This winter has been brutally cold and as I'm trying to resurrect my music career and trying to stay fit while having Arctic Blast Number 5 go by a month into winter and wishing the hell things would stay above 10 degrees. The west has been dry as a bone and laugh at us with "look at us we got 75 degrees in the desert".
I have finally brought something new this month, first CD of the year is Bob Dylan's Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid S/T from 1973. There's nothing new that really impresses me, be it reissues or new albums. It just the way things goes anymore and although I still forsee some kind of bargain hunts coming, it's simply too cold to do anything about it.
Nobody cares but Slowdive, the 90s era Shoegazers opened up a Twitter account but yet to post anything. Out of all of the Shoegazer bands of that forgotten era, they were the least favorite of all, perhaps I didn't take the right combination of drugs to get them but their Just For A Day CD didn't connect with me. Some people still think they're better than My Bloody Valentine. Fair enough but I prefer Curve or Lush. And Slowdive never did have their own Soon (MBV's best song).
Neil Diamond returns to Universal after a 40 year career with Columbia and he's bringing all his masters with him to the revived Capitol label. Which means of course the repackaging and reissuing of Neil's back catalog that everybody pretty much has anyway. At age 72, Diamond is working on new material and still remains one of the more fun singer songwriters out there, Rick Rubin gave Neil a shot in a arm with the comeback 12 Songs LP in 2005 but Sony Music gave Neil a burr in the butt for the rootkit problem. This brings all of Neil's output under one major label roof since Universal controlled Neil's Uni/MCA stuff but the Columbia stuff and Bang Masters remain Neil's. For myself Diamond hasn't really made any new albums that totality interest me although I did buy 12 Songs but also picked up the overblown Tennessee Moon which was overburdened with poor American Idol duets with unknown female singers but the uptempo country numbers was passable and the Peter Asher produced Three Chord Opera, all Neil Diamond songs but mostly MOR pap and boring as hell. But Neil and I share the same birthday so if and when I see something cheap and available I'll check it out. He turns 73 on Friday.
3rd Street Resale has closed their doors in the New Bo area. It was a good place to find old 45s.
Belle And Sebastian-Write About Love (Matador)
They could do no wrong with their Brit pop that combines the best of Ray Davies and Nick Drake but their 2010 album is their least in the catalog, to which Stuart Murdock resorts to more cliche sounds than what we expect from B&S and Mr. Stravoian poo pooed it in his Only Solitaire blog as his least favorite. Tinkering with I Didn't See It Coming tips the record into a mini overkill, Norah Jones sounds out of place on Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John and side 1 is a mess. Side 2 starts out better with the title track, I'm Not Living In The Real World and Ghost Of Rockschool. And though I like Read The Blessed Pages it sounds unfinished. For any other band this would be a good effort but since it's Belle And Sebastian we expect more from them.
PFM-Choclate Kings (Asylum)
Prog rock band from Italy that sounded so much like Emerson Lake And Palmer that said band signed them to their Manticore label (somehow assigned to Asylum which made them stand out like a sore thumb). Side 1 had the better stuff with 2 7 minute plus workouts (From Under and Harlequin) which has a nice element of surprise. Side 2, not so much although Out Of The Roundabout is decent, Paper Charms sounds like an Italian version of Peter Gaberial Genesis. Which is just as unlistenable as the real thing.
Mike Rutherford-Acting Very Strange (Atlantic)
While Phil and Peter were pursuing solo careers, Mike did this busman's holiday version of a album featuring Stuart Copeland (The Police) on drums and for these ears the best anything that Genesis put out in the 80s solo or otherwise, but the record was a gigantic flop and made the cutouts in a half year. It's more new wave than prog rock and Rutherford knows a good hook (Couldn't Get Arrested) or a rock riff (Maxine) and of course New Wave (Halfway There). It also hints at a future that Mike would have better success with, the odious Mike And The Mechanics with the final track Hideaway. An ambitious failure on the charts but remains a decent listen 30 years after the fact.
The Velvet Underground-Golden Archive Series (Sundazed)
A MGM version of their "greatest hits" but in all fairness this comp is a decent overview of the more mellower songs that the VU did, which might give the listener an impression that they were a pop band. And it might have worked had Heroin or White Light White Heat was left off. Some of the most mellow stuff they ever did is here (Candy Says, Jesus) and even the playful After Hours is here as well. No quibble with the other songs here but this is pretty useless considering that the albums are out there and better comps are as well. A curio for the completelists out there but really you really don't need this unless you want to see how inept Mike Curb really is when he was head of MGM, and a big part of its demise.
Behind Blue Eyes-The Who
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)-Stevie Ray Vaughn/Double Trouble
Knife's Edge-Emerson, Lake & Palmer
I Know You Rider-The Emergency Crew (Grateful Dead)
Knocking On Heaven's Door-Bob Dylan
Change The Weather-Underworld
Money Is Not Our God-Killing Joke
Baby Look At You-Pete Johnson & His Boogie Woogie Boys