Geof’s New Music: 2-8 Nov 2008

Let’s get back on track …

Here’s what I did the last time around, a month ago

Geof’s New Music: 7-13 Sep 2008

The studio recordings are a smorgasboard, but the bootlegs are a salute to the Bay State. [Bleu is from Boston.]

Last week was uneven, but the good stuff was very good:

  • Sandra McCracken’s Red Balloon. Predictably, I love it. There are a couple moments on the record that I don’t get, but all in all, I think this lives up to the hype that Derek has been giving it. Four stars.
  • Nirvana’s In Utero. Sadly, it doesn’t have the punch that Nevermind did, probably understandable as a sophomore major-label release. That, plus a dalliance into noise rock that I didn’t enjoy, got it two-and-a-half stars from me. The goods are great! The bads are … meh.
  • Jackopierce’s Promise of Summer. Quite, quite enjoyable. A four-star record for me, and I’ll be getting more JP records from the back catalog. [See? Giving stuff away for free works.]
  • 3 Feb 2006 [Las Vegas, NV, USA] concert bootleg of Coldplay. So meh. A distant recording from the audience, and … eh. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 26 Oct 2007 [New York, NY, USA] concert bootleg of Over the Rhine. Fan-fucking-tastic. Four-and-a-half stars. If you love OtR, get it. Go. Now. You. NOW.
  • 17 Jul 2008 [London, England] concert bootleg of Death Cab for Cutie. Also kinda distant, but with a better base to start with. Three stars.
  • 26 Jul 2008 [Anchorage, AK, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. No, I didn’t pick this in honor of Sarah Palin. 😉 This is the band whose debut release was titled A.M.; sadly, it sounds like it was recorded from an AM broadcast: over-compressed, tinny, and muddled. An example: when the band does their Wall of Noise trick in the opening cut, “Via Chicago”, everything is … the same sound level. Jeff is clearly heard. This … just isn’t the way it ought to be at all. Having looked at the mic used in the recording, I’m guessing that this is the sound guy’s fault, or perhaps just crappy mains. But, you know, if I lived in Anchorage, I really wouldn’t give a shit, because Wilco rocks. The good thing is that we get two new songs out of it, and new songs? Always good. The rating is two stars.

Geof’s New Music: 17-23 Aug 2008

Last week:

  • R.E.M.’s Murmur. Admittedly, I haven’t given this enough of a listen [just getting to it on Saturday], but I’m just not feeling it yet. I’ll keep trying, but right now, it’s just a three-star record on my radar.
  • George Strait’s Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind. I don’t like a whole lot of country music, but there’s just … something about George Strait’s voice. I figure between George and Lyle Lovett, I can get all the country I ever need in my life. [And I still blame my junior-year-at-MSMS roommate, Thomas, for listening to country music in the first place. I had two choices: listen to country or kill him. I chose the former. But working in country radio right out of high school pretty well fixed me on listening to too much country.] So yeah, I’m going through Strait’s catalog some. Three stars, if you like country.
  • The Cardigans’ Emmerdale. For a band with this much rock and roll chops—Peter Svensson and Magnus Sveningsson had been in heavy metal bands prior to The Cardigans—it’s weird to hear a pop record from them, but it’s still solid, because Nina Persson’s voice is stellar. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 25 Apr 2008 [Dayton, OH, USA] concert bootleg of Over the Rhine. The mix is just off, but I’m afraid that there’s not much to be done about it by the taper, given that it seems like everything was done that was possible with the AUD part of the mix. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • 28 Apr 2008 [Los Angeles, CA, USA] concert bootleg of She & Him. Persic is one of the best tapers I know, so I lay all the fault here on the vocalists—not only Zooey [who just needs to get more stage presence, which should shock no one who’s read about her on the Internet at this point], but whoever was doing the bgv’s, too. But the musicianship of the band is great … three-and-a-half stars.
  • 16 May 2008 [St. Louis, MO, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. The musicianship is great. The recording is solid. It just … doesn’t really feel like I’m there, which is pretty much my standard for bootleg recordings. I guess I’m faulting Steve’s mix here, which rightly focuses on the music, but feels like it weighs a bit too heavy on the SBD patch. I’m not saying that it’s not good; I’m just saying that I guess I think it could be better. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • 25 Jul 2008 [Santa Monica, CA, USA] concert bootleg of Gnarls Barkley. It’s obvious that they still haven’t gotten comfortable with being interviewed, but man … a fun listen nonetheless. Four stars.

Geof’s New Music: 20-26 Jul 2008

I’m swimming in new studio releases, so I’m going from two studio / five bootlegs to three studio / four bootlegs for the forseeable future …

Last week:

Geof’s New Music: 7-13 Oct 2007

My two new studio releases this week come courtesy of the Granades. Thanks, you guys. 😀

Also, I’m going to start putting links in to MusicBrainz URLs for releases. I spend time putting those in for the bootlegs, so I should show the work, eh?

Last week was average:

  • My Brightest Diamond - Bring Me the Workhorse My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me the Workhorse. Admittedly, My Brightest Diamond is not the most accessible thing. When I first saw her open for Sufjan Stevens in 2006, I spent the first fifteen to twenty minutes of her set going, “The heck?” Then, something clicked. Not sure what, but … something did. “Golden Star” is a favorite of mine. The control that Shara Worden has over her voice is largely unseen in popular music, but belies her operatic background. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • 25 Aug 1989 [St. Louis, MO, USA] concert bootleg of Uncle Tupelo. It’s an old, fuzzy recording, but you can just smell the raw talent of the band. As I listened to this, I thought once again about how I always liked Jay Farrar’s voice better for what UT was doing, but after the split, I’m definitely a Tweedy guy. Can’t imagine the disappointment I’d feel if I’d followed UT back in the day, hoping that Son Volt would be a fully worthy successor to the band. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • Wilco - 19980904 - cover 4 Sep 1998 [Rockford, IL, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. A decent era of the band, but unsatisfying for me: I didn’t like the background vocalists, and most of the sets had a lot of the Mermaid Avenue stuff, which I like, but I’d rather hear original Wilco tunes. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 5 Apr 2007 [Nashville, TN, USA] concert bootleg of The Decemberists. The annotation that came with the bootleg termed it a “[g]reat audience recording (some crowd chatter on first few songs)”. That’s … charitable. That said, live taping is often hard in Nashville’s more popular venues [City Hall, the Ryman] because security’s really harsh on it, regardless of the artist’s taping policy. This definitely feels like a stealth recording, and it’s … passable. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • Wilco - 20070902 - cover 2 Sep 2007 [Denver, CO, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. I had read high praise for this recording, and that praise is well-deserved. Four stars, even with my general apathy towards the Sky Blue Sky material.
  • Feist - 20070914 - cover 14 Sep 2007 [Grantham, PA, USA] concert bootleg of Feist. As much as I have bagged on Feist recordings over the past few weeks, I have to praise this one. Whoever taped it knew what the heck they were doing! Four stars.
  • Andrew Osenga - 20070914 - cover 14 Sep 2007 [Goodlettsville, TN, USA] concert bootleg of Andrew Osenga. Andy forgot the condensers he was going to let me borrow, and the omnis really weren’t up to the task. Three stars, all due to the band. Taper sucked that night. 😉