Thursday, June 26th, 2008
More News From Nowhere
Photo via MySpace
If the coming of December traditionally means the season of year-end lists amongst the music geekery, it seems more and more that the coming of July means the season of mid-year lists is at hand. While it’s not a practice I’m especially fond of, I admit they can make for interesting reading for perhaps catching on to something before the “press/touring cycle” for a particular record is over. And while I’m not going to offer up a list of my own, I will present the undisputed album of the year for me so far – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!.
For well on eight years, my Nick Cave needs have been satiated by the decade-old The Best Of, which got considerably heavier rotation than many other best-ofs that played token representatives of storied careers in my CD collection, but didn’t quite compel me to start seeking out the individual albums. I had assumed, correctly or not, that Cave had settled into a dignified middle age, favouring piano ballads and orchestration and leaving the rough and raw rock leanings of his early days far behind – in other words, I figured I missed out on his good stuff.
But after the amped-up blast of lechery that was last year’s Grinderman , all my preconceptions were put on notice. This was not the sound of a man who was getting old gracefully, or perhaps more accurately, it was the sound of a man who was getting old gracefully but then changed his mind. I liked the album a lot, but it was more a sort of respect than genuine affection – this I know, because it’s honest to god love I feel for Lazarus. Taking some of the abrasiveness of Grinderman and blending it with the more grandiose sonics and songwriting of the Bad Seeds has yielded what, for my relatively limited frame of reference, is everything I would imagine and hope Nick Cave could be. Ranging from the darkly hilarious storytelling of the title track through the sinister drone of “Night Of The Lotus Eaters” to the guitar-shredding fury of “Lay Down Here (And Be My Girl)”, Lazarus is grim, gleeful and glorious.
Their Fall North American tour and the October 1 show at the Kool Haus in particular is currently circled on my calendar (figuratively speaking) as the single event this year I’m most looking forward to – there’s not many acts that I’ve not yet seen live yet, let alone ones that I’m as enthused about as I am about Cave, currently. In the interim, I’m getting better acquainted with his back catalog – I picked up Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus whilst in London and it’s as stunning as everyone said, and I’ve also gotten No More Shall We Part which, while also good, is exactly the mellowed-out Cave that I expected before this whole discovery process got underway. Anyone want to make more suggestions for essential Cave? I want – nay, NEED – more.
MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Night Of The Lotus Eaters”
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “More News From Nowhere”
MySpace: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
We were talking about mid-year lists, weren’t we? Drowned In Sound picked a dozen records from the first half of the year, listed in three parts with a tally of the best songs of the year to follow today. No Nick Cave, unbelievably, though The Chicago Sun-Times and Michigan Live make no such oversight. The AV Club also offers up their picks for the best songs of the year so far. AllMusic Guide takes a slightly different tact, compiling a list of their indie pop Summer crushes for the year.
Junkmedia, Billboard, An Aquarium Drunkard and Paste talk to David Berman of Silver Jews and Pitchfork has the full dates of their Fall tour to go along the already-announced September 2 Toronto date at Lee’s Palace.
Stream: Liz Phair / Exile In Guyville
Trailer: CSNY: Deja Vu
Some more local stuff worthy of note – the July 26 show at Sneaky Dee’s featuring Miracle Fortress and Think About Life now features a couple of bands with a significant amount of chatter around them – Adam & The Amethysts and Ruby Coast. Tickets are $12 in advance.
SummerWorks is a staple of the Toronto theatre scene every Summer, but this year they’ve added a music component to things. Running August 8 to 16 at the Theatre Centre – aka The Great Hall – it will feature a host of local talent including Gentleman Reg, The Diableros, Rock Plaza Central and The Rural Alberta Advantage in double-bills each night. Full details and schedule at their website.