Istanbulian Homesick Blues
Lest you think I disappeared into the ether, I humbly return. I recently relocated to Istanbul (not Constantinople) and as you might imagine, things have been rather tumultuous. I reluctantly report a real lack of writing on my part; I could offer a long list of excuses as to why such is the case, but I’m sure you can supply your own, and either way excuses are for lazy people. So I’ll merely sidestep the appearance of laziness by admitting I have no excuses, unless you consider moving halfway around the world or so an excuse. I do. Sort of. Until I get into the swing of things I’ll be re-hashing reviews I submitted to The East Carolinian (not a real newspaper, but an incredible simulation!) for the next few posts. Which I hope come regularly, because this whole not-writing business depresses me more as each dreary day drags by.
DR. JOHN – Locked Down (Nonesuch): According to the liner notes, two men are responsible for the juju-inspired voodoo stomp and raucously trippy riffs mixed with swamp rock sludge. Surprisingly, neither is producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, whose guitar work and assembly of young studio musicians backs up the N’awlins native with crackling energy. The opening title cut blasts a galloping rhythm section over sneering keyboards, and the heavy blues wallop of “Kingdom of Izzness” kills. On “Big Shot,” the good doctor boasts “If I don’t cure ya, I’m sure to kill ya.” So who are the “two brothers, both musicians” who birthed this disc? Mac Rebennack and Dr. John, of course. Duh. A MINUS
MARK LANEGAN BAND – Blues Funeral (4AD): Lanegan is more faithful to the funeral theme of this album than the blues—rumbling leadoff track “The Gravedigger’s Song,” for instance, or the rattling, howling chorus of “Phantasmagoria Blues” are blues in name only, and he merely blurs lines with “Bleeding Muddy Water,” which sounds like sinking into the grave but could also be Chicago/Delta hero worship. Fuzz guitars and active bass lines abound and back up Lanegan’s grizzled baritone, tapering only after the best track: “Harborview Hospital,” wherein Lanegan relates what he’s witnessing with his voice, not his words. And what a wonderfully dark picture he paints. A MINUS
ODD FUTURE – “Rella” (The OF Tape, Vol. 2,Odd Future Records)
AIR – Le Voyage Dans la Lune (EMI/Virgin)
BAND OF SKULLS – Sweet Sour (Vagrant)