Monthly Archives: June 2010

Roland White – I Wasn’t Born To Rock‘n Roll

January 01, 1970

(Tompkins
Square)

www.tompkinssquare.com

 

Roland White could be considered something of a legend
within the bluegrass sphere, having helped elevate the form to prominence when
it was mainly considered the realm of hillbillies and the kind of characters
who nuzzled up to the unsuspecting city folk in Deliverance. Roland and his brother Clarence made bluegrass a
contender for popular appeal, first in their band the Kentucky Colonels, and
later when Roland joined Country Gazette and the Nashville Bluegrass Band.
While they created their template from traditional music, they also nudged
those sounds ever closer to rock ‘n’ roll, beginning with Clarence’s enlistment
by the Byrds and later, when Country Gazette morphed into the Flying Burrito
Brothers. Clarence’s untimely death – he was killed when the two brothers were
run down by an errant equipment van – cut short his trajectory, but by then
country had gone contemporary and the lines were forever fused between roots
and rock.

 

Long out of print and considered something akin to the Holy
Grail, I Wasn’t Born To Rock ‘n Roll is finally back in print thanks to the good folks of Tompkins Square who
diligently remastered the original tapes, restored its original packaging and
tossed in a heretofore unreleased bonus track to boot. Although it was released
nearly 35 years ago, its music sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did back
in the day, well before bluegrass had crossed into the mainstream. The set
boasts both heartfelt ballads (“The Storms Are Over the Ocean,” “Same Old Blues
Again”) as well as ramped up workouts (“Kansas City Railroad Blues,” “Head Over
Heels in Love With You”), but regardless of the pacing, White’s engaging vocals
and the sturdy accompaniment of his Country Gazette cohorts result in a
dazzling display of sheer, timeless virtuosity.

 

Standout
Tracks:
“Marathon medley,” “Kansas
City Railroad Blues,” “I Saw Your Face in the Moon” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

 

Robert Pollard – Moses on a Snail

January 01, 1970

(Guided By Voices)

 

www.robertpollard.net

 

If its Tuesday, it must be time for another outing by Robert
Pollard… or so it seems given his uber productivity. After retiring Guided By
Voices, a band that never gave short thrift itself when it came to it ongoing
output, Pollard’s proved himself the busiest man in showbiz – not to mention a
concerted multi-tasker – with at least half a dozen new releases a year.
Striking various guises – Boston Spaceships, the Keene Brothers, Cosmos, the
Circus Devils, and just plain Robert Pollard – he seems compelled to keep up a
non-stop production line. Compulsive behavior? Obsession? Whatever the reason,
he keeps his fans well stocked with a strikingly diverse array of new material.

 

Consequently, Moses on
a Snail
follows his last “solo” LP, We
All Get Out of the Army
by only three months, a remarkably short expanse by
any measurement. Remarkably too, there’s no slide in quality. Curiously, Pollard
seems to be aligning himself with other notable eccentrics – Syd Barrett, Robyn
Hitchcock, Bowie – for a generally off-kilter tableau of peculiar settings.
“The Weekly Crow” purveys a brooding Bowie-esque perspective of the “Heroes”
variety. The title track reflects the darker, more bewildering observations of
prime time Hitchcock.  And the steady
assault of “It’s A Pleasure Being You” (“It’s a pleasure being you/There are
things you can prove”) — and much of the rest of the set for that matter —
takes its cue from Barrett’s skewered perspectives.

 

It all stands to reason, of course. When one is driven to
such prodigious output, a manic mentality seems certain to take hold. But
whatever the reason, it hasn’t failed him yet, and its title to the contrary, Moses on a Snail shows Pollard adeptly
maintaining that frenzied pace.

 

Standout Tracks: “Moses on a Snail,” “The Weekly Crow,” “It’s a Pleasure Being You” LEE
ZIMMERMAN

 

 

Keane – Night Train

January 01, 1970

(Cherry
Tree/Interscope Records)

 

www.cherrytreerecords.com

 

It takes
guts to go out on a limb and completely change a sound that you’ve spent years
honing. The pay off can be huge (think Radiohead)… or can bomb (think Chris
Cornell gone hip hop). With their latest, the 8-song EP Night Train, British trio Keane unfortunately falls more into the
Chris Cornell bin than the Radiohead file.

 

The band,
not content with simply playing the piano-based based Brit pop they have build a
strong audience around, decided to add some street cred with their latest
offering bringing in  Somali/Canadian rapper K’Naan for “Stop for a Minute” and
“Looking Back” and Japanese MC Tigarah on “Your Love”. Though they should be
commended for the effort, the result is stilted and a bit forced, at best.  The band, known for writing lush songs that
contemporaries like Coldplay and Snow Patrol strive to keep up with, ends up
sounding more like platinum-selling rock stars trying to remain relevant.

 

Standout Track: “Back in Time” JOHN B. MOORE

 

Annuals – Sweet Sister

January 01, 1970

(Banter Records)

 

www.bantermm.com

 

South Carolina’s Annuals continually expand their
musical influences with each release and this new EP Sweet Sister is no exception. Their debut LP Be He Me was an excellent organic creation that illustrated to new
listeners the seething talent the sextet possesses. Sophomore effort Such Fun was a bit more polished and
musically adventurous. With a third LP en route, here they effortlessly merge
pop, folk, rock, country and world.

 

Each track takes
on its own sound. Within this five song EP the first three are the strongest. The
title track stands out for its great, up-tempo beats while lead singer Adam
Baker’s cool vocals soothes you on opener “Loxtep” and “Turncloaking.” The mélange
sometimes finds the sounds bouncing off each other kinetically rather than
cohesively, yet Annuals always manage to be sonically sensible.

 

Standout Tracks: “Sweet Sister,” “Turncloaking” APRIL S.
ENGRAM

 

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King – Have Blues, Will Travel

January 01, 1970

(Alligator)

 

www.alligator.com

 

Texas blues has been known for
producing great guitar players over the years, from Lightnin’ Hopkins to Freddy King to Albert Collins to
Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But what makes Smokin’ Joe Kubek and
Bnois King different, at least as far as the Texas tradition goes, is that they are two
great guitarists who attack the blues with a combination one-two punch. You have
Smokin’ Joe’s blistering slide work alongside Bnois’ raw and spontaneous leads.
The result, as their latest CD Have Blues,
Will Travel
proves, is the most powerful guitar duo in the blues today
working at the top of their game.

 

On the surface they make for an unlike pair, neither of them
even born in Texas.
Smokin’ Joe was born in Pennsylvania but grew
up just outside of Dallas.
By the time he was teenager, he was immersed in the Texas blues/rock scene of the 1970’s. After
just turning 20, he was about to head out on the road to tour with the
legendary Freddy King when King died in late 1976. Bnois, 12 years older than
Smokin’ Joe, was born in Louisiana.
He made his living as a versatile jazz player. They joined forces in Dallas in 1989 and over
the next 20 years honed their sound by gigging constantly and on 14 albums, seven
of them for Bullseye Blues, three for Blind Pig and now two for Alligator.

 

Have Blues, Will
Travel
shows their mastery of Texas roadhouse blues,
shuffles and hard rockers. The title song brings to mind a ZZ Top styled
boogie, as Smokin’ Joe lives up to his nickname on the first solo and displays
his mastery of the slide. But the true joy of any album by these guys is
listening to the lead changes and solo swapping by Smokin’ Joe and Bnois. After
all these years together, their timing is exquisite and they mesh their
different techniques perfectly. You see that on a slow blues like “RU4 Real.”
They give each other space and the result is a spectacular sound.

 

Another delight is the signing and storytelling of Bnois. He
was not a vocalist before they teamed up. Bnois wrote or co-wrote every song on
this album. His lyrics may be simple and poetic but he delivers them in an understated
and poignant voice. For example on another slow blues – “Shadows in the Dark” –
he sings, “Now it’s been some time ago. My mind’s back at that bar. Wondering
if you think of me. Wherever you are.” On the beautiful “Wishful Thinking”
Bnois returns to the topic of lost love. He sings, “Three o’clock in the morning.
That’s where I’ll begin. Darkness wrapped around me like a second skin. My
thoughts turn to her. Pretend she’s next to me sleeping. It’s just a bad case
of wishful thinking.”

 

Whether it is deep blues like these or shuffles or fast
rockers, Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King are masters at producing just the
type of music that will keep a roadhouse jumping deep into a Saturday night. In
other words, music that is fun and straight from the heart. They are such
seasoned pros that you can be assured of quality each and every time they take
the stage or produce a CD. Have Blues,
Will Travel
is an excellent addition to their catalog of great music.

 

Standout Tracks: “Have
Blues, Will Travel” “Out Of Body, Out of Mind” “Shadows In The Dark” “Wishful
Thinking” TOM CALLAHAN 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grupo Fantasma – El Existential

January 01, 1970

(Nat
Geo Music)

 

www.natgeomusic.net

 

Austin’s Latin funk orchestra
Grupo Fantasma’s fourth CD El Existential does nothing to dissuade the suspicion
that they are arguably the best thing currently going on in modern funk, the
Dap-Kings/Budos Band/Daptone Records axis of acts notwithstanding. As good as
2008’s Grammy nominated Sonidos Gold was (which was truly great), El
Existential
is even better, and Grupo Fantasma are pretty much sitting at
the top of the mountain right now. Can they get even better? Stayed tuned and
find out…

 

El
Existential
showcases the maturity and ease that comes from a band
that has now spent ten years recording and touring together. Numbering ten
players, Grupo Fantasma have always had to play together and share
musical space in way that smaller combos don’t have to even consider. But these
guys are beyond tight; they are in a state of elevated intuition, a groupthink
that is positively sublime. I kid you not: Grupo Fantasma really are that good.

 

Their
seamless mélange of Latin, Anglo and Afro grooves is a polyglot dream vacation.
Although they sing in Spanish and most of their grooves are clearly rooted in
one Latin form or another (cumbias, boleros, salsa, Tex Mex, etc.) Grupo
Fantasma also throw in massive guitar breaks (hear “Hijo” and “Telarana”),
movie theme riffs (“Montanozo”) psychedelic touches and whatever suits them
into the mix and stir until it all blends.  It seems almost churlish to
pick out standout tracks when there’s not a moment on the record that’s less
thrilling, but “Realizando,” “El Consejo,” “Hijo,” “Montanozo,” “Reconciliar”
and “Cumbianchera” are  particularly enthralling. Guitar player and producer
Adrian Quesada is the prime mover in the band, and his rich, sexy production
works as a de facto eleventh member
of the group, fully maximizing their sound and their globalist ambitions. But
the band is as much a group effort as you’ll find anywhere, with seven out
of ten members sharing song-writing credits, and everyone swinging both
individually and collectively.

 

 Already
sporting two spin-offs, the hard edged funk ensemble Brownout and the more
chill Ocote Soul Sounds, Grupo Fantasma seem built for endurance. And yes,
that’s Curt Kirkwood from Meat Puppet’s shredding on “Telarana.” Besides, any
band cool enough to be asked to work as Prince’s back-up combo on a series of
high profile gigs in pretty much has it all going on. Hey, you don’t have to
believe me: just ask Prince.

 

Standout Tracks: “Realizando,” “Hijo,”
“Montanozo,” Reconciliar,” “Cumbianchera” CARL HANNI

 

 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mojo

January 01, 1970

(Reprise)

 

www.repriserecords.com

 

In a way, it’s a shame we’ve got the internet and all the
attendant accelerated media when it comes to the arts, and to rock ‘n’ roll in
particular. Once upon a time, a new record would be released and you’d hear
about it from a friend, or maybe chance upon it in a store, and then a month or
so later read a review in Rolling Stone or Time or, if the artist was coming
to your town on tour, in the daily newspaper. The sense of personal discovery
made it seem like you were taking possession of a genuine artifact, an act not to be taken lightly since the presumption was
that your hard-earned $4.98 – yes, that’s what LPs used to cost – was gonna buy
you a lifetime’s worth of musical memories.

 

Nowadays, of course, those memories are as lasting as a
click or two of a mouse, or a quick trip to the trade counter of your local CD
store. And with record labels’ marketing departments not willing to gamble on
word of mouth to shift units for them, the p.r. campaigns get rolled out way in
advance so that the buying public knows well before the official street date
what to expect and what the record’s backstory is (and, increasingly, what it sounds like, too, given how the illicit
leaking of albums has given way to the inevitable practice of artists streaming
new releases prior to street).

 

So anyone reading this probably already knows the deal with
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ new Mojo (Reprise), about how it (a) reflects Petty’s desire to employ the
six-guys-in-a-circle-in-a-room-jamming approach to songwriting, in this
instance at the band’s rehearsal space; (b) comes on the heels of the 2008
Mudcrutch summit that found Petty dipping into sonic styles from the ‘60s and
early ‘70s with members of his early, pre-Heartbreakers band, and getting his
batteries recharged as a result; and (c) additionally comes on the heels of
last year’s sprawling The Live Anthology box – reviewed here at BLURT, “That Southern Accent” – which had Petty and
guitarist Mike Campbell trawling a career-spanning archive of concert
recordings and revisiting some of the emotions made them want to be a band in
the first place.

 

Translation for you, the discriminating music consumer: Mojo is a return-to-roots affair, loaded
with the blues, Southern rock and West Coast psychedelia of Petty’s youth, a loose,
collaborative and comfort-zone effort for the band aimed at pleasing themselves
first and foremost (but which won’t come across as exactly esoteric to their
core audience).

 

In fact, everything in the preceding two paragraphs has been
spelled out fairly explicitly by the mainstream media in the weeks leading up
to the album’s June 15 release. For example, on June 1, the day the
Heartbreakers kicked off their Mojo tour in Denver, the Chicago Tribune‘s
Greg Kot published an interview with Petty (“We got into a comfortable space in
our rehearsal room… As soon as we had something working as group, there was a
recording of that event, and that became the record… For the last 10, 11 years,
I’ve been immersed in blues. That’s what I listen to all the time and we got
caught up in that vibe on this record.”). The current issue of Rolling Stone, which hit newsstands
about 10 days ago, contains David Fricke’s four-star review of Mojo in which he mentions its live vibe,
its similarity in tone to Exile on Main
Street,
the vintage instruments the band used, and – on three separate
occasions – the word “blues.”

 

Then just last Thursday, to ensure that your parents didn’t
miss the news either, USA Today ran a
front-page feature on Petty in the “Lifeline” section that dutifully reported
all of the above: “blues,” “blues,” “bluesmen,” “blues records,” “vintage
guitars,” “the [album’s] sound was created in the room” and – in the article’s
most telling boomer-centric Petty quote – “We found a comfortable
identity. I don’t want to be turning flips at 60. I see rock musicians who
really don’t understand how old they are, and it’s undignified. I find those
people embarrassing.” To be fair, you can’t blame Petty, his handlers or the media for playing this game; in
the same USA Today piece Petty
pointed out, accurately, that while radio was key to his initial success (and
I’d add that the aforementioned word-of-mouth among fans played a big part too,
having known my fair share of totally rabid Pettyphiles), in 2010, contemporary
hits radio doesn’t program all that many artists of his ilk. It’s a wise man
who looks for fresh outlets when the old ones are no longer there, and Petty’s no
dummy.

 

All this raises the question, then, is there anything left
to even write about Mojo in a nominal
review of the album?

 

Well… sure. For
starters, it’s a stronger, more assured effort than the last proper TP and the
Heartbreakers album, 2002’s The Last DJ,
which was very good but got bogged down in a few spots by its thematic
conceits. And it’s a zillion times better than 2006’s Highway Companion, a Petty solo album that, aside from some
contributions from Campbell and coproducer Jeff Lynne, featured Petty playing
most of the instruments and going for a loose (if polished) feel that
ultimately came off as tentative and too introspective for its own good. So whether
Petty came to view those two records as misfires or was energized by the
Mudcrutch and The Live Anthology experiences (or both), the end result is a collection of tunes that sounds like
it was fun to write and record, one which evolved organically from the sheer
joy of making music together.

 

After kickstarting the album with a harmonica-and-piano powered
Little Walter-styled boogie (“Jefferson Jericho Blues,” whose part-surreal,
part-cheeky subject matter involves Thomas Jefferson’s love child with one of
his slaves), Petty & Co. move into the first of several signature numbers destined
to find their way onto live setlists: the psychedelic “First Flash of Freedom”
is half-Allman Brothers, half-Quicksilver Messenger Service, what with its waltz-time
rhythm, prominent organ motif and elliptical, elegiac, almost Coltrane-esque
riffing; and at seven minutes in length, there’s plenty of potential for
in-concert extrapolation. Going in another direction, but one equally inclined
towards rock classicism, is “I Should Have Known It,” which sounds like
somebody’s either been listening a lot to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti (check Campbell’s Page-like guitar breaks plus
the way Steve Ferrone’s thundering drums are pushed up in the mix) or, equally
likely, trying to come up with a number they could easily segue with their
blistering cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” a concert fave for the band. And
the slinky, smoky blues of “Lover’s Touch” has a sexy late-night vibe and
sensual swing not that far removed from Petty staple “Breakdown,”
simultaneously anthemic and laid-back, perfect for a mid-set change of pace.

 

Yet Mojo is a long
(65 minutes) record, so with 15 songs, there’s a lot here to draw upon, and in
some instances it’s the subtle performances that comprise the album’s strongest.
The ethereal, dreamy “The Trip to Pirate’s Cove” is a first person travelogue
reminiscent of parts of 1994’s masterful Wildflowers;
Campbell’s delicate fretboard filigrees dance alongside Benmont Tench’s equally
tasteful electric piano lines, with both lending sonic gravitas to Petty’s cinematic
narrative. The twangy, slide guitar-powered “U.S. 41,” initially slight, gains
urgency with repeated listens until it becomes an irresistible foot-tapper, and
at exactly three minutes in length and positioned as track #8, makes for a
great center-of-album number. “Let Yourself Go,” likewise, has a deceptive
get-under-skin feel; part boogie and part shuffle, it brings to mind the old
Billy Boy Arnold (by way of the Yardbirds) blues chestnut “I Wish You Would.”
Meanwhile, cautionary tale “High In The Morning” is simultaneously slinky and
tough and a guitar geek’s dream piece to boot thanks to Campbell’s jazzy riffs,
twinned lead passages and deep-mix backwards bits.

 

Ultimately Mojo,
by striking a deft balance between earthy performances and crystalline
production and presenting a focused-yet-diverse array of tunes, is the most
satisfying studio release from Petty in a decade or more. Damn the media clichés,
then; it’s far more than a return to roots.

 

It’s a goddam renewal, spinning the same kind of
new-discovery magic that sparked the imagination of a pre-internet generation
all those years ago. Who’s up for some memories?

 

Standout Tracks:  “First Flash of Freedom,” “U.S. 41,” “High In
The Morning,”  “Lover’s Touch” FRED
MILLS

 

 

 

Finger – Still in Boxes: 1990-1994

January 01, 1970

(Second Motion)

 

www.secondmotionrecords.com

 

It’s hard to imagine what early ‘90s underground rock fans
thought of Finger. This kind of straightahead, no frills rock ‘n’ roll  – less informed by the Byrds, the Beatles and
Big Star than by the Faces, the New York Dolls and Hanoi Rocks – was in short
supply back then, especially to an audience for whom anything overtly flashy,
unleavened by slacker values, was akin to a sellout. Which was ludicrous on the
face of it – the songs may have been tightly crafted and the musicianship ace,
but the reckless, bash-it-out performances has more in common with Johnny
Thunders than, say, Aerosmith. If the North Carolina combo was to exist now, it
would be hailed alongside the other unreconstructed guitar bands shoved under
the banner “garage rock” Instead, the very unfashionability (some might say
timelessness) that made Finger stand out from the burgeoning alt.rock hordes
condemned it to indifference and obscurity during its existence. (The group’s
fellow Tarheels in the moodier Snatches of Pink suffered the same fate.)

 

That’s a shame, because Finger was more than just a minor
curiosity: it was a damn good band. Still
in Boxes: 1990-1994
makes that case quite nicely, compiling tracks
retrieved from the quartet’s lone album, singles, compilations and an
unreleased session produced by Mitch Easter. Singer/guitarists Ricky Hicks and
Brad Rice (the Accelerators, the Backsliders, Whiskeytown, Son Volt, Tift
Merritt’s and Keith Urban’s bands), drummer/singer John Howie (the Two-Dollar
Pistols) and bassist Jon Singletary (aided from time to time by other bashers,
including Superchunk’s Jon Wurster and Tommy Keene skinsman John Richardson)
had the right chemistry, smarts and drive to coalesce into more than just a
glorified bar band with future semi-famous members.

 

The guitars mesh like peanut butter and chocolate, the way
great six-string teams should, and the vocals harmonies hit the perfect
(extremely) ragged but right notes, like the Jacobites at their best. Fierce
rockers like “Alice,” “Vessel” and “Another State” and raw ballads (well,
almost) like “Ship Full of Holes” and “The Awful Truth” are more than just fine
examples of the roots rock-gone-blooey approach – they’re well-honed, fully
fleshed-out songs, the kind that
would be just as well strummed on a couple of acoustics as they are blasted
through Oranges and Marshalls. Finger had more to offer than being merely the
perpetual regional opening act, and Still
in Boxes
is full of tunes that hold up as well as or better than the more
popular or accepted work of their peers.

 

Alas, this package isn’t complete – surely the band has a
small enough catalog that it would be worth compiling everything, especially
the complete Easter sessions. And the liner notes, while heartfelt and worth
reading, don’t identify from what source the songs come. But those are
ultimately minor infractions – even with some gaps, Still in Boxes: 1990-1994 tells a rock ‘n’ roll story that’s as
compelling as the work of the masters.

 

Standout Tracks: “Alice,”
“Drive By,” “Vessel,” “No Solution” MICHAEL TOLAND

 

Pernice Brothers – Goodbye, Killer

January 01, 1970

(Ashmont) 

 

www.ashmontrecords.com

 

Writing
songs about relationships can pose a challenge as time goes on. When a
40-something sings about hot girls – as opposed to women – it can sound a
little creepy. Or clichéd. Or else it feels like a desperate attempt to cling
to youth, and that’s never a good thing.

 

Not so
for Joe Pernice. Right as the latest Pernice Brothers album is settling in,
he’s lusting after a femme on a train, but what’s in her hands carries as much
cred as what’s in her pants: “I want to gum up her plans/ were that I was a
book in her hand/ Christ, she’s reading Ford Maddox Ford and Jacqueline
Susann.” It’s a skilled twist on the subject and the phrasing nails it. The
song, named for the second author in the lyric, also contains the hardest rock
the Pernice Brothers have committed to disc since 2005’s “Snow,” with chunky
power chords and a feverish guitar solo. The blast of passion doesn’t last
beyond this track, but it proves that this songwriter is ready to expand on the
sound that marked his back catalog too.

 

After a
series of adult symphonies to God, Pernice has broken a four-year silence with Goodbye Killer (Ashmont), an album that
takes his finely crafted narrative style (read: tragic and beautiful) and
tweaked the arrangements. He has pared down the quasi-orchestral sea of guitars
and keyboards from earlier albums with the current lineup of his brother Bob,
Ric Menck (Velvet Crush, Matthew Sweet) and James Walbourne (Sun Volt, among
others). The quartet has a more immediate live sound, as they switch from
electric to acoustic guitars, deliver more of those distorted solos and drop in
some dual guitar leads that sound like they originated on All Things Must
Pass
.

 

Lyrically,
Goodbye Killer overflows with
couplets – and even phrases – that sound as good out of context as they do
within: “Now it only half-way scares me to the bone,” ranks among the best of
them (“The Loving Kind”). Always the writer’s writer, Pernice even stops
himself mid-chorus in another song to opine, “That’s a metaphor, I believe.” “We
Love the Stage” roasts the life of a never-will-be musician who can’t shake the
performance bug even as success regularly misses the set. “It doesn’t matter if
the crowd is thin/ we sing to six the way we sing to ten/ we like the way an
intro four-count sounds like three,” he deadpans without getting maudlin or
hokey while the band plays a jazzy soft shoe.

 

“Bechamel”
almost gets the album off to a too-precious start, due to Pernice’s
over-enunciated vocal over the pristine acoustic guitars. He’s much more
convincing when he sings softly about relationships in disarray. But even this
song manages to win the cynic over with its dinner party/seduction storyline,
especially when he rhymes “cellophane” with “aspartame.” The song’s setting
might be something the over-40 crowd can relate to, but the emotions of the
song are timeless, which proves what a skilled songwriter Pernice is after all
this time.

 

Standout Tracks: “Jacqueline
Susann,” “Something for You.” MIKE SHANLEY

 

 

 

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

January 01, 1970

(DFA)

 

www.dfarecords.com

 

LCD Soundsystem
can do no wrong sonically. James Murphy, the mastermind behind LCD and DFA
Records, has the knack and talent for creating bodaciously catchy tracks that
will incite the most uncoordinated soul to dance. This Is Happening, only LCD’s third LP, continues in this
impressive pattern and includes tracks that dip into Murphy’s customary genre
pallet.

 

The hour long
album includes nine tracks that range from ‘80s new wave to dance-punk to
hypnotic trance. And again Murphy contemplates sizeable subjects as love, life,
and hypocrisy all behind the upbeat veil of electronics. Opener “Dance Yrself
Clean” slowly pulls you into Murphy’s world as it quietly pulsates before
exploding with drums, synths and beats. “You Wanted A Hit” touches on the
exasperating demands of the music biz; with the chorus “We won’t be your babies
anymore,” Murphy begins “You wanted a hit/But maybe we don’t do hits/I try and
try /It ends up feeling kind of wrong.”

 

Perhaps this
track is an insight to Murphy’s profession that This Is Happening may be his
last LCD Soundsystem album. Hopefully those words were that of an overwrought
artist in need of a siesta because This
Is Happening
is a work of art.

 

Standout Tracks: “Dance Yrself Clean,” “You Wanted A Hit”
APRIL S. ENGRAM