John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Some Time In New York City

25 05 2011

Listened: Thursday April 28

Perhaps I have a more dispassionate reaction, being too young to remember the Beatles breaking up, but I think Yoko Ono gets way too much crap, from everyone. She is a total badass, and I think she is due a lot of props.

However, that doesn’t mean I enjoy all of her music. In fact, I enjoy very little of it. Listening to Don’t Worry Kyoko all the way through (16 minutes of it) about killed me. However, Sisters, O Sisters, Born in a Prison, and We’re All Water are decent songs that I can get into, both musically and lyrically.

The Yoko disclaimer out of the way, I think Some Time in NYC is very underrated. This album epitomizes the theory that John Lennon started as a rocker and mutated into a folk singer (while Bob Dylan started as a folk singer and mutated into a rocker).

Woman is The Nigger of the World is a very ballsy song to write, and is somewhat offensive and true at the same time. Attica State, New York City, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Luck of The Irish, John Sinclair, and Angela are all very rocking and poignant political folk songs. The 70s saxophone can be very cheesy in many other situations, but for some reason it works to great effect in John Lennon songs. He had some kickass musicians working with him here.

Except for the aforementioned Yoko screams punctuating too many of the songs, the live jam with Frank Zappa is very funky as well, and seems like an awesome show to have attended. Who doesn’t want to scream “Scumbag” while dancing their butt off to amazing music?

The Roots of Orchis – Some Things Plural

25 05 2011

Listened: Thursday April 28

Every Roots of Orchis album takes me to a beautiful alien planet. Some Things Plural is no different. I love the opening of Roll The Dice Man, Baby Needs A New Ellipsis with the turntable scratching sounding very much like an audio ellipsis.

Throughout the album, the electronica and guitars mixes effortlessly into soundscapes that relax me and keep me moving at the same time. Too bad they couldn’t stay a band forever!

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder

25 05 2011

Listened: Wednesday April 27

I acquired Some Loud Thunder cheaply some years ago, based on liking CYHSY’s self-titled debut. However, I just somehow never listened to it until the album project.

Basically, due to their painfully hip coolness, I really don’t want to like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but they’ve sort of burrowed into me against my will. As before, the singing is not what would traditionally be called singing, nor is it even good or pleasing. But it worms its way into my groove-center. How do they do that?

Doves – Some Cities

25 05 2011

Listened: Wednesday April 27

I forgot how awesome Some Cities is. I think I like it better than Lost Souls. I’ve kind of lost track of Doves, but I can see now that they were an under-appreciated band from my college years/the 2000s.

Some Cities is more rocking than Lost Souls, with a lot of head-nodders like Some Cities, Black And White Town, Walk In Fire, Sky Starts Falling, etc. I can hear a resemblance to Embrace, but better.

If you want a trip back to the turn of the century, give it a listen.

The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin

25 05 2011

Listened: Monday April 25

The Soft Bulletin is the only Flaming Lips album I own. I probably should pick up Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots too. My first Flaming Lips show was one of those wonderful surprises you come across once in a while in life, where low or no expectations are wildly exceeded.

My friend Leslie invited me to see the Lips at the Warfield (Liz Phair opened) in 2003 (I can’t believe it was that long ago), saying it would be a fun time. I didn’t know any of the songs then, but it was still an amazing party beyond all parties. Copious amounts of confetti, balloons, nudity, boxing nuns, hulk fists, furries, jumping, and singing followed. I’ve seen them several times since, including Wayne’s introduction of his now-famous crowd-walking hamster ball at Coachella 2004, and a tiny Noise Pop show at Bimbo’s, which we were incredibly lucky to snag tickets for.

Lest one think they are all show and no content, The Soft Bulletin contains quite a few beautiful songs including The Spark That Bled, What Is the Light? (one of my favorite songs of all time), Waitin’ For A Superman, and Feeling Yourself Disintegrate. For a bunch of burnout musicians, they sing an awful lot about scientific subjects! Who else sings songs with lyrics like “What is the light that you have shining all around you? Is it chemically derived?”

The Lips seem to be moving in a strange trajectory – they started out as very psychedelic and jammy in style. Then they became more straightforward (the period that includes Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi), and they seem to be swinging back to the psychedelic jams again, based on the last show of theirs I saw less than a year ago. I don’t think a lot of other bands follow a similar path, but maybe that’s what makes them unique.