Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chuck Klosterman on LuLu

Because Drischord seems to be interested in all things LuLu, I wanted to make sure you saw this Chuck Klosterman musing on the album. It contains the usual Klostermanian excesses that can sometimes grate, including the fact that it inexplicably concludes with a set of typically broad pronouncements about the NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow (viz. "[N]o one who follows football thinks Tebow is anything other than who he is."). But I like how he ties the whole thing in to the collapse of the music industry, and his general takedown of the quality of the album is pretty great:

If these cagey tunesmiths had consciously tried to make a record this simultaneously dull and comedic, they'd never have succeeded; the closest artistic equivalent would be what might have happened if Vincent Gallo had been a script consultant for The Room. . . . Lulu is as appalling as logic demands. If the Red Hot Chili Peppers acoustically covered the 12 worst Primus songs for Starbucks, it would still be (slightly) better than this. "Loutallica" makes SuperHeavy seem like Big Star.

I had to google "SuperHeavy," and I was appalled by what I found out: "a supergroup consisting of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, Damian Marley, and A. R. Rahman." Supergroups in general tend to be a bad idea, but supergroups with anonymous rhythm sections are completely unforgivable.[1] Say what you will about Chickenfoot-- at least it had Michael Anthony and Chad Smith. But either way, even putting aside that sin, this group is a pretty horrifying combination.

[1] Traveling Wilburys are the exception that proves the rule.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sonic Youth on the Ropes?

Today's Pitchfork headline: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/news/44318-kim-gordon-thurston-moore-separate/

I don't really know what to make of this.  Obviously on a personal level I'm sorry for them.  From a band level, it's hard to say what will happen.  Obviously 93% of Sonic Youth fans would just like Kim to leave and to have them continue on with Thurston, Lee, Steve, and Mark Ibold.  That would be an unspeakably awesome band.  But more likely will be the decision that there is no Sonic Youth without Thurston or Kim (or Lee or Steve, you could also argue) and they will thus break up.  That would suck.

I suppose they could also continue their professional relationship and keep things more or less status quo, although their press release was far from assuring in that regard.

Relationship aside, I'll say this:  From Murray Street through The Eternal, Sonic Youth has been on what's easily the best run of their career, and in the past decade, they've gone from being only an occasional listen for me to one of my favorite active rock bands.  It would suck if this spells the end of that run.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Rest in Peace, Bert Jansch

Several great people died this week.  Bert Jansch was one of them-- probably the one you heard least about.  I've posted about him before, and Dr. K has linked to some of his work with Pentangle.  Anyway, on the event of his death, a proper acknowledgement is in order.

As a folk guitar player, he reminded me more of Nick Drake than probably anyone else has.  He didn't have Drake's beautiful voice, and he strayed from genre more often, which probably limited his appeal.  (At least with this generation; I know he was fairly big in the '60s.)  I'm no folk music expert, but I think he remained pretty widely revered in today's folk community, both in England and the U.S.

As recordings go, "The Best of Bert Jansch" is a pretty good retrospective, although he put out a whole bunch of albums.  And I myself need to hear more Pentangle, especially after reading the NPR obituary linked to above.

I was more of a casual fan than any sort of expert on his work.  All I can say is he was a special musician, and he died much too young.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Wilco-Related Audio Complaint

No, it's not about The Whole Love, which I continue to find awesome.  It's this: This morning, Jeff Tweedy's solo acoustic album Sunken Treasure came up on my iTunes shuffle, and it confirmed something I've subconsciously thought for years now: Tweedy's live acoustic guitar tone SUCKS.  He's got such a great array of guitars, and he sticks some shit pickup into them-- or maybe it's the amp-- but it's terrible.  So obnoxiously treble-y with no natural decay.  It makes his guitars sound so cheap.  Hard to believe a tone freak like Nels Cline would let him get away with that.

Listen for yourself:

It's not like I feel "entitled" to a better acoustic tone from Tweedy, but I feel inspired to articulate something that's bugged/disappointed me for several years now.