Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sorting Things Out

I've been blogging at my more Louisiana-centric site recently since so much of what I've been writing about recently pertained to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. And I've still got a few thoughts on it that somehow seem more appropriate here than there, but I'll get to them soon enough.

While I've been working on our Jazz Fest issue, I've sorted CDs more than I've reviewed them, listening long enough to decide that something belongs in the "I hope to review it" pile but not actually doing any writing. Here's an attempt to deal with a fraction of that stack:

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Eating Us (Graveface): This is so up my alley - Moog synthesizers, trip-hop drums, melancholy robovocals singing surprisingly solid melodies. I'm not sure how this one's different from Dandelion Gum except that it doesn't smell like the packaging was fabricated by Topps, but I'm glad I have both.

Southside Johnny with LaBamba's Big Band: Grapefruit Moon - The Songs of Tom Waits (Leroy): I haven't thought about Southside Johnny in over 20 years, so I put this on more out of curiosity and have been pleasantly surprised. Waits' compositions are remade as swing tunes with his blessing (he sings on "Walk Away"), and the results are very agreeable if not compelling. Maybe it's because Southside Johnny's just not that compelling a singer, or maybe its because these versions of largely pre-Swordfishtrombones songs suggest that Waits' persona did the heavy lifting in those days.

Ha Ha Tonka: Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South (Bloodshot): I put this on and only moments ago noticed it - five songs later. I'd hoped it would catch for me the way Kings of Leon records eventually do, but they never disappeared entirely.

MSTRKRFT: Fist of God (Dim Mak/Downtown): Arena techno catches me because of its simplicity - throbbing, fuzzed-out riffs and little else. It's economical and made to be physically intense in a club, sports venue or aircraft hangar. I could use stronger hooks since I'll probably never hear MSTRKRFT in any of those venues, but I supsect what's here would be more than enough if I were dancing.

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