Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 3/22/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Tuesday’s album is #679:

Echobelly – On

Ferocious, fearless, sultry UK punk-pop from 1993. One of the most stunningly powerful voices in recent decades, Echobelly frontwoman Sonya Aurora Madan belts and wails over the roar and crunch of Glen Johansson and Debbie Smith’s guitars, through a mix of mostly upbeat, catchy songs lit up by the occasional George Harrisonesque lead line. Defiantly alluring, Madan romps through the irresistibly catchy, scorching Car Fiction, the similarly stomping King of the Kerb – a cynical tale of a pimp and his hookers – the unstoppable optimism of Great Things, the dismissive Go Away, the feminist-stoked Natural Animal and Pantyhose and Roses, and the sarcastic but swoony Something Hot in a Cold Country. Four Letter Word nicks an idea from the Sonic Youth playbook; the absolute classic here is the slowly simmering, psychedelic nocturne Dark Therapy, which winds up with an unreal crescendo delivered by steel guitarist BJ Cole, in what might be his best-ever cameo. There’s also the distantly X-influenced Nobody Like You and In the Year as well as the morbidly quiet, mostly acoustic closing cut. The band’s 1991 debut is also worth a spin. Here’s a random torrent.

March 22, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing the Auto Dropouts!

As you can see, we haven’t exactly been practicing what we preach here for the last few days. Nasty as it’s been outside, there’s no better time to catch a live show: in the dead of what’s left of winter around here, you’re never brushing elbows with anybody, and the bands, usually frustrated because of the lousy turnout, take it out on their instruments, with frequently amazing results. So we missed what was probably an excellent Lianne Smith show, and more stuff, and were just about to dig into the archives to see if there’s anything in there that happened on the 29th of February that would be fun to put up here…when this came over the transom. Wow. The Auto Dropouts are a Swedish two-guitar rock band with awesomely catchy pop tunesmithing. They claim to be big Only Ones fans, which seems plausible, but the lyrics actually make some sense, the hooks are bigger and catchier and the songs are faster. Like a lot of their Nordic countrymen they sing in somewhat heavily accented English, but that doesn’t detract from songs. Occasionally they’ll throw in a lick from a classic obscurity from the 60s or 70s: see if you can find them. This is great stuff, some of the best songs we’ve heard this year.

Of the songs on their myspace, Viva For Ever is very catchy with lots of vocal harmonies. Myrna Minkoff is a very clever tribute to the character from A Confederacy of Dunces. It reminds of Echobelly with its fiery guitar stomp that only picks up the pace as the chorus kicks in. C’mon Stranger has country swing and a sweet series of chord changes The Boy with the Restless Eyes starts out by nicking an old Beatles lick; it’s a fast danceable number with deliciously sparse reverb guitar. She Ain’t Gonna Flip Burgers is propulsive, defiantly recounting the trials and tribulations of a woman who’s determined to make in music at all costs despite getting boilerplate rejection letters from big labels. If you’re on myspace, add them to your friends!

Also, here’s an insanely good Willie Nile youtube clip, Vagabond Moon live in Buffalo along with Nile being his usual wiseass self as the band tunes up.

And since it’s usually impossible to leave youtube without running into something new and distracting, here’s Michael Martin (WHO THE HELL IS THIS GUY??? It’s not the country singer, at least it doesn’t look like him), doing a surprisingly good, mostly acoustic cover of Willie Nile’s classic Black Parade, one of the most exhilarating and vengeful songs ever written.

March 1, 2008 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment