Oct 072008

Tuesday Playlist for 2008.10.06

Uncategorized Comments Off on Tuesday Playlist for 2008.10.06

Intro: Hi folks.  The Tuesday Playlist is back after an unintentional week off.  I’d like to say that it’s back and better than ever, but I’d probably be lying.

Listening: In the past couple weeks I’ve pick up both Chris Walla’s solo album, Field Manual, and the new Thievery Corporation release, Radio Retaliation.  The short of it is: get Field Manual, pass on Radio Rataliation.

The longer version is as follows.  Walla, the multi-instrumentalist and producer who most people know from his work with Death Cab for Cutie, is a creative and evocative songwriter.  Combine this with his years of experience on both sides of sound board and you have the makings for a truly awesome album.  Between evocative, boppy pop ditties like “Geometry &c.” and more pensive, emotive songs like “A Bird is a Song”, Walla demonstrates an impressive command of a wide variety of musical styles.  And those who fear that Field Manual might be a Death Cab for Cutie album minus Gibbard et al., need look no further than the noise-pop, politically concious “Archer v. Light” to disabuse themselves of that notion.  Admittedly, the strains of Death Cab are all over the album, but whether they are representative of what Walla took away from the band or what he brought to it remains an open question.  In all, the album is easily one of the best of the year.

As a long-time Thievery Corporation fan, I wish I could say the same about Radio Retaliation.  Unfortunately it lacks the sexiness of Richest Man in Babylon and the musical maturity of Mirror Conspiracy.  What’s left are beats and themes that any Thievery Corporation fan has heard dozens of times before along with pseudo-reggae crooning of political lyrics so dry they might as well be written on a debater’s note cards.  Admittedly, even at their worst, Thievery Corporation still lay down some pretty cool tunes.  The title track is about as good as the album gets.  It features the sort of chill, laid back beats and rhythmic lyrics at which TC really excel.  Unfortunately, even at it’s best the album is less-than-spectacular and at it’s worst it’s not exactly cringe-inducing.  Thievery Corporation fans won’t find any “Lebanese Blonde” or “Meu Destino” on this album, but at least they won’t find anything to really shake their love for the band’s work.  At least that’s something, I guess.

Upcoming: Now before anyone asks – no, I’m neither ill nor have I been replaced by a body snatcher.  I DID, in fact, order the new Oasis album.  I opted for a physical disk, however, so I have yet to receive my copy.

So if you buy one album this week, it should probably be the new album by The Streets.  Mike Skinner makes Brit-Hop that puts most of the Hip-Hop on this side of the pond to shame.  Few artists manage to be as simultaneously intelligent and base as Skinner.  I just grabbed it off Amazon, so you’ll all no doubt hear next week what, exactly, I think of it.  Alternately, if a member of the mullet-and-‘vette set, you can pick up a copy of Tesla’s new CD.

In coming weeks, there’s new material from Keane, Brett Dennen, Kenny Chesney, Lucinda Williams, Ludacris, and Matisyahu and a Christmas albums from Sixpence None the Richer.  AC/DC are also releasing a new album, which will be available only at Wal-Mart, indicating that AC/DC has a pretty keen understanding of their target audience’s shopping habits.

Thinking: I recently went and saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  It’s highly recommended.  It’s a smart, music-centric love story about a couple of indie kids in New York City.  Well worth the cost of admission.  Plus it’s got a pretty awesome soundtrack.

In other news – I really need to restring my guitars.  Anyone got recommendations for good acoustic strings for playing folk/pop and strings for playing rock, industrial, and punk on a Strat?

News: Nick Reynolds, one of the founding members of the Kingston Trio, passed away this past week at 75.

And honestly, that’s all I got for this week.

Song of the Week: Chris Walla covering “Shattered Dreams” by Johnny Hates Jazz – does it get any more music-geek adorable?