubeck Quartet. ‘Time Out’ (1959)

Listening party @ my place? ...End of September? a Friday?

Friday, September 01, 2006

And boys, belatedly, here is the list of what we all played at the last CD club:

Kyle
Thom Yorke - Eraser
Quantic Sould Orchestra - Pushin On
Cibelle - The Shine of the Electric Dead Leaves (2006) and Self titled (2003)
The Deadly Snakes - Porcella

Derek
The Islands - Return to the Sea
Manu Katche - Neighbourhood
Nomo - New Tones
Enrique Caruso - The Complete Recordings Vol 6

Marc
Grupo Fantasma - Movimiento Popular
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Ocote Soul Sounds - Adrian Quesada
Jamaica to Toronto - 1967 - 74
Built to Spill - Latest

Stuart
Band of Horses
Oliver Schroer - Camino
Arthur Russell - The World of...

Brian
Eric Matthews - Six Kinds of Passion Looking for an Exit
The Microphones - The Glow part 2
Eleventh Dream Day - Zeroes and Ones
Kingsbury Manx - The Fast Rise and Fall of the South
The Young People - All at Once

So when is the next one?
Stu, thanks for the update. Inspiring stuff.

OK, moving right along, here are my top ten jazz picks:

(10) Miles Davis - Milestones (1959)
(9) John Coltrane - The Complete Africa Brass Sessions (1960)
(8) Bill Evans - Portait in Jazz (1961)
(7) Lee Morgan - Search for the New Land (1964)
(6) Hank Mobley - No Room For Squares (1964)
(5) Wayne Shorter - Night Dreamer (1964)
(4) Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (1957)
(3) McCoy Tyner - The Real McCoy (1967)
(2) Bill Evans - Moonbeams (1964)
(1) Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1958)

Notables that somehow got squeezed out, but could easily have been right at the top (this list making ain't so easy)....Mingus - Ah Um; Joe Lovano - For the Soul; Bill Evans - Interplay; Coltrane - A Love Supreme; Andrew Hill - Black Fire, and finally, Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth.
well since I am the only person on metabeats Ive made a unilateral decision to turn this site into my own personal webpage, and I will be making daily comments on my life for your benefit and intellectual fulfillment so in that light....

day 1
Sept 01... I woke up today and I thought.... gosh ...its going to be a really positive day for me... I feel really good about things now and I just wanted to share that with you all

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

my lists below total 43, so I will add my final 7 and reorder them in order for you shortly....
Jazz list
Below is my previous picks , but with the fascist brian Doyle rules for vinyle toofers applied....this totals 31 picks

Steve Colman -Resistence is Futile
Anita oday-Cool heat
Frank Sinatra - The wee small hours
Getz Gilberto- Getz Gilberto
Shepp & Waldron- Left alone revisited
Jim Hall - Concerto de Aranjez (spelling ??)
McCoy Tyner -the real McCoy
Miles Davis's score (Ascenseur pour l’├ęchafaud )
Miles Davis - Cooking
Miles davis- Relaxin
Miles davis - kind of blue
Wayne Shorter ...Speak no evil
Louis Armstrong meets Oscar Peterson
Monk- -Theolonius monk trio (prestige)
Monk- Monk w sonny Rollins(prestige)
Monk- Monk- alone in san francisco (riverside)
Monk - Brilliant corners
Monk- Monk & Coltrane at carnegie hall
Oliver nelson- the blues and the abstract truth
Blossum Dearie- Once upon a summertime
Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, Dizzie Gillespie- Sonny Side up
Coltrane-Love supreme
Hancock-maiden Voyage
Billy Holiday-Lady sings the blues
Keith jarett-Koln Concert
Bud Powell-Amazing Bud Powell on blue note volumes 1
Bud Powell-Amazing Bud Powell on blue note volumes 2
Ben Webster and Joe Zawinul-Soulmates
Sonny Rollins-Tenor madness
Sonny Rollins-Saxophone Colossus
Dextor Gorden-Go

Moving on from here I add the following

Miles davis- miles smiles
John Coltrane- Giant steps
john Coltrane- my favorite things
Chet Baker- chet
cannonball Adderly- something else
Mingus-mingus mingus mingus
Mingus- ah um
Bill evans trio -portrait in jazz
sarah vaughn- lullaby of birdland
Dexter Gorden - getting around
The greatest jazz concert ever ( at massey hall)
Duke Ellington - the blanton webster years ( this is a comp but there was no original album as it is from so long ago)

Monday, August 28, 2006

item 3) sixties list....well i hate to say it, but Brian you have pretty much nailed my thoughts on it, and while I tend to want to make sure the main bands are covered , (even while it is a list of songs , not bands), I think they did get out of shape on it as you point out ....so being a lazy ass, and since you did most of my work for me, Ill quibble with your account rather then theirs.....I agree that the beatles should be way ahead of the rest in song count, Id have to put Dylan and the stones a much closer tie for 2nd ( so if you give the beatles 15, to 20 give dylan and the stones 10 to 15 each, at least thats my personal reality....I could pick those songs for you but im getting damn sick of lists for some reason now and Ill let you all chose your own fucking songs. I just dont get the beach boys knighting in the press at all and to a lesser degree ray davies...they simply are not even in 3rd or 4th place for me .....not even close, but again lists ........ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
ahhhhhhhhh...too many lists.....ok so I need closure on some of these outstanding issues....The love decapo debate.....- so Brian if you admit that side 2 is a failed experiment, then for you to consider this albnum so highly the songs on side 1 must rank as exceptional to compensate for the failed single song experiment on the flipside...I have listened to those songs repeatedly over the last 3 weeks and while I have always thought half of them to be quite good ( Orange skies, Ique Vido, she comes in colours) I have never thought that the side as a whole was exceptional. So by my math 1/2 of 1/2 an album = 25 percent of the record being quite good...
I have so many other albums that meet this standard that if this was my benchmark for a great album I would concider most of my collection to apply....In short, you are wrong once again....2)my jass list : to be completed very soon

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Yet another interesting list to review.....and so I will, but first a couple of more thoughts on the sixties list.

I did a quick count of how many times some of the major artists appear on the list, and was interested to see that each of The Kinks, The Stones, The Beatles, The Velvets, The Beach Boys, and Dylan are each given five songs. Simon and Garfunkel and The Who were good for four appearances, and Led Zeppelin (from its first two records only) and The Zombies were there three times.

It reinforced a thought I had as I read through in increasing frustration, that the list was done almost on a quota basis, to ensure that they couldn't be accused of missing the big names, but also to create room to over-emphasize the P/F critical darlings of the moment (far beyond their merit in my view), who would appear to be the Beach Boys and the Kinks. So, I may as well just say it, I think the Beatles probably deserve ten to fifteen spots on the list, not just for their genre busters that P/F has chosen like Eleanor Rigby, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Tomorrow Never Knows, I am the Walrus (a terrible choice in my opinion), but more importantly for the songs that they wrote and played better than anybody at the time or likely since. Early period stuff like She Loves You, Please Please Me, All My Loving, Can't Buy Me Love, slightly later stuff like Hard Day's Night, I Feel Fine, And I Love Her, If I Fell, Eight Days a Week, Help, Ticket to Ride, Hide Your Love Away, mid-period gems like Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, In My Life, Michelle, I'm Looking Through You, Yesterday (the most covered song in the history of music, incidentally), Day Tripper, Paperback Writer, almost any freaking song off of Revolver (and to be fair they chose two), and the psychedelic era stuff (Day in the Life is there thank God) like Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane (which I personally think exemplifies Brit pop best of all to this day), All You Need is Love, Fool on the Hill, and late period classics like Hey Jude, Come Together, Something, Here Comes the Sun, Across the Universe, and Let it Be. Just to name a few. I'm sure y'all have your own favourites, and I'm sure that not all of you agree, but in my view no band has ever written and performed so many songs of such magnificence. All in seven years. Incredible. Any sixties list should be laced with the Beatles, literally stuffed with them. They changed the rules forever and for everybody. And yet, apparently The Kinks, The Beach Boys, and even the Velvet Underground had as many songs that needed to be on the list (Dylan and the Stones I'm OK with, though I argue with the choices). I absolutely love the Kinks and VU (more on the Beach Boys in a minute) but come on....what utter nonsense.

So someone please help me with the concept of the Beach Boys as the best / most important band of the sixties. I'm serious - help.
I get that they explored innocence and loss, that they therefore captured a particular zeitgeist, that their vocal arrangements are out of this world, but it stops there for me. Definitely a top twenty band of the sixties for BD. No question. But I truly doubt that the BB's were listened to as seriously or as widely at the time (particularly not the Pet Sounds period, which was after they were at their most popular) as the Beatles, Stones, or Dylan, they participated in none of the defining musical events of the sixties, and many of the songs have dated terribly in my view - the lyrics are often puerile, and the Phil Spector-ish Wall of Sound production style on Pet Sound though important in its time is a relic compared to the cleaner, fuller sounds of the same period by the Beatles (Revolver) and Stones (Aftermath). I won't deny they had a shining moment in Pet Sounds, but it sure as hell doesn't warrant two songs from the record being in the top seven. And Good Vibrations (#21) is their greatest single.

I'm running on a bit here, so a couple more quick thoughts - a sixties list without Satisfaction is a joke. In fact, all of the Stones songs chosen were post 1966, thereby ignoring a fantastic (and important) period that included 19th Nervous B/Down, Get Off My Cloud, The Last Time and numerous others.

Mixing modern composition (Reich, Axelrod), country, and jazz into the list is silly. These things are largely incomparable, and ruins the purity of the list that simply looks at the pop charts. Just for example, Coltrane is there with Favourite Things (but not Love Supreme), but no Miles Davis, no Wayne Shorter, no Lee Morgan...and yet there's room for the Shirelles, the Shangri-Las, yadda yadda. Ok sure.

Nice to see Nico at 31 with These Days. Great song.

Three Zombies tracks (which is great), but not Time of The Season. Again, don't try so hard Pitchfork.

Re Dylan, I get that his early electric period (Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde) is uber-cool as we sit in 2006 (and yeah it's great) but his early folk period, which influenced so many songwriters and inspired people in the social movements of the day have got to be there - choose from Blowin' in the Wind, Times They are a Changin', Masters of War.... Don't Think Twice is a great little ditty but misses the point.

Eight Miles High at 109 is just silly. It's a top tener. And not having either or both of Mr. Tambourine Man or Turn Turn Turn doesn't cut it.

And finally, I Want You Back is sure as fuck NOT the second best song of the sixties. And the Sam Cooke song as #3, though well-intentioned, is equally comical.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Just catching up on my NPR: All Songs Considered podcasts and came across a discussion of Paste Magazine's 100 Best Living Songwriters so of course I've linked to it here and you're, as always, welcome to leave your comments.

What struck me in hearing this list read out and then looking through it online:

  • so many great living musicians, so few great albums these days
  • Cat rates two below Sufjan, in the Battle of the Stevens department
  • seeing Ray Davies at #41 must have the denizens of Pitchfork media in a tizzy, given the number of Kinks songs they included in the Top 200 singles from the 60s
  • hurray for the inclusion of Public Enemy and its location in the same bracket as Loretta Lynn
  • i'm so addicted to these lists and can't really help but link to them

I'm an 80s guy so I'm thinking Robert Smith (The Cure) should have been included.

Any glaring omissions for you?

-
-NPR podcasts are awesome...really, you need to subscribe

Monday, August 21, 2006

geeze louise list mania.....i dunno , picking songs is much more difficult then records for me, but any list that included wichita lineman,( glen campbel) cant be all that wrong...though , I sure wouldnt pick any jackson 5 song at number 2, and fortunate son as the best CCR song????....its also way too american focused (notwithstanding the obligatory stones, kinks, zeppelin and beatles)....
Ill have to take a closer look.....
s

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hey cool list and great subject for debate. Looks like the top 20 just got posted too. I've done a once through and will comment in nauseating detail later, but let me begin by saying, TWO SONGS OFF OF PET SOUNDS IN THE TOP FIVE IS COMPLETELY FUCKED!!!

God Only Knows is the greatest song of the sixties?!?!? I'll say it again.....God Only Knows (oh never mind). I will allow (without rancour) that God Only Knows is the best song on Pet Sounds.

Something about these dudes at Pitchfork is really beginning to bug me.

Re DaCapo. I await my vindication. (And if you don't like it, keep listening until you do, or until you're tired of the record and don't feel like blogging on it).

Derek reminded me to post my top ten jazz. Comin' up.
As luck would have it, some tech savvy Love fans have seen fit to upload a copy of 'Da Capo' at Torrentbox so i'll soon be able to listen to it and figure out a) what the hell you're both going on about and b) which of you two is more full of shit.

Speaking of music from the 60s, what do you all think of Pitchfork's 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s ? Surely some teeth-gnashing and rending of garments will ensue...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stuart, you miserable bastard.....I would have thought a man of your, let's say, sensibilities would have appreciated the melodic, romantic, psychedelic-flamenco-flavoured genius of side one of Da Capo. Da Capo, Orange Skies, Stephanie Know Who, and especially She Comes in Colours would make up a greatest hits record for any other band. Side 2 I grant you is a failed experiment in 60's boundary-expanding album concept - a full side of fairly mindless jamming which likely seemed a cool idea at the time (again, those hallucinogens). Listen to Side 1 and get back to me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

well I have de capo and although there are a couple of very good songs on it I wouldnt call it a great album...but since you like it so much i will give it another whirl.......but of course most likely its just that you are probably wrong again brain

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hate to interrupt my vacation but I can't just sit idly by while Arthur Lee is unfairly discounted.

Stuart - Good God man!

Conceiving and recording Forever Changes (sure, Bryan Maclean wrote two great songs on the record, but it is AL's project by and large) in and of itself is enough to justify a spot in the annals of recording history, it is that good (but I'll hold off on a full disertation), and truly unique....trivia question, name a band inspired by Love? (good luck.....). BUT, FC's predecessor, Da Capo, is a fantastic record. And Four Sail, the album immediately after FC (after Lee famously fired the entire band), is incredibly strong as well, if quite different. Taken as a three album set this puts Love right up there. Shame AL was burnt out at the age of 25, but hey, he was not alone in the sixties. And maybe psychedelic drugs weren't so fucking freeing after all.

Re Lemonheads, I've always been a big fan, but have considered them a bit of a guilty pleasure, given Evan's status as a rock hotty in the early nineties. I saw them live about seven or eight years ago and it was a very memorable show (except in one respect, who was with me, one or more of you guys?). Shame About Ray is a delightful record filled with great songs...time for me to re-listen, fave songs off the top of my head are Confetti, Ray, Rudderless, Hannah and Gabi, and Alison. Like Stu the Lou-Rawls-loving-Arthur-Lee-hating asshole, I also downloaded a bunch of songs from Baby I'm Bored and thought it was really solid, well worth investigating. Come on Feel the Lemonheads (the one after Ray) is also a pretty strong record.

OK, back to my suburban Ottawa holiday. Corona anyone?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I read about arthur lee and in contrast to lou rawls, here is a guy who certainly got his critical dues....While I do love forever changes, I have some other stuff which isnt nearly as good, and while not to rain on his parade ( or funeral march as it were) , I wonder that he didnt get almost too much acclaim.. ( i hear fists smaking Brians desk top) .......
quelle coincidence...I just bought lovey last week.....Marc introduced me to the lemonheads some years ago and its a shame about ray is an absolute stunner.....along with lowest of the lows shakespeare for straight ahead but wistfull rock/ pop/ roots. I also bought Evan Dandos solo record ..baby im bored...of a few years ago which is also terrific.....unfortunately I dont get anything like this out of lovey, but ive only played it twice so far.....is there anything else in the back catalogue worth pursuing.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Not quite sure what that last stream of conciousness post was so I'll just ignore it.

Being the rather anal fuck that I am I spent a fair bit of time today tidying up some space in order that the baby to be would have some space for its collection of stuff. Figure it's always easier for the guy than asking the woman to ditch the clothes she's collected over the last two decades.

Part of the fun of throwing away old junk is playing music to jibe with your nostalgic mood. When I put on the Lemonheads "It's A Shame About Ray" it was like I was hearing it for the first time. What a brilliant, if extremely truncated, record. Loved "My Drug Buddy", "Bit Part" and "Alison's Starting to Happen" especially. I think I'll have to go back and give "Lovey" another spin as perhaps I didn't give these guys the credit they deserved.

And in case you didn't hear Arthur "Love" Lee passed away last Thursday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

yes....barry manilow - weekend in new england
bobh dylan--live at budikon
kurt browning --sings his favorite ice capades hits
celion dion---while my mouth keeps spouting
andy gibb----why did I commit suicide when I had all those babes

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

i'll take the SAAB for $40.00! ...does it come with 6 free cd's?
For sale:
Yellow push lawn mower, slightly rusty
works well $ 40.00

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Since when did this site become e-bay? Was that Saab promo aimed at me by any chance?

As for the Pitchfork best of the 70s list that was one of my starting points in compiling the CDs. However given the relative obscurity of many of the choices it didn't really help all that much. And I don't know if you noticed Stuart but they've somehow managed to leave out picks #21-30. The list has been posted for over 2 years you would think somebody at Pitchfork might have noticed by now.
For sale:
1997 SAAB 900S only 115,000 km, in great shape $5,000.00
AC, built-in child booster seats, 6 cd changer, roof rack
new brakes, clutch, tires
if you know anyone pass on my email please
danm I guess I better get back to jazz.....
just reading thru the list,fully 26 of the top 50 albums they pick are from 1977, 1978 and 1979.....I wonder if that has something to do with the age of the staff at pitchfork ...mind you Derek et al would probably argue thats about right
maybe youve seen this but ( I think ) I missed it and in light of saturday night check it out

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Well we started this jazz compilation exercise 3 months back and still no end in sight. These are my penultimate 10 picks. I hope to post my last 10 choices before the start of the film festival. Are we going to vote on the top 25 at some point?

McCoy Tyner - Song for My Lady (1972)
Phil Woods - Rights of Swing (1960)
Archie Shepp & Mal Waldron - Left Alone Revisited (2002)
Bill Evans - Explorations (1961)
John Coltrane - Africa / Brass (1961)
Andrew Hill - Passing Ships (1969)
Charles Lloyd & Billy Higgins - Which Way is East (2004)
Clifford Brown & Max Roach - At Basin Street (1956)
Sonny Rollins - Tenor Madness (1956)
Thelonious Monk - Complete Columbia Solo Recordings (1962-68)
Actually Marc I too have some very mainstream faves from the 70s amongst others:

Joe Jackson - Look Sharp
Van Halen - Van Halen
Cheap Trick - Dream Police
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Pink Floyd - The Wall
ABBA - Arrival, Voulez-Vous, The Album
Blondie - Parallel Lines
The Police - Regatta de Blanc
ELO - A New World Record
The Cars - The Cars, Candy O
Chic - C'est Chic, Risque
Queen - Jazz
Heatwave - Central Heating
Klaatu - Klaatu

As you can see it wasn't all angular riffs and power pop.
Me thinks my list might look very different from yours Derek!

…top 31 albums from the 70’s that are, or at one time where very significant to ME, in no particular order.

Marvin Gaye: What's Going On
The Eagles : Hotel California
Pink Floyd : Dark Side of the Moon
Boston : Boston
Peter Frampton : Frampton Comes Alive
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
Van Morrison: Moondance
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Born to Run
Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors
Saturday Night Fever
The Clash: London Calling
Elvis Costello : this Years Model
Pink Floyd: The Wall
Blondie: Parallel Lines
Supertramp: Breakfast in America
The Cars: The Cars
Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life
George Harrison: All Things Must Pass
Joe Jackson: Look Sharp
David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggie Stardust
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory
Dire Straits: Dire Straits
Supertramp: Crime of the Century
Cheap Trick: At Budokan
Neil Young: Harvest
Ramones: Rocket to Russia
The Doors: Weird Scenes inside the Gold Mine
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Greetings From Asbury Park
Deep Purple: Machine Head

…pretty mainstream hunh!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I find the 70’s, as a decade, to be fascinating for it’s diversity. It is the decade in which (arguably) popular music grew in a way in which it never had before. It was the first decade in which a generation of baby boomers where growing up and the wave of the population segment started to take serious hold on the values of western culture. Until that point they had remained primarily counter cultural. It is true that in the 60’s, rock and roll lost it’s innocents in it’s experimentation with psychedelia et al. but in the 70’s it continued to explore new territories in the areas of glam rock, art rock, and produced some major conceptual works. It was a period in which country, folk, blues, r&b, soul and reggae continued to flourish. …say nothing for the roof being blowing off of music scene in the late 70’s.

It might be argued that it was in part an advance in technology, the FM radio, that helped to blow the pop music field wide open and give an audience to an ever increasingly diverse art form, or it might be argued that it was affluence and disposable income that allowed for a growingly diverse market.

No matter, it astounds me when I start to think about what the 70’s mean to me from a musical perspective. I must say that my list would include a lot of “classics” from the early 70’s. Looking back on the period and starting to hear some more obscure music from the era, I find it very interesting how the roots of music can be like a giant web. It draws snippets of influence from here and there and when you look at the cross pollination of genres you can unearth some really remarkable relationships.

I think that this cross pollination was stronger and moved faster in the 70’s than ever before and spawned the birth of punk, disco, new wave. It became increasingly easy for artists to be influence by other cultures or sub-cultures and music grew faster and more than it ever had before in a single decade. At the beginning of the 70’s the world became a smaller place.

I also find it interesting though, that when you look at the period of 1970 – 1980, admittedly quite arbitrary to define a period by a year that ends in 0 (agreed Mr Watson), it was culturally book-ended by the waning of the flour child and the birth of the “new music”, and that which happened in between was, although it produced some of rock’s greatest music, not as significant as what happened on either end of it.

…and yes Derek, I’d love a copy of your take on the 70’s