Friday, September 16, 2011

Listening Notes: 1983 Part 5

The Go-Betweens - Before Hollywood

The first side is so austere that it tried the patience of even this committed fan. Once "Cattle and Cain" begins, I remember why I'm a committed fan. If you don't know them, this isn't the place to start, but you should find that place. Hint: "Tallullah".

Ramones - Subterranean Jungle

Also not the place to start for a seminal band, but I rather enjoy this lesser work. It's a chance to here Joey sing a bunch of covers, and he was good at that.

New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies

The band came up with three great songs in 1983, but only one is on the album. After "Age of Consent", the album is dull experiments and filler. The other two songs are the bracing dance songs "Blue Monday" and "Confusion"; they're on the second disc of the spiffy reissue.

The Robert Cray Band - Bad Influence

I think of this as an early template for "Strong Persuader", a terrific album I hope I don't have to proselytize for. This sounds quite good because it invokes the better album, but songwriting isn't the later album's equal.

NRBQ - Tapdancin' Bats

Fun for a dog's breakfast, but I am not sure if the best song was written by JS Bach or is about Captain Lou Albano.

The Replacements - Hootenanny

Not as much fun as you'd think for a dog's breakfast. The best song is Paul Westerberg solo. "Let It Be" seems a million miles away.

King Sunny Ade - Synchro System

I have no idea what a bad King Sunny Ade album sounds like, but I like "Aura" which is on the second half of my CD more.

James Blood Ulmer - Odyssey

I like to describe this as my favorite jazz album, but I'm not sure many jazz fans would accept it as a jazz album. These days you can find his CDs in the blues section, if you can find them at all. I can't even call this sui generis, because the band made two subsequent albums. What I can tell you is that I love this album from the avant-garde sonics to the violin posing as a down home fiddle. The three sung songs situate the five instrumentals perfectly.