Saturday, March 14, 2009

3 "New" CDs!

I asked Stacey to bring home 3 cds for me this week. She did, and here they are:

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone - the first listen was just sort of background music for me and I thought that it sounded nice enough, but nothing really new was coming down the pike. By the third listen I was hooked hard. I think it's a great album. Neko is progressing nicely with added depth in her writing and rich musical arrangements. As usual, her vocals are powerhouse and the harmony parts are quite nice.

Some stand out tracks for me are People Got A Lotta Nerve which seriously puts the jangle back into the jangle pop. There is an amazing ascending chord progression in there that first appears instrumentally, but next time around she adds glistening vocals. Sold!

Middle Cyclone is a beautiful and intimate song that features a messed up waltz with some 5/8 mixed into the 6/8. Or something like that (I'm much too lazy to really figure it out), but it swings in its own fractured way and is lovely.

Speaking of swinging, Magpie To The Morning has a loose and languid feel to it in a Walk On The Wild Side way. Angels sing at the end of this one.

Nilsson's Don't Forget Me is an inspired cover, and it also swings. The line - "when we're older and full of cancer it doesn't matter now - come on get happy" fits right in there in a very Neko kind of way.

There are 2 things that drive me nuts, though. First, old guys like me would appreciate an easy to read track listing, and track 15, which is over 30 minutes of cricket noises is annoying, unless you use it to gently drift off to sleep late at night (which I'll never do - Stacey and I already have our own little cricket noises on her clock radio and those chirpy bugs work just fine!)

Fleetwood Mac - Future Games - Been having a big Mac attack lately and I've discovered that I like just about any incarnation of this band. At the moment, it's all about Christine McVie. I read a blurb on AMG that stated that this album contains one of her most beautiful songs - Show Me A Smile. Man, they weren't kidding! The verses were making me crazy wondering where have I heard this progression before? Suddenly XTC popped into my mind. Not so suddenly their album Mummer snuck in there, so I grabbed it and discovered that the song is Andy Partridge's Jump. Pretty cool. Great pop minds...

I do like a few other songs, though the above cut sells the whole shindig for me. Bob Welch has a pleasant and laid back voice (and guitar playing style). His voice can possesses a somewhat fragile quality, reminding me of Elliott Smith, especially on his highlight worthy cut on the record - Future Games. Oddly, I think the chorus is pretty weak, but the verses work great. (weird..the same may hold true for Show Me A Smile...maybe..)

I don't know who wrote the only real rocker on here, but Lay It All Down features a great rock riff, but honestly, if I feel like rockin' I can now rock hard with:
Deep Purple - in Rock
This is right about the time when Deep Purple were starting to get kind of silly. Their first 2 LP's are pretty great 60's pop/blues/rock. The singles Hush and Kentucky Woman are 2 of my faves, but here they are starting to exhibit heavy metal traits that veer uncomfortably close to Uriah Heep and all things silly about hard rock. I love the Heep, but the vocal wailings from them and Deep Purple were starting to get more chuckles from me than the need for me to reach into my jeans and whip out my Bic and fire it up. But I digress...

Speed King, Flight Of The Rat and Into The Fire completely satisfy my need to rock. Ian Paice is an incredible drummer, and Ritchie Blackmore is a pretty unique guitar player. And you must have organ to rock out properly, and that's what Jon Lord does.


Anonymous said...

I don't know that Deep Purple album - but that is indeed a nice Mac album, and I'm loving the new Neko! I really like that album cover too. (I'm with you on the track listing thing - I mean yes, I did rip mp3s of it and will probably end up listening to it more often in iTunes than from CD...but still. No, I didn't rip the cricket track - I accidentally "listened" to the whole thing though: was doing our taxes last night, and I got distracted and didn't bother to remove the disc...

B said...

The Mac! Bare Trees and Then Play On are my favorites. Kirwan was a genius. Some of the later Welch-era stuff isn't bad -- the title track from Heroes Are Hard To Find is one of my favorite McVie songs. McVie is really incredible on Tusk, too.
Love the Neko. The crickets are annoying, but Cass McCombs' half hour of car alarms and street noise was way worse.

Danny Plotnick said...

I am irritated by the lack of the track listing. It's a frakking 20 page booklet filled with crappy art and nowhere is there any tracklisting. I don't need the shit numbered, but come on, don't make me flip through that crap to figure out what I'm listening to. Makes you want to just download the stuff instead of support your local record store.

Danny Plotnick said...

But I do like the record.

Gil said...

I feel ya....I had to go online for the track listing. Way too much trouble!