Friday, August 28, 2009

This Week In Review 2009/08/28

My Top 11 Artists
  1. The Replacements - 65 tracks
  2. Simon & Garfunkel - 61 tracks
  3. Paul Simon - 53 tracks
  4. Chris Thile - 52 tracks
  5. Nickel Creek - 41 tracks
  6. The White Stripes - 31 tracks
  7. The Raconteurs - 14 tracks
  8. Converge - 12 tracks
  9. At the Drive-In - 12 tracks
  10. Mike Marshall & Chris Thile - 10 tracks
  11. Punch Brothers - 7 tracks
Those are high numbers, but justified. I had a Chris Thile (plus Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers) day, two days of Paul Simon +/- Art Garfunkel, a day of the Replacements and today was Jack White (White Stripes and the Raconteurs).

I haven't finished the Jack White playlist yet. I could've done more, but there was big networking fun through much of the day today, so I was largely away from my desk. There's been talk in the forums I frequent about the movie It Might Get Loud, which is about Jimmy Page, the Edge, Jack White and the Cult of the Guitar. Listening today, it struck me that Jack and Jimmy have styles that are very similar, and that much of the WS/Raconteurs work wouldn't have sounded too out of place on an early Led Zep album.

Maybe more later.


Dave Jacoby said...

Takeaways: Paul Simon is a great songwriter. Lots and lots of perfect songs. "Only Living Boy In New York" is one of them, but if you step in, breaking it down, the sparkle gets lost. Not that it fades, really, but the vocalizations, like the chorus on "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", somehow work but probably shouldn't. I know Paul always gets embarrased singing because he things he should've been able to find words.

But the man can get tiresome. Especially "American Tune".

Consider what you know about 80s songwriting. Then listen to the Replacements. Paul Westerberg is a great songwriter, but let's face it. The man would've fit hand-in-glove with the songwriters of the 1960s. Except when he curses.

Dave Jacoby said...

Consider the mandolin. In the late 1800s, there was a fad for the double-coursed fretted cousins of the viol family, from mandolin to the mandocello. Honest. It seems unlikely, but it is true. But then it faded. It was part of the string band sound of the 1930s, and there are great players from that tradition — as an Indiana resident, I have to mention Yank Rachell — but, post-1945, there's only one reason anyone knows about the mandolin, and that reason is named Bill Monroe, the man who invented bluegrass. The hot shots in any bluegrass band are the mandolin players.

In any other world, Chris Thile would've been a guitarist or a pianist or something, but he came up in bluegrass. He's a mandolin player. He's the hot shot. But come around Nickel Creek, it kinda stopped being bluegrass. Nickel Creek is pop music with a bluegrass edge, which, as time went on, got a big big Radiohead influence, which shows up again in Deceiver, which actually is a leap ahead. Come All Who Wander Are Lost, there's a guy who clearly listens to some of the wildest jazz out there. With the Growing a Band from the Ground / Tensions Mountain Boys / Punch Brothers bands, he's much more bluegrass (even with classic bluegrass lineup of fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo and doghouse bass) but pulling out things like Strokes covers and writing long multi-part near-classical pieces.

I suppose I should mention the Mike Marshall duos. Imagine Goldberg Variations done with the bass parts being done on mandocello, I think by Mike, and the high parts on mandolin by Chris.

I suppose I should mention Lloyd Loar. He came in to Kalamazoo, hired by Gibson to be their guy, and Loar-signed instruments are the top ones that came out of the shop. Bill Monroe's #1 was a Loar, and now Chris owns one, one that spent the greater part of 60 years under the bed, pristine. Costs as much as my house, and it sounds so pretty.

Dave Jacoby said...

I suppose I should mention the Converge and At The Drive In.

When my eldest was enjoying the Rifftrax guys harsh on Plan 9, I was at the library, and one of the things I while I waited for it to stop was sit at Barnes & Noble and read. One of the things I read was Decibel magazine's Hall of Fame, full of big metal albums. The first one was the Dio-led Sabbath's Heaven and Hell. Side note: Ozzy Sabbath always sounded like Mudhoney, but there was something more modern, more elegant, about Dio Sabbath. It makes sense to me that, after they worked up a track for the best-of together, Dio Sabbath got back together.

Anyway, there were some bands I had heard (Slayer) some bands I had heard of (Cannibal Corpse) and lots and lots of bands I haven't. I like drums, bass and guitar, but I am less fond of black covers with Old English text, or even worse, skulls and blood.

Then I saw Jane Doe by Converge. It had a cover that reminded me of Tony MacAlpine's Maximum Security. A completely different aethetic.

So, I found it. I haven't warmed to it yet. I fell off the metal somewhere between Slayer's Reign In Blood and Jane's Addiction and Nothing's Shocking. Not that JA is metal, which is the point. For my ears, metal stopped after ...And Justice For All, or maybe Danzig. That's about when I stopped listening, switching to alternative. This was well before Nirvana, but I was ready for it.