Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Week in Music

Unfortunately I've been badly falling behind on my writing lately, except as it concerns Alexis Grace's completely non-shocking elimination seeing how she's been on autopilot since the semifinals, Megan Joy's ongoing laziness notwithstanding the flu, Anoop Desai's return to awesomeness, and Adam Lambert's latest crime against good taste (btw, Simon, criticizing Adam for being too indulgent is like criticizing grass for being too green).

I have been listening to a lot of music though:

Best DJ mix so far this year is Surgeon's RA podcast, and it's not even close. It's quite a bit tamer than other, rawer, more aggressive sets I've heard from him, but toning down the maximalism is actually a benefit here. You're not always in the mood to have your ears blown off for an hour, which is why a milder set like this can stand up better to repeat listens.

Another reason to improve my Hebrew: so that I can read what might be the Israeli "Generation Ecstasy", Nissan Shor's new book "Dancing With Tears in Their Eyes". It's a history of the past 50 years of Israeli club culture, and examines the connections between the nation's club-going hedonism and it's turbulent political/security situation. Says Shor, "I think Herzl would have preferred endless partying to endless war." 1. DUH. 2. Words to live by. Thanks to RA for the reading tip.

Suede were awesome, and I have to say I'm surprised at how well their version of retro-rock has held up over time, compared to say, Blur's. In other words, "Animal Nitrate" is still spectacular and I can hear without thinking "Bowie theft", whereas anything from "Parklife" feels quaint and precocious. None of these criticisms are new, but perception is everything, and these days I'm ready to chalk up Suede's superiority to them having stronger, more memorable singles. Relive the fun more introspectively with this clip from a Brett Anderson solo gig that finds the ex-Suede singer in remarkably fine voice after a few rough years in the late 90's/early 00's.

Props to J. Viewz ... I don't like a lot of downtempo stuff, and some of the vocal tracks are a bit weak, and the album drags on a bit long, there's a lot of quality smoothery going on here too.

Stereolab's "We're Not Adult Orientated" reminded me of how untouchable that band used to be. This is why I tend to curse "Dots and Loops" and can't identify at all with the people who think it's their best album, because Stereolab used to be FIERCE and that album marked the moment when they became wimps and never looked back.

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