Posted by: Andy | September 8, 2005

Long overdue music commentary

I’ve got a decent chunk of albums since my last CD commentary…so I figured I should post another one before it just gets too unwieldy. I’ll keep em short (because I’m not musically educated to do any better or think my opinions actually matter…:P)

Arcade Fire – Funeral – I really wanted not to like this album – the hype (much of it subliminal) is incredible, especially in Portland. Even when I bought the cd (used) the cashier had to say “Wow! I can’t believe that stayed on the shelves that long, I thought for sure it would have been gone.” Funny me I thought she was talking about the FB&tC album I had been looking for a used copy of (Pistolero) for 9 months and finally scored in that same purchase. Anyway, long story short, this is a very good album with a fairly unique sound to it.
Fountains of Wayne – Fountains of Wayne, Out of State Plates – I like the 2nd & 3rd albums better than the debut. OoSP, which is a sort of b-sides collection is probably their weakest work on the whole – but this makes sense in the sense that it is not a whole. Both are nice, light listens, better for background music (like say, at work) than when you are actually concentrating on what is being said. There are some hilarious moments though like my favorite lyric from FoW: “baby please leave the biker, break his heart.”
Frank Black – Honeycomb, Pistolero – Honeycomb is Frank’s mellowest disc yet, and not particularly catchy, but makes for great background or relaxation music. Pistolero is the last of the Catholics discs I was missing a hard copy of – an excellent solid album all the way through.
Frente! – Accidentally Kelly Street [single], Labour of Love [single], No Time [single], Whirled [ep] – For some reason I decided to start collecting Frente! singles. I think because I already had a few, and I keep finding them for $2-3. That and the b-sides contained therein tend to be very good. And Frente! is not nearly commercial enough to have put out a b-sides/singles collection (yet)…that and I’m crazy. All of these are discs are totally worth picking up if you like anything else they have done. They finally got back together after 8 years or so and just recentely released a new ep or single, I forget which. Now I have to track that down.

K-oS – Joyful Rebellion – I will admit that I first heard one of his tracks “Crabbuckit” in an American Eagle Outfitters while I was sitting in a big chair waiting for Jen to finish shopping. Then I came across another random video (for “Love Song”) on M-2 or the canadian video channel, I forget. Both are great, catchy, positivey type songs, and the album is more of the same (in a good way). I picked it up in Vancouver last week because I figured hey, might as well buy some Canadian music in Canada, and I was looking for this cd anyway. Sadly I couldn’t find Tegan & Sara’s 1st album (which goes for like $30 online 😦 ). There are one or two tracks that I’m not in to (yet?), but others may like them. I’m not knowledgeable enough of “r&b/hip-hop” (as my MusicMatch labels this cd) to say what sub-genre it falls into….so uh…I won’t.
Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs: Volume 1 – I feel this is probably the weakest MF disc so far (I’m only missing Vol 2 & I), but that is not saying much, it’s still chock full of great songs. I “like” them, just not as much as the other ones.
Monaco – Music for Pleasure – The side project of one of the New Order guys (I forget which), they had this fucking killer song “What do you want from me?” that was on my favorite mix-cd from my San Raf days. Ahh, good good good memories. 16 candles down the…..drain…. Anyway, the disc as a whole is better than I expected, and pretty solid. I think if you like late New Order, then you just might like this.

New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies, Waiting for the Sirens’ Call, Republic, Low-Life – New Order binge lately much? I’ve been meaning to fill out their discography for a while, and have just lately been finding good deals on them used. Their bass player produces some truly awesome, ripply, watery riffs. The latest album (Siren’s) is not as good as I’d hoped it would be – reviewers were drooling over it and saying it was better than the last album (Get Ready), but I really didn’t think so. I would call it their weakest album so far, but again, that does not equate to bad.
Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster – Another oldy but goody I was missing a hard copy of. It’s a trip to hear Mike sounding so young.
Son Volt – Okemah & the Melody of Riot – Finally! A new “alt country” album! Seriously. I’m not real into whatshisnames solo stuff – it is not bad, just not my thing. But Son Volt is good stuff. This is a great, relaxy album excellent for long drives. I’d say it is as good as Trace, maybe better.
Tegan & Sara – This Business of Art, If it was you – T&S are the fucking bomb. Oh wait, I’m sure I’ve said that somewhere before. I really like This Business, but Jen says it sounds too much like Ani (DiFranco). If you like Ani then I think you’ll really dig This Biz. Or even if you don’t it is a kick ass chickrockfolk album. If It is also an excellent, very strong album. However it is a little front-heavy quality wise – the last songs are all good, but feel a little weaker on average than the first half, suggesting that perhaps a different ordering could have led to a stronger album as a whole. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a goddam awesome album.

The 101ers – Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited – I offer of the suggestion that “punk” was born with Mr. Strummer and quite possibly died with him as well. Don’t get me wrong I like the Ramones and some of the other oldies, but no one ever struck a chord with me like the Clash. Hell, even Cut the Crap is strangely listenable (if possibly revolting at the same time…). The 101ers were/was Joe’s band before the Clash, and you can hear pieces of things that became Clash songs. But Clash aside, this is a great collection of mid-70s straight out rock and roll. Worth every penny. OH..and pick up that latest (and *sniffle* last) Mescaleros album……I miss you Joe.
Weakerthans – Watermark ep, Fallow – Not as strong or as catchy as their newest (Reconstruction Site), but still excellent, excellent indie subpoprock.

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