Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kyle, that is an amazing video experience....where do you come up with this stuff?
cooler than the timed artwork that wouldn't open up for mike on his arcade fire download, is this cool video using a song from their latest disc.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Admittedly not music related but surely good news to all here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Boys, thanks for the thoughts on Roland Kirk. For my two cents he's one of the most interesting jazz musicians in the pantheon, which doesn't necessarily make him the most appealing or the easiest listen. He was inconsistent and mercurial, and at times pushed the boundaries of what most people look for in jazz.

He's known more for his remarkable musicianship than his writing / arranging, but I believe his extraordinary playing hampered his rep as a writer. All of his great records - I would include "The Inflated Tear", "Don't Cry My Beautiful Edith", "I Talk With the Spirits", "Rip Rag and Panic", and "Left and Right" - are filled with Kirk's compositions - nothing in the way of "standards" playing here....and generally speaking, his music plays against the traditional stodginess of jazz (though not as radically as the free movement) to yield an almost uncontainable love of life, soulfulness, and blackness. To my ears he produced some of the best jazz music of the sixties. But if you're concerned that much of the sixties jazz is too cacophonic for your tastes, Kirk has tons of melody, unique and memorable compared to the free and post bop players of that decade.

I would start with The Inflated Tear - "A Handful of Fives" and the title track - and then move onto Rip Rag and Panic's "No Tonic Pres". and I Talk With the Spirits' "Serenade to a Cuckoo" (this is an all-flute record FYI) If those tracks don't do it for you, Rahsaan may not be your guy.

Incidentally Stu, Bright Moments is a great record, but very different from Kirk's sixties music. As you say, it's a seventies groove record, a real artifact from its time. Give some of those great sixties records a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Mike - in terms of David Gray, I have to confess I don't know his music well, and have always avoided him just based on his reputation for blandness. Sounds like there's more to it than I had given him credit for, and I've taken a quick listen to White Ladder in the last couple of days, which has at the very least earned more listens.

So I'll throw it over to one of y'all to suggest another artist - and I would support keeping them on the (relatively) obscure side.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm with Stuart on David Gray. The man has no soul. Musically it's fine and he has a decent enough voice but did he check the passion at the door. I own White Ladder and it's a fairly damning indictment that he covers Soft Cell's "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye" with less fervour than the original electro-pop classic. I'd put him in the same category as Damien Rice. Eminently forgettable.

As for the obscure?? Roland Kirk I have to say that as much as I want to love this guy I just haven't been able to. There are moments when his records reach the perfect blend of Ornette Coleman / Albert Ayler insanity with the best of the post-bop jazz by Dolphy, Henderson and Shorter.

The problem with Kirk is that these moments are too infrequent. There's just too much interference. It's like cruising the highways of northern ontario in the 1970s while CHUM FM spins side A of the new Flash and the Pan record and with each rise in the road you lose a little bit of the song, driving you mental. He also seems to be trying to cover too much ground, almost like the anti-Weezer, which may in theory be a good thing but can be very trying on the listener.

Some of Kirk's later stuff like "The Inflated Tear" and Stuart's previously mentioned disc, the live "Bright Moments" is especially guilty of this meandering. I'm much more enamoured of some earlier material such as 1961's "Kirk's Work" and "We Free Kings" (a jazz entry point for me), and 1965's "Rip, Rig and Panic". One thing I would never accuse him of though is being sleep-inducing.
Roland Kirk.... I have just one album which is called something like Bright Moments...its a live double album and it ias on vinyl, which means it does not get enough rotation as I cant play it at work or in the car... I bought it only 3 years ago and quite liked its crazy 70's sound which as you know, I really dig baby.... I would say if you are not into that very 70's jazz meets funk soul shit, then pass , because thats it man, groovy stuff - so to speak. I wonder if that technical treatise would be good enough for pitchfork?
David Gray: I loved white ladder and have a few others but I find it a little toooo, I donnknow, sort of not up to repeated listens, for me anyways, I cant really say its too striaght forwards because I love some roots and folk stuff like that but he leaves me a little cold somehow..perhaps its because there is not much range in the 3 albums I have listened too..

On another note, I saw a dinosaur exhibit at the ACC last night, due to ticckets that ended up in my hands unexpectedly....said exhibt-
CSN opening for Tom Petty (which is a statement about our times too)
CSN - Steven Stlls has not much if any voice left wso the harmonies are really onloy Nash and Crosby, but his guitar work id pretty great, he has been worjking that I suspect since his voice is shot..
Nash- Too damned sweet, no edge, his songs date worst of all the members and his live show doesnt help
Crosby' Biggest surprise of the night, he anchored the show, with outstanding singing still and his "Almost cut my haior was the highlight of the night by a country mile... He provided the "one song you hope to hear " that can shine a window into how a band must have sounded in their prime

Tom Petty, Remarkable great show, I guess his being ten years younger then CSN proves significant, Mike campbell and the rest of the heartbreakers in top form as they ran thru a mix of classics with a few off the new album... I still cant figure out how a bar band can keep putting out such good songs for so many decades without doing a new sound....it means he has to keep writing memorable hooks and that cant be easy....
I like the idea - our recent discussion about Arcade Fire was an example of this kind of thing. I think that picking really obscure artists won't work, though. Here's one I'm interested in - David Gray. I think he's written some very nice music with good hooks, interesting arrangements and memorable melodies. I met one of my wife's colleagues the other day who is a massive fan of his and claims that if you get past his best known songs he has a ton of really great and not all that well known music. I think she may be giving him more credit than he is due. Anybody else have any strong opinions?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kyle, I'm impressed! You know the dude cold.

OK, perhaps he's too underground. Then again, let's wait and see what our slightly more jazzophile friends think about the choice (Stu and Derek for sure, and Adam I know you're out there). I'm not expecting too much from Mike Gaines on this one...but then, hey that's kind of the point. Some bloggers contribute and others listen in. Who knows, next time it could be some (shudder) really important hip hop artist. DJ such and such.
By Rahsaan Roland Kirk I assume you mean the multi-instrumentalist who played tenor saxophone, flute and many other instruments, renowned for his onstage vitality, during which virtuoso improvisation was accompanied by comic banter, political ranting, and the ability to play several instruments simultaneously? I think about him all the time. Mostly when googling and then cutting and pasting from his wiki page.

I kind of like the game but you should pick someone less well known next time.
Here's a new idea for a blog post. A blogger throws out an artist (perhaps more of an underground artist, or one about whom there may not be a popular / consenus view) and the rest of us offer opinions, favourite (or least fav) musical moments, etc.

I has this thought as I was listening to an album by (potentially) one such artist late last night. And the fact that I fell asleep on the couch should not be taken as a judgement against said artist - I just do that all the time.

So I'd like to hear what everything thinks (assuming there is some familiarity) about 60's jazzman.................wait for it......

..............keep waiting.......

......................patience ...................

Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whereas I read the article and just got depressed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Very funny Kyle, my mirth equally split between the article itself and the reminder that I alone am able to access this very cool site (yay for me).

Monday, August 16, 2010

This will be funny for Brian. For the rest of us, who rely on servers based in Canada, we can't really relate.
It seems as though the Globe and Mail's editors were reading our posts and felt it their duty to come to the defense of the Arcade Fire in Saturday's editorial. I await their pronouncements on the greatness that is Mr. Stuart Watson.

Friday, August 13, 2010

sorry Derek I think Brian makes a valid point here, no bellyaching now...in fact it does seem notable that I seem to be the only one who has a calm rational perspective on things, certainly I am not given to hyperbole, nope , not me.....and that has to be the greatest , most insiteful statement about this debate that has ever been made in the history of this blogsite....
Not like me not to point. I must have been sober.

I think I qualified my statement re the Beatles by saying that at that point in my life (30s?, 40s?) it was impossible for me to have an objective opinion on their music as I had been force fed it since I was running around in nappies eating rusks in the rain.

And not just selected songs but an incredible number as you know they had quite a few hits. Unlike say David Bowie who I also got to know quite well from bbc radio 1 and top of the pops. With him however it was maybe Jean Genie, Suffragete City and to a lesser extent Space Oddity and very few others.

Having been given a taste of his genius, but only a taste, it encouraged me while growing up and even now to explore his musical output much further and appreciate it in all its diversity. I have to say I would much rather hear any Bowie track (from his golden period) than almost any Beatles track. My ears n'est-ce pas.
I don't like to miss a party, but I trust my ears (we've been together for a while) - and of course music is a very personal thing - for me they're among the better bands of the period - but not THE band, not the next Radiohead. I know the first record very well (like half of it) the second reasonably well (and don't like it much), and have been playing The Suburbs a bunch (which may be the most consistent of the lot but lacks a great memorable song). There's a humourless overwroughtness to it - particularly Win Butler's delivery - that eventually wears down my fondness for the band and the arrangements. My comment was also pertaining to the potential jeopardy of becoming (or maintaining) IT band status - I think it exaggerates their value and potentially shortens their future. Better to fly a little under the radar it seems to me.

Stu, I remember going through the grief cycle a few years ago when Derek (sober, mind you, and without pointing) announced he didn't think the Beatles were much good. The Beatles, for Pete's sake.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I planned not to comment on the "ARCADE FIRE CRISIS" but alas I am unable to remain mute..
When I first read Brians comments i went through the usual trama phases...
1st-Denial, no its not possible to not love this band,
2nd- Anger... i found myself cursing and kicking innocent people on my way to work.
3rd- Sadness , depression... Crying for hours lying on my bed....
but apparently my therapist tells me I can be cured if he can be cured.....
Now the entire first recoprd reads like a greatest hits record for me , the second record is still quite good and I would pick the aforemention No cars Go ( a rocker ) backed with Ocean of Noise, (introspective number) as two of the standout tracks...So Brian, make a short playlist of these 2 songs and play twice a day until your illness goes away...then please call me immediately thereafter
yours humbly,( from my bed...sniff, sniff)..
Hi Mike,
I had some issues with the folder as well, mostly because I didn't properly extract the files the first go-round. Never was prompted for a password, though. When I extracted The Suburbs Digital folder, it opened up a couple of other folders, including another zipped folder w/ the synchronized works, which I then extracted and was able to add these files into itunes. Didn't get to see the artwork change until I clicked on the little down arrow in the box that appears in a set of buttons on the bottom left side of itunes. Imagine you've tried all these things, though.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

On a technical note, though - I bought "The Suburbs" from the band's website, and it did indeed include a set of mp4 files with embedded multimedia content. However, when I try to extract those files from the zip file that contains them, I am prompted for a password that I don't have. Has anybody else successfully navigated this process?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I thought that Arcade Fire's first two albums were great, and I haven't cooled on either over time. Although I must admit that I haven't listened to either album all that often. One of the ramifications of the size of my music collection now is that nothing is ever in particularly heavy rotation.

As I write, I'm listening to the new album, and it sounds good to me. Nothing has grabbed me the way that "Neighborhood 2 (Laika)", "Antichrist Television Blues", "Wake Up" or "No Cars Go" did, although I'm not entirely sure that any of those emerged as favorites on the very first listen either. This album seems to offer a nice mix of different sounds and instrumentations, some interesting dynamics, intriguing lyrics, and good melodies. Solid songwriting and a style that is recognizably ArcadeFirean. So far, I am pleased!

Ah the drunken PBO (Post-Betty's Opinion). Good to have it back in the mix. Derek, what about the other two current bands that were being touted (by you) as critical, or at least, pretty damn good - TV on the Radio and New Pornographers?

Friday, August 06, 2010

The rest is noise.

The four most important bands (ie the only bands that matter) in the last quarter century:

Public Enemy, Nirvana, Radiohead, Arcade Fire.

Nuff said.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yay! A post by someone who isn't me. Cool.

Thanks for the roundup of your recent faves. I'll leave the full affrontery/takedown to Stu or Derek on your misguided assessment of the AF, but I will say that if the music lives up to the hype than it cannot be overhyped. AF are justlyhyped, imo.

Glad you're enjoying the Dean & Britta. I picked it up last week and it has been on heavy rotation on my headphones and in the house. The tracks featuring Britta, like the one channelling Nico (track you identified) and others (Eyes in my Smoke) do more for me than the ones which do not and you're right, it goes on a little too long. But I dig the fact that they're not overly preoccupied with trying to mimic the VU or recreating a Factory party circa '68. Yes, there are psychedelic flourishes, disembodied voices, and one track (Not a Young Man Anymore) that seems very Lou Reed-ish, lyrically and vocally, but even that one manages to go in a different direction musically, with more modern electronic beats overlaying the distorted guitar work. And it's great to hear Wareham's twangy guitar and half nasal-half monotone delivery again, though a lot of the instrumental stuff is very Yo La Tengo.

Avi Buffalo has been on my saved list for at least a month but for some reason I hadn't pulled the trigger. I like the thick guitar strumming on the sample for the album's first track but the too-similar-to-Issac Brock-of-Modest-Mouse-and-aren't-I-kind-of-tired-of that-jarringly-high-pitched-slightly-perverse vocals put me off a bit. Given yours and Adams strong recommendations, Bri, I'll give it a go. If anything, you gotta love a song titled, "Five Little Sluts".

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hey Kylie - thanks for the post. Some good pop there, and in particular I like the Whitefield Brothers. Great mix of jazz and soul stylings with a mild hip hoppy thing. Yes, that's right, the kind of hip hop that I can enjoy.

For the rest of you, get the frig off the schneid and start writing about music. For the love of Christ. I know you're reading this.

I've got to say (and this won't come as a big surprise to most of you) that I am not caught in the Arcade Fire thrall. They are perhaps the most overhyped band of the past decade - and hype is a BD killer...hmm, perhaps Derek's not the only contrarian in the group. To me it speaks of a generation desperate for a band they can believe in, and there aren't enough of 'em right now. I'll have to give the Suburbs a few spins over the next couple of weeks to see if it gets my blood moving...the single didn't move me much.

Some of the music I've picked up on recently is:

Port O'Brien - Threadbare. Not that new, this one came out in October of last year, but I just found it a coupla months ago. I would describe it as nice morose roots pop. An amalgam of influences without a dominant one, you don't necessarily want an entire album of POB, but it's well done and immediately likeable. Start with "My Will is Good", then try "Threadbare".

The Thermals - Now We Can See Also a year old or so, but this is great post punk with lots of energy, humour and a unique straightforwardness in its delivery that separates them from the pack. They have a new record coming soon.

Young Rival - Hamilton power poppers have some panache on their first two records. We should check these guys out sometime. Definitely a strong sixties ethos here but it doesn't necessarily detract from the fun - I may prefer last year's 7 song EP (linked here) to the more recent album that arrived a few weeks ago. Start with "Your Island".

Dean and Britta - 13 Most Beautiful Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests FInally a brand spankin' new one. Interesting story behind this one, as the Andy Warhol Museum commissioned our favourite 90's mood popper to write a soundtrack for thirteen short films made between 1964 and 1966. This is an ambitious and perhaps overlong record, but it really connects with me. It ranges from trad (and wonderful) Luna-style medium tempo drive-alongs, to ultra-trippy acoustic and found-sound musings (at times making me realize that Dean was a perhaps a bit of a Church fan...see next review). Doesn't hurt that it starts (well,song two) with a bitching version of one of my favourite Nico songs, "I'll Keep it with Mine". Have I mentioned recently that I'm a Nico fan? Great Sunday listen - Dean Wareham lives! Start with "Knives of Bavaria" and "Herringbone Tweed" (and the Nico song).

Steve Kilbey - Dabble. Lead singer and bassist for the Church is an occasional solo artist and has been a long-time hero of mine His ability to deliver a song with a sense of the dreamy, wearying mystery of life gets me every time. This record, which was apparently recorded in 2001 and released in Australia a number of years ago (but only 2006), oddly just showed up in NA this year. It's very strong Kilbey / Church material, and if that interests I would seek it out - start with "Keeper" and/or "Blessed One".

Couple more in brief. Look 'em up on emusic if you want to hear more. A highly enjoyable blowing session with staunch jazz bassist Wilbur Ware in a rare (perhaps only) role as leader "The Chicago Sound" has been getting lots of air time chez Doyle.
And the modern classical work of Giacinto Scelsi has held my interest in the past couple of weeks. They have a number of his collections on emusic but it's volume 2 that I've been hooked on. And not to steal anything from blog hermit Adam, but Avi Buffalo on first couple of listens sounds very promising (and thanks for the recommendation).
And on the topic of Arcade Fire (what, no one else was going to talk about the new album), I note that emusic is restricted from selling it in Canada, a disappointment to be sure, but not the end of the world. The cheapest alternative place to get it is directly from the band's own website, for $7.99, which is also the only place where you can get some interesting digital bonus material. Think that's where I'll get mine.