Thursday, May 04, 2006

Music and film review of the past year. . .

When downloading music became popular, I stopped buying CDs. I would just burn everything I wanted. I probably bought maybe 5 CDs in a four year period. This year, however, I have bought prob like 75 cds and maybe 30 dvds. Since work is kind of slow today, I will be reviewing some of these throughout the day. . . .what I will do is list the name and title, followed by the approximate number of times I have listened to it in parentheses, then write a small blurb. . .

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (4): As Brian from work noted, "her voice is almost too perfect - it makes me uneasy." I agree with this. It's a good album, but she lacks the raspy soulfullness of a Beth Orton or the raw attitude of classic Liz Phair. B+

Love is All - Nine Times the Same Song (3): This is a fun, energetic, pop rock album. (edit: extra points since I just found out they are swedish. I don't know why, but that's me like them more - more real I guess. . . ) B+

Built to Spill - Ancient Melodies of the Future (8): I should have got into these guys a long time ago, and I'm not sure why I didn't. The lead singer was friends with Elliott Smith, and I like everyone he was ever friends with. I got a text from my friend Alex last night that their new album is the best album he has heard in a year. I already ordered it, and it should be arriving today. . .Woo hoo! A-

Liz Phair - Somebody's Miracle (3): The only thing I can say about this album is that I feel like a big pussy when I listen to it (excuse my vulgarity, but I can't think of any other way to put it.) I gave it three chances, but I don't think I can ever rationalize putting this one in over the previous four albums. C-

Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (.16) As soon as I got this someone told me they sucked and are on the OC soundtrack or something, and I got 7 other CDs with it, so I really didn't give it a chance. I just read this review and now I want to go back to it: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/b/bright-eyes/im-wide-awake-its-morning-digital-ash-in-a-digital-urn.shtml

Jim O'Rourke - Insignificance. (6) I just got this. It is a very solid 7 songs. He used to be in sonic Youth and has produced Wilco, Stereolab, Smog, and Beth Orton. His album art is great also. I need his other albums. A-

The Books - Thought for Food. (9) I previously promoted The Lemon of Pink about a month ago. I can't quite put my finger on why I like The Books so much. It's two guys that use samples and play the banjo and it works. I was listening to the sample. . . "You have no mother and father... they left, they went somewhere else." Then a little kid is yelling "No they didn't." The song title. . . "Motherless Bastard". Expert. My inability to critically articulate why I like certain albums is really exemplifying itself in full force here, but come on - banjo, samples, awesome album?. That should be a hook to go out and buy this album if you don't already have it. A

Lou Reed - Transformer and The Definitive Collection. (6) I am a big Velvet Underground fan, but I never got a Lou Reed solo album, so I decided to buy his first and his greatest hits. Not nearly as good as the best VU stuff, but I have always been a huge fan of "Perfect Day" and "Walk on the Wild side" is great too. I crack myself up when I sing Wild Side to myself and replace "babe" with "buddy." . . ."Plucked her eyebrows on the way. Shaved her legs and then he was a she. She says, Hey buddy. Take a walk on the wild side. . . " Ha. B+

Big Star - #1 Record: Radio City. (4) They have some good songs. Elliott Smith and Wilco have both covered the song "thirteen," which is an excellent song about being in love as a kid. They also sing the original song that was redone and became the theme song for "that 70's Show." I need to listen to it more, but it's a solid classic rock album. B

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. I think it's time to include a movie on the list. I bought this dvd on ebay for ten bucks (4.99 + 4.99 for shipping). Sandler's Mr. Deeds is a good movie, I think, as far as post-Happy Gilmore Sandler movies go. . . This was fun to watch, for the new one mirrored it almost scene for scene. Gary Cooper was great, but the Babe Bennett was no Wynona Ryder - maybe I'm just not into 1930's women's hairdos and fashions. The movie, overall, is not so dated that it isn't entertaining or comical. It's worth seeing, especially if you've seen the Sandler version. If you haven't seen that, watch the 1930's version first, then watch the remake. B+

David Bowie - David Live (2 discs). (2) The bottom line is, Bowie at the Beeb is so fucking good that I still can't get past it. I'm sure this double disc would get a rave review if I just bought this alone, but since I bought at the Beeb, I have to give this a mediocre review. Right now I am listening to Suffragette City on the first disc, and it's not close to as good as the Beeb version. . . B.

Undeclared - the Complete First Season. I netflixed Freaks and Geeks, and it was so good, that I just bought this instead of just netflixing it. I have no idea why the guy that did these shows is not making more. Ok, both F & G and Undeclared were cancelled after one season. This show is like a 90210 for intelligent people. Both shows have an excellent cast, and a lot of the cast overlaps both shows a la Wes Anderson. Seth Rogan from 40-Year-Old Virgin is in both, and has a better character in both. . .anyone else seen either of these. Let me know what you thought. . .

The Russian Futurists - Let's Get Ready to Crumble. (5) I liked this the first time I listened to it. I liked it a little less the second time. By the fifth time, I started to get that crawling out of my skin feeling that one gets when they pick up their food at the drive-through, and then get home only to discover that they put mayonnaise on your burger when you told them not to. . . Maybe I was just super-antsy that day, which describes about 73% of my days, but I'm sure this is not a classic - just listen to "The Matador's Theme" and you'll see what I mean. . . C.

News Flash: Everything British people say is funny. . . from the Ricky Gervais show, talking about the true meaning of the expression "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones:" "Well. . . don't be chuckin' stuff about if you're surrounded by glass and what not. . . "

The Life Aquatic Soundtrack - (30) All Wes Anderson soundtracks are expert in my opinion. This one is no exception. The overriding theme is the Bowie covers sung acoustically by Seu Jorge - all of them good. In addition, Bowie's Life on Mars and Queen Bitch work perfectly to compliment them. The Mark Mothersbugh (of Devo fame) stuff is excellent as usual - he composed the music for Royal Tenenbaums. I looped the Ping_Island Lightning strike Rescue when I played 80-160 last year at the Belaggio and decided that is the best way to get in the zone. Iggy Pop's Search and Destroy is on it too. I would give this soundtrack and A-, but it also contains a Joan Baez song that may be the most annoying song of all time - omg it's SFannoying. B+/A-

Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies (8) This may seem random, but you know all those irish songs that rock and that people love to drink beer to? I usually don't like those songs - at least I would never buy an album by someone like Flogging Molly or whoever. Something about this album reminds me of those songs, but I really, really like this album, and I really, really don't like the one's I just referred to. Destroyer is waaay better. While most would consider his (Dan Bejar's) voice to be excellent, and someone like Stephen Malkmus's to suck, I would rather listen to Malkmus than this guy for an extended period of time. In any case, Bejar writes songs that are very well crafted without falling into standard formulas. I like the 10 minute title track and "Painter in your Pocket" the most right now. The first half of the album is clearly better than the second. I would appreciate if someone that has heard this album to leave a comment on what they think. A-

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Demos. (10) None of the songs that made it on the album are nearly as good as their masterpiece counterparts. In any case, for hardcore Wilco fans, all of the alternate version give insight into how the songs final form came about through experimentation, creation, and then ultimately destruction. Tweedy said during the recording process. .."We're deconstructing things right now. There's no reason not to destroy it, and that's liberating and exciting." A few extra tracks make this nice little bootleg even better - "Cars can't escape" (or "rhythm" as it is also known as) and "Magazine called Sunset." The original YHF would get an easy A, but I have to give this an A- just because it's just part of the development. . .

3 Comments:

Blogger Fudgy the Whale said...

if yer liking "ancient melodies..." don't hesitate to grab "there's nothing wrong with love" and "keep it like a secret" if you haven't already.

also one of the top 10 things about living with george for a year was that his elliott smith obsession rubbed off on me in a big way.

-jvo.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Fudgy the Whale said...

one more thing is jim o'rourke "halfway to a threeway" ep. incredible. and the title track is one of the creepiest things i have ever heard, but in a good way i guess, fits right in with your apparent david lynch fandom.

10:58 AM  
Blogger G said...

I recently downloaded a couple albums by Jens Lekman off of iTunes. He's Swedish, and writes some pretty solid, offbeat, indie songs. Plus I saw him once in Bloomington IN, so there's that. I'd give his album "Oh you're so silent Jens" pretty high marks, maybe 7.3 out of ten. "I killed the party again. Ruined it for all my friends. Oh you're so silent Jens. Well maybe I am. Maybe I am." good stuff.

I also downloaded the latest albums by Band of Horses and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah per Pitchfork reviews. Both OK, Band of Horses is easier to like right away, in a Shins kind of way, but maybe is a little void. Clap Your Hands is a little whiny and abrasive, but is starting to stick with me. I give them 6.3 and 7.1 out of ten respectively.

5:06 PM  

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