Record Bulletin

Record Bulletin, 11/30

Fear of Music

Nothing David Byrne’s done since Talking Heads has interested me, and Actor was the first Annie Clark album that ever sounded interesting enough to investigate further. Their duet album leaves plenty to be desired but it does spark my interest to go back and give Byrne and Eno’s Everything That Will Happen Will Happen Today another spin as well as reconsider Clark’s other solo albums. Also note that as we enter December I’ll be winding down on listening to new albums while I review what’s already in my cache, dole out an ordered best-of-2012, and compose an essay to accompany the list. Figure mid-January I’ll hop back to seeking new albums (2013 albums, that is) and getting around to 2012 releases I missed or probably need to encounter again. In the meantime expect a maybe once a week deluge of Honorable Mentions as I empty out albums I’ve heard enough to conclude if there’s something to them that’s for you to decide. Let me know.

david byrneDAVID BYRNE & ST. VINCENT – Love This Giant (4AD): Giant sound is the horns, a tactic that sometimes works (“Who”) and sometimes doesn’t (“The Forest Awakes”). Byrne could never sing and it never bothered me back in his Talking Heads days, but that’s because his rhythms were more interesting and so were his words. Here I prefer when Clark takes the lead (as on “Weekend in the Dust”), and I wish their turn-for-turn in the spotlight would result in the old man hanging back more than he does or greater back-and-forth interplay. Giant metaphor is television, which is imprisoning by its appeal of escape and alternately freeing because of that escape. Which I guess David Byrne is against. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. A MINUS

st vincentST. VINCENT – Actor (4AD ’09): Annie Clark’s second album is the first I can attest to. Compared to her contemporaries—which probably includes the likes of Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, and any other chick with a piano and/or guitar—her point of view is refreshing; off-center though not indecipherable, self-consciously naïve though not too cutesy. So if you can name half a dozen apropos influences sound-wise it still won’t summate her originality. Even her oft-robotic delivery sounds more human by virtue of not being another spill-my-heart-while-I-spit-angry-irony-over-the-piano clone; she has rage but discusses it out-of-body as though it’s some curious artifact to be observed. Doesn’t surprise me a bit she teamed up with David Byrne—she’s his other half, musically if not spiritually speaking; softer, sweeter, and probably smarter, since I doubt she’ll make polyrhythms a career move. A MINUS

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
LEONARD COHEN – Live In Fredericton (Columbia EP): Record Store Day vinyl-only release features a differently shaded cover from Live In London and five cuts that were worth it. (“In My Secret Life) ***
JOHN TALABOT – fin (Permanent Vacation): Spanish DJ (without a moniker!) isn’t Four Tet yet, but fast approaching Apparat. (“El Oeste,” “Last Land”) ***
SPOEK MATHAMBO – Father Creeper (Sub Pop): Still can’t hear what admirable scribes yap on about, though it’s not without charm. Starts off like a house ablaze only to succumb to dreary dubstep halfway through, ditching vocals and tangible beats. (“Put Some Red On It,” “Kites”) **
SANTIGOLD – Master of My Make Believe (Atlantic): She Might Be M.I.A. (“Look at These Hoes,” “Disparate Youth”) **
THE ROBERT GLASPER EXPERIMENT – Black Radio (Blue Note): Houston jazz pianist’s breakthrough, commercially and critically. Too much drifting between jazz, hip-hop, and R&B to gain proper traction, so he overextends everything in hopes of hammering home the illusion of substance. Half works, I might add. (“Afro Blue”) **
THE HIVES – Lex Hives (Disques Hives): Swedish band’s fifth, reportedly ‘garage rock,’ sounds more post-punk. Not as sleazy as The Strokes, not as clever as they think. (“Wait a Minute,” “Midnight Shifter”) *
BOBBY WOMACK – The Bravest Man In the Universe (XL Recordings): He means himself in regards to releasing a hackneyed effort as something to remember him by this close to death. (“Nothin’ Can Save Ya”) *

LEMONS:
DJANGO DJANGO – Django Django (Because)
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT – Out of the Game (Decca)

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