11 jan 2016
- Marti Jones – Revisiting her first two A&M albums with Don Dixon. Jones’ voice, along with Sandy Denny, Linda Thompson, and Sally Timms’, is one of the quintessential ways I define a certain kind of good singer, more about tone than power or histrionic emotional readings, and just really pretty. Dixon’s arrangements veer between the 80’s jangle-pop he helped define and more experimental soundscape-y things; compositions are a mix of (strong) originals and covers of other jangle pop types (dB’s) and their influences (a gorgeous reading of Bowie’s “Soul Love”). These records maybe aren’t quite as stellar as I remember, but the high points are very high and the low points are still pretty good. Somebody oughtta reissue this stuff.
- Sea Lions – Bands like Sea Lions make me feel old, because the references I have for them seem hopelessly dated. Are they really colossal fans of the C86 movement? Or did they wind up sounding like that by taking an admiration of, say, Captured Tracks bands, in a slightly different direction? They sound so much like the Close Lobsters it’s hard for me not to hear them as self-consciously retro, but that might be completely unfair.
- Cotton Mather – These guys have veered (often in the scope of the same song) between Big Star/GB/Let’s Active-ish power jangle that I love and trippier stuff I’m much less into. But new tune “Book of Too Late Changes” hits a sweet spot for me, lo-fi drums and intricate choral outro and all.
- All Dogs – There’s a sort of American band I have nearly boundless appetite for, characterized by smooth shifts from jangly arpeggiated riffs to crunchy power chords, enlivened by thoughtful (in this case, double-or-more-tracked) harmonies. Bands that sound like they grew up on all those bands that so clearly loved The Replacements. All Dogs remind me most specifically of Waxahatchee, FWIW.
- Shunkan – There’s a sort of British band I have a nearly boundless appetite for, characterized by slightly nasal and/or yelpy vocal delivery, a dash of punk ‘tude, and possibly a fear of being too “pretty” addressed with mildly challenging sonics. Shunkan remind me most specifially of Sky Larkin, FWIW.
- Damsel Trash – If Abbi and Ilana from “Broad City” formed a punk band it might sound like this. Raw, rude, political, and funny. “Pugs” and “All Girl Band” are pretty genius.
- Golden Grrrls – Another new(ish) band very likely to appeal to C86ers. Don’t seem quite as retro to me, for whatever reason.
- Spider and the Webs – Tobi Vail playing psych-inflected punky garage.
- Terry Adams – Many years ago NRBQ’s exuberant run through “Little Rootie Tootie” was very nearly my first exposure both to the performances of NRBQ and the compositions of Monk (I’d heard Bruce Fowler’s abbreviated run through “Thelonius” about 50 seconds earlier, on the same Hal Wilner-produced tribute album). Although it’s released under Adams’ name, not the Q’s “Talk Thelonious” is cut from the same cloth — arrangements that might seem irreverent if they weren’t played so damn well.
- Spear of Destiny – I know it’s not cool to love “Outland,” but I do.
Tags: 2016 · weekly top