Reposts from the Archive:
Billie Ray Martin -- I Don't Believe
Billie Ray Martin -- Big Tears and Make-Up
I feel it's my duty to warn you off of the new tribute album devoted to the songs of The Band. In fact, I also feel that the person responsible for the fact that this collection tipped the most loathsome jam bands and jam band manques around (Guster, Blues Traveler, My Morning Jacket, Widespread Panic, Gov't Mule, Gomez) to cover The Band's best material should be taken 'round back and shot or something. The offerings from mainstream-ish country stalwarts Lee Ann Womack and Roseanne Cash are
sort of tolerable; as were the predictably bland tracks from Jackob Dylan, Jack Johnson, and Bruce Hornsby. I had high hopes for the out-of-left-field contributors like The Roches, Death Cab for Cutie, and Joe Henry -- but they really let me down -- especially Death Cab's sluggish, dull take on "Rocking Chair." I sat on this record for days, wondering if maybe it would all make sense to me eventually. Alas, this has not happened, save for my unabashed enjoyment of Josh Turner's straight-ahead country take on "When I Paint My Masterpiece." This collection would have been a lot more exciting (or at least a little more pleasant to listen to) if it included a few big-name indie-ish artists who owe more than a little to The Band -- like Neko Case, Wilco, Josh Ritter, or M. Ward, or maybe some of the Freak Folk crowd? ('Cause you know, Devendra's got nothing on these old beardos...) The Magic Numbers? The Earlies? I mean, surely someone out there realizes that jam bands aren't the only beneficiaries of The Band's legacy. Right? Right? Okay, I'm done complaining now. Endless Highway, The Music of the Band is out on Jan. 30. Read more about The Band at Wikipedia.
The Band -- "The Weight"
Let's see now... We really weren't ready for the scene at Sin-e Friday night -- not at all! The show was packed to the gills, but we weren't the only ones who spotted Karen O. and Nick Zinner bailing after Daylight's For The Birds' set. We were completely blown away by Mahogany, but were decidedly less impressed with the faux-backwoods shenanigans of O'Death. As a matter of fact, I found them to be incredibly offensive -- it was nearly as bad as watching, say, white kids rap in blackface. No, I'm not kidding. (I was still ranting about this at the subway platform later when I unwittingly drove a rather unamused Daniel Kessler to the other side of the platform. I guess I was being rather loud -- I'm still embarrassed after the fact. Someone tell him I'm really sorry about that, 'kay?)
Here's what's in HIGH DEMAND today:
Love of Diagrams -- The Pyramid. We know not to question the motives of Matador Records. We really do. EXHIBIT A: New signees Love of Diagrams. Angular? Check! Nice melodic bassline? Check! Dueling girl/boy vocals? Check! Welcome to the Nouveau New Wave, now with extra punchy No Wave action, courtesy of Australia! Early review track "No Way Out" was already picked up and loved on by Pitchfork -- though, if you're like me, you totally missed that. "The Pyramid" is more polished but no less affecting -- if we weren't absolutely sure this was new, we'd think it was a lost Raincoats track, or maybe, even more accurately, a misplaced Waitresses or Romeo Void downer. (BTW, it looks like Matador's also just taken on Lavender Diamond! Will wonders never cease? I happen to know they will not. Ha!) (MySpace)
Girls Aloud -- Androgynous Girls (Tweaked Mix). "I had a dream last night that you turned into money, I tried to save you, but I wasn't even sorry." "I saw my spirit fly with angels dressed in leather..."WHO WRITES THESE LYRICS? THEY'RE BRILLIANT! This is not sarcasm. I myself have dreams of dropping this in the middle of an otherwise staid dj set. Viva Girls Aloud! (MySpace)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor -- New York City Lights. If only our lives were really this glamorous! And this cold and sterile! And bleak! This one's for 5500 (his post of Spiller's "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" a few weeks ago got me back on the SE-B bandwagon) -- congrats on your impending move! I'm so proud of you! (MySpace)
[BONUS: DJ Spiller -- Groovejet (Solar's Jet Groove Dub Mix) (wordless and chopped from the middle one of the best disco house mixes ever from Robbie Rivera)]
The Magic Whispers -- Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. When only the very best retro-pastiche indie-pop will do -- you clearly need the dark-spangled, near-dour song stylings of The Magic Whispers' new album, which consists entirely of covers of obscure-ish pop gems. Don't miss this one, seriously. (label site)