Friday, August 20th, 2004
Ever since my R.E.M. nostalgia kick a couple weeks back, I’ve been going through all their records giving them a re-evaluation. Hell, I’m even thinking about going to see them at the Hummingbird Centre on November 10 – if they get a solid opener, that could push me off the fence. Of course, if it was nostalgia I wanted, I should have gone to their greatest hits tour last year with Sparklehorse supporting. Anyway, here’s the Cole’s notes:
Murmur is still an amazing record. I remember them performing “Perfect Circle” on MTV Unplugged back in 91 or 92, and even though I didn’t know the song at the time it totally mesmerized me. I didn’t enjoy Reckoning as much as I thought I did. While “Harbourcoat” and “So. Central Rain” are still all-time faves, the rest of the material wasn’t quite as great as I remembered. Fables Of The Reconstruction is still my least favourite of the IRS era, but “Driver 8” is beyond reproach whereas Life’s Rich Pageant, for my money, is their loosest and most rocking affair. I’d forgotten how much I loved “Fall On Me”. Document – even though I wore my cassette copy out, I never really liked this record. The songs were too oblique and ‘difficult’. I still feel that way. Yeah, blasphemy.
Warner years: Green – Half great, half not so great, but the presence of “World Leader Pretend” and “Orange Crush” could elevate ANY record to respectability. Out Of Time was my gateway to the band and remains a sentimental fave. I think the best songs are the non-singles: “Texarkana”, “Country Feedback”, “Belong”, “Near Wild Heaven”, “Half A World Away”. Mike Mills really needs to step up to the mic more. Automatic For The People is near perfection from start to finish. “Find The River” is the most beautiful album closer, like, EVER (note – I will in no way debate or defend that last statement). Monster wasn’t as awful as I’d remembered, but the whole thing still sounds overly same-y and plodding. “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth” and “Star 69” are great and “Let Me In” always did get to me (in a good way). As I’ve said, New Adventures In Hi-Fi is my favourite Warners album. I love the wide variety of styles that keep things interesting. Don’t ask me to pick favourite tracks, I think I like almost every song on this record. Really. Up is the first post-Berry record, similar in feel and eclecticism to Hi-Fi. While not reaching the same overall level of quality, it’s still surprisingly solid. “At My Most Beautiful” is aptly titled and “Walk Unafraid” has got teeth. While Up was a pleasant surprise, Reveal was as big a let-down as I’d remembered. It sounds flat and uninterested. The only decent song was the first single “Imitation Of Life” and that’s the sort of song they could write in their sleep.
I have no idea what to expect from Around The Sun, out October 5, but if the first single “Around The Sun” is any indication, there’s less of the smothering electronics of Reveal but it’s still a laid-back affair. Hrmm. Two REM-centric posts in two weeks. Sorry, it just happened that way.
And now for something slightly different.
Le Tigre are at The Guvernment October 25, touring for the first time on a major-label’s nickel (they now call Universal Records home). Their new album The Island is out October 19. You notice how I didn’t call them “riot grrls” or “ex-riot grrls”? That was intentional.
Pinback are at the Horseshoe October 19, tickets $13 and go on sale September 9 (though their website says they’re playing Lee’s. Either/or). Their new record Summer in Abaddon will be out on Touch And Go on October 12.
Touch and Go also have the video for The New Year’s “Disease”, off of The End Is Near. Though utterly simplistic, I found it riveting. How can these guys not have a Fender endorsement deal? Some major Telecaster loving going on there. As for what the band is up to, their Shows page says “The band has been asked to do a festival in Spain, a tour of China, shows in France, Holland, Canada, England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, etc.
Maybe the festival in Spain in November for now… We’ll see.” So the likelihood of them playing Canada is on par with them doing a tour of China? Greaaaaat. But on the plus side, they have t-shirts for sale on their website, cheap. $11 US shipped! Nice.
If you didn’t surf through the comments in yesterday’s post (And why not? That’s where the good stuff is! Witty reparte!), you may have missed this tidbit from Five Seventeen – Absolutely Kosher is going to releasing a The Arms of his “ill”, a 7-song, 10″ EP (yeah, vinyl) of Hidden Cameras four-track recordings. It’s strictly limited to 1000 copies and can be pre-ordered from the label’s website. As an enticement, they’ve posted an mp3 of the four-track version of “Builds The Bone” from Mississauga Goddam. The link off the website is busted – use this one.
I just heard that The Strokes’ live album slated to come out in October has been cancelled. Hey guys, I’m sorry I made fun of you. You don’t have to take your ball and go home, though. Ah, what do I care.
And now for something completely different.
Conspiracy theory? What conspiracy theory? Rigorous Institution has compiled a massive list of 9/11 and Bush clan ‘coincidences’ that frankly, if even a fraction are true, is pretty damned terrifying.
np – Drive-By Truckers / Decoration Day