Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm Totally Wired (Overlooked and Underappreciated)

Had the following releases come out earlier in 2007—
or had I discovered them sooner—they might've made my top 30 for the year. Or maybe there was just too much good stuff from which to choose. (This list also includes records I haven't heard in their entirety, though I like what I've heard.)

In any case, they're my regrets. Note that I purposefully
excluded a few high-profile acts, like Band of Horses, Feist,
Go! Team, Iron & Wine, Elvis Perkins, and Kanye West.

I don't have a problem with any of those artists. They aren't my favorites, but I don't go out of my way to avoid them. They do what they do, they do it well, and I can understand why some folks
find them so appealing. Heck, after hearing a gracious interview with BoH's Ben Bridwell on KEXP recently, my esteem grew ex-
ponentially. Still, despite a fine cover on Grizzy Bear's Friend EP,
their music doesn't hit me where I live. Maybe someday.

[This list is not in order.
The links will take you
to my Amazon and And-
MoreAgain reviews.]

1. Wire - Read and
Burn 03 EP (Pink Flag)
2. Grinderman -
Grinderman (Anti-)
3. Robert Wyatt -
Comicopera (Domino)
4. Various Artists - Hot Fuzz [origin-
al soundtrack] (Universal/Island)
5. Goodnight Loving - Crooked Lake (Dusty Medical Records)
6. Aa - GAame (Gigantic Music),
7. The Clientele - God Save the Clientele (Merge)
8. Henry Flynt & Nova'billy - self-titled (Locust Music)
9. Various Artists - Deathproof [original soundtrack] (Maverick)*
10. M. Ward - Duet for Guitars #2 [reissue] (Merge)

Duet for Guitars #2 review from Resonance:
Now he's got Neko Case and Jenny Lewis calling him up for favors,
but singer/songwriter/producer Matt Ward was an unknown when Giant Sand's Howe Gelb issued his 2000 debut. According to Ward's liner notes, "Most of these songs were written in Chicago but the oth-
ers were figured out en route to or in Seattle, but they were all re-
corded in Portland." Duet for Guitars #2 proves his style was in place from the start: the warbly whispering, fluid guitar playing (occupying that sweet spot between Nick Drake and John Fahey) and odd turns of phrase, like "He asked me to be a snake and live underground." There's nothing as memorable here as 2003 breakout track "Helicopter," but with the aid of dulcimer, harmonica and a little humming, this 15-track set casts a sun-dappled spell. KATHLEEN C. FENNESSY

11. Von Südenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions (Domino)**
12. Capstan Shafts - Environ Maiden (Rainbow Quartz)
13. Battles - Mirrored (Warp)
14. Burial - Untrue (Hyperdub)
15. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -
Some Loud Thunder (self-released)
16. Panda Bear - Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
17. Liars - self-titled (Mute)
18. Various Artists - Home Schooled:
The ABCs of Kid Soul (Numero Group)
19. Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil (Vice)
20. Various Artists - Downtown 81 [reissue] (Recall)

* Another fine Tarantino soundtrack; too bad it's his worst film.
** Von Südenfed = Mark E. Smith and Mouse on Mars.

Endnote: One of the more pleasurable encounters I had with Wire this year came while watching the trailer, followed by the film, of Pedro Costa's Ossos. The former is choreographed to the anxious beat of "Lowdown." The same live version plays towards the end of the movie. Costa doesn't use much music, but when
he does—he makes it count. Click here for my take on the Costa retrospective at the Northwest Film Forum. For more informa-
tion about Wire, please visit their official website from which I swip-
ed the 2006 image up top (credited to Malka Spigel, AKA Colin
Newman's significant other). Grinderman cover art from URB.

No comments: