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Idlewild – Captain

3 06 2010

Listened: Wednesday June 2

Idlewild is one of my favorite bands – I’ve listened to them for years and still enjoy listening to them. Captain is their first album (really a mini-album), which I didn’t hear for a long time after becoming a fan, since it’s hard to find outside of the UK and it took some time to track down. I probably got it in college at Mod Lang or on eBay; I don’t remember at this point. It was one of those items I had to get my hands on for cred (same idea with most of the Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci catalog I own) – since it was so hard to get, having it meant you worked for it because you cared THAT much about being a completist! Does anyone in the music world even do that anymore?

This being said, I haven’t listened to it much – it’s really hard-sounding and messy compared to their later work, and Roddy Woomble (one of the most un-rock names ever) hasn’t found his voice yet. I can hear the beginnings of their later style that I love so much, but it’s hard to hear over the shredding guitars. It was nice to go back and revisit my shock upon hearing it for the first time!

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Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Bwyd Time

3 06 2010

Listened: Wednesday June 2

I love how much I’m learning because of this project. Apparently “bwyd” means food in Welsh. I had never bothered to look it up before.

As you can see from the cover, Bwyd Time is more acidhead craziness from early in GZM’s career. There are a couple of nice instrumentals on this album (they set the mood of spooky ancient Wales pretty well) and one of my favorite GZM songs, “Iechyd Da” which means “Cheers!” Definitely this album veers into Pink Floyd/Lord of the Rings territory a bit – there’s a bunch of fantastical spoken word creepiness/storytelling on a couple of tracks.

My big complaint  is that they have the worst-sounding synthesized drums on this album. Methinks this was too early for them to have a proper drummer or drumkit. But luckily it follows that since drums aren’t big priority to them at this point, you don’t hear them too often or too far in front of the mix.





Modest Mouse – Building Nothing Out Of Something

3 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 1

Modest Mouse is another touchstone band in my life.  Building Nothing Out Of Something is their album of “castoffs” – vinyl singles, B-sides, and rarities.

This band has some of the best “castoffs” I have ever heard.

All these songs are amazing and so much fun to sing along with. Modest Mouse has a tendency to write really long songs, but somehow they make them seem short and you never want them to end, especially on this album. Interstate 8, Broke, Grey Ice Water, Sleepwalking, and Other People’s Lives are in my top songs of all time list.

Isaac Brock loves his driving metaphors and they abound here – Interstate 8 is about a freeway in the shape of the number 8. The music in Broke is beautiful, plus “Sometimes I’m so full of shit it should be a crime” is a great lyric. Ditto “Other people’s lives are more interesting cos they ain’t mine” – one of my mottoes in life.





Buddy Holly – Buddy Holly

3 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 1

Buddy Holly is ear crack. You can’t get his songs out of your head. The influence he had on the Beatles is also immediately clear. My favorite song of his is Rave On, mostly because of its use in Pleasantville as the song that busts everyone out of their stupor, as a good rock song should.

I recently learned from Radiolab what a cry break is – Buddy Holly is one of the rare practitioners of this (sometimes to a ridiculous extreme) in pop music versus country music, where it normally occurs. In fact, I believe at heart Buddy is actually a country singer.

(Side note – from the same radio show I also learned who Ahmad Zahir is. I wish I could find his CDs in the US, but it seems difficult. Music fans should definitely give a listen to the show – you will learn something).





Broken Bells – Broken Bells

3 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 1

I was shocked when I read a review of Broken Bells in Spin recently. They thought Danger Mouse‘s production rendered it detached and clinical. I don’t know what planet they were on.

When I first heard this album earlier this year I loved it right away, which is rare for me. A lot of times it only takes me a couple listens to get into something, but this was immediate. It sounds modern, funky, relevant, and beautiful.

Danger Mouse is a total workaholic. Whenever I read down his list of projects my head spins. But they are all awesome: The Grey Album, Gnarls Barkley, later Gorillaz albums, Dark Night of the Soul, etc. And James Mercer’s voice is also as lovely here as with the Shins. It all flows together great.

Those of you reading this blog for some new music suggestions – this is one of them you should check out!





Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home

3 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 1

Bob has a crapload of albums starting with B. I hadn’t noticed before.

As I’ve noted before, I love a lot of the Bob songs, but sometimes there are a couple on any given album that I skip because they’re too far down the hole. However, that isn’t the case here; I love Bringing It All Back Home as a whole and I think it’s really cohesive.

There are so many things to see here: the addictive speedhead rapping of Subterranean Homesick Blues and On The Road Again, the beautiful poetry of Love Minus Zero/No Limit, She Belongs to Me,  and Baby Blue, the trippiness of Mr. Tambourine Man, Gates of Eden, and It’s Alright Ma.

I used to think I didn’t like Maggie’s Farm, but upon listening at work, the lyrics really spoke to me. You can be deep in the drudge and feel it when you sing “They sing while you slave and I just get bored, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more…”