Tag: Tom Waits
Apologies to my readers, but I was forced to take down all of the song samples I had posted on the website. This was done not at the behest of anybody in the music industry, who have been supportive of this and other blogs who post songs responsibly, but instead at the insistence of my web host. They gave me no indication of what files they had a problem with or why they had a problem with them, but they threatened to shut down the website for some arbitrary and vaguely defined reason if I didn’t remove everything. I was thus forced to remove not only the song samles, but also the pictures, as they hold the power over the existence of this website. I will look for an alternative host or an alternative means of keeping you up to date on songs.
I have been inundated with millions of e-mails, letters and phone calls from irate fans angry at me for ignoring the Grammys (well, the other side of my split personality figured it deserved a mention). Yes, I forgot to mention the Grammys in my last post, mostly because I don’t care. I really don’t want to sound snobby about it (and I’m only parroting what everybody else already says) and this is painfully bleeding obvious, but the Grammys aren’t exactly about the music (duh!). I’m fine with that, but at least be honest with people. You’re honouring sales figures and mass popularity, and I’m not even claiming those aren’t worthwhile things to honour (I don’t think they are, but it’s only my opinion). So, that’s fine, but don’t pretend that it has anything to do with the quality of the music, with quality being, frustratingly and gloriously, an entirely subjective matter. Listen to what you want, dear readers! And preferably it’s stuff that I mercilessly whore out on this website.
On that note, the past two weeks saw the release of a couple of albums that have been weighing rather heavily on my playlist, and both of them are bands that took their sweet time to sink their hooks into (what’s left of) my consciousness. First up is the new release from Beach House, Teen Dream. When I first heard Beach House, I found them a little boring and flat. To a certain extent, I still feel they can fade into the background a little too easily at times, but Victoria LeGrand’s detached but still warm vocals and the lazy instrumentation underpinning it has grown on me when I’m in the mood for something not too demanding. The new album carries on what their first two did, with a few tweaks here and there to keep things (mildly) interesting. LeGrand stretches herself a bit more vocally, bringing some lilt to her delivery. LeGrand is a classically-trained singer, so it’s nice to see her use her range a bit more. The music underlying her vocals is surprisingly upbeat at times, making this the happiest Beach House record to date. All in all, it’s a nice update to the Beach House sound, evolving without losing what made them special. Still, while I find them to be a pleasant listen, I wish it would MOVE me a little more regularly.
The second release, which has me much more excited, is the new record by Midlake – The Courage of Others. Midlake was another band I found boring at first, but after many, many listens the depth and scope of their music reveals itself more and more. What seems to at first be a relatively simple folk song slowly unfolds to reveal Fleetwood Mac-ish proggy influences, mildly quirky and varied instrumentation and oddly but charmingly out-of-step lyrics that belong at a renaissance fair. These songs get under your skin in the best possible way (unlike, say, parasitic bacteria) and even when they’re not hummable, they’re like old friends when you listen to them (the songs, not the old friends [but listen to them too]). Fuck, the other thing is that Jethro Tull kind of ruined the flute in folk and rock music, and to be completely honest, that damn instrument deserved to be ruined for both rock and folk music. Flying V electric guitar? Yeah that belongs. Hell, I’ll even swing for a cowbell once in a while, but a flute fits into modern music about as well as, um, the sounds of a horse giving birth (which I think once featured on a Tom Waits record). Anyway, there’s flute on the new Midlake record, and I think the songs work despite, not because of, that fact. Seriously guys, we get that you’re magical, forest-dwelling medieval knights, but that’s no excuse to go all Wicker Man and start playing the flute right before you ritually sacrifice some interloper (legal note: I am by no means implying that Midlake, as a band or as individuals, partake in ritualistic sacrifice of anything but the sensitive hearts of bearded indie hipsters everywhere). Anyway, buy the new Midlake, as it’s really very good. You’ll especially enjoy it if you live in the New Forest or the 16th century, and I don’t mean that as a slight. In a stellar music year that, at only one month in, has already seen releases by perennial favourites like Spoon, Eels and Hawksley Workman, Midlake’s album stands above those strong releases and makes its early claims to best album of 2010. Buy it!
New Music News
Well, much to my excitement, the National have confirmed that their new album will be released in May. They’ll hit the road before then, playing some of their biggest and most illustrious venues to date, including a stop at London’s Royal Albert Hall. There’s an excellent and lengthy interview with lead singer Matt Berninger at Pitchfork.
The Drive-By Truckers will also be releasing their new album, The Big To-Do, on 16 March. They’ve posted a few songs off it on their website, ‘This Fucking Job’ (I concur) and ‘Birthday Boy’. These two tasters are not as catchy as some of their stuff, but they show a return to their rockier, more shit disturbing days. I still have high hopes for the album.
Finally, Tom Waits is collaborating on another musical project, with the guy he worked with on projects like The Black Rider and Woyzeck. See you next week!