Archive for the ‘New Releases’ Category

On an Island: “resounding bore”?

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

PopMatters’ review of David Gilmour’s new On an Island is probably the best thing I’ve read there for a while, in that I agree with it pretty much 100%.

On an Island sounds exactly like an album by a 60-year-old, semi-retried [sic], Upper Class British multimillionaire guitar legend, recorded with his famous friends—and the wife—on his floating houseboat studio anchored on the River Thames. It’s laid back beyond measure, sparse, leisurely, unforced—that last trait arguably missing from the pair of Gilmour-led Floyd albums. Whether all this results in Gilmour’s most personal, genuine musical statement or a resounding bore is a matter of perspective and personal taste.

Yup. I’m closer to the “resounding bore” side of things, but I do like the album and feel like it might appeal to me more as time goes on. Most of all, though, I echo this reviewer’s sentiment that, though we can criticize the album for being too laid-back, “thank Heaven Gilmour didn’t decide to ‘rawk’”. No shit.

Things to be psyched about in 2006

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Looking ahead to 2006, here are some things coming down the pipeline that I’m excited about. In no particular order, although the stream-of-consciousness organization might reveal something about what’s foremost on my mind.

  • Magma — a rumored four (!!!) new DVD releases drawn from the 2005 shows at Les Tritonales
  • Univers ZeroLive
  • NeBeLNeSTZePTo
  • DFA — new one
  • Tim Berne with David Torn, Craig Taborn, Tom Rainey — debut release
  • AhleuchatistasWhat You Will
  • ZaarZaar
  • MastodonThe Workhorse Chronicles DVD
  • White Willow — new one
  • Guapo — new one, maybe?
  • Yugen — debut release
  • French TV#9
  • TanakhArdent Fevers
  • MujicianThere’s No Going Back Now
  • Aghora — new one
  • Karnataka (new incarnation with Alquimia) — The Gathering Light
  • MogwaiMr. Beast
  • Beans (with William Parker & Hamid Drake) — new one
  • Matthew ShippOne
  • The Nels Cline Singers — new one
  • The CoupPick a Bigger Weapon
  • MonoYou Are There

And some reissues and archivals:

  • Conventum — both studio albums
  • ManeigeNi Vent… Ni Nouvelle and Libre Service
  • Secret OysterSea Son and 2 others
  • This Heat — comprehensive box set
  • Miles Davis — 3CD “1956 Legendary Quintet Sessions” box set
  • Keith JarrettConcerts (Bregenz/München) and Tokyo Solo 2002

If most or all of these things are actually released in 2006, and they live up to their promise, it looks like it could be another banner year for music I like. Between Miles box sets and four Magma DVDs from Seventh Records, of course, it could also be a painful year for my wallet…

Bar Kokhba Sextet kicks ass

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

It’s a bit too early to tell, but I think the new Bar Kokhba Sextet release on Tzadik’s 50th Birthday Celebration series might just edge Electric Masada’s entry in that series (Volume 4) as my favorite. That’s saying a lot, since the latter was one of my favorite albums from a very, very strong year of music in 2004. But the Bar Kokhba title — in addition to being an amazingly great deal, with three CDs covering three full live sets for under $23 — has all the fire and energy of the Electric Masada, with a wider range of moods and a looser feel. I’ll probably be writing a proper review of it eventually, but for now it’s settling in as another favorite drawing from the Masada songbook. I’m going through a bit of Masada overload, what with the recently-released Sanhedrin and all that, but this 3CD set is just killer.

And, for your entertainment, here’s an incomprehensible but still funny review from an amazon.com user (because really, what’s more entertaining than an idiotic review?):

what`s the problem with john zorn? first of all: he never have sex with his instrument. he dont live at all. so he can play it all. but he plays his demoniac paranoid alto saxphone psico concept. o.k. but…we are not all a jewish audience. so? you only have to buy this record or box sert or whatever but its enoguth for your big loft apartment in NYC. o.k.?
we are all ill inners childs but this guy is too much.

Another new one I got recently is Arch Enemy’s latest, Doomsday Machine, which leans a bit too straightforwardly power-metal for my tastes but is still pretty good. I mention it because there’s also a really funny review on amazon.com of this one, from a reader who was apparently expecting the band’s deceptively angelic-looking lead singer, Angela Gossow, to sound like the chick from Evanescence. I would have paid money to see his face when Gossow’s straight-up death-metal roars hit his ears for the first time.

Black Sabbath tribute on Temporary Residence

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

Potentially of interest to readers of this site, but probably off their radar, is a Black Sabbath tribute album just released on Temporary Residence. The tracklist consists of all classic Ozzy-era stuff, but most interestingly, the lineup of bands includes Ruins and Matmos. I’m not one for tributes, but those two bands covering Black Sabbath seems like something I have to hear out of morbid curiosity if nothing else.

New Dream Theater

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

The first review of the forthcoming Dream Theater album, Octavarium, is in. And what an amusing review it is.

Swooning over The Art Box

Saturday, January 17th, 2004

My copy of The Art Box, a 6-CD box set of Art Bears material (their three original albums released in 1978-9 as well as three full CD’s of remixes and reworkings by various high-profile avant-prog figures), came in today. Let’s see. I own a fair number of box sets. I recently got Miles DavisThe Complete In a Silent Way Sessions and The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, both of which are beautiful works of art in terms of the packaging. But this box nearly takes the cake. While it can’t quite compete with the metal Bitches Brew package, The Art Box is one of the most beautiful CD packages I’ve ever laid eyes on. The box itself is tastefully simplistic, each CD comes digipacked separately, the CD artwork appears to be new, and the original album art is preserved. The original albums are remastered by Bob Drake, and I’ve only just begun to listen to them, but they sound fantastic.

Perfectly timed for the band’s 25th anniversary, this box is a fitting tribute to one of the great early avant-rock pioneers. It remains to be seen whether the three discs of reworkings will make it worth shelling out $70 for the box if you already own the three original albums - but I would say any big-time fan of this group should be drooling over it.

Woooo!!!

Saturday, August 9th, 2003

THE NEW THINKING PLAGUE IS COMING!

New King Crimson: meh?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2003

And speaking of King Crimson, yesterday their new album, The Power to Believe, was released in the US. I decided I’m enough of a fanboy to go pick it up on the first day, even enough of a fanboy to pay the somewhat absurd $17.98 my local CD store was charging for it. My first impression was not favorable. Sounded like The ConstruKction of Light, only wimpier. Whatever you thought of the pseudo-nu-metal of Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With, this seemed like a step back. I’m giving it my second listen now, and predictably I’m liking it better. I’m still a bit disappointed, though - I was reading some raving reviews and (probably unrealistically) really hoping for something fresher. Ah well, it’s still King Crimson… and I’m still a fanboy.

Massive Attack and Tom Waits collab?!

Wednesday, December 25th, 2002

Merry Christmas to everyone as I finish up my last paper of the semester :)

Massive Attack, after releasing their fourth album in February next year, is reportedly going to be doing a couple of collaborations, one with Mos Def and one with Tom Waits. The former will be awesome - they’ve worked together before and the result was “I Against I” on the Blade 2 soundtrack, a great song. Without the lyrical limitations of that song (since it was, after all, written for a soundtrack) holding them back, I expect really great things from this collaboration. The latter is just… kind of weird. I’m really looking forward to hearing it and seeing what the hell happens.

Oh yeah, and Opeth is touring the US and Canada, that’s pretty exciting. Just bought my ticket for the show at the Irving Plaza in NYC. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of crowd is there.

New Dismemberment Plan album!

Thursday, October 25th, 2001

The Pitchfork review of The Dismemberment Plan’s new one, Change, mentions “Time Bomb” as the best song. I have a dilemma. When I read that, I could have sworn that they played “Time Bomb” at the show of theirs I went to earlier this year. For the rest of the day, the only line I could remember the melody to - “I… I am a time bomb” - was running through my head, making me really wish I had the new album (it’s backordered at amazon and the local CD store doesn’t have it, grrr). Well, I was just poking around my computer tonight and I realized that some time ago I downloaded the MP3 of “Time Bomb” that’s available on the band’s website.

So here’s the thing: I can’t figure out anymore if my memory of “Time Bomb” was actually coming from the concert, or whether I’m just completely constructing my memory of having heard it at the concert, and I know the melody and words because of the MP3. This is seriously bothering me. I know, I know, it’s retarded.

Well, at least I have that MP3 so I can learn the melody to more than just one of the lines.

Okay, so that was bothering me so much that I looked around on the Web, and I found that in their tour early in 2001, Dismemberment Plan played “Time Bomb” at virtually every one of their shows. Whew… that makes me feel better. It was sort of scary to think of how convincingly my brain might have just constructed a false memory. In any case, I’ve already listened to the song way too much - it’s awesome.

Ah-ha - so I’m not the only one:

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck there’s some kind of problem with the distributor I think so none of the stores I checked in the Twin Cities got their new Dismemberment Plan CDs on time. Fuck fuck fuck. Why do there have to be release dates? I always get upset when CDs I really really want are not available. Fuck.

That was Josh Kortbein if you were wondering. I laugh, but I also feel his pain.

Does classical music make you smarter, or help you concentrate, or any of that bullshit? I don’t know, but I listened to Ceux du Dehors over and over again a few nights ago while I was working on a midterm, and let me tell ya - I kicked the shit out of that exam. Clearly, neoclassical prog helps you concentrate.