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Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Music To Torment Co-Workers and Customers With
I'm still absolutely sick to death of having to think about comics. I think it was dealing with all the Free Comic Book Day stuff last week and assigning myself the task of reading and rating all of them before the event in question (look for my biased and unfair comments on Friday!). So, on to more pleasent topics. Namely, an over-view of the various musical treasure troves I've been sharing with my customers and co-workers over the last couple of weeks.
Echo and the Bunnymen: This is the recent re-issue of their self-titled album. It's got all the things that make a pseudo-goth act great: clangy guitars and pretentiousness. The bonus tracks on this particular album don't have much to recomend them unless you're the big Echo and the Bunnymen fan. This was purchased mostly out of nostalgia, and I was rather surprised to see that, while the album still holds up okay, my tasts have moved on a bit since this was released.
The Polyphonic Spree: The Beginning Stages of: A classic. Gets played a lot around the store. All the people with taste enjoy it and we get asked about it quite a bit.
Sigur Ros: (): Actually, all of the Sigur Ros albums get played fairly often. They're good back-ground noise, but they reward careful listening.
Robyn Hitchcock: Uncorrected Personality Traits: One of the few performers everyone in the store can agree on. Between us we probably have just about all of his works on hand. I like this one because I've got a thing about "best of" type releases. I like the over-view of an artists work that they provide, and I like that I don't have to wade through the half of the album I almost inevitably don't like to get to the songs I do like.
Best Of: Siouxsie and the Banshees: Again, I like this kind of thing. And it's goth music that gasp-shock-horror is remarkably unpretentious. Okay, it's a little pretentious, but I always get the feeling that Siouxsie and crew were primarily concerned with making good music, and they just happened to be pretentious people to begin with so it carried over a little. Most goth acts are going out of their way to out-scene all the other goth bands and I can't stand that kind of nonsense.
Ashley Macisaac: My favorite right-wing kinky gay Canadian fiddler. It's his latest, self-titled album, but I have all of them and they always get played regularly. Celtic fusion tends to go over well with an audience that's allready predisposed to have an interest in genre works. The guys on the game side borrow his work quite often as well.
Franz Ferdinand: Yes, they do live up to all the hype. I'd just about given up on rock music. I was so tired of self-important "rockers" doing commerical alternative and top 40 dreck and pretending that they were doing something new and unique. And Jet and Darkness did nothing for me, though I can see why people like them. But this...this is exactly what I needed to restore my faith in rock.
Donovan's Greatest Hits: Don't ask me to explain it, please. I just like it.
Eartha Kitt: Purrrfect: Another good career over-view for the greatest Catwoman ever. I like music that's incredibly dirty but doesn't sound incredibly dirty because no one's bothered to keep up on their old-fashioned euphemisms. So I put this on, and people will comment on how nice it is to hear wholesome, family friendly music...and Eartha, that dear old lady, is sining about how she'd "never dream of making the team"...
The Hidden Cameras: The Smell of Our Own: I don't know how to describe the music. Superficially, it's similar to the Polyphonic Spree. I don't know if that's a new genre of music or not. But it sounds great, and it's gayer than a gay thing that's gay, and I need to listen to that sometimes.
Mum: Summer Make Good: Again, in the vein of another band. I've described it as "Sigur Ros, only more pretentious." So, naturally, I like it.
The Wicker Man Soundtrack: More pseudo-Celtic music, only this time it's made up folk songs and sinister incidental music and it's dirty, dirty, dirty. As all good folk music should be. And again, no one catches on to it because no one bothers to actually listen to the lyrics when they're shopping, and they don't bother to learn archaic dirty words.
Le Pop 2: A German compilation of the best of contemporary French pop. I like French Pop. It's got a distinct sound, it's fun, it's bouncy, and it doesn't sound like anything else. It's probably the hardest for other people to listen to though. My French is just about good enough that I can understand the gist of most of the songs, sometimes. But lots of people, even when they don't actually bother to listen to lyrics, have some sort of hang-up about listening to music that's sung in another language. It offends their sensibilities for some reason. They should be glad I don't bring in more German techno.
Morrissey: You Are The Quarry: It's been awhile since the king of mope rock put out an album this good. The last few albums were just the big fella cruising, doing his same shtick for his same audience, fully aware that he could release an album of musicians tuning up while he made self-pitying comments in the background and it would sell to his fans. So it was surprising, and a welcome releif, that he actually went ahead and put some effort into a release. I like the political content of this album, it lightens the mood a bit.
The War is Over: The Best of Phil Ochs: Actually, there's usually one of many Phil Ochs albums with me when I go to work. Sometimes there are several Phil Ochs albums with me. Perhaps my favorite musician ever, was Phil. Lyrically gifted, politcally aware, fantastic word-play, clever arrangements. All the stuff I dig.
Robbie Williams: Escapology: Or "Sing When You're Winning" or "Swing When You're Winning" or "Millenium." Robbie gets played a lot at work as well. I like his blend of pop. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is and it doesn't apologize for being what it is. And he's got a nice voice on top of being dead sexy. Really, he's the perfect pop star.
Ultimate Dolly Parton: Another great career over-view. I like Dolly. It would be my secret shame, but I find nothing to apologize for. She's a gifted song-writer, has a terrific voice, loads of charisma, and is very, very smart. Again, a pefect pop star.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Fantastic songs on this soundtrack. They blew me away when I first saw the movie. They convey the story of the film, but they don't fall into the trap of being purely narrative or "of their time" that most soundtrack songs fall into. Great, great stuff.
And, As Always
Lots and lots of mix CDs: The two people who should probably not, all things considered, have access to CD burning technology, are me and that dastardly varlet Mike. We spend probably more time than is healthy scouring the net for rare, out-of-print, unusual, free, new and just plain weird songs and music. Clearly, the practice has warped our minds beyond repair.