Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In my opinion it's a pretty consistent record.....I think the problem with music like this, so chock full of ideas - rhythmic, harmonic, structural, etc - is that the listener hits saturation pretty quickly. It's like, stop fucking around and play a normal beat, OK? And does each song have to have eighteen bloody separate parts!! For my two cents, I (think) I like the second half of the record more than the first. But each song is so epic in terms of pop craftsmanship that it's hard to say, I also find it hard to single out a particular number as a standout. It's an obvious comparison, but there's a lot of XTC in here. Just listened to songs 7 and 8 ("In Context" and "A Gap has Appeared") and they are both very strong.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On my top 10 albums of 2006 list I posted the following on this blog:

"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."

I purchased Field Music's first album on CD and then in short succession I went out and downloaded their "Tones of Town" album from e-music early in 2007 and perhaps it's just that they are a band that from song to song tends to keep things pretty similar I never did get in to their sophomore release with any great conviction. I just gave the record another spin tonight and granted tracks 1, 2 and 3 are pretty brilliant but the rest of the album falls off rather quickly for me after that early zenith.
Also, important Monday web-browsing here.
Never listened to their 2007 release. Downloaded and enjoyed their 2006 collection of b-sides but never thought to pick up their latest. An oversight on my part?

On a related note, did anyone buy The Field's much-ballyhooed 'From Here We Go Sublime'?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hey did anyone mention Field Music in their best of 07?  I've been listening to it for a couple of days ("Tones of Town") and it is outstanding.

Friday, January 18, 2008

thanks for the input on peterson... I too have Night Train and have not listened to it for a while... i will dust it off... seems like we are all sort of on the same page here...
thnaks for the tiop on Andrew Bird.. I picked up his album "the mysterious production of eggs"
back a few years ago... it was critically raved about and it sounded interesting, but after repeated listens it just never really clicked home...since then I have steered clear of him, but I just sampled this new album and it sounded pretty good so i will pick it up...I wonder how many times I have stayed away from a band just because one album ( the first one I bought)never worked out for me, while they may have done 3 more after that one that I might have loved if I had tried them...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

While equally unfamiliar with the work of Oscar Peterson, allow me to second the recommendation for downloading the Andrew Bird disc. Think I put 'Fiery Crash' on many a mixed disc last year and find that the songs on the album as a whole suit an evening of quiet reading, contemplation, and scotch consumption.
Like the two of you I've never had a great connection with Oscar Peterson, despite my inordinate fondness for jazz piano. For me the reasons are largely, but not entirely, around style; Peterson's remarkably light-fingered playing, inspired primarily by be-bop in terms of harmonic structuring, is not really in my wheelhouse - my stable of fave piano players starts with Bill Evans (and there couldn't be two more different players). OP was more from the Art Tatum school of flashy "look-at-me" stylists. And he was certainly incredibly skilled. Some would say the best ever.

So style is a big part of it, but not all. Because arguably some of my favourite pianists, Bud Powell for ex, come from the same school. But Bud Powell has an emotional connection with me that OP never has. He is a very different player, but he does have the same full-of-flourishes approach. Perhaps, as Derek says, it has to do with Bud being one of the all-time romantic jazz self-destructers which makes each note seem more imbued with pathos and melancholia. Whereas OP was seting aside the royalties for a bigger swimming pool. Yes, I may be that superficial, but I hope not.

I have a number of really nice recordings on which his trio is backing up a jazz great (Stan Getz, and Anita O'Day come to mind), and I don't think I'm taking any risks when I say that the OP trio was one of the great backing bands of all time. In terms of recording session as a leader, I only have a couple, and the better of them is "Night Train" from 1962. Not in the regular rotation though....probably overdue for a listen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The sad truth is I can't really comment on whether I think Oscar Peterson deserves to be up there in the pantheon or not because I am woefully unacquainted with his body of work. I'm thinking that I haven't given his music the time it deserves for the following reasons:

1) He was Canadian. How easy it often it is to take for granted, at least where jazz is concerned, those that are in our own backyard. I'm sure if he was an American I would have at least a half dozen of his CDs in my collection.

2) I might be wrong on this count but I always had the feeling that Oscar was a man who played the standards and was not known for his own inspired jazz creations. Please set me straight if this isn't the case. As such my interest in him, an interpreter as opposed to an innovator, was significantly lessened.

3) Crazily enough Oscar led, what by jazz standards was, a pretty normal, controversy free life. And this actually makes him less appealing in a bizarre sort of way. Not as an individual because I've always enjoyed listening to the man speak but as an artist I feel the need to discover, it does somehow diminish the appeal.

Anyway if anyone has a particular album to recommend I'm ready to have my eyes and ears opened.

By the way Stuart if you're looking for a beautiful song from 2007 that falls right in the Kozelek/Red House Painters wheelhouse check out "Scythian Empires" on Andrew Bird's "Armchair Apocrypha" from last year. I've always been a fan of many of the man's songs but have yet to commit to an album but after hearing this I think it's time. It is available on e-music for those who subscribe.
I have noticed that occasionally when some music great dies, famous or obscure, one of us will wright a small obit on metabeats, and so I note with interest, no one has commented on the late oscar petterson. Perhaps this is an oversite or you are all too busy, but I was hoping one of you would have because I dont get what all the fuss is about him . He is noted as the most significant pianist in jazz quite often and even though that term gets used a lot especially in obituarys, he is at the very least near the top... I love jazz piano but I have never really been wowed by anything of his, but perhaps one needs to be a muscician to get the art of his craft....it always seemed a bit emotionless to me.. comments would be greatly appreciated to enlighten the unenlightened...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hey gents, what say we get together for some jazz at the Rex next Wednesday or Thursday. Both nights have good line ups - a trio featuring David Braid (wonderful pianist) on the 16th, and Dave Young's quintet - which has Kevin Turcotte on trumpet and Kelly Jefferson on sax - on the Thursday.

Who's up for it?
Stuart, how's the new Lekman disc?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sorry Stu, I was just trying to be funny. In fact, I thought I was pretty funny.

Though perhaps I shouldn't have had those two pints at lunch. Or perhaps I should have had more.....
I guess I have to be a bit neater in my writing.....and maybe use spel;lcheck, but I shall restate;
1) I only mention you Brian because I thought I had a discussion with you specifically about the National (not with the cranky Scot).
2) I was never referring to your vocals, I was only referring to the guy who sings for the national...
the "his" being the guy from the national......not the guy from the Egolillys( whos vocals I love by the way)
3)When I refered to "his " vocals ( the National singers) being affected, this is similar to dishonest, so we agree thats what you dont like......
so in short :

I think that Brian ( not cranky Scot) doesnt like the vocals of the guy from the National ( not the guy from the egolillys) because the vocals sound affected (read dishonest) ......and Jans Lekman is crap..

...damn that was fun.....
Now Stuart....please replace "Brian" in your previous blog with "Brian and his more vociferous, cranky, and yes, insightful, friend Derek".

And it's been a long time since you heard my vocals, so how do you know what they sound like???!

And...I'm rolling now.... I would argue (though Derek would probably put it better) that it is the (what seems to me as) dishonesty that I don't like, not the "honesty". I have no real problem with honesty. Bah.

And, Stuart, you liked Jens Lekman?? Wow. Because I've heard (can't remember where) that it's CRAP.
Kyle you have nailed exactly what it is that i love about the National, Boxer is probably my favorite disc of last year and the band is definately my favorite for the year... I know Brian doesnt buy into the honesty of it because of his affected vocals, and I agree there do seem not entirely natural, but like Brian Ferry, I think its that the vocals being a bit removed ( read ironinc) somehow works for me...I know , I know, I am always blasting bands that hide behind Irony, but b3ecause the music here is so heart on sleave the ironiv vocal stance works in a way similar to the vastly underated Beck album Sea Change...as for Jans lekman , its crap, I brought it to the club, but have since given it ( in the words of the late Ray Curtis) "frisby Status" ..
its totally crap, did I mention its crap?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Yeah, I'm bad about starting posts, then abandonning them after I get busy or have to return to one of the other 20 windows I have open on my computer at any given time.

I'll go on record as defending The National, enjoying their past two records quite a bit. I'm a little surprised that you both (Derek and Brian) aren't into this band. I dig the clever, tongue-in-cheek lyrics ('I'm the great white hope...I used to be/carried in the arms of cheerleaders', Mr. November and 'Karen sit in a chair/fuck me and make me a drink', Karen, both from Alligator), the slow build of percussion that anchors many of their livelier tracks, and the quieter moments that have an understated grace. Is it the lead vocals that grate? His almost bored delivery may come across as contrived in an aching for hip kind of way but I like the contrast between the urgency of the lyric or the music and his delivery.

Perhaps a Les Savy vs. The National segment at the upcoming Feb. 1st meeting would be fun, where we advocate/defend each band with a few choice tracks. I'm certainly willing to be persuaded but am as yet unmoved by 'Let's Stay Friends' by the former, which has too many tracks that remind me of Reel Big Fish's 'Never Had to Knock on Wood' (and in so referencing, apologize profusely for putting this in your head).

As for Jens Lekman, didn't somebody bring his first disc to a cd club? Was it Marc? Just want to know who I'm pissing off with this one. Other than 'Black Cab' off that disc, which managed to sound more like Stephen Merrit than the man himself, I haven't really enjoyed any of Lekman's stuff. I like Belle and Sebastian, Magnetic Fields, and Beirut and these are obvious influences, at least when it comes to the 'sound'. But there's so much earnest romanticism in every second of every one of his songs that I find it a little difficult to take. Every moment is, to quote the slimy Golum from Lord of the Rings, 'Precious'. And if everything is beautiful then nothing is beautiful, to quote somebody else, I think.

Just downloaded Sia, which, 9 days into 2008, is the early frontrunner for worst album cover of the year. Will let you know whether it's trash or treasure in the coming weeks.
A quick 2007 footnote on jazz, specific to emusic. First off, the David Murray Black Saint Quartert record "Sacred Ground" is outstanding, peak-period Murray with all of the amazing expressiveness, mood dynamics etc that he offers at his best. Derek, you may already have this (plus a few of the others listed below)....but a heads up for the rest of you.
Other recent favourites of mine, all available on emusic are:

(tenor sax) Grant Stewart's "In the Still of The Night"
(tenor sax) Jerry Bergonzi's "The Tenorist"
(pianist) Enrico Pieranunzi's "Ballads" (gorgeous, quiet player)
(trumpeter) Wallace Roney's "Jazz"

On a non-emusic note, the latest, highly-touted Herbie Hancock record "River - The Joni Letters" is indeed filled with beautiful musical moments, but for my taste suffers from some poor vocal performances (and poor choices) from pop/jazz singers, particularly Nora Jones, Tina Turner. I don't love the Leonard Cohen spoken piece either. The non-vocal tracks are quit sublime though, Wayne Shorter continues to amaze at 74.

I'll be bringing one or two of these to our next gathering, so don't y'all rush out and sample them this week.

(look at me...I posted!)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Consider it downloaded then. Just need to wait until tomorrow when my quota gets replenished on e-music.

Kyle how come when I look at the Dashboard almost every week I see a partial comment from you that shows as draft and then nothing further? Is it something that you mean to post and then just cannot be bothered or is there some sort of technical glitch? Just wondering as I was interested to see you complete your thoughts where Jens Lekman was concerned.

And just in case your looking for some free music to start off 2008 on the right note.
I agree with you re the National. Somebody (perhaps Stuart) needs to help me with them.

Les Savy Fav (nothing like National, at least) are an eighties-indy-punk inspired band with lots of energy and angst, hints of but thankfully not dripping with irony, and although they will sound somewhat familiar if you've been around long enough (sadly, we all have), they are channelling a sound that I lived/loved at the time, and to my ear make it sound very fresh.

All of this to say, that if you're looking for a reason to download them, the answer is clear. Because I told you to.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I'm all for keeping the blog alive. I don't post as often as I should /like to but I check in regularly. Still a better forum than the e-mail route.

Can someone tell me why I should (or should not) download Les Savy Fay. They're not the new National are they? I find the National an incredibly overhyped and underwhelming musical force. They're not musically similar in any way are they. Speaking of overhyped what's up with the drooling over Jens Lekman?
Personally I say keep the blog running. I still check in often, though like you, Kyle, am aware of the drop-off with more kids in the picture and Marc working 7 days a week. Not sure of Stuart's excuse :) Nevertheless I enjoy having it around, and am always thinking of (though typically not acting on, mea culpa) posts. I have also mentioned it to a few people (my music-obsessed nephew for one) to see if they'd like to join in.

Having said all that, it is really your blog, and your inspiration that keeps it going...so your call.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Two questions:

1) Who the hell is Taylor Swift and why does she keep appearing at the top of the emusic charts. Granted, she's kind of hot, if perhaps in a little bit of a creepy, lovechild of Brook Shields-Christopher Atkins circa Blue Lagoon kind of way, but is she talented? I realize I could listen to a sample but I have a hard time willing any part of my body to attempt to listen to music labelled Country.

2) Is it time to shut down this here bloggy thing for good and share our (very) occassional thoughts the old-fashioned way (group email)? I know I've had less time to devote to updating with any insightful comments or thoughts in a long time (okay, ever but...) and I suspect that all your pro-creatin', workaholics out there have little time as well. We could just scrap it, come up with a rotating weekly, bimonthly post/question from each person, or we can just keep it as is.

Let me know what you think...or remain silent.

Also, still not loving Les Savy Fav....sorry Bri.