Monday, April 13th, 2009
Review of Robyn Hitchcock's Goodnight Oslo and giveaway
George WrightWith most of his recent releases being of the archival sort – two box sets in the last two years in the form of I Wanna Go Backwards and Luminous Groove and with more to come – you might be forgiven for thinking that Robyn Hitchcock had his hands full reflecting on an enormous and impressive career. You would also, of course, be wrong. Even while supervising the extensive retrospective project, Hitchcock found the time to regroup with the Venus 3 – the 3/5 of R.E.M., Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey, with whom he recorded 2006’s wonderful Ole Tarantula – and recorded yet another new album, the just-released Goodnight Oslo.
Unlike the bright and sprightly Tarantula, Oslo feels darker in mood and more expansive in tone, favouring more meditative, droning song structures and incorporating the likes of strings, horns and backing singers into the brew. But more importantly, like its predecessor, Oslo is full of classic-sounding, jangly pop songs turned on their heads by Hitchcock’s clever and curious wordplay and distinctive delivery. Having been at it for thirty-odd years, the man has a signature. And more importantly, he’s still working at an impressively high level. While he may have spent the last little while looking backwards, there’s no question he’s still moving ever-forwards.
Hitchcock and his crew are touring North America and will be at the Mod Club in Toronto this Thursday night, April 16. I saw them there in 2006 and even for someone only casually familiar with Hitchcock’s oeuvre, it was a tremendously enjoyable show. This should be no different. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for this show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I wanna go backwards” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and get that in to me by midnight tomorrow evening – April 14.
There’s interviews with Hitchcock at Wired, JamBase, Philadelphia Daily News and Nashville Scene. And while there’s no album MP3 from Goodnight Oslo available, Hitchcock’s live shows are freely available at archive.org and that includes shows from the current tour, like this one from Carrboro, North Carolina where he naturally played some of the new material.
St Vincent has a new video from her new album Actor, due out on May 5.
At long last, Los Angeles-based music mag Under The Radar has a proper website with actual content. Like this interview with Bob Mould. Under The Radar remains one of the best (and last) indie-centric music magazines out there in the physical world, I look forward to seeing the same high level of quality from them online.