Thursday, May 17, 2007

music: Joanna Newsom wish partly granted

Wasn't too proud to beg:
Joanna, please please please please please please release a concert DVD!
So along comes Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band EP. "Cosmia" performed by the same band, a reworking of "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" and a fine new song "Colleen."

I'd still love to have a video of her amazing performance. Twinned with the UK appearances with orchestra. I wonder how long before you can assemble a concert video from phone cam captures off YouTube. So long as the artist can get appropriate compensation, why not?

   "In the trough of the waves,
which are pawing like dogs,
pitch we, pale-faced and grave,
as I write in my log."
(Sawdust and Diamonds)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

music: why so much sounds so bad

This short video tells you all you need to know.

More on the loudness wars here and here

I want the numbers from the last link on every CD review. Average sound level as percentage of loudest, and instances of clipping.

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Friday, May 4, 2007

music: Elvis has pummeled the building

Driving up for the last skiing of a crummy season, we saw a billboard for Elvis Costello and the Imposters in Reno. I knew it would be strange to see him in a conference room/ballroom and that his recent Imposters work is channeling his rock impulses, not his wide musical horizons.

Well, it was a pounding, loud, nearly unrelenting set from the Man in black. They played a lot of Attractions' greatest hits, a great "Alibi" off When I was Cruel, an acoustic "Alison", and ended with "Pump it Up". All very predictable. It was nice to hear several songs off Get Happy!, but lacking the loose R'n'B shuffle on the album. Likewise a raucous "Shabby Doll" from Imperial Bedroom but none of the more varied tracks off that ambitious album. And nothing from the poppy albums that followed.

I'd have to lay the blame at Pete Thomas' feet. EC hailed him as a great rock drummer in his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech, but without a producer to dial him back, he's just hitting hard with the knobs stuck at 7 to 10, and the rest of the band follows.

Elvis' guitar work ever since playing with Marc Ribot has tended towards noise chords accompanied by belting vocals. It's clearly an intentional musical decision, but I don't get it.

Steve Nieve gave a scintillating solo on "Clubland", but for much of the set he played that weird funhouse organ style from early Attractions.

Worthy, but one-dimensional.

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