Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 5/15/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Sunday’s album is #625:

The Act – Too Late at 20

Before Nick Laird-Clowes had the easy-listening radio hit Life in a Northern Town with his chamber-pop band the Dream Academy, he fronted this ferocious, sharply literate, Elvis Costello-influenced two-guitar new wave rock band with David Gilmour’s kid brother Mark playing lead. Their lone 1981 album is a masterpiece of catchy tunes, snarling guitar and restless lyricism. “I belong to the ones that got away,” Laird-Clowes asserts on the album’s best track, the resolute escape anthem Long Island Sound – but by the end, it’s hard to tell whether he’s singing “I belong” or “I’m alone.” That moment is characteristic here. Zero Unidentified is about as exhilarating as a three-minute song can get: it won’t take no for an answer. Get It While You’re Young has an uneasy undercurrent beneath the ecstatic two-guitar powerpop intensity, while The Art of Deception salutes the cheaters amongst us, Clash-style. There’s also the sizzling, upbeat Sure Fire; the reggae-tinged, cynical Protection and Skip the Beat; and the surprisingly tender Touch and Go. Only one dud amongst all this fun. Issued on the same label that would put out Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot out the Lights only a few months later, it’s been out of print for decades. Here’s a random torrent via Powerpop Criminals.

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May 15, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 8/10/09

It’s not like we typically go a whole weekend without putting up one kind of review or another here: an unjustly obscure, brilliant cd, a killer show that too few people noticed. In addition to having seen amazing shows by the Moonlighters on Friday night, a completely drunken baby shower on Saturday plus a last-minute Mark Sinnis show Sunday night at the always comfortable Spikehill, we’re sitting on a ton of great albums. All kinds of new stuff coming up momentarily.  In the meantime, as we do every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Monday’s song is #352:

The Act – Zero Unidentified

Fiery, gorgeously melodic new wave rock anthem from the British band’s lone and absolutely classic 1982 album Too Late at 20. In mathematics, zero is defined as unidentified, and frontman Nick Laird-Clowes (later of the Dream Academy) wants to keep it that way – he won’t take no for an answer. “Let’s get together tonight!” The link here is a homemade digitized version of the whole album.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 1/29/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s is #545:

The Act – Get It While You’re Young

This catchy, warmly anthemic track from this fiery two-guitar British band’s lone, brilliant 1982 album Too Late At 20 still rings true more than 25 years later. Frontman Nick Laird-Clowes would go on to Zager and Evans Hall of Fame infamy a couple of years later with the Dream Academy and Life in a Northern Town. He makes movie music now, a considerable improvement. The album was never issued on cd; scour the dollar bins at your local vinyl emporium. The link above is a homemade mp3 download.

January 29, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 12/1/08

The top 666 songs of alltime countdown continues, one day at a time all the way to #1. Monday’s is #603:

The Act – The Art of Deception

Obscure, cynical, lyrically-fueled treasure from this fiery two-guitar British band’s lone 1982 album Too Late at 20, with David Gilmour’s kid brother Mark playing lead guitar. Sadly, frontman Nick Laird-Clowes would soon abandon his amped-up Costello-style rock for the lite FM sound that would make him a one-hit wonder with his next project, the Dream Academy. Never released digitally (although occasionally a dodgy homemade mp3 or two will turn up); you’ll have to hunt this down on vinyl, most likely in the bargain bins

December 1, 2008 Posted by | Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment