RATING MUSIC AS CHIPS AND SALSA- a code key:
^^^^^= Five chips- Fresh crunchy chips for homemade peach salsa with
the freshest ingredients. Mmm-MM!
^^^^ = Four chips- Not quite as crunchy or fresh. But, then again,
it’s not microwaved burritos. So there’s some nutritional
^^^ = Three chips- Oh, come on! So a few of the chips are a little
limp and the salsa’s been sitting in a bowl in the hot kitchen.
It’s still peach salsa, man!
^^ = Two chips- It physically resembles chips and salsa, but it ain't
quite it. Don't feel bad if you miss hearing this.
^ = One chip- It seems to resemble a foodstuff, but who knows what
it is anymore? If you must, crane your neck briefly to take notice
of this, as you would a car wreck on the highway.
_ = No chips- It’s actually a microwaved beef and bean burrito
with that nasty “green chile sauce” that actually seems
to have been made from tree bark moistened in tomato juice. Eeww.
You’re not going to eat that, are you?
2004: THE AFTERMATH
It’s 2005. You’re a blue state in a country full of
red states. What better time for a little nostalgia about 2004?
Ah, yes, 2004. When the country was… uh, well, o.k. last
year kind of sucked in that regard, too.
Um, so… how about that music scene, huh?
I already have shared my thoughts on a number of this year’s
releases in previous issues. To recap very briefly:
Brian Wilson: Brian Wilson presents Smile
(Nonesuch Records, ^^^^^)
A Beach Boy masterfully manifests a forty-year-old, nearly lost
Live at the Deaf Club (Manifesto, ^^^^½)
From 1979, a time when men were men and punks were punks, and we
could laugh at the idea of having three administrations under anyone
named George Bush (let alone one), comes this historic, energetic,
brilliant and entirely welcome set from Jello Biafra, Klaus Fluoride,
The Ride (Hollywood/ Mammoth, ^^^^½)
Cesar Rosas, the rest of the ledgendary “band from East L.A.” and
guest luminaries (including Bobby Womack, Elvis Costello and Richard
Thompson) light up a set full of new stuff and old Los Lobos favorites.
(Helicon (Israeli import), now on Madfish in the U.S., ^^^^½)
Steven Wilson teamed up on this moody lyrical project with Israeli
rocker Aviv Geffen (no relation, we believe). The U.S. release
includes a live track and a music video.
The Black Keys: Rubber Factory
(Fat Possum, ^^^^)
Minimalist/ primitivist blues rock duo throws down another unrefined
blast of blues/rock/funk power.
Salt (Righteous Babe, ^^^½)
Mixing Brazilian pop, rock and electronica, as usual, Arto Lindsay
dropped another wonderful piece of work.
Telemetry (import, ^^^½)
Neat, textured psyche-goth-guitar space pop in the vein of Steven
Wilson and Porcupine Tree.
Fly or Die (Virgin, ^^^½)
The Neptunes again don their pop-rock personas for an imaginative
and trippy little album, effortlessly crossing lines of traditional
psychedelic pop, funk, hip-hop, bubblegum and rock. But what else
would you expect from the Neptunes, hmm?
The Minus 5:In Rock
(Yep Roc, February, 2004) (^^^)
Scott McCaughey gathers his Wilco distaffs and other co-horts for
another exercise in chamber-pop.
And now that I’ve reiterated my feelings about those releases,
here are seven others I never quite got around to before (but really
Sondre Lerche: Two Way Monologue
Surely the year’s most brilliant pop debut (at least in the
U.S. pop arena), Norway native Lerche evokes tight new wave pop,
Nick Drake and the Eels, and makes it all fun.
Various artists: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- Original
Soundtrack (Hollywood, ^^^^)
Jon Brion’s off kilter, genre defying score is brilliant,
and the Brion-produced, Beck cover of The Dream Academy’s
long lost chestnut, “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” is
a melancholy pop masterpiece, with hints of Spector produced John
Lennon. The movie didn’t suck either, by the way.
Gomez: Split the Difference
(Virgin/ Hut, ^^^^)
More wonderful funky, jam bandish pop from Gomez (listen to “These
3 Sins” and “You, Me and Everybody”)
Elvis Costello and the Imposters: The Delivery Man
(Lost Highway, ^^^^)
Elvis and nearly all his attractions put out another great album,
leading with his chin at those in power with the rocker, “Button
David Byrne: Grown Backwards
Byrne gives us an array of poppy gems (like “Tiny Apocalypse”)
and unexpected experiments (like his versions of Bizet and Verdi).
An odd assortment to be sure, but, hey, it’s the big suit
guy. What’d’ya expect?
William Shatner: Has Been
(Shout! Factory, ^^^)
The Transformed Man was 36 years ago. Get over it. Shatner seems
to have. Working chiefly with his Fear of Pop cohort, Ben Folds,
Shatner’s oratory is no longer trapped in the damaged Richard
Harris/ Rod McEuen musical template of Transformed. Likewise, his
texts are no longer trappped by a need to demonstrate acting chops
with a misplaced Hamlet soliloquy. In short, what was unintentionally
funny, and definitely corny on his previous spoken word effort,
has now been truly transformed into an album that is at once a
willing self-parody and a relatively intimate confessional. Plus,
the music’s better. And, oh, yeah, he used to be Captain
Jill Sobule: Underdog Victorious
Ignore Jill Sobule’s songwriting at your peril, because this
woman (whom “I Love the 90’s” would have to deem
a “one-hit wonder” for 1995’s “I Kissed
a Girl”, four albums ago) writes many a wonderful pop ditty.
This effort was not quite on the same level as 1997’s Happy
Town (my favorite), but it’s perhaps a bit better, or as
good as her 2000 effort, Pink Pearl. Don’t miss the flight
of fancy that is “Jetpack,” and cry in your beer while
laughing with the romantic break-up observation, “Angel/
Asshole.” And, hey, maybe you won’t mind the half-hearted
piece of fluff that is “Cinnamon Park,” either.
Oh, yeah, and I meant to also say… BJORK!!!! Medulla!!!!
Well, that’s all for this issue (and for last year). Please
join me for more attempts at musical guff every Friday night/ Saturday
morning from Midnight to three a.m. on the “Call It Thing” show,
in the Friday Gothics slot.
Until next time, see you on the radio.
Program Guide, 2005