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Diversion Enthusiast Society, est. 2007

Posts Tagged ‘Dirty Projectors

Music Marathon 2009 – Part 4 (Dark Was the Night – John Doe and the Sadies)

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Various Artists – Dark Was the Night:  A Red Hot Compilation
Charity compilation albums seldom yield much of longstanding worth.  They can be well-meaning, a boon (or burden) to completists, and fun, but it’s quite unusual that any offer an artist’s best work, usually relying on b-sides, leftovers, poorly conceived covers, and live versions of previously released material.  Red Hot’s No Alternative was something of an oddity in the early 90s, offering what seemed to be otherwise unavailable essential tracks at the time, like Bob Mould’s “Can’t Fight It,” Smashing Pumpkins’ “Glynis,” Pavement’s “Unseen Power of the Picket Fence,” and, perhaps most of all (to some folks, at least), Nirvana’s “Verse Chorus Verse.”  In retrospect, it’s a bit more of a mix – it still has those throwaway live versions (delivered by the Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, and the Breeders), quirky covers (Soul Asylum does Marvin Gaye, Goo Goo Dolls do the Stones, Uncle Tupelo does CCR – okay, that last one’s pretty essential), and b-side level stuff (hi, Soundgarden). Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Dave

December 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Music Marathon 2007, Part 4 (Chao, Manu – Dirty Projectors)

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I’ve amassed a huge backlog, since this week’s been full of listening opportunities, but few writing opportunities. I basically had to re-learn algebra and geometry for my GRE general test yesterday, so I’m using that as my excuse (for the record, it went pretty well, all things considered).

Anyway, first off, I should mention that I’ve done some ret-conning. I forgot to include Blitzen Trapper’s album in my last post, so I’ve updated that. Now, on to the next bunch.

Manu Chao – La Radiolina

I’ve heard that this album is sort of this year’s “if you don’t normally listen to World Music…” selection. That’s kind of a silly statement to make about such an all-encompassing genre*, but I guess it makes more sense with Chao than with others who get grouped into that category, since he seems to be making an attempt at diversity… or so many of the reviews I’ve read tell me. But I guess maybe I have a poor ear for this sort of thing, because, despite the multi-lingual lyrics (Spanish, English, and French for sure… probably a few more), the diversity seems to manifest mostly in rockers that don’t quite rock and salsas that don’t really sound all that different from other salsas I’ve heard. There’s some obvious political bile being vented, but everything sounds so sterile and calculated, like Chao and his collaborators were too busy getting that clean tone and adjusting the levels that any real anger got lost somewhere. Also, I listen to a lot of music in the car, so I’m biased against recordings that use police sirens as sound effects, and Chao does it not just once, but several times on La Radiolina. (Also, most pictures of Chao suggest he dresses like a weiner at all times – see above.)

I’m willing to accept that I don’t “get” this one. If my not getting it keeps me out of the World Music section of the CD store with its threats of Afro-Celtic drum circles and the like, I figure I’m all the better for it.

* As if South African township music really has anything in common with Qawwali besides being created by people who don’t live in America or England. By that logic, why the heck aren’t Sigur Ros and Air considered World Music?

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Written by Dave

December 4, 2007 at 9:20 pm