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Music collection

I don't listen to music so much as I used to. Time was, the moment I got home I'd collapse on the bed and turn on the stereo; these days, "sofa" and "television" are much more like it.

staples of my collection

  • Cocteau Twins
  • Red House Painters
  • Lisa Germano
  • the Innocence Mission
  • Throwing Muses/Kristin Hersh
  • American Music Club
  • The Chameleons (UK)
  • The Sound

    considerr buying
  • Sleater-Kinney: The Hot Rock
  • ?
  • Should start listening to more of A.'s new zealand stuff...
  • Faye Wong - Random Thinking (1994), Impatience (1996)
  • Francoiz Breut (?) - on Bella Union. too commercial?
  • ... must... buy... more... HELIUM (the magic city)
  • new Mark Kozelek solo record coming out Tues.
  • Eric's Trip/Julie Doiron?

    I'll track these down someday
  • Joel Phelps (Warm Springs Night)
  • Bay - Alison Rae (out of print album by Will Heggie of Cocteaux, Lowlife)

    recent acquisitions

  • Arab Strap The Week Never Starts Round Here
    Title sounds like an Apartments album, dunnit? This is Arab Strap's first album, and they haven't yet hit their stride: it's kind of raw and sing-songy. I would recommend starting with a later album, then picking this up once you become an addict.

  • Arab Strap Elephant Shoe
    I heart Aidan Moffat's voice!!! On this new album, he sings more, talks less. Perfect.

  • Floraline Floraline
    I think I reviewed this on Amazon and called it airplane hostess music. Pretty, catchy disco tunes - the singer enunciates cutely and affects a vaguely foreign accent so's you'd never guess she was from Atlanta.

  • Aluminum Group Plano
    Pretty gay-rock in the tradition of the Chicago post-rock scene and the Magnetic Fields. Easy on the ears if a bit pitiful in some indefinable way.

  • Arab Strap Philophilia
    Probably my favorite album all year despite its inauspicious beginning (the first line of the first track begins "It was the biggest c*ck you'd ever seen" - it's a song about VD, ya know). Aidan Moffat's Scottish-accented mumbling about bad s*x, cheap cigarettes and sleaze charms the pants off of me. The other half of Arab Strap, that guy who does the music, he's pretty great too. This album is full of laid-back depresso guitar. As far as I can tell, their other albums are nowhere near as good. What a damn shame.

  • Cat Power The Covers Record
    It's harder for me to be enthusiastic about Chan Marshall these days, after seeing her play an appalling live set with her hair completely obscuring her face, but "The Covers Record" is a nice fragile set of slowed-down acoustic covers - good to listen to when utterly alone, in the dark, not a sound in the world except for her voice - in that context it can seem quite beautiful.

  • Ida Tales of Brave Ida, 1994
    Taking me back to my folky roots, this incredibly derivative and pretty nostalgia trip sounds just like everything I liked in 1992 (Shellyan Orphan, the Story, etc).

  • Apartments Apart
    A. got me this incredibly-hard-to-find album for my birthday. It's pretty good, but not as good as the other Apartments albums. Walsh tries to experiment with different new stylings and, not infrequently, ends up with a trite-sounding hodgepodge. Oh well.

  • Shantie Project Collection
    This benefit compilation has a couple tracks each by Low, Red House Painters, Misc, Hayden, and Idaho. The Idaho tracks are pretty good, but unless you're already a mopecore fan I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Joel R. L. Phelps Blackbird
    Quite likely his best album ever, Blackbird is much louder and harsher than anything the Downer Trio ever released. Despite that, it's catchy and beautiful and includes a great cover of the Comsat Angels song "Lost Continent"

  • Bedhead What Fun Life Was
    Pretty, "good" music that doesn't really grab me.

  • Innocence Misssion Birds of My Neighborhood
    I'm a longtime fan, but with this album they've stopped trying to sound like the Sundays/Cocteau Twins and started trying to sound like John Denver (whom they cover).

  • Cake Like Bruiser Queen
    I got hooked on the amazing, screamy "Lorraine's Car," which is on heavy rotation over at spank radio, so I had to have this album. Unfortunately the rest of it isn't quite as good.. I'm surprised at the highbrow punk rep this trio used to have, since much of Bruiser Queen is tinny and repetetive. "American Woman" is terrific tho.

  • Cat Power (What Would the Community Think)
    Her voice is more untrained and her songs less coherent than in the more recent Moon Pix, but Cat Power's Chan Marshall still blows me away. Sparse arrangements backed by two dollar guitar; covers of Peter Jeffries and Smog. "Nude at the News" is definitely the best song on the album.

  • Magnetic Fields (69 Love Songs)
    It's taking the nation by storm which means I can skip singing its praises and point out that, given Merritt's previous chaff-to-wheat ratio, it was inevitable that most of this triple album turn out to be throwaway fluff... nevertheless, what it boils down to is about 1 hr of coy, clever, but ultimately engaging pop tunes. Probably worth blowing 40 bucks on if you have cash to spare; if you don't, get a friend to make you a mix tape with just the good stuff.


  • Red House Painters (Retrospective)
    A double CD: half "greatest hits" and half live, demos, and outtakes. The one unreleased track, "Waterkill," isn't very good, but overall the demos are very strong-- harsher and often more uptempo. Kozelek live is drowned out by echoes and a little listless. Completists (like me) will buy it anyway; novices should go with the first EP instead.

  • Kristin Hersh (Sky Motel)
    Kind of a weak version of Limbo, a stylistic pastiche of much of the Throwing Muses' old work, though toned down a little presumably for commercial reasons. Not much like her other solo stuff; it sounds like she wants her band back.

  • Beth Orton (Central Reservation)
    How can I possibly like this? But I do. Catchy and pretty and not utterly illiterate/annoying. Esp. Ben Watt's dance remix of the title track.

  • My Favorite (Love at Absolute Zero)
    This American band is so earnest about being Brit-pop wannabes that I can't believe they aren't called "My Favourite." All the dark, catchy, echoey stuff I like so well.

  • The Downer Trio (EP)
    Joel R. L. Phelps of Silkworm is the frontman for this angst-ridden local mope-core band (playing in town July 10 with Will Oldham). His twangy, nasal voice takes on a ghastly broken-heartedness over minimal background instrumentation. Their album "3" really isn't as good as this EP.

  • Edith Frost (Calling Over Time)
    Like Smog (below) Edith Frost is on Drag City. She has an extraordinarily clear voice and songs that are inexplicably perfect. I compare too many people to Lisa Germano... but Edith Frost is who Lisa Germano should've been, in a better world.

  • Smog (The Doctor Came at Dawn)
    Smog "is" Bill Callahan, a creepy, stripped-down basement self-recorder. He's weirder, more psychologically messed-up and more interesting than Mark Kozelek--kind of like a male Lisa Germano. His songs are droney and hard to get into.

  • Cat Power (Moon Pix)
    Cat Power is good. Folky, inexpert, very catchy.

    January 1, 1999 in Site features | Permalink