jump to navigation

Instrumental Rock – Does it work? February 28, 2007

Posted by Walt in other stuff.
add a comment

Recently, I downloaded albums from eMusic by Mogwai (“Happy Songs for Happy People”) and Explosions in the Sky (“All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone”). I saw that they were rated highly (85 and 78 respectively on Metacritic.com.), so I thought I’d give them a try. I hadn’t realized that they were instrumental.

I’m not sure if I even like the concept. The lyrics of rock songs are such an important element, that I am not sure if they are dispensable.

I am going to listen to the Explosions in the Sky album a few more times and write a mini-review to see if I can answer the question of whether a rock instrumental album makes sense. Hmmm……


Anticipated upcoming releases February 25, 2007

Posted by Walt in other stuff.
add a comment

Dates from Metacritic.com :

Arcade Fire – “Neon Bible” (March 6): Their CD “Funeral” was something very different than anything I had heard before. Will the follow-up take their sound even further? NPR has an Arcade Fire concert recorded live in New York on February 17, 2007.

Love of Diagrams – “Mosaic” (April 10): The 4-song Love of Diagrams EP shows great promise. The upcoming full-length CD is intriguing for how the promise might be fulfilled.

Arctic Monkeys – “Favourite Worst Nightmare” (April 24): I LOVED their first album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”. Can they do it again?

Other that are due in 2007: The New Pornographers, Art Brut, Hot Hot Heat, British Sea Power and Gnarls Barkley. 

Why Music Matters – part 3 February 20, 2007

Posted by Walt in essay.
add a comment

After seeing the White Stripes live, I needed more new music. So, I added several new albums to my iPod: The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, All-American Rejects, Outkast, Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose” (produced by Jack White), Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Shins, Death Cab For Cutie, The Strokes…

In April, 2006 I took my daughter to another concert: the opening set by The Cribs followed by Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab For Cutie. Fantastic show! Alex Kapranos and the other Franzers were fabulous. They performed with great energy, particularly 40’, Darts of Pleasure and Do You Want To. The show stopping number came from Death Cab, when Ben Gibbard performed I Will Follow You Into The Dark a cappella.

After attending the Death Cab / Franz show and listening to a bunch of new music, I also realized that there were some artists that were loved by the critics, but didn’t do much for me. For example, the #1 and #2 albums on Metacritic for 2005 were Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens and Z by My Morning Jacket. I thought both were OK, but I don’t go back and listen to them a lot. (My most listened to CD from 2005 is Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers.) I don’t get Bright Eyes / Conor Oberst. I don’t get Tom Waits. I’ve never gotten Bruce Springsteen and his Pete Seeger album just doesn’t do it for me.

What I love about this is that music is fun again! There is a lot of good music out there for every taste. And I want mine!

coming in part 4: What’s next.

Top 5 List – Best of 2006 February 17, 2007

Posted by Walt in top 5 list.
1 comment so far
  1. Fox Confessor Brings The Flood by Neko Case
  2. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not by Arctic Monkeys
  3. Alright, Still by Lily Allen
  4. Ten Silver Drops by Secret Machines
  5. Broken Boy Soldiers by The Raconteurs


  • Bang Bang Rock & Roll by Art Brut
  • Let’s Get Out Of This Country by Camera Obscura
  • St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley
  • Destroyer’s Rubies by Destroyer
  • Show Your Bones by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • First Impressions Of Earth by The Strokes
  • Fab Four Suture by Stereolab

Why Music Matters – part 2 February 15, 2007

Posted by Walt in essay.
add a comment

Friday, August 26, 2005 was the day I had my musical epiphany. I had been listening to some music that my older daughter had brought to my attention, but basically I was still living in the 80’s – Joe Jackson, Roxy Music, Dire Straits, Talking Heads. Still good, but a couple of decades had passed, for goodness sake!

On that Friday night, however, we were going to see the White Stripes at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. I had listened to several of the albums before the concert, and I was looking forward to the evening, but what I experienced was the best musical event of my life. After a nice but not too exciting set by the Greenhornes, the stage was reset in the traditional red, white and black colors of the White Stripes, including white palm fronds.

The concert opened with “Black Math” from the “Elephant” album. Over the next 2 hours Jack White played unbelievable guitar, mandolin, piano and marimbas. Meg White whacked complete hell out of her drum kit. They played a varied mix of songs from their 5 albums, including almost all of the songs from “Get Behind Me Satan”. By the time the concert ended with “The Hardest Button To Button” and “Seven Nation Army”, I was transfixed – transported – transcendent. That 2 people could make such a glorious noise was breathtaking. I don’t know if I let my daughter get a word in on the trip home. (She probably did.)

I was HOOKED!!!

coming in part 3: I want more music…

Why Music Matters – part 1 February 13, 2007

Posted by Walt in essay.
1 comment so far

I am a codger. At least in the eyes of most teenagers and 20-somethings, I am a codger. But when it comes to music, I don’t have to be.

I am a 51-year-old father of 2 daughters – 1 teenager and 1 not too far away. They both are learning music in school and through lessons outside of school. When it came to the music they listen to, I figured I could choose one of two courses. I could either sit back listen to my own old stuff like Joe Jackson and Steely Dan and ignore what they listen to, or I could start listening to new music.

In the first case, I figured that the most likely outcome would be children who listened to Britney, Christina, and the other legions of similarly “positive” role models in the music industry. Yow! In the second case, they still might decide to listen to cra… um, artists like the ones I mentioned previously, but at the very least I could offer other choices. Choices like The White Stripes, The New Pornographers (on our iPods as “New P” to avoid the potential wrath of school authorities), Hot Hot Heat, The Raconteurs, Neko Case.

Coming in part 2: attending a concert with my daughter…

The Shins – Wincing the Night Away February 10, 2007

Posted by Walt in mini-review.

The third CD from the “life-changing” band is a triumph. I am always concerned about albums that are 4 years in the making. Sometimes it seems like taking too much time to make an album can be as bad or worse than taking too little. In the case of the Shins, 4 years was juuuusssssttttt right. Cryptic lyrics, spectacular settings and lush production add up to a wonderful listening experience.

Highlights: “Phantom Limb”: the first single, is an infectious riff on small-town lesbian angst. I don’t hear that in the lyrics myself, but who cares. It’s a great song. “Australia”: you’ve got to love a song that uses the word conundrum – twice. But seriously, it’s a power-pop marvel. A upbeat tune matched with lyrics that could be read as desperate. “Turn On Me”: How is James Mercer able to come up with so many wonderful pop melodies? I don’t know what the song means, but who cares?

Rating: 9 (out of 10)

> Walt <

Lily Allen – Alright, Still February 8, 2007

Posted by Walt in mini-review.
1 comment so far

Sweetly subversive. Hip-skaish. Slightly crude. Very fun. It’s the first release by Lily Allen.

Lily’s been done wrong by some (or many) men, and she’s out for a little payback. She does the deed so charmingly, however, that a guy who identifies himself in the lyrics might be inclined to say, “Oi! It’s a fair cop.”

Highlights: “Smile”: it takes 25 seconds for Lily to drop the f-bomb, but the lacerating lyrics are great. “Alfie”: a riff on a fairly hopeless, helpless brother to a polka beat. “Everything’s Just Wonderful”: sounds like a Sergio Mendes / Brasil ’66 tune updated for England ’07 .

Rating: 8 (out of 10)

> Walt <