Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In Rotation...Dylan, Heron, Case & More

Finally got around to burning some discs tonight that have been in my lossless archives. First one in the player was Bob Dylan 3.28.05 at the Fillmore in Denver, CO. The sound is top notch. Not boomy at all with some very nice separation. Dylan's vocals are upfront with his "wolfman" growl nowhere to be found. He has kinda switched to a more speak-sing kind of delivery over the last few years, but when he wants to deliver a first rate performance he still can. I'm stoked to be going to San Antonio with a number of chums to see him next month. Should be a hella good time. I'll report on it after the show.
Also been listening to some Gil Scott Heron lately. I know I'm about 30 years behind schedule on this one, but better late than never. His classic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised has gotten the most play and I am consistently blow away by his smart, un-biased view of his surroundings and world view. This cat doesn't pull any punches or dilute the ambrosia. I first discovered him back in '92 thanks to my roommates Mel & Jason. Also had the pleasure of seeing him live in concert back in December of 1992 at the now defunct Rockefeller's here in Houston. A memorable concert to say the least. He was center stage at his electric piano with his drink at his side. He must have knocked a dozen drinks off their perch during the course of the evening, only to have them replaced by a faithful stagehand. He also had a young female piano player in the band that he would escort backstage during extended jams and return with a white plume of crack smoke as his shadow. I've never seen a performer as loaded as he was that night(Garcia might have been in '94 & '95, though). Despite his intoxication, he carried on and delivered one fine show that my friends and I still talk about to this day. I have a recording I made that I will someday digitalize.
Have recently discovered the seductive siren song of Neko Case. I've fallen in love with her just as I did Liz Phair more than a decade ago. Not that their songwriting or vocals are similar in any way. It's more their delivery. Her most recent release, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, is filled with choice neo-folk. Songs like "Dirty Knife", "The Needle Has Landed", and "That Teenage Feeling" are just a few of the phenomenal tracks. Get!
A few months ago a friend burned a disc of mp3's that I just now loaded on to the iPod this week. I requested some Ween, but he included much more than that. And to be truthful, I'm much more impressed by his additions. The Super Furry Animals are fucking incredible. Their album Songbook is chock full of electronic psychedelic pop. Brilliant use of vocal effects throughout and some wonderful hooks to boot. I highly recommend it.
Next on the disc was Steve Burns' Songs For Dustmites. With a helping hand from his friends in the the Flaming Lips(Michael & Steven), Burns has delivered one hell of a freshman disc. Top notch songwriting and production that is pure ear candy.
And I saved the best for last. The Mercury Rev. Taking a page from the Flaming Lips book of magic music, the guys have now written their own with Deserter's Songs. Lush and beautiful, their songs are melodic snippets of angels breath with enough heart to make a grown man cry as he peddles his bike through town. With this one album, I have fallen head over heels for the guys and can hardly wait to check out their live performances as well as their five other releases.
There is some truly astounding music being made these days and I'm pleased as punch to be shoving it in my ear as fast as I can. Vive la renaissance!

iPod Song of the day: "Holes" from Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE Mercury Rev, but the interesting thing is the way their career has at least partially mirrored the Flaming Lips... not surprising since their bassist is the Lips' producer of choice, and their singer/guitarist was once the Lips' second guitarist...

But you'll find that the first two Mercury Rev albums are, like the Lips music of the same time period, MUCH more guitar oriented... to be honest, some of this may have to do with the presence of David Baker, who was their official lead singer at the time, though he still split singing duties with Jonathon Donahue, who is the one singing pretty much almost all of Deserter's Songs... But Baker was just a weirder and darker chap, so their music was that one... I cannot suggest highly enough that you check out their first album, Yerself is Steam, to find out what they were like in those days.. that still rates as one of my alltime favorite albums... it's just incredible, and for guitar-worshippers like myself, it's far more guitar-oriented than their later stuff... by their third album, See You on the Other Side, Baker had split, Donahue was solely in charge, and the band moved away from guitars and into some of the more lush pop stuff that you've heard.. of course, that album was still not quite as poppy as Deserter's Songs, or the follow-up to that, All is Dream... to be honest, by that time, I lost interest... I was never as big a fan of that type of thing as some were.. I still consider The Soft Bulletin to be kind of boring... but the problem here is that once they did Deserter's Songs, Rev just started repeating themselves... but if you like that kind of thing, then they're repeating themselves delightfully... :)


7:45 AM  

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