Teenager of the Year - What a fantastic album. I'll admit to a certain bias - when someone has been in a great band, especially if it's one of my favorite bands, and goes on to make solo albums, I have trouble taking those albums seriously. I get caught by the "it's just not as good as his stuff with ____" way of thinking. I'm thinking specifically of Morrissey, David Byrne, even Paul McCartney, and obviously Frank Black. It's taken me a while to get treat McCartney's massive solo career seriously, and it's taken me a long damn while to really get into Morrissey, i.e. it hasn't actually happened for the most part.
Teenager of the Year is the album that made me see the light with Frank Black. He's taken on so many different projects since the Pixies, but I agree with Lumps that this album is what he seemed to really want to do after the Pixies, and even during the Pixies. He's made some duds, but for the most part has been a surprisingly consistent songwriter. So it was nice to go back to this and give it many listens.
I get caught by the "it's just not as good as his stuff with ____" way of thinking. I'm thinking specifically of Morrissey, David Byrne, even Paul McCartney.
Dude, you should really give RAM another spin (one of the best sounding recordings ever IMO), I put that shit on par with the Beatles any day. Band on the Run and Red Rose Speedway are pretty stellar too. McCartney's production (even when it's lo-fi like RAM) stacks up with anything you hear today.
EDIT: I shouldn't call RAM "lo-fi", I was more so referring to the RAMshakle way it was recorded.
Yeah, the whole album has some great gems. Some of it actually sounds like music that would be released today to 9.2 scores on Pitchfork. Check out the sonics, rhodes riff, ukelele and harmoinies on "Ram on". Beautiful shit.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Sept 4, 2011 14:10:43 GMT -5
TO ADD TO MY WAITS WRITE UP:
I just want to add to the whole Waits/Brennan story that the two of them actually fell in love at "second" sight (apparently they had crossed paths briefly at a New Years party). In 1980 while Waits was writing songs for "One From The Heart" in a studio office, Brennan, who also worked at Copolla's studio, entered into his office on a buisness erand which lead them to talking which then lead then to getting married 30 days later.
Another thing regarding the musicians on Mule Variations: Smokey Hormel was hand picked by Waits as a result of the work Waits heard Smokey doing with Beck.
Post by Horned Gramma on Sept 6, 2011 11:21:57 GMT -5
Joe Jackson -- Look Sharp!
Joe Jackson is better than Elvis Costello. That might just sound like an opinion but really the proof is in the pudding as far back as 1979. Elvis may have arrived on the scene a couple years earlier, releasing My Aim is True in 1977, but both were essentially British distillations of the Talking Heads brand of pop/punk/but-let's-don't-call-it-New-Wave-please. And as a songwriter, as a musician and as a performer, Joe has always had Elvis beat.
Look Sharp! is Joe Jackson's first album, and while many of you will certainly recognize a couple of cuts on this one from their eternal life on your FM dial, Joe just never managed to become a household name like many of his contemporaries. 'Fools in Love' and especially 'Is She Really Going Out With Him?' will probably sound immediately familiar to several of you, but as is so often the case the singles from Look Sharp! don't really highlight the best qualities of the real meat the record has to offer.
From the first beat on the kick drum the proceedings are driven at breakneck speed by the thunderous bass guitar of Mr. Graham Maby, for my money one of the greatest rock bassists of all time. Jackson himself has the soul of a crooner trapped behind the sneer of a punk rock kid, and only he seems capable of producing his trademark wail that sounds like a cat being strangled or swung by its tail.
Joe Jackson recorded three albums with what became known as the Joe Jackson Band -- Maby on bass as well as Gary Sanford on guitar and David Houghton on drums. Those three records -- Look Sharp!, I'm the Man and Beat Crazy are a triple-threat of greatness that not many artists of the time were able to match -- not even Elvis Costello, who was busy releasing Get Happy!! around this same time, which is a record that doesn't even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.
Over the years it has been interesting to see Joe dabble in every style of music from salsa and jazz fusion to straight jazz and classical. He's a renaissance man by determination, and while some of those styles may not have come naturally to him the ability to write a fierce ass-shaker of a rock song seems to be in his bones.
I'm not going to grandstand too much; I'll let the music speak for itself. I will say that I used very different criteria selecting this record than I did when making selections for A Record a Day. The Record a Day selections were often challenging, marginalized pet favorites of mine from the dark corners of my music library. Look Sharp! is shining and golden and sounds as new today as it surely did thirty years ago. I grew up listening to these songs on family car trips or through earlobe-crushing Walkman headphones. The perversity of 'Sunday Papers' has always sounded every bit as snide. Hope you cats enjoy it.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Sept 6, 2011 11:52:20 GMT -5
Nice pick! I remember we were talking a while back about Joe Jackson and you mentioned Graham Maby later went on to play with They Might Be Giants. It's funny to go back and hear chunes like "Sunday Papers" (and pretty much everything he did with Jackson) and see how he and TMBG are like two peas in a pod.
Post by Horned Gramma on Sept 6, 2011 12:05:14 GMT -5
Totally true. Graham Maby toured with TMBG between 1996 and 1998-1999 or so, and he was in the studio for TMBG's under-appreciated 1996 album Factory Showroom. It's so interesting to me to compare a track like 'Got the Time' from Look Sharp! to the likes of 'Til My Head Falls Off' from Factory Showroom and hear such distinct similarities. It's one of the reasons that I love Maby so much as a bassist -- not many bassists have such a definitive sound, and so easily become the mutant backbone of a song the way he does.
I gritted my teeth and refused to mention the link to TMBG in my remarks regarding Look Sharp! because I went back and read a bunch of my old R.A.D. posts the other day and noticed that I can find a link to TMBG with just about artist I mention. I hate to sound like a broken record.
I gritted my teeth and refused to mention the link to TMBG in my remarks regarding Look Sharp! because I went back and read a bunch of my old R.A.D. posts the other and noticed that I can find a link to TMBG with just about artist I mention. I hate to sound like a broken record.
Ha ha! Hey, it's not your fault all good things in this world can be associated to They Might Be Giants and The Residents. That's just Sciencesesses!
Jesus this album is great. It's an album that I used to listen to monthly, but I ended up giving it a rest for a little while. It was nice to listen to it again.
I listened to it once when it was first recommended and then listened to it again four times this past weekend and it just gets better with each listen. It is just a straight up rock n' fucking roll record with amazing melody, harmony, and stellar musicianship. Everyone that performs on this album holds their own, and as stated before, Joel Plaskett is a damn good guitarist. The lyrics are regional, but not to the point that people won't understand what or where he's referring to. The upbeat tracks are great but for me it was the ballads that really stood out. "Unconditional Love", "Blinding Light" and "Cry Together" all pack a nice punch and pull at the heartstrings. The more rockin' songs really embedded themselves in my brain and I couldn't stop singing "True Patriot Love" and "Maybe We Should Just Go Home" out loud after the album was done.
Joel Plaskett is a true Canadian gem and the rest of his catalogue deserves just as much attention, particularly Truthfully, Truthfully. I personally feel that he would be a welcome addition to the 2012 Sasquatch lineup. GREAT PICK.
Standout tracks: THE WHOLE FREAKING ALBUM
I wouldn't be surprised if you are picturing me peeling a carrot with a staple gun.
Alright, I did a lot of catching up on my road trip this weekend (p.s. driving Vancouver to Calgary in one shot while crazy hungover really freaking sucks).
Self - Breakfast with Girls
Another band I had never heard of before and I really enjoyed the hell out of this album. I thought the first half was really great, and the second half kind of dragged, but a really enjoyable album nonetheless. Just some really awesome pop music, very catchy. I didn't find the vocals annoying at all either.
Standout tracks: Suzie Q Sailaway (definitely have listened to this several times as a stand alone, such a great chune) and What are you Thinking?
Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Yeesh....sorry, but I don't really know what to say about this album. It just did nothing for me. It was really strange, I didn't get it and I didn't enjoy it. It was just really blah and nothing really happened.