10 March 2009


shall we get on with it then? poor beleaguered little mnemo [that's my laptop] is back in action, my drobotunes library has more or less caught up with my recent acquisitions, and we've got some spiffy new sidebar sections to deal with.

[if you're still interested: i finally posted an "official" 2008 wrap-up, with my top singles as represented by a mixtape and my top albums as represented by their covers.]

speaking of album covers, '09 has been a brilliant year for them so far. let's bask in these for a minute, shall we?:

a bunch of lovely ladies playing dress up, in and around increasingly intriguing and silly set pieces. lovesit! so i haven't actually heard any of these albums yet. i have been listening to a bunch of older neko (and mirah) though, which is getting me very excited. fox confessor in particular is so effing brilliant, and tigers have spoken, which i'd generally overlooked, is plenty righteous in its own right. can't wait to hear what miss case has come up with this time (well, actually, i am waiting, delaying gratification about a week for the sake of about $7.00, to a.k.a.'s loss, amazon's gain, and my chagrin, but whatevs...)

her sometime partner in crime, a.c. newman, made a rather disappointing impression with his follow-up to the golden slow wonder (a record he hasn't topped since, with or without the new pornos.) for one thing, the cover is just plain ugly (i'll spare you the jpg, though it does look a tiny bit better in print than on screen.) the music is better than that, but it's still sub-par; it feels futzy and baroque in a way that detracts from the songs, and nullifies the clarion directness that has made his past stuff so great. of course, carl being carl, a couple of his melodic dirty-darts can't help but lodge in your craw; my picks would probably be "like a hitman, like a dancer" (ah, that good old a.c. w.t.f.) and, typically, the closer, "all of my days and all of my days off." (lame wannabe-merritt title notwithstanding.) still fond of the guy though, hope to see him next week.

the mirah album is out today – i hadn't realized it was dropping so soon until i saw it beaming (on LP, no less) from the rack at a.k.a. (those sneaky release-date cheaters.) will for sure go pick it up when i have vinyl-carrying capability, cuz that cover demands it. cmon mirahcle!!!!

oh yes, i have been getting back into the big black circles. i bought some rekkids the other week for the first time in well over a year, and then i bought a couple more. it all started when i was djing for feet active! last month without the use of my computer, and decided to pick up a little bit of this and that to make up for it: ended up with lps by parsley sound, quiet village [great for the post-yoga portion], soul/disco singer deneice williams, and early genesis [not for the party], and 12"s by cornershop, hebden/reed [w/ audion remix], nona hendryx [nyce!], animal collective [ginkgo's jam] and maybe some others.

after the party i let myself get suckered in by a 12" sale at ubiquity.com and procured some faves by nomo and owusu & hannibal, plus a grab-bag of rare groove oldies, all half-off. so... we'll see where this leads. not entirely sure how it will square with my inclinations/obsessions toward uni-format-y, but it does strike me that, mp3s having largely eclipsed cds in terms of utilitarian practicality (and now for me personally as well as the music-consuming public as a whole), the edge that vinyl's undeniably lustrous object-aura gives it is that much harder to undercut, particularly with download codes enclosed.

back to our leading ladies: i actually have heard most of the lily allen, but haven't really digested it. in general, i'm not overwhelmed, but i do really like "who'd have known," and "the fear" remains one of my very favorite singles of the year so far (sure i'm counting it, tho i did hear it in '08.) at first blush it seems slighter, subtler, than the hits off her debut, but the melody may well prove to have longer legs, and the lyrics are devilishly perfect. love the video too. why not:

(it's pretty definitely my favorite thing she's done, with mark ronson's "oh my god" a close second – and that common song is pretty good too – i was never the biggest fan of her first album, or her persona generally, and seeing her live didn't help much... we'll see if she can win me over this time.)

i have heard and very much enjoyed the other new album that was co-written and produced my man greg kurstin; the bird and the bee's exceedingly wtf-titled ray guns are not just the future (i know, i get that the military is now making ray guns, which means they're...the present, but that doesn't make the title any more sensible.) it's great. i mean, not every song on it is stunning, but an impressive majority are both instantly enjoyable and seemingly quite durable. and, admittedly, it's a light and fluffy pop album, with no great aspirations other than to be sweet and pleasurable. but greg and inara george (i feel like they're both old friends of mine, which is, er, almost true), like the goofy secret agents they play in the cover art, seem to take that mission quite seriously, and they clearly had a blast carrying it out.

in my review of their show at the tin angel last week, i called the album "[maybe] the most satisfying thing either of them has ever been involved in," which is a semi-bold statement when you consider that geggy tah's sacred cow (1994) and merrick's self-titled debut (2001) are minor classics in my personal pantheon. other than those two albums, there's not too much contest, though into the oh and all rise are definitely worthy efforts. can't say as much for inara's sub-ys effort from last year... this is a great turnabout from that, though it won't necessarily be received as such.

show review what? oh yes: i have been writing reviews of concerts (and also other things) for the city paper blog, which accounts for a good chunk of my music writing to date this year. check 'em on out. (with pixxxas!!)

paper stock:
bear is driving, rafter, your freedom party @ danger danger gallery, 1/29
high places, soft circle, kyle h. mabson @ danger danger gallery, 2/5

tindersticks [& dawn landes] @ world cafe live, 3/4
the bird and the bee [& obi best] @ tin angel, 3/4

also, here's a record review, of album #2 by local boy peasant. innocent churl is almost profligate. (but not quite.)

by the way, i also saw two other shows at the world cafe recently. the indigo girls & shemekia copeland, at a hoopla free-at-noon jawn on friday, were fluffy doo-dah fun – contrary to appearances, i found the 'girls to be both more entertaining and more 'authentic' than shemekia; their new songs were surprisingly engaging, though a room-ful of "closer to fine" made for a special little thrill all its own. a while back, devon sproule & matt curreri's gig, a pre-valentine's affair with incurable sweetie carsie blanton, was mostly notable for a slew of well-picked covers [best: "19th nervous breakdown," which i had in my head for weeks afterwards], which is usually a good thing, though less so when the artist in question one of yr favorite songwriters, and she's letting her kinda-dopey brother-in-law do half the singing anyway. oh well. cmon back around dev! i'll write ya up right.

more show reviews, and previews, and who-dos, comin' round the bend. some woo-hoo overdue review round-ups up'n'around too. 'n maybe i'll figger some other jigs to do. spring's a cumin in, and we're spring back to action. l33t active!

oh, p.s.: i couldn't very well talk about cover art in 1st-quarter '09 without mentioning this here flash animation, er i mean jpg. (was gonna post it but i figured i'd spare you the eyeache.) hard not to admit, too, that is "my girls" ever the song for the spring, or what. save it for a springy singy day, and it just comes busting out. he is so goofy coppin' a brian wilson drawl on "...seem like ah kerr abowwt..." ["...fowr m'gurls..."] got some more things to say about the music but maybs later.

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