Sunday, November 18, 2007

Album Review: Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala

Normally when I review an album, by the time I've written the review I need a break from listening to it repeatedly, no matter how good it is. Maybe it's because I had a short turnaround for my review of Night Falls Over Kortedala by Jens Lekman for CDHotlist and only listened to it a few times, but I can't stop playing it. My "official" review won't run for a few weeks, but suffice it to say that it is charmingly dorky.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My New Writing Outlet

As of the November edition, I am writing for CDHotlist: New Releases for Libraries. Because the threshold is CDs that would circulate at a library or otherwise add value to its collection, my criteria for coverage is different that what I'd write about here. It is also implicit that it is unnecessary to review releases that are so popular that libraries wouldn't think twice about buying them, but I'm unlikely to write about such albums here, either. I'm not yet listed on the contributors page, so you'll have to take my word for it that those attributed to "MC" are mine.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Concert Review: Mudhoney, Double Door, November 2

Any disappointment I had over the Stooges reunion was more than mitigated by the appearance by Mudhoney at the Double Door. They're not just carrying the Stooges' torch, they're keeping the fire blazing. They were noisy but economical, without a wasted distorted note, and articulately pissed off. They blasted through their history with rip-snorting exuberance, from "Touch Me I'm Sick" to the strong, new material from Under a Billion Suns such as "Where Is the Future?"

The guys haven't gone to seed, with Steve Turner and Mark Arm looking as fit as even and Dan Peters looking as slightly unfit as ever. (New guy Guy Maddison on bass is built more in the Peters stocky mold.) While men hit an age where unshaven suggested "homeless" rather than "swarthy," Steve Turner with stubble still resembles a sleep-deprived grad student, a total guitar hero without ever looking the cliché. Even when untethered from his guitar, Mark Arm never commands the stage the way Iggy Pop does, but this is more of a democratic band than a star with a back-up group, and he certainly commits to the songs with his whole body, from his arched back to his scratchy wail.

Although they are the original grunge band that never struck gold off grunge, I have mixed feelings about their marginal appeal. While I wish the best for any band I adore, I'm glad they never fell prey to the shortcomings of fame and fortune. The best measure of what decent guys they are came when Arm cut a song off in the middle. They discussed the problem with smiles on their faces rather than accusations and recriminations, only for Arm to apologize to the audience for his fucked up ears before they resumed.

As for openers Thunderwing, I love a Monks song marginally popularized by the Fall as much as anyone, but I wish the glam revivalists had enough faith to open with their own compositions rather than a Velvet Underground cover.