Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Song of the Day 9/9/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Wednesday’s song is #322:

The Hangdogs Anacostia

In July of 1932, with the depression in full swing, thousands of World War I veterans marched on Washington to protest the Hoover administration’s refusal to let them cash in their service bonus bonds ahead of schedule. Because Washington, DC is not a state, the Posse Comitatus Act did not apply, and on July 28, a battalion commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur attacked them with poison gas. The vets fled to the Hooverville they’d built across the Anacostia River; dozens were massacred and the encampment was burned to the ground. This rousing, furious anthem commemorates the atrocity. From the Beware of Dog cd, 2000, still in print.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review: Les Triaboliques – rivermudtwilight

This is one of those rare albums whose title perfectly describes it. With an earthy, after-the-rain feel, it’s the brainchild of a trio of old British punks. Justin Adams is the least punk of the three – lead guitarist in Jah Wobble‘s band, collaborator with Tinariwen and Juldeh Camara (and recently with that has-been 70s rock guy), he’s one of the world’s foremost desert blues players. Lu Edmonds was in the Damned and then the Mekons, eventually took the same route Joe Strummer and dozens of his contemporaries would take into world music and is adept at a museum’s worth of stringed instruments. Ben Mandelson was in Magazine and would go on to found Globe Style Records, home to such diverse acts as Varttina and the Klezmatics. The debut collaboration between the three is a frequently  mesmerizing, otherworldly blend of desert blues, Balkan songs, vintage Americana, Britfolk and a gypsy caravan of styles from around the globe. It’s one of the best releases of the year in any style of music.

The first and last tracks are the most hypnotic, the former clanging like a stripped-down Tinariwen until a catchy, elliptical theme finally emerges, the latter a breathtaking amalgam of styles from Middle Eastern improvisation (played as a guitar taqsim by Adams) leading into a big blue-sky theme similar to early Pat Metheny. Spiced with guest Salah Dawson Miller’s guiro, Gulaguajira sets a vivid Russian prisoner’s lament atop a latin groove. The lush mesh of a phalanx of jangling, clanking, plinking, thumping stringed instruments – guitar, mandolin, saz and cumbus (Turkish lutes) and others is rich with suspenseful overtones, particularly on the tricky, sidestepping Afsaduni (I Have Been Corrupted). The single best song here is the eerie, atmospheric nocturne Shine a Light, an antiwar vocal number intoned ominously by Adams.

Heavy metal disguised as dusk-core, as the label calls it, the title track is surprisingly effective and psychedelic even if it kicks the hypnotic vibe to the curb. There’s also a stark Balkan lament, an even sparser one-chord jam on the old folksong Jack O’Diamonds (no relation to the Fairport Convention version), and a delightful John Lee Hooker style boogie flavored with exotic instruments (only the British would come up with some thing like that). The only misstep is a pointless cover of Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood which owes more to the odious Santa Esmeralda than to the Animals. This is one of those albums that’s as fun to hear as it must have been to record. If you can’t wait til Tinariwen’s new one comes out, this will do just fine.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 9/8/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Tuesday’s song is #323:

The Room – Bated Breath

These psychedelically-inclined Liverpool new wavers hit their peak around 1984-85. This one’s the high point of their promising but uneven 1981 debut lp, a calmly menacing account of a killer on the prowl that builds to a deliciously nasty ending. The band’s nucleus, singer Dave Jackson and bassist Becky Stringer would continue in the similarly dark, lyrical Benny Profane and currently the Nashville gothic band the Dead Cowboys.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment