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Friday, March 03, 2006


Fiery Furnaces

Of Montreal


The Soft Boys (why isn't Robyn Hitchcock famous?)
Oy, that link went bad - you can hear interviews and live performances here

Broken Social Scene interview/live music from World Cafe

A review of The Strokes in concert.

And if you've been reading rave reviews of

believe the hype. Best novel I've read this year. More later.

Warehouses to Empty

I've written about my - and most people's - thorough conditioning to respond to lists, I'm swamped at work, and Amazon, in an attempt, I'm guessing, to clear product out of the warehouse before pre-tax inventory, dropped an email on me this morning announcing that their editors have compiled lists of the Best of the Half Decade. Synchronicity.


Classical (so much Bach? Not an anti-Bach sentiment, just curious.)

Best Rock with Guided by Voices on the list, but not on the

Alt Rock where I would have expected them to be.
To be honest, the alt rock list is decent; I've never caught the Radiohead bug, though I understand and respect why some do; I love the Flaming Lips music (especially pre-Yoshimi) if not the Flaming Lips, self-promoters; I've raved about MMJ. I could quibble and add and subtract choices, but it's just a list.

By the way, The Flaming Lips have a new album due out this April. I've heard the single - it's not bad, but if it's indicative of the whole, they're not bringing back any of the Soft Bulletin and before sound.

AND: speaking of GbV and Robert Pollard, a review in today's Village Voice online that asks the question that's always asked: prolific or profligate? "
It's easy to fill your basket if you don't separate the wheat from the chaff." Um, yes.

An interesting article on Broken Social Scene in particular and a larger issue in general in today's NYT magazine. I read it in light of the minor fuss I've heard regarding some comments made by US athletes - or in connection to US athletes - at the Olympics I've not watched, comments to the effect that competing is enough, winning is a bonus. The spirit of the Olympics and all. Wags in the sports sections have been bemoaning the lack of emphasis on winning - one complained that his six year old son got a trophy just for competing, and in the son's t-ball league they didn't even keep score (though the parents did in their heads). And now here is a band and a music scene which seem more interested in collaboration than competition, community than individuality. Something is going on, culturally, an emerging pushback, if yet only on the scale of reexamining ambition in the grids of global capitalism and, perhaps, the shadow of a certain country's bumbling and bloody failures at global dominance. S'worth watching.

Music from:

William Orbit

Tom Vek

Mary Timony

The dBs

Teenage Fanclub

Mirah (do try this one if you only try one)

A friend mailed me and asked me for my opinion about my reaction to Fiona Apple's latest album and for suggestions on similar artists. I confessed to not particularly caring for Apple's earlier works and, because of that, not having sought out the new one. I then went to, a service that allows you to build "radio stations" based on a particular artist; it then will play that artist and other artists that pandora's listeners have identified as similar. The listener is asked for her opinion for each song that is played - yes, this should be on this "station," no, this song shouldn't. I created a Fiona Apple "station" and heard about four songs from the new and earlier albums (and haven't changed my mind about Apple's music - it's not awful, it just doesn't move me) and six cuts from bands/artists I'd never heard. One song, by a band called Arkade was interesting.

But his question got me thinking about Jane Siberry, who I used to listen to always, who put out a stretch of albums - The Speckless Sky, Bound by the Beauty, The Walking, and the exceptional When I Was a Boy - that I think (thought?) brilliant. I saw her band at Goucher College in Towson for The Walking tour, saw her solo at Gaston Hall at Georgetown University for the When I Was a Boy show (and how cool to walk 200 yards from my desk to a concert), two of the best concerts I've ever attended. (Gaston Hall is on the top floor of Healy, the oldest building on campus, and feels like a medieval church - Siberry singing, just her and her guitar, "Calling All Angels," was goosebumpingly magnificent.)

If you click on the radio link you can hear samples of some of Siberry's songs as well as other artists on her Sheeba label. Me, I'm heading to my stacks to find the old plastic. More on Siberry, including the choices she's made in her art since When I Was a Boy, later.