There is no new thing under the sun. I think I read it on the back of a cereal box or heard it in a car ad. That being said… the movement of the moment seems to be a , Rough Trade yard sale with a jesus and Mary Chain BBQ after. I guess there are worse trends: Rush + Santana + King Crimson= Mars Volta.Over-the-hill singers doing standards, Elvis Costello marrying Diana Krall, that whole American Idol thing, putting my passport in the washing machine, dreams of being eaten by wolves, gray hair and bad hats… but i saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. “He had lost his con- centration, blame it on a sharp movement” just sang by the Eleventh Dream Day on the reissue of “Prarie School Freak- out.” The guitar solo keeps the wolves at bay. I thought I had a point when I started. My brain is smooth- ing out. No rant and rumble, because there is always good music, always. And when I turn on the news or read the pap- er, I hear joe Strummer scream in my ear, “Where the hell is Elijah?”
1. “FEAST OF WIRE”- Calexico. They perfected their style a long time ago; now their songwriting has caught up. Lyrics are gritty and hallucinagenic, offhand and exact. I love thi~s record so much, I hope they break up.
2.”CUCKOOLAND”- Robert Wyatt. Just his voice alone. Aside from some wonky keyboards, his voice is surrounded by stellar playing by Eno, Karen Mantler, Paul Weller,trom- bonist Annie Whitehead and Wyatt’s own horns and percussion. Personal is political and all that, but Wyatt is never stri- dent, always human. Yeah, of course human, but so many singers sound like a bad and successful idea of a singer. Work it out, get back to me.
3.”STREETCORE”- Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. This sucks in so many ways because sentimentality and nostalgia are both part of the same depression. A torrential rain dur- ing the Clash doing “Brand New Cadillac”, totally blind- ed by water on my glasses, the music getting louder. Ya know, shit like that. Clear-eyed, I never need to hear another Bob Marley cover. Otherwise, I press replay and then press again. “Where the hell is Elijah?”
4. “MASTER AND EVERYONE”- Bonnie Prince Billy. OK, so the moniker changes are a bit precious. Fuck, Oldham has made a beautiful record, short, sweet and free of affectation. Or maybe it’s all affectation. Too smooth for some, like it’s his “Harvest.” Is that a bad thing? I’VE been a minor for a heart of gold. What was it I said before about nostal- gia?
5. “WOW/THE MAGICK FIRE MUSIC”- Jackie-o Motherfucker. Over two hours of slow burn, occasional buzzsaws and ray guns. If Godspeed weren’t conceptual or Canadian. If Can were the Band.
6 .”TRULY SHE IS NONE OTHER”- Holly Golightly. More spins than any other; on that alone I should make it higher, but I’m already here. I’m-a sucker for that flat, Nancy Sinatra retro stuck in time but it always sounds fresh. Every lick, backup vocal, hook, obscure Kinks cover, skip the Jack White notes, more hooks and another obscure Kinks cover. A pin-up girl for garage rock geeks.
7. “SUMMER SUN”- Yo La Tengo. Always reliable, which can be a bad thing. You know, OH, ANOTHER GOOD STEVE EARLE, RICHARD THOMPSON, LUCINDA WILLIAMS. ..NEXT. But they pull it off, moving further from the “poppier Sonic Youth” tag that never really fit. And the last two e.p.s proved they can still surprise.
8.”THIS IS OUR PUNK-ROCK”- The Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band and Chorus. That alone should disqualify. Some of the Godspeed guys get all rustic, while still bouncing on the edges of the atmosphere.
9. “RED-HEADED STRANGER”- Caria Bozulich. One of the most underrated American songwriters does a classic justice. Caria and Nels Cline turn a short story into a novel.Was that a 7 on the pretentious meter? At least I haven’t used the terms “organic” or “angular.” Oddly, the biggest drawback are the guest voca.ls of Willie, himself. He sounds hoarse, tired or stoned. Other- wise, everything a tribute record should be.
10. “STILL LOOKIN’ GOOD TO ME”- THE Band of Blacky Ranchette. Can’t I go one year without one or two Giant Sand related picks. Duh. Howe Gelb and a truckload of guests. Cat Power, M. Ward, Neko Case, Richard Buckner, members of Lambchop and Grandaddy, take it to the country in the forth of the Blacky Ranchette series. As scattershot as the sessions were, this is more together than Gelb’s solo work. OK, pressing on.
12. “ORCHARDS AND CARAVANS”-The Birdtree
13. “SINGING BONES”-The Handsome Family
15.”CARNABAILITO”- Gaby Ker- pel
16. “YOU ARE FREE”- Cat Power
17. “A GUIDE FOR DAYLIGHT HOURS”- Ballboy
18.”ABC MUSIC”- Stereolab
19. “SEND”- Wire
20. “THE PHOENIX ALBUM”- the Warlocks.
others. ..”ALONE AT THE MICROPHONE”- Royal City. “AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE”- Erase Errata. “THE ANGEL OF THE SQUARED CIRCLE”- Pedal Steel Transmission. “GHOSTS OF THE GREAT HIGHWAY- Sun Kil Moon. “MAYORS OF THE MOON”- Jon Lanford and His Sadies. “GALLOWSBIRD’S BARK”- The Fiery Furnaces. “HATE”- The Delgados. “DANGEROUS MAGICAL NOISE”- The Dirtbombs. “RUN TO RUIN”- Nina Nastasia. “HAHA SOUND”- Broadcast. “AIRS OF THE EAR”- Richard Youngs. “SOUL JOURNEY”- Gillian Welch. “STAMPEDE”- Quantric Soul Orch. “DECORATION DAY”- Drive-By Truckers. From the vaults and reissues :Johnny Cash Box, Bjork Box, Televsion, Uncle Tupelo,Elastica BBC sessions, Robert Wyatt BBC sessions, Elvis C., Spacemen 3, Nips, Modern Lovers.
There’s a good e.p. inside all the bloat:Lucinda Williams, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson. No hope: Elvis C. Ryan Adams, the Strokes.
Film; ALL THE REAL GIRLS, LOST IN TRANSLATION, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS. Out of room, out of brain.