Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Listening Notes: Iceage, The Housemartins, Dave Alvin

Iceage - New Brigade

I don't envy the young their certainty that what they have to communicate is vitally important. If these young men didn't believe, they wouldn't be making music. Of course, I'm much too old to figure out what it is they believe in, and I'm not sure I want to know. If they had hooks to go with their drive, I might be inclined to make the effort.

The Housemartins - London 0 Hull 4

The first time I heard them, not quite 25 years ago, I stupidly dismissed them as a cross between the Smiths and the Style Council. Now I think that's not a bad shorthand, albeit much better than either band. What is apparent 25 years on is that they were the vision of a young musical purist who stopped listening to new music in 1980. There's a let's-have-fun-in-the-studio-pretend-rap on the deluxe reissue that makes me cringe. I love some of the Beautiful South records, but the visionary in the Housemartins wound up being the replacement bass player.

Dave Alvin - Eleven Eleven

I hated this album the first time I heard it. Alvin sounded like a drunk at the end of a bar, you know, the kind that won't shut up. His lyrics used to have short lines; now they go on forever. I don't hate it so much now. It will probably sound fine when I stop comparing it to the old Blasters records.