Friday, July 13, 2007

Bound to wind up one lonely, twisted old man

I buy new music maybe once a year. I like new music, but it's usually just not my priority -- I'm happy to keep listening to the same Blues Brothers record if it means I can get a new book or two. But I made my annual purchase recently, for the sake of the new, for the sake of the blog...

The White Stripes -- Icky Thump

Every review I've read says the same things about it -- a return to form after Get Behind Me Satan, a return to their pre-Elephant sound, or at worst, a few good songs but mostly bloated ego. Well, I dunno, kids. The guitars that kick off "Icky Thump" are rockin' pretty hard, and there's not a lot more I require from my White Stripes records. I get the sense that Jack White might not have much of a sense of humor when it comes to his outfits/his music/his bands, so while I might not want to hang out with him when he's putting a record together, I'm happy to listen to it when he's done. "Conquest" inspires the cover's visuals, it thumps and it grooves, and of the batch, this is the record I play when The Librarian is at work I want to pretend to be a badass rock and roll singer.

Ryan Adams -- Easy Tiger

I love Ryan Adams so much. I don't even remember what got me into him in the first place -- I think I was on a mission for brand new music when Gold came out, and I picked it up on a whim. That led me backwards to Whiskeytown, which coincided with my realization that country music is rad, and from there I was insanely grateful that the dude puts out one (or two) records a year. The downside of his massive output is that not every song is a gem ... there's a lot to forget about on his recent releases, but the stuff in between is fantastic. What I've read about Easy Tiger says that it's unlike is other recent releases in that it's "all the good stuff" ... but I dunno. It's pretty standard Ryan Adams, I think. A few great songs, a few good ones, a few near-misses. But for songs like "Two" and "These Girls," it's definitely worth all the misses in the world.

Nick Lowe -- At My Age

Here we go. I found Nick Lowe a few years ago when he performed "She's Got Soul" on Conan O'Brien, and I was fascinated by this dapper old man with shock-white hair, smoking a cigarette and singing about girls. I bought The Convincer and played the shit out of it, only finding out later that Nick Lowe was Elvis Costello's producer back when he was, you know, Elvis Costello, and also the dude who sang "Cruel to be Kind." I guess he has quite the punky reputation, but I know him as the dude in the suit who sings blues/country-influenced pop songs, wears a suit, and has eyes that look ... not tired, but full. At My Age is the best new record I've bought since I Don't Know When. "Long Limbed Girl" is nostalgic for old loves, "I Trained Her to Love Me" is mean Nick Lowe at his best, and "Feel Again" brings it back to sweetness again. Thank god this man survived his youth.

Beastie Boys -- The Mix-Up

It's the album before their next great album! I'm not a big Beastie Boys fan, and I probably wouldn't have picked this up had it actually been their next great album. The Mix-Up is an instrumental, and I mostly bought it to serve as an alternative work record to The Prodigy's Dirtchamber Sessions. One review described it as future background music for countless frat parties, and that might be right. But it's good for what it is. Instead of putting it on while I wrote this paragraph, I kept listening to Nick Lowe.

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