Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Here's my allotted 90 downloads from eMusic this month:

The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto Back in the mid '80s, a low period in American popular music, it started to make sense that acts such as The Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel and most notably Paul Simon began delving into sounds from Africa and other faraway places. Graceland was great, but lots of us wanted to hear the source material. And thus the World Beat floodgates were opened. This compilation was one of the most and most influential from those days. Hearing this again reminds me why I wore out my old cassette tape so many years ago. The alien guitars, the sweet vocal harmonies, the pounding beat. The fiddles and acordions ... Ladysmith Black Manmbazo is here, but the real revelation is the gruff-voiced Mahlathini.

Jack Keruoac Reads On The Road . Just like with The BusBoys last month, I lucked out with this one. I downloaded it early in the month and when I checked back a couple of days later, it had dsappeared from eMusic altogether. Most of the album is exactly what it says -- spoken-word readings from the reluctant Beatnik King. However, there are some truly strange music with Kerouac singing wird improvisional takes on standards like "Ain't We Got Fun." But the real musical treat is a song ("On the Road") by Tom Waits & Primus.

Sir Dark Invader vs The Fanglord by Jon Langford & Richard Buckner
Goldbrick by Jon Langford
I used eMusic this month to catch up on the ever-prolific Langford. (He's at the far left in the picture to the left, which I shot at the Yard Dog Gallery in Austin last March for his autpgraph party for his book Nashville Radio.)

I was wary of the Buckner collaboration. While I'm a fan of both singers, I wondered how compatible they would be on record. Surprise, surprise, this damn thing works, and this album rocks.
My favorite cut is "The Inca Princess," a story of a tall, dark stranger in a Bakersfield bar that tips its hat to Roger Miller's "Chug-a-Lug."

The Langford solo album was the last thing I downloaded, so I haven't spent proper time with it. On first couple of listens though, I don't like it nearly as well as his previous solo outing All the Fame of Lofty Deeds. (There's a cover of Procal Harem's "Salty Dog," but I never really was a fan of that tune.) So far my favorite is the epic "Lost in America," which starts out with Columbus and quickly veers into Abu Ghraib and modern times.

In the Maybe World by Lisa Germano. While Lisa's new one isn't quite up to the level of her classic albums Geek the Girl and Happiness, it's still got just about everything I love about her -- sad, spacey songs about loss, pain and doubt.

This definitely is not party music. In fact, it's more like music you'd want to listen to after getting home from a party that you despised.

Lisa's not afraid to get downright weird. "In the Land of Fairies" is a putdown song aimed at supernatural beings. Yikes!

I Hear a New World by Joe Meek & The Blue Men. This late British producer was the man behind "Telstar," that proud bit of instrumental cheese from the early '60s. Apparently Joe was a true believer in UFOs, the occult and other assorted weirdness. This album of instrumentals was his vision of life on other planets. It's a great companion album for the compilation It's Hard To Believe It: The Amazing World Of Joe Meek

I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass by Yo La Tengo . You'll have to wait until this Friday's Terrell's Tuneup to get my full take on the new one by Yola. Suffice it to say right now that I really like it.

"Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway . Once again, I had one download left so I spent it on Calloway. I picked up this early version of Cab's signature song, which is different -- I'm assuming earlier -- than others I have. But I found a flaw here, an electronic distortion right at the line "Minnie had a heart that was big as a whale. I hope eMusic fixes this.

UPDATE: Oooops. In the original version of this post I forgot to include one of my favorite new albums ....
Gulag Orkestar by Beirut. In a nutshell, this band, lead by a former Albuquerque kid named Zach Condon and including Jeremy Barnes, the former drummer of The Neutral Milk Hotel, sounds like Rufus Wainwright paying tribute to the 3 Mustaphas 3.

Some cools news: Beirut is scheduled to play New Mexico. Oct. 25 at the College of Santa Fe and Oct. 26 at the Launchpad in Albuquerque.

WACKY WEDNESDAY: AI Songs to Destroy Art & Civilization

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