Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Got Nothin'

Oh, maybe a coupla updates...first, I made it through two whole sides of 'Tales from Topographic Oceans.' Tell you what: I'll leave the reviewing to a faithful Cedar blog reader who did the same and sent me this post mortem: "Hell no. It's still laughably pompous crap!" I'll be charitable and suggest they were attempting to compose rhapsodies. Maybe they succeeded. I really don't know.

Also...watched 'Inglourious Basterds' the other night, and I'd put it at the top of my chart for 2009. Way better than 'American Beauty,' surely, which wasn't even the best movie of its release year. That honor belongs to the movie below, as depicted by Justin Reed.


And finally...at long last I've started to understand the appeal of The Drive-By Truckers. You probably know all about them and can quote chapter and verse...but on the off-chance you don't, a nice starting point is their second-most recent album, ' Brighter Than Creations Dark.' Just a thought: run 'The Man I Shot' and 'The Purgatory Line' back-to-back for openers.

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So let's fire up the blog-o-matic. Hit 'random' on your iPod. What are the first (or next) ten songs that come up? Here are mine:

1. Slowdive -- 'Catch the Breeze.' I remember when I first became aware of the Britpop sub-category 'shoegaze.' In 1992 a co-worker played me Curve's EP 'Frozen.' The opener, 'Coast Is Clear,' knocked me right over. Their first full-length, 'Doppelganger,' finished me off. From there it was on to other practitioners of the category, including Slowdive. 'Catch the Breeze' is from their first album, and is the title track of their career-spanning anthology.

2. The London Metropolitan Orchestra -- 'Sharon.' This is from the score to the movie 'Cashback.' Seen it? No? Got Netflix instant? It's there. Lovely, funny little British rom-com with a surprisingly introspective soundtrack (speckled with the occasional pop song) composed and compiled by Guy Farley. If you do see it, stick around for the closing credits and the track, 'She' by Grand Avenue. Yeah, so it has that Coldplay stadium sound. This is MY iPod. MY guilty pleasures.

3. Citay -- 'Fortunate Son' from their latest album, 'Dream Get Together.' I love this outfit. They fit squarely in the psych-folk category, but with an occasional metal edge that even headbangers can approve of. My minor quibble with this album is that the vocals are a bit more prominent than those in the prior two, but it doesn't detract much from the sound, which is pure aural candy.

4. Smoke Fairies -- 'Sushine.' This British duo offers an update of the Brit-folk sound (Fairport Convention being a logical touchstone) with a dash of bluesier grit. There is quite a buzz surrounding them; they have even been mentioned on these pages a time or two. Our intrepid blogging crew is headed for South by Southwest and are being implored by those who have been left behind to see Smoke Fairies.

5. Nick Lowe -- 'Heart of the City' from 'Jesus of Cool.' Rockpile was my favorite band, ever. That'll do for an encomium.

6. The Handsome Family -- 'A Beautiful Thing' from 'In the Air.' Who doesn't love Brett's rich baritone and Rennie's dark lyrics? If I had to pick a favorite song of theirs, I'd go with 'The Snow White Diner' from 'Twilight,' but there is sure a lot to choose from.

7. Nick Curran & The Nitelifes -- 'Nitelife Boogie.' Curran is yer basic hot T-Bone Walker disciple, although he recently underwent a sound change for his new one called 'Reform School Girl,' in which he demonstrates his love for 50s rock 'n roll, and Little Richard in particular. Fun stuff, this.

8. Yann Tiersen -- 'Les Enfants' from 'Les Retrouvailles.' Tiersen is a French composer best known for his score for 'Amelie.' This album is a standalone that is quite representative of his styles, and includes vocals by Elizabeth Fraser, Jane Birkin, and Tindersticks' Stuart Staples. A recent favorite around Chez Fever.

9. Liz Durrett -- 'Always Signs' from 'Outside Our Gates.' Durrett is a singer/songwriter who also happens to be Vic Chesnutt's niece. Hers is a spare, sometimes haunting sound, although this album has sprightlier moments than her first two. Her second, 'Mezzanine,' hit my Top 10 for 2006. I think she would appeal to fans of Azure Ray and their spinoffs.

10. Eels -- 'Jungle Telegraph.' I remember where I was when I first heard this song: inside Le Virgin Megastore on the Champs de Elysee. Did you see the Nova episode about Mark Everett and his late physicist father Hugh titled 'Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives?' I'll bet the writers for 'Lost' sure did.

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This would be the logical spot for a flip little closer, but I got nothin.' Cheers.

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