Saturday, February 28, 2009

color our world hee-haw

The best version of Metallica's Blackened ever

three more for the hoard

Had to get new reading glasses yesterday, as my eyesight has worsened noticeably in the past couple months. So I consoled myself with the following purchases:

40. The Residents -- The Tunes of Two Cities / The Big Bubble
41. Bill Nelson's Red Noise -- Sound-on-Sound
42. Mountains -- Choral

Check out Sid Smith's review of Choral. I played this CD twice in a row last night--what a great combination of acoustic and electronic notes and drones. This is music to wrap around yourself like a down comforter on a winter's night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the necks in pittsburgh

Last night I made the two-hour drive from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to see Australian trio The Necks perform at the Andy Warhol Museum on their first-ever North American tour. One word: fanfreakingtastic.

Bassist Lloyd Swanton began the evening's piece with an ascending two-note motif as drummer Tony Buck dragged his sticks across the head of the snare, creating eerie creaks as if emanating from a ghostly pirate ship. Pianist Chris Abrahams joined in after a few minutes with a series of single, tentative notes, like the ping of a submarine's sonar.

Swanton expanded the motif gradually, strumming trills that swelled like waves alongside Abrahams' signature cascades of tightly-grouped arpeggios. Buck slowly added more creeks and squeals from his cymbals, also dragging a small bell across his snare. He would occasionally drag a stick across the bass drumhead, creating a low swell that match the torrent of trills coming from his bandmates.

Swanton switched to bowing his bass rapidly, adding a third note to the motif as Abrahams' waves of notes crested with growing force. Buck began ringing his bell and rolling on his cymbals, increasing in volume, then adding a thunder-like double-bass roll. Soon all three musicians were pounding away, locked in an oceanic groove that kept on growing louder and deeper.

The waves abated slowly as the trio began to bring the volume and tempo down gradually. Swanton returned to strumming and plucking his strings as Abrahams' notes trickled away, diminishing in time with the rattle that Buck was now sweeping across his floor tom in a circular motion, as if creating a whirlpool to draw in all of the swirling notes and overtones of the evening. Finally the rattle slowed to a halt as the last piano notes faded.

The piece lasted between forty-five minutes to an hour, and I was entranced the whole time. I have been listening to the Necks since 1995 and own all fourteen of their albums, so yes, I was extremely psyched for this show, well before the first note. They did not disappoint.

Check out some of the Necks' videos on YouTube. This one is a good place to start.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

doing my part for the economy

35. David Bowie -- Low
36. Mark Kozelek -- White Christmas Live
37. Miles Davis -- The Cellar Door Sessions 1970
38. Emeralds -- Solar Bridge
39. Cluster -- Berlin '07

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

master of reality check?

I realized today that I still hadn't deposited a $50 gift check from Christmas. Was I saving it for a rainy day? If so, the clouds downpoured like a mofo this afternoon as I hit the used CD stores. My mission: purchase all of the Black Sabbath Castle-remasters that I needed to complete my set. How did I do? As my friend Harry would say, it was a legendary score.

26. Black Sabbath -- Black Sabbath
27. Black Sabbath -- Paranoid
28. Black Sabbath -- Master of Reality
29. Black Sabbath -- Vol. 4
30. Black Sabbath -- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
31. Black Sabbath -- Sabotage
32. Black Sabbath -- Technical Ecstasy
33. Black Sabbath -- Never Say Die
34. Black Sabbath -- Live Evil

Total price tag for all nine discs, minus tax -- $58.00

Ah, Christmas in February. Rock on.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

ratings bored?

Whew, just squeeked by this time. Two more f-words in the archives, and I would have been rated R.

Plus they said that the nudity was "tastefully shot."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

the latest acquisitions

18. David Bowie -- Aladdin Sane
19. David Bowie -- Scary Monsters
20. tin machine -- tin machine
21. Supertramp -- Crime of the Century

Can you tell that I've been on a Bowie kick lately?

22. Duncan Sheik -- Whisper House
23. Be Bop Deluxe -- Postcards from the Future
24. Nurse With Wound -- An Awkward Pause
25. Nurse With Wound -- Echo Poeme: Sequence No. 2

I enjoy falling asleep to ambient music. Some discs are subtle enough that they can loop all night without being distracting. Other discs are better suited for inducing sleep and then automatically shutting off upon completion of said task.

Echo Poeme falls into the second category. I was lulled to sleep by the haunting, echo-laden female voices lazily ricocheting from speaker to speaker. However, I was quite disoriented when I awoke during the night and the disc was still playing, the voices now sounding like ghostly announcements from empty subway platforms. Next time I'll just take the train to the first stop, instead of riding it 'til sunrise.

Friday, February 06, 2009

quote of the day

Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live. -- Robert Kennedy

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

hello, february

Latest purchases:

14. David Bowie -- Hunky Dory
15. The Autumns -- The Autumns
16. Sparklehorse -- It's a Wonderful Life
17. eels -- blinking lights and other revelations

Before he formed the Eels, E put out two fantastic yet sadly overlooked solo records, A Man Called E and Broken Toy Shop. The latter release is largely about break-ups. In 1994 I was dealing with a short relationship that quickly turned sour and a longer friendship fraught with unrequited desire. Broken Toy Shop became my soundtrack for that emotionally turbulent year.

Blinking Lights may very well become my soundtrack for 2009. I can't put it into words just yet, but this double-disc set is resonating with me in a big way. To me, the main lyrical themes seem to be about accepting the past and opening up to the present and future. In one month I turn forty, and I feel that the second half of my life is on the verge of having begun. And I'm going to be quite all right.

Check out the official Eels channel on YouTube.