John Darnielle has a very nice, if quite short, piece on Souled American's Flubber album. I first heard of Souled American about seven or eight years ago. For the first time in years, I'd bought an issue of Spin magazine--I have to admit that it was the cover story "What the World Needs Now Is Axl Rose", or something, that had caught my attention. Oddly, the Axl story was not worth the time it took to read it, but in the back of the issue was a story set aside in a box about this strange, elusive, sort of country rock band called Souled American. I immediately felt that, somehow, this was a band I needed to hear. I happened upon their Frozen cd in a Borders, of all places, and snapped it up. A bizarre, lovely, low-key record. I set about finding their earlier stuff, ordering tUMULt's two double-cd reissues of their first four albums, the second one taking months to get to me. Completely worth it. I go through periods where I listen to Souled American obsessively. I've yet to hear anything else like them.
Louis Menand's article in The New Yorker on Bob Dylan is excellent. (I'll be buying Modern Times fairly soon after returning home.)
Speaking of The New Yorker, I also liked Sasha Frere-Jones' column about the Boredoms a few weeks back. We caught their show in Philadelphia at the end of June, and it was utterly fantastic. It was hypnotic and trance-inducing and also made us dance.
I've been enjoying Destination-Out, my favorite free jazz mp3 blog. If you have any interest in free jazz or out-jazz or whatever you might prefer to call it, and you haven't already been checking in on them, please do so now (the links don't last long). I've especially appreciated recent posts about Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, and Alice Coltrane. Their most recent subject is Muhal Richard Abrams. Good stuff.
And, from just this morning, John at uTopianTurtleTop on the Beach Boys, a group I've never been able to get. John's blog is usually a thoughtful read, and this post is no different. He makes me want to spend some quality time with the Beach Boys, which is quite a trick, and he almost makes me think I'll actually make the effort to do so. From the end of the post:
I don’t mean to say they’re better than the Beatles. There are no comparatives in music you love. When you’re in the music, nothing else matters. There’s nowhere else you’d rather be. I realize that the Beach Boys are the height of rock nerd-boy sensibility, but I can’t help myself. I love those melodies and countermelodies and blends. And, you’ll note, the words are often poignant, almost always humane, often witty and playful. Sometimes I think that Brian and his team of lyricists were Chuck Berry’s truest heirs in the ‘60s -- so many songs detailing social life in little vignettes and narratives. From a more youthful, simpler, less critical perspective -- not saying the lyrics are as deep as Chuck’s, but they’re often surprisingly excellent.Ok, that's about it. So far, since compiling my year-to-date list, I have acquired only two more albums released this year: Herbert's Scales and that Burial cd. Both are excellent, and will place fairly highly at the end of the year. Scales is gorgeous, and I've been listening to it continually on the iPod. My response to Burial is not as enthusiastic as, say, k-punk's, but it's a grower. (One problem becomes more and more evident. I need to listen to more dub and its offshoots, but I am not sure where to go, who to listen to. My main frames of reference for this cd are Massive Attack and Tricky.) Other albums I anticipate getting include (some of which are already out), aside from Dylan's: the Mountain Goats, Yo La Tengo, Junior Boys, E-40, Masta Killa...
I'll be back in two weeks. Enjoy!