Geof’s New Music: 13-19 Jul 2008

This week has two new studio releases: one that everyone has, and the other one that BMG sent me when I missed the chance to reply no. Hey, I’ll take the chance.

Last week was a very good return to form:

  • My Brightest Diamond’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. Nothing on A Thousand Shark’s Teeth ever grabbed me like “Golden Star” off of Bring Me the Workhorse did, but “Ice & The Storm” comes close. There’s no doubt that Shara Worden is quite ridiculously talented, but it feels on this one that she’s so there and I’m so … here, with little connection. All in all, it’s a solid effort, though. Three stars.
  • Sigur Rós’s Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. Brad asked me what I thought of the new Sigur Rós pretty quickly after GNM went up last week, so I sat down and listened to it on Sunday night [which watching baseball, which was quite the dissonant experience, I assure you]. It’s … definitely quite different from what I have of their catalogue to date. I understand the criticisms of it in terms of why people don’t like the more straightforward pop direction this album took, but I’m a firm believer that bands have to experiment lest they [and/or their fans] become totally bored with the thing. Style changes notwithstanding, it’s still very much Sigur Rós—I’d recognize Jónsi’s vocals anywhere—and that’s a good thing. Bands that don’t experiment don’t grow, and bands that don’t grow die. [Unless, of course, you’re the Rolling Stones, but then Keith Richards has to be pickled from all the crap he’s ingested over the years.] Three-and-a-half stars, and it could grow on me even more.
  • 21 Apr 2002 [Toronto, ON, Canada] concert bootleg of Wilco. The set starts off with “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”, which is weird given their current sound. It’s also pre-Glenn and pre-Mikael, so it’s just an overall different feel—more straightforward than present-day Wilco [my favorite incarnation of the band]. This is a fine-sounding audience recording, which is great given its age [and how blessed we Wilco fans are with the fine rigs folks bring to shows these days]. I give it three stars.
  • 14 Nov 2003 [Los Angeles, CA, USA] concert bootleg of Death Cab for Cutie. Thin, reedy, and distant. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 22 Apr 2005 [St. Paul, MN, USA] concert bootleg of M. Ward. The show starts out slow, and the recording is about a B-, but it’s enjoyable. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • 5 Nov 2005 [Dayton, OH, USA] concert bootleg of Over the Rhine. The Canal Street Tavern is where I first saw OtR live, in a city I used to call home, so all those shows hold a special place in my heart. [I want to see a CST OtR show in 2008 or 2009 with Lara if she’s still in Ohio then.] This is a fine, fine recording. Four stars.
  • 2008-05-04: Derek and Sandra 4 May 2008 [Birmingham, AL, USA] concert bootleg of Derek Webb & Sandra McCracken. I wish that I’d gotten a board feed of this show, because the AT2021s don’t really get lows. Of course, this works fine for acoustic singer/songwriter-y stuff, but the end result still sounds a little thin. But it sounds pretty great. Three-and-a-half stars.