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Faves 2018   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS HERE... with FAVES 2018!  I occasionally hear from folks who want to know what music -- from among all of the posts I do here -- I recommend.  To some degree, I recommend all of it, unless I expressly write otherwise (e.g., it's not my thing, but it might be yours).  With the holiday shopping season upon us, I have tried to make a list of reasonable size.  It's an unordered list. I likely will have overlooked something that I really dig.  And note these are my faves; I'm not purporting to list the "Best" albums of the year.

U.S. GIRLS: Meg Remy's In a Poem Unlimited has the indie DNA and biting lyrics, but with soul, funk and disco influences running throughout that may recall Blondie, if you fed Blondie through a flanger to make it a little more mellow and groovy.

BOYGENIUS: This self-titled EP brings together Julian Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus together for a collaboration that may not be a supergroup in the trad sense, but still superb. All three bring to the table different flavors of a sensibility that might be described as Laurel Canyon filtered through the Carolinas, and spiced by the perspective of a younger generation of female songwriting. They seem to edit the collective pretty well, with the sum occasionally being greater than the sum of its parts. Dacus put out a fine LP of her own this year, Historian. And I was probably remiss in not at least mentioning mentioning Bridger's Stranger in the Alps or Baker's Turn Out the Lights in 2017.

COURTNEY BARNETT: Like many, I name-checked Liz Phair as a refernce the last time she made the Faves. That influence remains on Tell Me What You Really Feel, though it's perhaps more in the sound and general non-glossy production. I might say there's a bit more Chrissy Hynde there now, especially on the more muscially aggressive numbers.

COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS: May Your Kindness Remain takes the occasional nod to modernity in its instrumentation, but the confidence of this album is evident in the degree to which it is also very much an old school country album, with well-observed lyrics rooted in a sense of place and a kindness for its people. And it doesn't hurt Andrews has a gorgeous voice that lends the entire album a sense of grace.

NEKO CASE: The coverage of Hell-On emphasized Case's triumph over various travails, and certainly she makes good use of it as grist for her mill. But the fact is that I could listen to Case sing the phone book, if phone books still existed.

RICHARD SWIFT: It may be reductive as it is unavoidable to listen to Swift's final album, The Hex, as wrestling with the demons that finally killed him. But the saddest parts are those flashes where you think he may have subdued them. There is perhaps as much beauty to be found there as there is in the music, with its jazzy arrangements recalling Rundgren, Nilsson, and Lee Hazlewood at times, albeit swaddled in a cozy reverb that allows you to sink into it like an overstuffed sofa.

FATHER JOHN MISTY: God's Favorite Customer is ever-so-slightly less lush than its predecessors, slightly less arch than Pure Comedy, and less unsparing than I Love You, Honeybear. Yet I don't get the feeling that he was deliberately looking to annoy fewer people, even if he was (and weirdly recalling early Elton John in certain melodic moments). Indie kids of this generation will lord it over their offspring that they were around for a fairly remarkable string of albums, if they have offspring.

TY SEGALL was a busy, busy man in 2018. Freedom's Goblin may get my vote for fave rawk album this year, a double LP that has enough variety to sustain itself, though generally stamped with Segall's mix of "heavy" guitar with its psych, garage, and occasional funk influences. He also released a covers collection called Fudge Sandwich, which is good though slighly less interesting, and Joy, a second collaboration with White Fence, that is alright, biut the least of a big year.

CHARLES BRADLEY: Obviously, you weren't going to get through Faves list of mine without some retro-soul if it all possible.  The posthumous Black Velvet is largely a collection of outtakes, but the steady involvement of the Menhan Street Band and Bradley's own musical compass make for a coherent album. And really, I wouldn't care so much about the coherence anyway; I just want to luxuriate in Bradley's passionate grooves.

SHANNON & THE CLAMS: Onion nicely captures the sort of pop America got from the time Elvis entered the Army through perhaps the first year or so of the British invasion. It doesn't come off as overly studied, even when the homage to someone like Del Shannon stays a notch to close to the source. After all, I like that thin, mercurial, desperate organ sound.

CAR SEAT HEADREST: Remaking 2011's Twin Fantasy is a bit self-indulgent, but he retains its wit and verve while bringing greater definition to the sound. I'm still a bit of two minds about it, insofar as I'm fine with a lo-fi production, but as I get older, I have less of a problem with this sort of move if it expands his audience. He certainly pulls this off better than George Luca did with the Special Editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, anyway.

THE LEMON TWIGS proved this year that a disappointment can still make my Faves. Go To School doesn't really hold up as a concept album, but then again, most concept albums don't withstand a great deal of scrutiny. In any event, those '60s and '70s influences I like in Richard Swift's LP get a brighter and jauntier take here and I'm a sucker for that, even if it occasionally gets a little pompous. When it works, as on "Queen of My School," it really works.

ST VINCENT: MassEducation is the stripped-down version of MASSEDUCATION, which probably should have made last year's Faves for it's less arty, more new wavey vibe. So at least Annie Clark gave me the chance for this make-up, and to focus on the quality songwriting as well. I may miss her earliest, twee Disney incarnation, but Clark has become a vital force and pop is better off for it.

RICHARD THOMPSON: I suppose I have come to terms with the fact that someone with this much talent -- whether it's ths the guitar, the songwriting or the singing -- may never get the recognition of a Clapton, Beck or Page, even though he's also remarkably consisent. 13 Rivers winds up being one of the longer single LPs on this list, perhaps reflecting my "don't bore us, get to the chorus" pop bias.  But when it's Thompson, you just want to hang out longer as he unreels a solo (even when you know it's probably going to be better live).

ELVIS COSTELLO: Like Thompson, EC is usually so consistent that it would be unfair to view his latest, Look Now, as a "return to form." But it has some of the snap of Get Happy and, pop of Punch the Clock, combined with some of the sophisticated flourishes of Imperial Bedroom or his collaborations with Burt Bacharach. And the lyrics remind us he is a master craftsman. He may have mellowed a bit with age, but so do fine wines.

THE KINKS: Fifty years on from the creative destruction of 1968, we're getting a lot of top-flight reissues: The Beatles, Music From Big Pink, and Electric Ladyland among them. But The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society really leapt out at me this year. Conflict with US labor unions kept the band out of America for years, and as a result this collection is the start of a particularly British phase for Ray Davies. It's a collection that also deepens his suspicion of modernity. Aside from being a fave of mine on a purely musical level, its nationalistic and communitarian streaks are worth comparing and contrasting with the current political moment, both here in the US and in the UK.

Anyway, that's a fairly representative sample. On another day, maybe it would be Yo La Tengo, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Go-Kart Mozart, Phosphoresent, or Bob Dylan's More Blood, More Tracks edition of the Bootleg series making the big list.

A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING:  It's always somewhere on the net.

WKRP: "Turkeys Away," in its entirety. And here's the turkey giveaway by itself.

THANKSGIVING:  George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789).  It was controversial at the time.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include Ralph Breaks the Internet, which is currently scoring 91 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Creed 2, which is currently scoring 81 percent; and another version of Robin Hood, scoring 16 percent. Green Book expands wide scoring 81 percent, while The Front Runner expands to 500 screens scoring 58 percent.

16 Reads

Marked Men, Florry, boygenius, Dog Umbrella Dance   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

NEIL DIAMOND performed "I'm A Believer" and " "Solitary Man" during a secret 2014 show at Erasmus Hall High School, where Diamond attended for two years.

THE MARKED MEN streams a singles comp called On The Other Side.

FLORRY advance streams their debut album Brown Bunny.

BOYGENIUS plays a Tiny Desk Concert and guest DJs on All Songs Considered.

NICOLE ATKINS & MARK LANEGAN cover Guns N' Roses' "November Rain."

 

PERFUME GENIUS shares a video for "Not For Me."

THE ROLLING STONES, on tour. Again.

DEAD CAN DANCE is profiled by PopMatters.

THE GREATEST TITLE TRACKS, according to NME.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Tommy James & The Shondells' immortal psychedelic bubblegum reverie "Crimson and Clover" and Sly & The Family Stone's "Everyday People."

 

MANDY MOORE married Dawes musician Taylor Goldsmith on Sunday.

JESSICA CHASTAIN and her husband Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo have a new bundle of joy via surrogacy.

CHRIS PRATT is in early negotiations to star in a movie reboot of The Saint, two decades after Val Kilmer’s thriller and 50 years after Roger Moore’s TV series.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR has been placed on a psychiatric hold again.

ADAM McCAY talks about Vice.

THE COEN BROTHERS filmography, ranked by The Ringer. ALSO: How To Rank Coen Brothers Movies (And Why We Can't Stop Ranking Them).

THE CRITERION COLLECTION is launching its own streaming service.

PABLO FERRO, who designed the title sequences for classic films like Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Bullitt, Men In Black, and A Clockwork Orange, has died from complications from pneumonia in Sedona, Ariz. He was 83.

 

DOG Umbrella Dance.

CENTRAL PARK's MANDARIN DUCK appeared to be having a great time in the season’s first snowstorm on Nov. 15.

BRAVE DOG saves owner from house fire in Burlington, IA.

WOMBATS Poop in Cubes. Scientists Are Figuring Out How.

27 Reads

A crowded weekend, but I have the Box Office, Jon Pratt. and William Goldman RIP   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 19, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

AS YOU WISH:

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald tops the chart with 62.2MM, a slice less than the 74.4MM of the last one. This playing more like a sequel than a Potter film, or even a Marvel film. Overseas receipts, where Fantastic Beasts did quite well, will tell the tale of whether this sub-franchise makes it to the originally planned five-film arc.  The Grinch places with 38.2MM on a 44 percent dop, which should be leggy enough to carry it to the real holdiday bonanza next month.  Bohemian Rhapsody shows with 15.7MM on a 50 percent drop as it rocks onward toward 400MM worldwide.  Instant Family takes the fourth slot with 14.7MM against a 48MM budget, suggesting people want Will Ferrell with Wahlberg in this type of vehicle. Widows rounds out the Top Five with 12.3MM against a 42MM budget, which spells trouble for this well-reviewed, well-cast picture.

JON PRATT, Pate's frontman, helped change the face of science on Friday as representatives of more than 60 nations, gathered in Versailles, France, approved a new definition for the kilogram based on the work of Pratt's team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Not bad for government work.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, who won Academy Awards for his screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men and who, despite being one of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters, was an outspoken critic of the movie industry, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 87. Mr. Goldman also wrote the screenplays for popular films like Misery, A Bridge Too Far, The Stepford Wives and Chaplin. He was a prolific novelist as well, and several of his screenplays were adapted from his own novels, notably The Princess Bride and Marathon Man.

36 Reads

Paisley Underground, DeVotchKa, Johnny Marr, Baby Sloth   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 16, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with THE PAISLEY UNDERGROUND!  A two-part (Part 1, Part 2) feature from the Old Grey Whistle Test on L.A.'s psychedelic-flavored, West Coast scene in the mid-80s. Bands featured include the Long Ryders, Prime Movers, Thin White Rope, Pontiac Brothers and the Rain Parade with a 6 minute live version of No Easy Way Down. The Long Ryders get short shrift so I'll add in their later OGWT appearance to play "Looking For Lewis & Clark." The term "Paisley Underground" is believed to have been jokingly coined by Michael Quercio of the band The Three O'Clock, so I'll toss in the clip for "Her Head's Revolving" as a bonus. Other bands associated with the scene not featured include Green On Red -- sometimes likened to The Doors for songs like "Sea of Cortez" -- and The Bangs, a/k/a The Bangles, with an early track, "The Real World."  DOUBLE BONUS: The Guardian Music Blog has a link-rich piece on the Rain Parade and other Paisley Underground bands.

DEVOTCHKA visits KEXP for a mini-session.

JOHNNY MARR visits KEXP for a mini-session.

PORTRAYAL OF GUILT advance streams Let Pain Be Your Guide.

FOXWARREN (incl Andy Schauf) shares "To Be."

TINY RUINS shares "School Of Design."

EASYBEATS: The fish, the barrel, the smoking gun!

NIRVANA: An oral history of Unplugged.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III talks to The Believer about retrospectives.

ELTON JOHN's Christmas commercial for John Lewis & Partners is a thing.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Marvin Gaye's brooding masterwork "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is currently scoring 50 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Instant Family, currently scoring 72 percent; and Widows, opening at 92 percent. A Private War expands near-wide 87 percent.

DUMBO, as imagined by Tim Burton, shares a trailer online.

SANDRA BULLOCK has donated 500K for relief efforts during the California wildfires.

AMY SCHUMER has been hospitalized with some pregnancy complications.

LILY JAMES & ARMIE HAMMER are starring in a new adaptation of Rebecca (Hitchcock did a prior version).

TIGER WOODS ex-mistress, Jamie Jungers, is rescued from a Vegas drug den where she was trading sex for heroin and speed... by Dog the Bounty Hunter.

ROY CLARK, the country singer and multi-instrumentalist best known as a longtime host of "Hee Haw," the television variety show that brought country music to millions of households each week, died on Thursday at his home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

FLORIDA's BREVARD ZOO introduces a two-toed sloth baby.

AT LEAST 8 MOUNTAIN LIONS are alive and moving based on GPS collars, apparently surviving the wildfires. But the fate of five others — including P-22 — remains unclear.

CHINA quietly shelved a controversial decision to legalize the use of tiger and rhinoceros parts for scientific and medical purposes amid public outcries that such a move could increase the risks for endangered wildlife.

A NORTH CAROLINA MAN  said he punched a bear in the nose after it attacked him outside his home.

51 Reads

The Selecter, Natalie Prass, Gretchen Peters, Dandy Warhols, Mandarin Duck   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS cover "Six Days on the Road."

THE SELECTER visits Morning Becomes Eclectic.

NATALIE PRASS plays a mini-set at Iceland Airwaves.

GRETCHEN PETERS plays the Mountain Stage.

THE TWILIGHT SAD shares "VTr."

BAD RELIGION shares "My Sanity."

THE VACCINES share "All My Friends Are Falling In Love."

 

THE DANDY WARHOLS share a 360-degree, NSFW-language video for "Be Alright."

JEFF TWEEDY tours the soundtrack of his life.

NICK CAVE's newsletters directly address questions from fans and cultivate candid discussions about grief, friendship, and other topics.

BOYGENIUS gives a group talk to Loud and Quiet.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Diana Ross & The Supremes' operatic masterpiece "Love Child."

 

LADY GAGA meditates on A Star is Born for Variety. And Bradley Cooper reveals who almost had his part.

DAN ACKROYD gave another update on a possible Ghostbusters 3.

THE ROYAL FAMILY published a candid photo.

GWEN STEFANI & BLAKE SHELTON: Considering surrogacy?

THE BACHELOR's  Arie Luyendyk Jr. and fiancée Lauren Burnham are pregnant with their first child.

JACK REACHER will be taller than Tom Cruise in a new streaming series.

 

THE MANDARIN DUCK was spotted again in Central Park after several days of going unseen.

SAND CATS retain a kitten-like look their whole lives.

RACCOONS caused a false rabies scare in West Virginia, but they were just drunk.

IF KOMODO DRAGONS were human, they'd be more likely to be cuddled up at home watching a horror movie than starring in it, despite having razor-sharp teeth and poisonous venom.

54 Reads

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