Carousel corner.One interesting development to this month's rock'n'roll gaggle was my attempt to play Kasabian (see below) on my PC. I always listen to review discs on the big rig, but I write at the PC and often play them there while writing. First, it attempted to install dedicated playback software, called MediaMax, prompting me to agree to the standard "violate this and burn in hell" EULA (End User License Agreement) The legal agreement between the manufacturer and purchaser of software. It is either printed somewhere on the packaging or displayed on screen at time of installation, the latter being the better method, because it cannot be avoided. . Then the screen went black and Windows (XP Pro) dumped the program. Hmm. Not to be outdone out·do
tr.v. out·did , out·done , out·do·ing, out·does
To do more or better than in performance or action. See Synonyms at excel. , I opened Windows Media Player Digital jukebox software for Windows from Microsoft that plays a variety of audio, video and streaming formats including MP3, WMA, CD audio and MIDI. Starting with Version 6.2 in 1999, the Windows Media Rights Manager was added for securing copyrighted content. and reinserted the disc, and it started playing. Well, sort of. What came out was a tangle of digital stutter steps occasionally punctuated by recognizable music. But this time when the MediaMax installation appeared and I accepted the EULA, the "software" installed--lord knows what it put on my machine besides the licensing and decryption (cryptography) decryption - Any procedure used in cryptography to convert ciphertext (encrypted data) into plaintext. algorithms--and Kasabian was spinning away. It turns out- check your task bar-that Kasabian only plays on a PC via a web portal, but it still uses the Windows Media Player, complete with whatever graphic oscilloscope oscilloscope (əsĭl`əskōp'), electronic device used to produce visual displays corresponding to electrical signals. Displays of such nonelectrical phenomena as the variations of a sound's intensity can be made if the phenomena are you've chosen. Weird.
When the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America, Washington, DC, www.riaa.com) A membership association of music recording companies. Its goal is to promote the record label industry and protect the rights of copyright owners. It was a major contributor to the SDMI digital distribution system. pulled its legalized heist of the iron industry at the dawn of CD recorders, it got a tariff for each CD recorder and recordable CD sold. What they didn't get-because they didn't understand at that point: they thought the big enemy was CD recorders like cassette recorders were thought to have been a generation before--was a bounty on PCs. PCs account for the lion's share of illegal and quasi-legal ripping, and the encryption on this disc was designed to prevent PC cloning while allowing simple playback on a CD or DVD player. The MediaMax software has a copy feature, but both radioparadise.com and the net are replete with complaints that the copied files have issues, rarely play correctly, and forget ripping them to a CD. Undaunted, I copied the files to my hard drive, using the MediaMax "copy" utility, and then ripped them to a CD-R (CD-Recordable) A writable CD technology using a type of compact disc that can be recorded, but not erased (CD-Rs are "write once" discs). CD-R discs are used to master CD-ROMs, to back up data and to make copies of data for distribution. using Roxio's Easy CD Creator Adaptec Easy CD Creator is a CD authoring program bundled with many early CD writers.
It was part of a suite often just known as Adaptec Easy CD Creator, which consisted of:
Turns out that my overnight/every night spyware and adware scan courtesy of the Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta II utility, revealed that MediaMax had not downloaded anything pernicious on to my computer. Turns out also that "copy protection," and I'm a rank amateur when it comes to ripping CDs and such, wasn't that hard to get around. The ancient Parasound will not play anything but ordinary, garden-variety CDs. However, the Onkyo, like most of today's DVD players, is configured to play MP3s and any number of digital formats, even the uncompressed WMA files created by the copy utility. So I ended up with a virtual clone. RCA See RCA connector and video/TV history. may have vanquished the CD player, but only audiophile An individual who is very interested and enthusiastic about the sound quality of a stereo or home theater system. Quality audio components are designed to reproduce the audio without adding any distortion or coloration. diehards even bother with dedicated CD players these days. Even the cheapest multiple format DVD players are configured similarly to the Onkyo.
Copy-protected CDs have become a hit-or-miss proposition. Sony BMG's discs utilize an allegedly vile algorithm called XCP XCP Extensible Communications Platform (Jabber)
XCP eXtended Copy Protection (First 4 Internet; UK)
XCP Explicit Control Protocol
XCP Expendable Current Profiler , which--again allegedly, but Sony BMG recalled some 2.1 million so protected discs in November after a flood of complaints--installs "rootware" that compromises a Windows-based PC's security. There have been similar complaints about MediaMax, but so far my experience has not indicated any issues. Then again, I have both redundant firewalls and redundant anti-spyware and adware security on my machine. Digital piracy is a real issue. However, attacking the consuming public hardly seems a very bright was of addressing it. Moreover, the recording industry has a long and dreary track record of exhibiting utter disdain for its clientele, reasoning--and somewhat rightly--that so long as they control the product, the consumer has little choice. At some point a manageable methodology for distributing music directly from the artist to the consumer, which precludes the necessity for compressing the audio product--something inevitably solved by bandwidth, will emerge and moot both the issue and the ubiquitous middlemen. Until then it appears that this sad state of affairs will persist. The lone ray of good news in all of this is that the fight is over music, an art form. There are other more serious fights about food, shelter, clothing, and medicine that deserve our attention.
Paul McCartney, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (Capitol/EMI)
You have to go all the way back to McCartney, Sir Paul's first solo effort, for work that is All Paul All The Time, that is, he pretty much plays every instrument and sings every note on the album. (Okay, there was McCartney II, but we're not going there. We like Paul. He was Beatle after all. Cue scream, "PAULLLLL!") While McCartney's revelations were many, so were its shortcomings. Sir Paul was a competent but less than accomplished drummer, and the lack of coherent rhythm showed painfully. It was self-produced. Read that to mean that there was no other voice, other ears to filter the narcissistic self-absorption that characterizes too many self-productions. Flash forward 35 years, and Sir Paul's alone in the studio again, this time a better drummer and a smarter, wiser musician. He also had the inordinate good sense to use a producer, Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck), who exercised the "No" principle: "That sucks; drop it, and, no, I don't want to argue ..." The result is Macca mostly on his own--strings are added unobtrusively and some additional instruments supplied--free to interpret his songs on his own terms.
Frankly, we've grown weary of bashing Sir Paul, marginalizing his output, picking on his proper Englishness, as if he's warmed to knighthood knighthood: see chivalry; courtly love; knight. and has adapted his too-eager-to-please public persona to a greater good, perhaps the Commonwealth. But after one collection after another of polite melodies, trite lyrics, and cloying sentiment he's earned pretty much what's come his way. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, however, like Flaming Pie and Driving Rain and for all of its McCartney-ness--too many silly love songs and way too much "LOOK AT ME!," is quietly cohesive. There are some lovely high points, "Jenny Wren" with Pedro Eustache's achingly beautiful duduk solo and the whimsically Beatlesque "Friends To Go."
Ironically, the prettiest song on Chaos and Creation is "Riding to Vanity Fair" in which McCartney, perhaps unwittingly, answers his critics: "I bit my tongue/I never talked too much/ I tried to be so strong/I've done it for so long/You put me down/But I can laugh it off/And act like nothing's wrong/But why pretend/I think I've heard enough/Of your familiar song ..." Of course it's a love song (which goes on "The definition of friendship/Apparently ought to be/Showing support for the/One that you love ..."). Chaos and Creation concludes with unexpected strength. Both "Follow Me" and "Promise to You Girl" hearken hear·ken also har·ken
v. hear·kened, hear·ken·ing, hear·kens
To listen attentively; give heed.
To listen to; hear. back to McCartney and its bright, largely unfulfilled promise. "Anyway" lifts whole cloth the chorus from Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" and makes it fit. Tagged on to "Anyway" is the lone bit of (other than lyrical) self-indulgence on the disc, a series of instrumental pastiches carelessly stitched together and a fascinating insight into what Chaos and Creation might have sounded like had not Godrich been on the scene.
We've remarked that any Fab One rarely seemed to have climbed the heights of the Four. The band was a unique brew of creative and personal synergy in which the strengths of each made up for the weaknesses in the others. There have been many, many bands where solo efforts have signaled fresh careers and astonishing a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. artistic statements. David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Sting (at least his early output), Paul Simon, and Neil Young are cases in point. There are also bands whose members' solo efforts have been, er, less than spectacular: the Stones, The Who, Kiss, Guns'n'Roses, and so on. Paul McCartney falls into the latter bucket, whether we like it or not. But at 63, Sir Paul is still kicking. So we doff the critical hat toward Chaos and Creation in the Backyard for clarity and sincerity. I still wish that he'd (1) come up with better stuff than "Only love is strong enough/To take it on the chin" and (2) given that bass of his a workout.
This Bird Has Flown, A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles' Rubber Soul (Razor & Tie)
Let's review. Taking on even one song by the Fab Four can be a daunting daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin task, so ingrained are the original sonic signatures, from the placement of the occasional rhythm piano, the vocal triads, the bass lines, and so on. Some bands have successfully taken on a song or two or even whole albums (Phish's Halloween recreation of The Beatles on LivePhish 13, 10.31.94, Big Daddy's Sgt. Pepper's). However, for the most part the omnipresent "tributes" fall flat (Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles, Motown Meets the Beatles, and so on) whatever their intentions, art or money. Rubber Soul, besides captivating cap·ti·vate
tr.v. cap·ti·vat·ed, cap·ti·vat·ing, cap·ti·vates
1. To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence. See Synonyms at charm.
2. Archaic To capture. a breathless worldwide audience in 1965, marked a huge step in the band's astonishing musical and creative growth--remember, the time line from "I Want To Hold Your Hand" to Revolver was a little over two years. That's the average down time between discs for most modern bands.
So, why do we wring our hands so over Beatles' covers? Covering another band's stuff is commonplace. Hell, comping the "standards" is a time-honored expectation in jazz, one of the obligatory stepping stones to community recognition and artistic maturity. But The Beatles are different. Not only is their small cache of compositions unique, the original recordings are as important as the compositions-they rarely replicated a recording technique or instrumental array. The fuzz bass on "Think For Yourself" never appeared again. One, done, and move on. So, when you take on a Beatles' cover, you ask yourself, "Do we include the 'dit-dit-dits' in 'Girl's' middle eight?" Not because the "dit-dit-dits" are in and of themselves important, but because your audience expects them as John sneers, "She's coo-ol!" The choice is, therefore, to ape the original note for note or craft something that retains the integrity of the original while allowing the interpreter to stamp it with his or her own creative signature.
Predictably, then, Razor & Tie's This Bird Has Flown, commemorating Rubber Soul's release on December 3,1965, is a mixed bag of recreations and retakes, some almost slavishly slav·ish
1. Of or characteristic of a slave or slavery; servile: Her slavish devotion to her job ruled her life.
2. devoted to the original and some that are truly unique. The Donnas' "Drive My Car" falls into the former ... right down to the cowbell as well as Ben Kweller's and Albert Hammond, Jr.'s deadly accurate and curiously slowed "Wait". Others are more adventuresome. The Fiery Furnaces' "Norwegian Wood" channels Highway 61 Revisited-era Dylan through a mess of electronica. It's not quite so trippy as P.M. Dawn's epic interpretation (The Bliss Album ...?), but registers a solid "9" on the weirdness scale. The middle road, faithful to the original arrangement but committed to the band's unique instrumentation, is held down by Dar Williams's "You Won't See Me," Mindy Smith's "The Word," and Yonder yon·der
In or at that indicated place: the house over yonder.
Being at an indicated distance, usually within sight: "Yonder hills," he said, pointing. Mountain's String Band's "Think For Yourself," especially the latter's replication of the original vocal arrangement. Ron Harper & The Innocent Criminals give "Michelle" an upbeat ska treatment, and Low's "Nowhere Man" is predictably minimalist: it goes nowhere.
Perhaps most arresting is indie darling Sufjan Stevens's "What Goes On," which bears little if any resemblance to the original, tho' tho also tho'
conj. & adv. Informal
tho' or tho
US or poetic same as though
tho' I think he's retained the chord structure. For all its quirkiness, opening with a proto-baroque keyboard figure before floating vocals a lento len·to Music
adv. & adj.
In a slow tempo. Used chiefly as a direction.
n. pl. len·tos
A lento passage or movement. over a driving rock arrangement, it works. Ted Leo Leo, in astronomy
Leo [Lat.,=the lion], northern constellation lying S of Ursa Major and on the ecliptic (apparent path of the sun through the heavens) between Cancer and Virgo; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. puts "I'm Looking Through You" through a layer of techno effects. Even Ben Lee's "In My Life," for my money Lennon's single greatest composition and, therefore, a forbidding task for any artist, by eschewing the opening guitar figure, raises the song to a cathedraline sense of epic grandeur. Nellie McKay gives "If I Needed Someone" the piano cafe treatment, an almost disappointing toss-off, before the Cowboy Junkies lope through "Run For Your Life" appropriately changed to "little boy" to accommodate Margo Timmons's sultry vocal.
As with all efforts of this scope, the real stars of the disc are the songs, and while This Bird Has Flown may not contribute anything profound to the canon of Beatles musical literature and will no doubt reap heaps of critical scorn for its cheek and daring, it demonstrates the inexorable attraction of a band that died 35 years ago and the outsized out·size
1. An unusual size, especially a very large size.
2. A garment of unusual size.
adj. also out·sized
Unusually large, weighty, or extensive.
Adj. 1. , monumental draw of their recorded legacy. While one might take Razor & Tie to task for even attempting such a project, with admittedly mixed results, it is precisely the draw of the songs that compels this impressive set of young artists, none of whom were even born when the Beatles broke up, much less when Rubber Soul was released, to take the risks represented by covering a Beatles song. That young artists, who grew up with R.E.M. and U2, would even consider the project is testament alone, given that any good band with free studio time would rather work on their own stuff. Yes, the covers do not bear too close scrutiny against the originals, but consider the originals.
Sufjan Stevens, ... Invites You to Come on and Feel the Illinoise (Asthmatic Kitty)
If Stevens's take on "What Goes On" was outre ou·tré
Highly unconventional; eccentric or bizarre: "outré and affected stage antics" Michael Heaton. , his take on an entire state is more so-but captivating in both its historic and artistic breadth. Illinois (despite the cover title, both the spine and the flack drop the rest) is the second installment in Stevens's very ambitious "states" project, to memorialize me·mo·ri·al·ize
tr.v. me·mo·ri·al·ized, me·mo·ri·al·iz·ing, me·mo·ri·al·iz·es
1. To provide a memorial for; commemorate.
2. To present a memorial to; petition. each of the 50 with a dedicated disc, which began with 2003's Greetings from Michigan, The Great Lakes State. At the current rate of one every other year, this project should be finished by 2101. Sadly, or not, this reviewer will most likely not be around for the bulk of them. However, fear not. My editorial assistant and hand-picked successor, Ahmed Sigtryggur Vivaldi, still a robust youth, will no doubt maintain the chronicle so long as Stevens himself can last. Stevens will be 127 then.
Each movement-you want to call them "songs", which they are, but only in the loosest of definitions-carefully limns an historic location, person, or event, from Al Capone's Chicago to Mary Todd Lincoln's insanity. The twist, as with Michigan, is that the venues and historical artifacts artifacts
see specimen artifacts. merely set the stage for Stevens's musings on the nature of life, love, and other things metaphysical. For example, the second part of "Come On! Feel The Illinoise!" is "Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream," which yields "And we laughed the beatitudes Beatitudes (bē-ăt`ĭtdz') [Lat.,=blessing], in the Gospel of St. Matthew, eight blessings uttered by Jesus at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. of a thousand lines/We were asked, at the attitudes, they reminded us of death." Virginia, this isn't your mama's travelogue.
Illinois is barely a pop record. Stevens records with what seems to be a largish ensemble of drums, strings, horns, and a chorus, which are simply augments to every other sound on the disc: vocals, keys, guitars, bass, an assortment of saxophones, more drums, and a bewildering be·wil·der
tr.v. be·wil·dered, be·wil·der·ing, be·wil·ders
1. To confuse or befuddle, especially with numerous conflicting situations, objects, or statements. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. arsenal of percussion-all played by Stevens. Macca meets Prince in a sod lean-to in the Midwestern plains. All of this coalesces into a soundscape sound·scape
An atmosphere or environment created by or with sound: the raucous soundscape of a city street; a play with a haunting soundscape. of varied textures, all steadfastly "American" in the fashion that Robin Holcomb's Little Three or Bill Frisell's Nashville capture that elusive, mythic slice of quasi-rural, expansive heritage we so treasure, virtually a small town ensemble in the gazebo gazebo
Lookout in the form of a turret, cupola (small, lanternlike dome), or garden house set on a height to give an extensive view. Few late-18th- and 19th-century rustic gazebos survive, but 17th-century turrets built up in an angle of the garden wall are not uncommon. band box on a Sunday afternoon. Where self-conscious attempts at painting a portrait of our culture's growth, equal parts industrial hegemony, gun toting self-reliance, and bible thumping fervor, have failed, notably David Benoit's American Landscape, Stevens has aimed at one of 50 targets, dissected it into distinct components, and reassembled a portrait writ large.
The best poetry--Plath, Roethke, James Wright--is at once intensely personal and resonates universally, even if shedding an oblique light on a small corner of being. Stevens's poetry is not quite so compact as it is telling in its narrative imagery. The celebration of "Casimir Pulaski Day Casimir Pulaski Day is a holiday celebrated in Illinois on the first Monday of every March to commemorate Casimir Pulaski, a Revolutionary War cavalry officer born March 4, 1747 in Poland as Kazimierz Pułaski. He was a Polish soldier and politician. " evolves into the loss of a young love to bone cancer: "In the morning when you finally go/The nurse runs in with her head hung low/And the cardinal hits the window ..." All the prayer, all the eternal devotion to a very Protestant God cannot stanch stanch 1 also staunch
tr.v. stanched also staunched, stanch·ing also staunch·ing, stanch·es also staunch·es
1. To stop or check the flow of (blood or tears, for example).
2. the inexorable: "Tuesday night at the Bible study/ We lift out hands pray over your body/But nothing ever happens ..." as if the American dream is just that, a dream, and lives are measured out in Illinois as anywhere else without regard to geography or beliefs.
I use the gerund ger·und
1. In Latin, a noun derived from a verb and having all case forms except the nominative.
2. In other languages, a verbal noun analogous to the Latin gerund, such as the English form ending in -ing cum adjective "compelling" freely, even carelessly, meaning to convey the notion that there is something about a composition or the interpretation of a genre that forces you to sit up and take notice or sit down an listen, as if all art can be captured in the act of either making or dissembling dis·sem·ble
v. dis·sem·bled, dis·sem·bling, dis·sem·bles
1. To disguise or conceal behind a false appearance. See Synonyms at disguise.
2. To make a false show of; feign. a lap. Illinois is compelling. It is a carefree, demanding, explosive, subtle melange mé·lange also me·lange
A mixture: "[a] building crowned with a mélange of antennae and satellite dishes" Howard Kaplan. of musical and poetic artifacts that commands attention for what it is and for what it conveys. In lesser hands a work this ambitious would devolve devolve v. when property is automatically transferred from one party to another by operation of law, without any act required of either past or present owner. The most common example is passing of title to the natural heir of a person upon his death. into something arty, pretentious, or trite, but Stevens is none of these. He is a master perhaps in the rich vein that wrought Dylan and Springsteen, emboldened em·bold·en
tr.v. em·bold·ened, em·bold·en·ing, em·bold·ens
To foster boldness or courage in; encourage. See Synonyms at encourage.
Adj. 1. in his youth, working visionary murals and small canvasses with equal dexterity--no easy outs, cheap puns, or adolescent smirks. It's not clear to me if Illinois is actually about Illinois, or if it's about Sufjan Stevens, or if it's about the extraordinary stories of ordinary folks wrapped in a grand metaphor. Some day a scholar may be able to piece together the sense of Stevens's aural tapestry. Without reservation Illinois is the genuine article. It is the Smile that still haunts Brian Wilson's imagination.
Radio Paradise Middle Eight. My wife sez I have an addictive personality. Must be true. We've been married 23 years, and I can't stop buying vintage Dunhill pipes, AMT/ERTL reissues of classic '50s plastic model car kits, and whole CDs just 'cos I heard a killer cut on radioparadise.com. The treatment's too expensive on what they pay me here and involves drilling fairly large holes in one's skull.
Mumbo Gumbo gumbo, another name for okra; also applied in the W United States to a rich, black, alkaline alluvial soil, which is soapy or sticky when wet.
gumbo , "Love Makes Me Stupid," Pot Luck (Ruby Records)
Okay, "Love Makes Me Stupid" is this slightly self-deprecatory, even self-mocking, utterly revelatory and howlingly funny confessional. Point of fact, it's the odd duck out on this incredible disc of balls to the wall, hellzapoppin chunk of good time rock'n'roll. Mumbo Gumbo is a couple of chick vocalist/songwriters, Chris Webster and Tracy Walton, backed up by a bunch of guys A Bunch of Guys (BOGs), or Group of Guys (GOGs) are terms used by counter-terrorism officials to refer to small, self-organizing terrorist cells. BOGs typically have little to no contact with global terrorist groups like al Qaeda, so they independently plan and (Lynn Michael Palmer, Rick Lotter, Steve Stizzo, Billy Fairfield, and Reggy Marks-plus others as the song requires or the mood fits), who play a blistering, energetic, melange of All American rock: a little N'awlins boogie, a dash of Philly soul, a skosh skosh
A small amount; a bit: "This is a well-plotted, economical thriller. Although the beginning is a skosh slow, [the author] of Memphis blues, a lovin' spoonful of Texas swing ... and anything else that they can cram into the sonic blender. Pot Luck is just that, a musical smorgy without one disappointing dish in the mix, a bold statement in the grand tradition of Dan Hicks, the Youngbloods, Phish, and boogie bands everywhere. The bad news is that they seem to play only in and around Sacramento and the Bay Area, so my son gets to see 'era, and I don't.
Rheostatics, "P.I.N.," Night of the Shooting Stars (Perimeter Records)
One is never quite sure of the line between deadly earnestness and bombast until it's crossed. The Rheostatics are one of Canada's most popular bands with a discography dis·cog·ra·phy
Examination of the intervertebral disk space using x-rays after injection of contrast media into the disk. stretching back to 1987. 2001's Night of the Shooting Stars is a mish-mash of meandering heavy rockers, slightly longish narratives, and, well, bombast. The songs are written mostly by lead guitarist Martin Tielli, whose gift for, er, bombast is lyrically as well as musically evident. Bassist Tim Vesely's offerings are less consciously "arty"--tho' that's not saying much for this collection. "P.I.N.", one of Tielli's subtler efforts, which is like saying a train wreck is more subtle than a volcanic eruption, is in the end more listenable lis·ten·a·ble
Being such that listening is pleasurable: an undistinguished but listenable soundtrack.
lis in a radio format than on this disc. We've run across a number of excellent musicians who pen wonderful tunes and play wonderfully until they open their mouths--Jonatha Brooke and Thom Yorke come to mind. Night of the Shooting Stars falls into this camp. Beware.
Peter Mulvey, "The Trouble with Poets," The Trouble with Poets (Signature Sounds)
"The trouble with poets is they talk too much ..." This is also the trouble with rock critics, politicians, and conservative commentators--indeed anyone who ingests linguistic diuretics Diuretics Definition
Diuretics are medicines that help reduce the amount of water in the body.
Diuretics are used to treat the buildup of excess fluid in the body that occurs with some medical conditions such as congestive heart . Happily, this is not the trouble with Peter Mulvey and his provocative song writing. Mulvey has attained a strong following in and around his native Milwaukee as a superb live entertainer and somewhat of a wizard on guitar. While the latter is not keenly evident on The Trouble with Poets, the songs crackle crackle /crack·le/ (krak´'l) rale. with wit and insight. Though Mulvey is fairly pigeon-holed as a singer/songwriter, he's backed on most of The Trouble with Poets with a good band, which gives his songs, like those of Michael Penn or John Hiatt, a rewarding depth. Jennifer Kimball (The Story) adds lovely harmony vocals. Good disc.
The Stranglers, "Golden Brown," Feline (Epic)
The Stranglers enjoyed a well-deserved notoriety during their middling run at the charts during the late '70s and early '80s, managing either by their concert dress or dark, uninhibited lyrics to offend almost anyone who ventured on to their radar. Their crimes were many, their hits few, and their impact, I believe, longer lasting than any of their output. Feline is a case in point. The songs, with the exception of "Golden Brown," are a slight cut above so-so, but the execution and production are pinpoint on spot, paragons of whistle-clean production--real pros at work. While finely honed chops are rarely enough to recommend a band, The Stranglers are noteworthy--and Feline deserves a listen--because the impeccable production values presage a number of bands whose equivalent values are at least as strong as their artistic output, for example Midnight Oil and INXS INXS In Excess (band)
INXS Internet Exchange Service . Oddly, the latter are from Oz, The Stranglers British, but the sonic line, perhaps dotted, is compelling.
Los Straitjackets, "Sing, Sing, Sing," The Velvet Touch of Los Straitjackets (Yep Roc)
Okay, instrumental bands are fun in small doses--rarely do rock instrumentals vie successfully with the predominant instrumental genres, classical and jazz. Los Straitjackets, a Los Angeles Chicano quartet, channels everything that was and is SoCal surf music--indeed a host of '60s-flavored instrumental formats--into a refreshing retake re·take
tr.v. re·took , re·tak·en , re·tak·ing, re·takes
1. To take back or again.
2. To recapture.
3. To photograph, film, or record again.
1. on the genre and then some. "Kawanga" is modeled after the Surfari's "Wipeout," "Hornet's Nest," after Dick Dale; and a hilarious send-up of "My Heart Will Go On" (from Titanic), after The Tornados' "Telstar." The Louis Prima nugget Nugget
A 15 year Gold FHLMC (Freddie Mac) bond; similar to a Dwarf. "Sing, Sing, Sing" gets the full Ventures workout while "Tijuana Boots" earns the border treatment a la The Astronauts "Baja" or Herb Alpert's "Lonely Bull." Los Straitjackets (Eddie Angel, Dannis Amis, Jimmy Lester, and Pete Curry) perform in Mexican pro wrestlers' masks, and it's rumored that, like Slipknot (web) SlipKnot - A graphical World-Wide Web browser specifically designed for Microsoft Windows users who have Unix shell accounts with their service providers. Its primary feature is that it does not require SLIP or PPP or TCP/IP services. and The Residents, few if any have ever seen their faces--at least none have lived to tell about it. In a twisted salute to yet another band whose identities were also long hidden behind gobs of makeup, "All That Glitters All That Glitters (shortened from "All that glitters is not gold", a famous misquotation from The Merchant of Venice, the original line being ) is the name of a number of different works:
Full of jubilant delight; joyful.
glee on Kiss's "Rock'n'Roll." If one were to shuffle this disc with Rock Instrumental Classics, Volume 5: Surf (Rhino), I'm not sure that anyone could really tell the difference or even want to. Super stuff.
Bryan Ferry, "I Thought," Frantic (Virgin)
Probably best known as Roxy Music's leader and vocalist, Ferry's solo career paralleled and eventually outlasted the band's. 2002's Frantic, his latest, is chock full of Ferry staples: clever, sometimes insightful, interpretations ("It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," "Goin' Down") and a handful of originals, often co-credited to whatever producer he's working with at the time. A great many of Frantic's offerings stem from a series of sessions in the late '90s with The Eurhythmics' Dave Stewart, and indeed he's credited on four originals. Like the vast majority of Ferry's catalog, Frantic is strong rock'n'roll with dramatic, often HUGE, arrangements setting the stage for Ferry's unique baritone with its understated, come hither hith·er
To or toward this place: Come hither.
Located on the near side.
hither and thither/yon overtones--though his reading of "Goodnight Irene" reverentially rev·er·en·tial
1. Expressing reverence; reverent.
2. Inspiring reverence.
rev simple. "I Thought," co-penned with former Roxy bandmate Brian Eno, is alone worth the price of admission, but any fan of Ferry's will be pleased with all of Frantic.
Kasabian, "Processed Beats," Kasabian (RCA/ BMG BMG Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (Germand: Federal Ministry for Health)
BMG Be My Girl
BMG Blue Man Group
BMG Bertelsmann Music Group
BMG Be My Guest
BMG Browning Machine Gun
BMG Bulk Metallic Glass )
Kasabian is four Brit lads with moxie (language, music) Moxie - A language for real-time computer music synthesis, written in XPL.
["Moxie: A Language for Computer Music Performance", D. Collinge, Proc Intl Computer Music Conf, Computer Music Assoc 1984, pp.217-220]. , chutzpah chutz·pah also hutz·pah
Utter nerve; effrontery: "has the chutzpah to claim a lock on God and morality" New York Times. , a few hot chops ... and a thick slab of hype. Think The Killers, The Vines and The Strokes. Nonetheless, Kasabian is a good disc with a baker's brace of interesting tunes, "Processed Beats," "Test Transmission," "Cutt Off," and "Ovary ovary, ductless gland of the female in which the ova (female reproductive cells) are produced. In vertebrate animals the ovary also secretes the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control the development of the sexual organs and the secondary sexual Stripe" among them. Despite the inevitable comparison to their peers, like their peers, Kasabian draws on a unique listening library as its inspiration, and what one hears is a lot of Beck, Stone Roses, and Charlatans UK, all laid down with considerable funk, originality, and the requisite 'tude. The Vines and The Strokes made it to sophomore efforts. We're still waiting on The Killers and Kasabian.
The Samples, "Long Walk Home," Black and White (Samples Records)
Black and White opens with the title cut and the eerie feeling that you're listening to a multi-tracked Sting circa Ghost in the Machine. This is not to say that writer Sean Kelly and his cohorts, Jared Johnson, Karl Dietel, Tom Askin, and Billy Mutchler, are overtly or overly derivative. As Black and White progresses, it resonates more with Hootie and the Blowfish A secret key cryptography method that uses a variable length key from 32 to 448 bits long. It uses the block cipher method, which breaks the text into 64-bit blocks before encrypting them. , well-executed if polite frat party rock. The difference is Kelly's outlook is inexorably sunny--damnedly, earnestly sunny, so much so that you want to club him upside the noggin nog·gin
1. A small mug or cup.
2. A unit of liquid measure equal to one quarter of a pint.
3. Slang The human head.
[Origin unknown. with a two by four. Now, we don't know if he's resolutely callow, feckless feck·less
1. Lacking purpose or vitality; feeble or ineffective.
2. Careless and irresponsible.
[Scots feck, effect (alteration of effect) + -less. or if he simply dropped too much Orange Sunshine or Paisley Football in a prior life, but the adolescent drool of "Lollipop" ("I want to kiss you on your beach ... I want to play beneath your clothes") is painful. There's nothing wrong with celebrating a spring day ("Warm and Sunny") or a lovely woman ("Beautiful Girl"), but when the soaring melody of "For Everyone" is destroyed by the lyric "I'm tired of junk on TV/ I'm tired of politicians speaking for me/I'm tired of the liars and the cheats/I'm tired of the passive and the weak," it's time to run for cover even though the song's just an awkward plea for peace, environmental sanity, and equality. Can't argue with that. Neither can one argue that the line between earnestness and bombast has been crossed. "Long Walk Home" is lovely with refreshingly enigmatic sentiment ("It's five a.m. and I'm still awake/The world's been pounding at my door") if it also seems lifted from Ghost in the Machine. Line up The Samples against the smarmy, cynical guys in masks (Slipknot, Los Straitjackets, and so on) and I'll take the guys in masks every time. At least they get the joke.
Air, "Cherry Blossom Girl," Talkie talk·ie
A movie with a sound track.
Informal an early film with a soundtrack
Noun 1. Walkie (Astralwerks)
Air is a couple of French guys, Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin, who over the last decade have garnered a substantial following on both sides of the pond with their technosynthetic, heavily orchestrated pop. "Cherry Blossom Girl" is reminiscent of Silkie Silkie
a bantam with white, curly feathers, a prominent crest of feathers, rose comb and a black skin and legs. , Morning Glory, or The Mojo Men, softly whispered vocals over an intricate yet delicately woven instrumental track. In fact Talkie Walkie, like its predecessor Moon Safari, is safely in Astralwerks' futbol goal: equal doses of electronica, trance, and melodic repetition. It's interesting, but after a few cuts I'm itching for some Los Straitjackets or Mumbo Gumbo.
R.I.P. Richard Pryor, Eugene McCarthy. Link Wray, of whom John Cippolina said, "He convinced me that you could swear without using words." Email: KJEast@cox.net. Wanna rumble?