Record Bulletin

Record Bulletin, 11/2

Ain’t No Party Like a Poetry Party ‘Cuz a Poetry Party Don’t Exist

Having been super productive (by my standards, anyway) over a six-day holiday, I’m back to my routine of some productivity. Not many notes on these two—you know ’em or you don’t, love ’em or hate ’em. Though I wouldn’t really paint it that black and white. I enjoy both, dig what they’re about, but I put Patti Smith on when my forefinger (or cursor, whatever) trips over Waves and goes, “Oh, hey. That’s Patti Smith.” Michael Tatum predicts both of these will top critics’ year-end lists, more specifically the Pazz & Jop poll. I’ll give him Fiona Apple, not so sure about the queen of punk. A few honorable mentions (note they’re now listed in order of preference, not alphabetically) though not as many as I anticipated—some I was going to throw in or file under ‘Lemon’ got me thinking they deserved another listen. Don’t be surprised; I haven’t done it yet.

FIONA APPLE – The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (Epic): Everyone’s finding magnificence in this singer-songwriter’s fourth in sixteen years except me; I admit, Apple brings pleasing off-kilter piano melodies, earnest vocal delivery, and wit and dire honesty to the table. My only gripe is that with the exception of “Anything We Want,” easily the best song here, there’s a severe rhythm deficiency, though the low piano chord-driven arrangements do eventually gain traction, that stark performance backed by drum-madness making for a meandering experience punctuated by marked surprises. Not thrilled to throw on top her self-absorbed subject matter, but she’s funny enough and reminds you why we wait so long for her between releases. Considering said gap, following the pattern suggests the next one’s coming in, oh, 2020? A MINUS

PATTI SMITH – Banga (Columbia): So You Want to Make a Poetry Album…? Rule #1: You must still be breathing for scribes to exalt your soliloquies, clearly Jim Morrison’s folly with An American Prayer. Rule #2: Amongst the luminaries you reference or allude to in your ten-minute spoken-word rumination, Sigmund Freud should not be one of them, clearly Morrison’s problem with “The End.” Rule #3: If you insist on transferring your scribbling to print form, opt for autobiography rather than collections of poetry, clearly Morrison’s fault in leaving his should-probably-have-stayed-unpublished writings to his estate. Rule #4: Have fears, but stray from heady apocalyptic visions and take potentially embarrassing hopeful stances about the future, clearly Morrison’s mistake with everything. Rule #5: Be more like Patti Smith and less like Jim Morrison. What an asshole that guy was. A MINUS

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
FUCKED UP – David Comes to Life (Matador ‘11): Canadian hardcore punk sextet impresses for eighty minutes worth of virtuoso guitar work, not ‘vocalist’ Damian Abraham’s storytelling ability. (“The Other Shoe,” “Under My Nose”) ***
THE AVETT BROTHERS – The Carpenter (Island): Hail from E. North Carolina, have been called ‘freak folk’ by many an admirer, though I mostly hear pop/rock with hints of folk/country twang. More subdued here than on any previous effort, for better and worse. (“Geraldine,” “The Once and Only Carpenter”) **
THE ANTLERS – Undersea (Anti- EP): Soft cock post-Radiohead dream pop available only on vinyl or MP3. (“Endless Ladder,” “Drift Drive”) *

CHOICE CUTS:
JOHN FRUSICANTE – “In Your Eyes” (Letur-Lefr, Record Collection Music EP)

LEMONS:
COM TRUISE – In Decay
(Ghostly International)
EARTH – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 2 (Southern Lord Records)
FLEA – Helen Burns (Flea EP)
JOHN FRUSCIANTE – PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone (Record Collection Music)
FUCKED UP – Year of the Tiger (Matador)
HEARTLESS BASTARDS – Arrow (Partisan)

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