30 thoughts on “Halfway In: What Are You Listening To?

  1. Peter Case WIG! (exclamation his, but mine too) and, equally exclamatory, Neu! ’86 from the vinyl set are in heavy rotation as of late. Everything else in the pipeline feels good but not exactly great like these two do.

  2. Jeeze — last night I fell alseep to Mercyful Fate’s “Melissa.” A few nights before that, Opeth’s “Morningrise”. A few days ago, my five-year-old daughter and I were listening to Tracy Thorn’s first solo album in the car. And because the Disney Channel is on in our house almost 24-7, I cannot get the Selena Gomez single, “Round and Round” out of my head. It’s not that bad actually. Plus, how many pop songs exist called “Round and Round”?

  3. I second The National (I think that’s what James means up there, in his pun), as the songs “Little Faith” and “Afraid of Everyone” are so excellent. Finally “got” Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti after many listens but don’t think that will remain too long now that I’ve reviewed it at Three Imaginary Girls — that whole “Stop listening when you’re done reviewing something” phenomenon, usually brought about by too many incoming records.

  4. Random popups on the iPod: “Pipeline”, the Ventures; “The Lady of Shalott”, Loreena McKennitt; “Coal Hole Cavalry”, Black Pig Border Morris; “The Other One”, Grateful Dead; soundtrack to “Conan the Barbarian” (best EVER); oh yeah, “Round and Round”, Perry Como…what can I say, I’m old-school.

  5. The new Los Lobos is great, still enjoying “The Big To-Do” by the Drive-By Truckers, “Dark Eyes” by Fanshaw is my favorite debut so far, Jason and the Scorchers’ “Halcyon Days” is surprisingly brilliant, Roky Erickson’s album with Okkeervil River is excellent and deeply moving stuff, Patty Griffin’s “Downtown Church” is full of remarkable performances, really enjoying the latest from the Sadies, Hacienda’s second album is very encouraging, the Fleshtones best-of on Raven is great stuff (talk about a band whose back catalog needs an upgrade), and the two-disc Tommy Keene career anthology is consistently astounding (why is that man not a star?). And it warms my heart that The Hoodoo Gurus have made a really good album again.

  6. The Gaslight Anthem ‘American Slang,’ Jimmy Webb ‘Just Across The River,’ Dierks Bentley ‘Up On The Ridge’ are the newer things getting the most spins. Oh, and Allo Darlin’. Two UK imports I’m digging: ‘Savvy Sugar: The Pure Essence of West Coast Rock & Roll’ and ‘Heavy Sugar: The Pure Essence of New Orleans R&B.’ I found a used Dave Clark 5 ‘Weekend In London’ LP the other day that I just downloaded, and a weird Cameo-Parkway comp, ‘Everybdy’s Goin Surfin’,’ where The Dovells sing Brian Wilson and Chubby Checker sings ‘Let’s Surf Again (Like We Did Last Summer).”

  7. John Hiatt Anthology, She Loves the Jerk, Lipstick Sunset, Icy Blue Heart, Tennessee Plates… I can’t believe these songs are almost 25 years old.

  8. Titus Andronicus’ “The Monitor” is pretty great; got a copy of The Feelies “The Good Earth” and loving it; “Contra” by Vampire Weekend; a bootlegged cd of Swamp Dogg’s “Total Destruction To Your Mind” (anyone know if that is available legit?), and like everyone else, I too am digging The National. Oh, and just got around to SUNN O. Sweet.

  9. New Spearhead disc, Vampire Weekend Contra (still), B-52’s collection (just saw a play, Planet Claire, In MD based on the music — blast from the past), Mountain Sprout . . .

  10. My Top Ten this year so far:

    1. Meat Loaf: Hang Cool Teddy Bear
    2. Patty Griffin: Downtown Church
    3. Jimi Hendrix: Valleys Of Neptune
    4. Paul Motian Trio: Lost In A Dream
    5. Elizabeth Cook: Welder
    6. Charlotte Gainsbourg: IRM
    7. BT: These Hopeful Machines
    8. Tift Merritt: See You On The Moon
    9. William Hooker Trio: Yearn For Certainty
    10. Giuseppi Logan Quintet: Guiseppi Logan Quintet


    …and my favorite new band so far this year, the Smoke Fairies:


    Other folks’ thoughts on those?

    Best, Andrew

  11. Steel Train – self-titled

    Egghead – Would Like A Word With You

    Dopamines – Expect The Worst

    The Challenged – Loaded Language

  12. My persistent 12-track mind:
    Love – *Love Lost* (Arthur Lee’s 1971 recordings for his abortive contract with Columbia); John Coltrane -*Coltrane’s Sound* ($3.98 CD found at Half Price Books recently); Sandie Shaw – *Reviewing the Situation* (Sandie’s 1969 attempt to connect with her own generation and unleash the true hipster beneath the teenidol gloss); The Freedom Sounds Featuring Wayne Henderson – *People Get Ready* (1967 Atlantic LP I bought on eBay for its great Loring Eutemey cover art but the music is neat funk jazz in the bargain.)

  13. I’m hooked on Liz Phair’s Funstyle. I think it’s enormously funny and I LOVE that it pisses off the critics. It’s not just a protest vote, here, though. It’s catchy the way Liz always is and it’s amusing and fun. And, for the record, I really liked “Exile in Guyville” but I’m not a Phair fan in particular.
    Other than that, Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground’s Southern Horror gets a lot of play for pleasure as does The Krayolas new one, Americano.
    Oddly enough, I’ve been stuck on the Stone Roses’ Second Coming, for a few days. I like it more now than I did when it came out and I liked it then.
    Also, Transference by Spoon and Pure Raw Hillbilly by Fish Fry Bingo. I’m kinda goin’ local…

  14. Peter Stampfel’s “Dook of the Beatniks”; stellar writing, singing, playing–best album in decades, maybe.
    Also re-examining the following oldies lately:
    Funkadelic bootleg “Sugar Shack ’74” (r.i.p. Garry Shider and Tiki; Ron Bykowski, where are ya?),
    the Jim Dickinson/Claudia Lennear versions of ‘Casey Jones’ and especially the Sheriff and the Ravels original of ‘Shombalor’, a song previously known to me by way of Cub Koda’s excellent cover version.

    This list yet again brings to mind the old Expiration Date quandry: is something recent and stale “newer” than something old and fresh? After all, it’s not Sheriff and the Ravels fault it took 50 years for their music to reach my ears. Maybe they just needed Lady Gaga’s PR folks.

  15. I have a new record out DIY style, Stay Strong on my own Dottie Records. I’m here to offer to send any of you a copy. I was with Romeo Void as singer/lyricist.

  16. I’m enjoying the new Paul Weller record. Wide ranging and pretty compelling. Gotta give it up the man – he’s never sitting still.

    JB, rockandrolltribe.com

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