Categories
Listening

What Happened to the New Pornographers?

I haven’t even fin­ished lis­ten­ing to the first song on the New Pornog­ra­phers’ lat­est album, Togeth­er, and I’m bored. This is a band that once inspired me to do that least cool of things — join the band onstage to dance — way back in 2001 at the Music Hall of Williams­burg. Man, that was fun. Has it already been five years since they played a pre­view of Twin Cin­e­ma at the Chameleon Club in Lan­cast­er, PA? It has, has­n’t it?

It sounds like a snide, elit­ist thing to say, but the New Pornog­ra­phers weren’t built to last. They were that rarest of ani­mals: a super­group not only did­n’t suck, but actu­al­ly pro­duced two clas­sic albums and a pass­able third before becom­ing adult con­tem­po­rary clap­trap.

You see, it would’ve been won­der­ful if they nev­er real­ly formed a band as such, just pro­duced Mass Roman­tic, toured, and then went their sep­a­rate ways. Sure, Elec­tric Ver­sion is a spec­tac­u­lar album and I would­n’t want to for­get how fan­tas­tic it was to see them play those songs, too, but it’s just that it’s hard to look back on those albums and see them in the same light as they were made. Togeth­er, and it’s pre­de­ces­sor, Chal­lengers, are shock­ing­ly bor­ing mid-tem­po affairs that make you won­der how the New Pornog­ra­phers ever packed so many hooks into “To Wild Homes.”

The pace of their career makes me think they released those great albums, split briefly, and then reunit­ed to pro­duce two more lack­lus­ter albums, only to dis­ap­pear into obscu­ri­ty. Maybe it’s for the best. That way future gen­er­a­tions might dis­cov­er the unbri­dled joy when they first hear Neko Case wail on “Let­ter From an Occu­pant.”

Categories
Listening

The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street

I’ve been read­ing about this set all over the web, most recent­ly at An Aquar­i­um Drunk­ard. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, under­stand­ably, every­one’s fall­en in love with one of the great­est albums ever all over again.

I got the deluxe remas­tered edi­tion for Father’s Day and I’m still work­ing my way through it, but some­thing real­ly struck me as I lis­tened: do we have the Stones to blame for Blue­sham­mer and their ilk? I mean, would Ken­ny Wayne Shep­herd and Jon­ny Lang have been pos­si­ble with­out the Stones paving the way for guys like Ste­vie Ray Vaugh­an?

Categories
Listening

Male Bonding — Daytrotter Session

There are plen­ty of albums Pitch­fork likes that I nev­er both­er check­ing out. It’s a long­stand­ing prac­tice that goes back to my days at Sty­lus. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly con­trar­i­an for the sake of being dif­fer­ent, but real­iz­ing that there’s so much more ground to cov­er that it’s not real­ly worth adding my two cents to most Pitch­fork-approved releas­es. Let the rest of the blo­gos­phere chime in.

I’m eat­ing crow this morn­ing thanks to my friend Marc Mas­ters. He’s men­tioned them a few times in his Twit­ter feed (fol­low him here) and I’m final­ly get­ting around to check their Daytrot­ter ses­sion out. I’m also lov­ing eMu­sic’s Best Albums of the Year…So Far list, which takes me once again through the musi­cal under­brush to dis­cov­er stuff I haven’t even heard about until now. Which is all to say that I do some­times miss the man­ner in which I was exposed to a fright­ful and delight­ful amount of music when I was a strug­gling free­lance guy that I just don’t hear now that I’m pay­ing more atten­tion to the tabloid news media.

As an aside, I have to admit that since Lala.com shut down May 31st, I’m com­ing around to the var­i­ous legit­i­mate ways to hear new music. Every­one’s record­ing peo­ple now, whether it’s places like Daytrot­ter or it’s an NPR stream and I’m okay with that. Instead of feel­ing as I once did that putting a full album stream at MySpace was an invi­ta­tion to pira­cy, I’m hope­ful that more peo­ple are okay with the idea of just lis­ten­ing and enjoy­ing what’s out there and sup­port­ing the artists they tru­ly enjoy.

Categories
Listening

Erykah Badu — “Window Seat”

Helen and I are going to see Erykah Badu June 8th at the Tow­er The­ater. Janelle Mon­ae is open­ing. Am I excit­ed? Hell yeah! Just picked up Erykah’s lat­est LP at AKA Music. Love her music so much. She’s also one of my favorite enter­tain­ers these days. Does­n’t hurt that she’s play­ing fast and loose with the great sounds Par­lia­ment Funkadel­ic intro­duced either.

Categories
Listening

Free Energy — “Bang Pop”

[myspace]http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=105056239[/myspace]

I know I haven’t post­ed any­thing music-relat­ed here late­ly. I got myself wrapped around the axle there for a bit about the future of music and could­n’t find a way to unwind. Pret­ty sure I’ve put that behind me and will hap­pi­ly be post­ing more stuff that I like here.

So Free Ener­gy? I’m real­ly into their lead sin­gle, “Bang Pop.” I know it got a whop­ping 8.1 on Pitch­fork, yet it’s failed to real­ly catch fire online, at least from where I sit. Does it rein­vent rock music? Nope. Is it still a ton of fun? Yup! If I weren’t on baby duty tonight I might’ve snuck over to the First Uni­tar­i­an Church tonight to see them in per­son. If you were look­ing for a sum­mer jam that’s not by Ludacris or Katie Per­ry, you’ve prob­a­bly found it in this gem.