Archive for August, 2006

New Yorker: “Does anything need bringing back less than sexy?”

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

I’ve been on a pretty severe music-buying hiatus for a couple months now; the only CDs I’ve bought in recent memory were in a gift-certificate funded order from amazon.com that included, incongruously, Boris‘ sludge/doom-metal epic Pink and Christina Aguilera’s new double album Back to Basics. Most of this is a function of the fact that I took a pretty expensive vacation this month (also explaining the infrequency of site updates).

In any case, in searching around for reviews of these two albums that I bought, I came across a review of Back to Basics and the new Justin Timberlake album (which I have not heard) in The New Yorker, which is typically, for that publication, well-written and amusing:

Justin Timberlake is under an equally strange impression on “SexyBack,” the first single from his modest but satisfying new album, “FutureSex / LoveSounds,” where he bafflingly claims to be “bringing sexy back.” Does anything need bringing back less than sexy? It’s like proposing to bring back petroleum, or the N.F.L.

In one of the songs on Back to Basics — which is premised as a kind of tribute to old-school R&B and jazz artists — Aguilera name-drops like crazy, giving props to James Brown, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and on and on… the last name made me imagine a Coltrane sheets-of-sound solo inserted ungracefully into a modern hip-hop-based pop song. I actually think that could be pretty awesome: a heavy, hypnotic beat dropping out to make room for a ferocious Coltrane tenor solo? Maybe I’ll go download some mash-up software and make it happen.

Concert overload this fall

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Yesterday I completed an extensive update to my personal list of local concerts of interest. After a very slow summer (the last show I saw was in late July — two fantastic sets’ worth of avant-jazz by Tim Berne and company at Baltimore’s An Die Musik Live), this fall is a bit out of control for me. In September and October alone, there are 31 shows I’m interested in seeing, including 8 within 10 days next month and 14 within 15 days in October. I’m pretty excited, as my increase in live-music attendance this spring was something I’m really glad I made myself do. I’d like to get back to that.

Next show is tomorrow, in fact — Woodenhead playing in Bethesda. I haven’t actually heard much of their music, but the description alone, not to mention a little writeup in the Washington Post, was enough to get me out for the token $10 the show costs. Even though I’ll be in the area, ProgDay isn’t in the cards (or, more importantly, the budget) for me this year, so I might as well catch them while I’m around. I’m pretty bummed that I’ll miss both of Uzva’s local shows, though, as I’ll be out of town that weekend.

Coolest show on the list? Too many to choose from, but I definitely don’t want to miss the Kronos Quartet playing unreleased compositions by Einstürzende Neubauten! Also, Squonk Opera is doing College Park: The Opera at the University of Maryland and, if it’s comparable at all to the only thing I’ve heard of theirs — Bigsmörgåsbørdwünderwerk — I’ll be thrilled.