- St Vincent – MASSEDUCTION Maybe a bit too shiny in places. Her quirks and charms are still present, but it feels like she’s fallen into the same pit of hi-gloss lacquer that Spoon recently tripped into. I’ll probably grow into it.
St. Vincent – Pills (official audio)
- Replacements – For Sale: Live At Maxwells On the other hand… No, this is far from being as much of a mess as I expected, given their reputation. It actually sounds good and they only botch a couple of tunes. I had honestly thought that about 1/3 of the songs on their early records were things they flung together just to fill out a record. But here they are, playing a bunch of those songs pretty much identically to the album version.
Can't Hardly Wait (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)
- Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire It’s impossible for me not to compare this to mid-70’s King Crimson. Heavy prog-rock with a strong 70’s jazz influence. There’s a bit more of the jazz influence here, but it’s that heavy electric jazz-funk-fusion thing of Bitches Brew; it’s not the lyrical horns-n-drums quartet thing of the 1950s. There aren’t any vocals, which is actually nice – they were often the weakest part of early KC. And John McLaughlin is a much more fiery and acrobatic guitarist than Robert Fripp who prefers geometric intricacy over wailing – and what a great tone McLaughlin had! But, I think it’s safe to say if you dig one, the other will at least interest you.
Celestial Terrestrial Commuters
- Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy Somehow I missed this band in the 90s. But now that I’ve heard them, a bunch of other ‘indie’ bands of the 90s and 00s have fallen into place in my big mental family tree of bands. Built To Spill is the forerunner of bands like Modest Mouse, Granddaddy, Death Cab For Cutie, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Decemberists, etc.. This is their latest record, and I do like it. But I can’t wait to get into their much-adored early stuff.
Built to Spill – Things Fall Apart
- LCD Soundsystem – American Dream As an LCD Soundsystem record, it’s really good. It has everything you want from them: slow hypnotic droney things, uptempo electro-ravers and Murphy’s distinctive vocals. It’s also full of subtle nods (and deep, low bows) to new wave bands of the 80s. New Order, Joy Division, The Cure, and especially the Talking Heads from Remain In Light, are all well represented – some of the guitar solos sound like they got Adrian Belew to dig up his guitar rig from R.I.L. and let it rip. Great stuff.