Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
Some of you may have noticed that anytime I’ve referenced Rilo Kiley’s new record Under The Blacklight in the last little while, it’s been in the context of “is not a very good record”. Always in passing, never with specifics. I’ve been a Rilo Kiley fan for some time now, so I suppose an explanation is in order.
When I say it’s not a good record, it’s not a casual remark but the most succinct way to state a considered opinion. While things start out promisingly with “Silver Lining”, a sleek country-soul gem that could have been a holdover from Jenny Lewis’ Rabbit Fur Coat solo outing, that turns out to be the high point and from there, there’s only one way to go. The record has been called an homage of sorts to their Los Angeles homebase and while that may be true, it’s unfortunate that they’ve chosen to celebrate the plasticness and vacuousness of the worst LA stereotypes. They veer from style to style, never offering more than a reasonably lifelike facsimile of whatever they’re sampling. From the seedy “Moneymaker” with the BeeGees rip of a chorus through the faux-Latin (by way of Madonna) stylings of “Dejalo” to the album’s lowest point with the lyrically abyssmal statutory rape hoe-down of “15”, this is the sound of a band capable of great things utterly disinterested in even reaching for passable.
Rilo Kiley has gotten where they are largely on the back of Lewis so it’s to her that much of the blame falls. While her vocals still sound technically terrific, they lack any of the emotional investment that would convince any but the most casual listener that she actually meant a word she was saying. Which might actually be for the best since a lot of the lyrics here are beyond vapid. Blacklight still succeeds as lightly hooky background music but for anyone who cares to actually listen beyond the surface will find disappointingly little of substance. If it were released as a collection of b-sides or outtakes – which I’d say it sounded like if I were feeling charitable – then it might escape this sort of scrutiny but as an album three years in the making, it’s impossible to call it anything but a huge disappointment.
Rilo Kiley are in town next Tuesday night, September 18, and while I’m not going to be in attendance – less because I’m unimpressed with the new record than the fact that I’ll be wiped from Austin City Limits – that’s no reason you can’t be. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got one pair of passes to their show at the Phoenix to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Rilo Kiley” in the subject line, your full name in the body and your opinion on Under The Blacklight in simple “yea” or “nay” form – though feel free to be loquacious if you so desire. I want to have this taken care of before I leave for Austin so this contest will close at 9PM, EDT, tonight.
CBC Radio 3 talks to Ottawa’s Jim Bryson who, in addition to being a fine singer-songwriter in his own right, is now also the newest Weakerthan. He’ll join them on the road in support of Reunion Tour, out September 25, including their November 8 show at the Phoenix.
Drowned In Sound does a phoner with Kevin Drew about his new album Spirit If…, which is out next week but which you can stream in its entirety right now at MuchMusic. Drew plays Lee’s Palace on September 27.
Stream: Kevin Drew / Spirit If…
The biggest concert news of the last few days was the announcement of Neil Young’s Fall tour in support of Chrome Dreams II, out October 20. Billboard has the tracklisting of the album as well as the tour itinerary and naturally, the two dates that stand out the most are November 26 and 27 at Massey Hall in Toronto. If and when anyone hears about ticket on-sale info, please let me know. And Stylus has taken on the task of cataloging every Neil Young cover they can find. Apparently counting every grain of sand on the beach wasn’t challenging enough for them.
Also just announced though of less OMG-ness, and all happening at Lee’s Palace, Los Angeles’ Great Northern, last here during NxNE, return on October 17, Josh Rouse and Maria Taylor stop in on October 30 and on November 23 and 24, it’ll host a two-night stand from The Stills, newly signed to Arts & Crafts.
Looking way ahead, Feist has a show on February 18 at the Sony Centre (formerly known as the Hummingbird Centre, formerly known as the O’Keefe Centre) with Great Lake Swimmers as support. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a chat with the headliner, JAM with the openers.
And because the cosmos demands balance, a couple of show cancellations to report – The Noisettes have bailed on their September 19 show at Lee’s and Kaiser Chiefs are no longer playing the Carlu on September 26.
Take-Away Shows offers up a couple of performances from Beirut, who will release The Flying Club Cup on October 2 and be in town at the Danforth Music Hall that evening. Check out a song from the new record below:
And there’s a video premiere from another Take-Away favourite, The National. This one’s the
first second vid from Boxer and plays off the wedding band theme of the album’s cover art. They’re at the Phoenix on October 8.
Geek movie bits – Paste notes that the fourth Indiana Jones film has been given a name – Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull – and will be out on May 22 of next year. Also hitting theatres next May (May 2 to be precise) is Iron Man, for which there’s finally an official trailer.
Trailer: Iron Man
And out of left field, SciFi.com reports that Tobey Maguire is planning on bringing 80s animated series Robotech to the big screen, live action style and presumably with himself as Rick Hunter (though everyone knows that Max Sterling was the coolest, of course).