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Faves 2019   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 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.

THE REPLACEMENTS:  Yes, Dead Man’s Pop is a deluxe box set sort of thing, but it's The Replacements, so obviously it's goingto be on my list.  And this one in particular because it features a new and improved mix of Don’t Tell a Soul that strips out the late-80s production tropes, thereby presenting the material in a manner much more consistent with the real band, additionally evidenced by the included live tracks from the era.  One can fault any number of box sets as exploitation, but this one has real purpose (even if "purpose" was never opne of the Mats' strong suits).

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS: Ghosteen generally received the highest of critical accolades, and generally considered the third in a trilogy of Cave's meditations on mortality in the wae of the tragic death of his son.  I'm always a bit reticent when it comes to celebrating the "suffering produces great art" trope, because on some level it puts fans in the position of rooting for suffering.  But the suffering here was not of Cave's own making and the proof of greatness is in the songcraft.

BOB MOULD: It would be tempting to call Sunshine Rock a return to form, but also a bit unfair.  In the first place, Mould is very good on a pretty consistent basis, so much so that he can be taken for granted, which is what makes his exceptional efforts get the "return to form" tag.  Secondly, as the title implies, this is about as happy a Mould as we've heard over the decades, so it's not even really "form," lyrically.

LANA DEL REY is someone whom I have tended to appreciate more in theory over the years than love in practice,hoping she could reach her high point more often. On Norman Effing Rockwell!, she manages it by embracing the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter aesthetic, with the help of pop impressario Jack Antonoff at the board --  which I was going to call "unlikely," but maybe not so much.

JENNY LEWIS, otoh, is someone whose material I have tended to like on average more than Del Rey's, going back to the Rilo Kiley days.  Yet On The Line finds Lewis reaching a new level of artistic confidence, enough so that maybe the PR about it representing her getting her life more together might be more than puffery.

RAPHAEL SAADIQ:  Longtime readers know I love those vintage soul sounds; the passing of Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley in recent years has created a bit of a vacuum in the subgenre.  Rapael Saddiq isn't even really doing it anymore.  But on Jimmy Lee, he takes a serious turn in the larger tradition of early 70s Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, another entery in the "suffering fuels good work" file. Not what you might have expected it back in the day from a member of  Tony! Toni! Toné!, but then again, you might not have expected it from Gaye or Wonder, either.

SHARON VAN ETTEN: Remind Me Tomorrow is a bit of a summation of her career, reatining the indie folk influences of her earlier work, but expanding her sonic pallette with from trip-hop iand electronic influences with an assist from producer John Congelton (at her direction, natch).And her lyrics remain at least as sharp as ever, despite having taken a bit of a break for television and parenthood.

WEYES BLOOD: Titanic Rising has all sorts of New Age-y and 90s musical touches. And yet I like it, so it's good enough to overcome all that in my mind.

THE NATIONAL continue to carry the banner of big indie rock and they continue to evolve, if not as drastically as R.E.M., U2, or even Radiohead in their respective heydays.  I Am Easy to Find expands the band's palette with female voices, a move that might be dismissed as a male band's nod to wokeness if it didn't succeed as well as it does.

THE RACONTEURS perhaps carry the banner for more mainstream rock in an era where on my more curmudgeonly days I contemplate rock becoming a receding genre like jazz.  Help Us Stranger melds Jack White's crunch and Brendan Benson's melodicism like a peanut butter cup (though that metaphor unfairly discounts what The Greenhornes' rhythm section brings to the mix).

BARONESS: I confess I knew nothing of them when Gold & Grey came out, but to call it the sort of great hard rock album I didn't think was being made anymore undersells the all the moments where psychedelia, prog and even Americana infuse themselves into the proceedings.

BIG THIEF: Is 2019 the year this band emerged as the sort of artistic force that will define the coming era?  Or is it merely the year where a band hit its peak productivity, releasing two stellar LPs, U.F.O.F. and Two Hands, only to cool off (as Ty Segall seems to have done).  When I was younger, I would be consumed with those sorts of questions, while now I'm just thankful for whatever we get.

PURPLE MOUNTAINS: The self-titled debut is also last album we're likely to hear from the late David Berman, formerly of Silver Jews.  As such, it's again tempting to read too much into the darker passages, as the vagaries of life may not be reflected in the grooves.  I prefer to focus on the fact that he picked up where he left off lyrically, wjhile perhaps leaning on his more mellow side musically to create a terrific set of songs.

THE LONG RYDERS: Don't call it a comeback, but Psychedelic Country Soul is a thoroughly comfortable continuation from a band which had largely faded from the scene, if never truly defunct. I might have said the same of Deserted, the latest from The Mekons.

EDWYN COLLINS: What I said about the Long Ryders, but across the pond.  You can't help but root for a guy coming back from a debilitating stroke, but Badbea earns its praise without sympathy votes and with all of it's pseudo-Bowie flourishes. Others in this category would include Where The Action Is, from The Waterboys, which veers back toward rock (with even a callback to "Church Not Made With Hands"), and Humanworld, by Peter Perrett (of The Only Ones).  In fact, I'm listenting to that Waterboys LP again right now, and I think maybe I should have led with it.

DEVENDRA BANHART: Ma is some distance from the"freak folk" of his earlier work, but maturity isn't always a bad thing, even in rock music.

THE HOLD STEADY: Thrashing Thru the Passion didn't get the buzz it should have with keyboardist Franz Nicolay rejoining the fold, perhaps because it wasn't as anthemic as an LP like Boys & Girls in America.  But this one benefits from a looseness that recalls their even earlier days as a loose, rollinking bar band.

Anyway, that's a fairly representative sample. On another day, maybe it would be Angel Olsen, Bill Callahan and Deerhunter.  Or Mikal Cronin, Wilco, and Whitney.  Or Local Natives, White Denim, and Kim Gordon. Or...

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 are Knives Out, which is currently scoring 95 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; and Queen & Slim, which is scoring 86 percent.

216 Reads

Pete Yorn, Carly Rae Jepsen, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Bobcat.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS play "Birdhouse In Your Soul" with the Doc Severenson Orchestra. Add a cover by the The Choirs YYJ for Twofer Tuesday.

PETE YORN visits The Current.

CARY RAE JEPSEN plays a Tiny Desk Concert.

RODRIGO Y GABRIELA visits The Current.

PENELOPE ISLES visits Morning Becomes Eclectic.

DELLA MAE plays the AmericanaFest Day Stage.

 

IGGY POP's officially unofficial video for "Sonali" is directed by Mac DeMarco.

KATHLEEN HANNA is still saying what others won’t.

THE TOP 40 PUNK LPs of the 2010s, according to Paste.

THE TOP 40 FOLK LPs of the 2010s, according to Paste

THE NUMBER ONES looks at the Bee Gees' 'Saturday Night Fever' disco ballad "How Deep Is Your Love," the song that kicked off the group's truly dominant period.

 

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is a bit shorter than anticipated.  ALSO: J.J. Abrams talks Palpatine and "Maclunkey."  And here's a clip from the film.

KIM KARDASHIAN WEST, on her decade of multi-platform fame.

R KELLY's lawyer has denied new allegations aimed at the singer by his long term girlfriend, Joycelyn Savage.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE & JESSICA BIEL plan to move on from embarrassing photos of JT holding hands with a co-star.

FERGIE & JOSH DUHAMEL reached an amicable divorce and child custody deal after two or three years of wrangling.

THE "DAD MOVIE" HALL OF FAME: Nominations are considered.

THE IRISHMAN has a new featurette online.

 

A BOBCAT jumps over a river with a single leap... almost.

SPIDERS can be trained to jump on command.

A WOMAN patiently befriends a stray cat.

HOW DID THE DUCKS CROSS THE ROAD? With the traffic light.

160 Reads

Jon Pratt, Jeff Tweedy, Titus Andronicus, Kelsey Waldron, Sheepdog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 25, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

JON PRATT returns with a loop-y instrumental, "Jeanine Brushes the Mississippi Mud From a Stray Cat in Paris."

JEFF TWEEDY visits KEXP.

TITUS ANDRONICUS visits KEXP.

KELSEY WALDRON visits World Cafe.

ANDREW BIRD shares a version of "Manifest" as a duet with Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards.

 

THE BEST PEARL JAM SONGS, ranked by Steven Hyden.

HARRY NILSSON & LEONARD COHEN Are Releasing New Albums, Whether They Like It Or Not.

THE TOP TEN NYC SONGS of 2019, according to Paste.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Debby Boone’s secretly dark "You Light Up My Life," which in late '77 topped the Hot 100 for 10 weeks — longer than any other record in history at that point.

 

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Frozen II dominates the chart with 127MM, the biggest debut for  Disney Animation and the third best animated opening ever (behind Pixar's The Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory). It's also the 5th biggest November opening behind a Hunger Games and three Twilight flicks.  It did 223MM in overseas markets, for a worldwide total of 350MM.  Ford v Ferrari places with 16MM on a 49 percent drop from its debut; its 103MM worldwide gross (roughly its production budget) suggests success for the studio (Fox/Mouse), but the upcoming holiday weekend may really tell the tale.  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood shows with 13.5MM, which is fine against a 25MM budget.  21 Bridges debuts in the fourth slot wih 9.3MM, which is iffy against a 33MM budget, given less-than-fresh reviews.  Midway rounds out the Top Five with another 4.7MM but is going to have problems recouping its 100MM production budget.

MICHAEL J. POLLARD,  who rose to fame in the 1967 hit film Bonnie and Clyde as C.W. Moss, the dimwitted gas station attendant who became a criminal accomplice, and went on to a long career as a Hollywood character actor, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 80.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE gets hands-on with new co-star Alisha Wainwright during a night out; sources say it's nothing.

R KELLY's alleged sex xlave turns on him.

TONY ROBBINS has been accused of sexually assaulting a high schooler at a summer camp.

MICHAEL JACKSON is getting an official biopic.

JULIA SWEENEY is coming to terms with Pat.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES is renewed for a 56th season.

TeaTV lets people watch seemingly pirated content from HBO or Netflix for free with ads.

 

AN AERIAL VIEW OF A SHEEPDOG as it demonstrates fluid mechanics.

A FLORIDA DOG put a car into reverse and drove it in circles for nearly an hour.

A WOMAN patiently befriends a stray cat.

MALAYSIA's last Sumatran rhinoceros dies.

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The Replacements, Mountain Goats, Foxing, Steel Wheels, Chonky Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 22, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with THE REPLACEMENTS! The original quartet, opening for X in Mpls in October '83.  Your setlist includes: "I'm In Trouble," "Kids Don't Follow," a lounge version of "F*** School," "Color Me Impressed," and "Sixteen Blue."  BONUS: The A.V. Club's primer to Paul Westerberg and the Replacements.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS visit KEXP.

FOXING plays a Tiny Desk Conert.

THE STEEL WHEELS play the Mountain Stage.

THE NATIONAL shares a short documentary on the late, legendary concert taper Mike “The Mike” Millard.

 

DESTROYER shares a video for “It Just Doesn’t Happen.”

KIM GORDON talks to The Quietus.

NEIL YOUNG has quit Facebook.

SQUEEZE Co-Founders Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook Talk 45 Years of Writing Hits.

SLEATER-KINNEY: Janet Weiss talks about her exit from the band.

THE 100 BEST ALBUMS of the 2010s, according to Noisey.

 

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include Frozen II, which is currently scoring 77 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, currently scoring 97 percent; and 21 Bridges, scoring 35 percent.

THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS nominations went to these folks.

SCOOTER BRAUN addresses the Taylor Swift feud.

CATS has a second weird trailer online.

FANTASY ISLAND, now a Blumhouse horror flick, has a trailer online.

BEN AFFLECK will direct King Leopold's Ghost, a fact-based drama about the plunder of the Congo by Belgium's King Leopold II in the late 1800s.

HARRISON FORD could soon be taking on the first regular television role of his career.

PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE talks books with the New York Times.

 

IF DUCKS can do the zipper merge, so can you.

VIKTOR THE CAT was too chonky to fly, spawning an elaborate hoax.

WHEN YOU'RE SO UPSET that storming out of the room once isn't enough.

'JUST SO YOU KNOW, I'm fine with 'good morning'."

174 Reads

Mavericks, Jesca Hoop, Sonny Landreth, DBT, Cat Reunion   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

BILLY PAUL: "Me and Mrs. Jones." Got a thing going on.

THE MAVERICKS play the AmericanaFest Day Stage.

JESCA HOOP visits WFUV Studio A.

SONNY LANDRETH plays World Cafe.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS return with “Armageddon’s Back In Town.”

 

DAVID BYRNE performs “Road To Nowhere” with the cast of American Utopia on Fallon.

McCARTNEY's 10 BEST SOLO TRACKS, according to NME

THE WORLD'S LARGEST BABY JESUS STATUE? Or Phil Collins?

THE GRAMMY nominees are announced.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Meco's utterly ridiculous disco cash-in novelty "'Star Wars' Theme/Cantina Band."

 

DANIEL CRAIG  has confirmed that next year's No Time To Die will be his last film as James Bond.

THE MISTER ROGERS No One Saw.

FELICITY HUFFMAN wants to work with incarcerated women as part of her community service program.

HARRY, MEGHAN, WILLIAM & KATE: Inside the royal rift.

THE JOKER is not getting a sequel... yet.

BRAD PITT is not dating Arrested Development's Alia Shawka.

THE TOP 100 MOVIES of the 2010s, according to The A.V. Club.

FX's A CHRISTMAS CAROL has a trailer online.

 

CAT REUNIONS are different from dog reunions.

"I SAID NO, BARRY!"

DONKEY IN A HAMMOCK, I know, I know, it's serious.

RESPECT THE HUSTLE of Soda Can Raccoon and Murder Cat.

164 Reads

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