Sunday, January 25, 2009

mp3 Albums, Part Two

As promised... Part two of two:
  • Editors - An End Has a Start (2007). Eric Lax contribution number two. On this one, I hear a poppier Joy Division, as opposed to Interpol, which was my other touchstone for this one: the distinction lies in that they hit the higher notes vocally and musically, so the music is a little more uplifting, much like JD. I found four tracks I'd call great, and the rest I'd call solid. Very nice stuff.
    Verdict: Highly recommended. Portable CD Case.

  • The Frames - Here Comes the Night (2001). Eric Lax contribution number three. This live double album, recorded on New Year's Eve, 2001, at Ireland's TodayFM studios, is a low-key acoustic effort that has a lot of charm (and a lot of covers). It's also a great snapshot of The Frames after they "made it big" the first time (i.e., before Glen Hansard really "made it big" with the movie Once). It's a great show for Frames fans.
    Verdict: Highly recommended. Portable CD Case.

  • Klark Kent -Kollected Works (1995). Now, I'd happily buy this, but it's $50+ for this long out of print item... which is simply too much for any single album. So I'm stuck with a posted download instead. This is Stuart Copeland's one-man band side project while he was with The Police -- I still have the 1980 release Music Madness from the Kinetic Kid on green vinyl, with the album jacket cut into the letter "K." (It's truly unfortunate that the logo on the front is designed as "KlarK Kent" -- yup, KKK.) Despite what I will assume was a design "guffaw," I've always loved this album -- it sounds like an extension of the experimentation and wackiness from his songs on Regatta de Blanc. So I've been hunting this down, which is the CD version of the first album PLUS everything else he did as Klark Kent. I have to say, though, that something got lost in the translation from vinyl to CD. Think of this as a companion to work by The Police ("Police-lite," perhaps?), a piece of history that shows Copeland flexing his creative muscles at a very raw phase. This album is way too long, and not for everyone -- it fails when it teeters from quirky into self-indulgence. And it does, somewhat often. Also, I like his vocal style, which will not be everyone's cup of tea.
    Verdict: Recommended for Police completists. It will live in my CD Rack.

  • Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007). Eric Lax's final going-away gift. He did not know that I hate OK Computer, and pretty much everything I've heard from these guys since I fell in love with the song "Creep." I tried this first in the car... not a good start. I then played it on the small stereo in my office (JVC, decent fidelity) and I have to admit... it is pretty darn good. This will be my first successful entry into the Radiohead arena; is this the opening to the rest of their library or a one-off? Only time will tell.
    Verdict: Recommended. Portable CD Case.

  • The Suffocation Keep - A Few Minor Modifications of the Stars (2004). A free download, but this one I would have happily paid for. The brainchild of Built to Spill's Brett Nelson, this is just a great album. The vocals are a bit off at times, but I'll forgive them for that. They wear their influences are on their sleeves: the keyboardist clearly listened to a lot of Rick Wakeman (Yes), the guitarist loved Billy Duffy (The Cult), the drummer emulated Stuart Copeland (The Police), the vocalist wished he had the range of Tony Lewis (The Outfield), and the bass player... well, what bass player wouldn't emulate Chris Squire (Yes) or John Entwistle (The Who)? It all sounds great together... I'll have to find their commercially available release as well. I've been wavering on the vocals (I have to bring that up again, because they are a major factor here) between "great" and "off-key"... it changes from day to day. I still think it's great stuff.
    Verdict: Highly recommended. Go to their website and decide for yourself -- the link to the free album is available at their myspace page. Car CD Changer for me.
- Snilch


Jamie said...

so, yes i do recognize several of the bands you review. well, two, but five or six of the references. i'll have to check out Editors, as i have always liked Joy Division and thoroughly enjoyed Interpol's first. Now, as for KK, Copeland claimed that A&M signed the Police just to get the rights to KK. Not sure if that's true, but then I've never given KK a good listen. However, I bought SC's Rhythmatist when it came out on CD in '85, and thoroughly enjoyed some of those tracks. Quirky to be sure, but a couple gems. Not sure if I'll bite on Radiohead...but then I feel that way about nearly EVERY band from the last 19 years...

Seano said...

It's Stewart Copeland, my friend. Just thought I should remind you. - S

Joe said...

Hi Snilch - The Suffocation Keep band member here...I know this is an old post but I'd be happy to send you a copy of 'John Hughes was never so wrong' (the 1st official TSK release) if you would like and haven't gotten a hold of one. Just let me know how to get it to you. Feel free to contact me/us through FB here:
Take care, Joe