Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quick-hit music reviews: Ghostface, Flaming Lips, Drive-By Truckers

I must admit - I tend to fall behind the times with modern music. I have no home computer, and no money, so that's a deadly combination right there. However, this past weekend, I was able to journey to a Tower Records location (maybe you've heard of them - mom and pop operation, owned by Bill and Jean Tower?) to purchase not one, not two, but THREE brand new CDs. After a few careful listens, here are the quick-hit impressions of someone who really doesn't know much about music.

Flaming Lips,
At War With the Mystics: You know when you listen to a song on an album, and its place on said album feels totally out of place? Know what I mean, man? That's how I felt about the record's first track "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song." It felt like the perfect final song for a spectacular record, but as it is, it's a good first song on a mediocre record. There's just too much white noise and studio crap, and I'm past the age where I'm buying records to impress people (including myself) with sonic gymnastics. If my head doesn't nod with some consistency, it's probably never going in my stereo with any regularity. That said, it's not terrible. I mean, hey, it's the Flaming Lips. Maybe my expectations are too high. C

Drive-By Truckers,
A Blessing And A Curse: One of my favorite albums of the last couple years was "The Dirty South." This album just feels like "The Dirty South Lite." The edge isn't there. They break out the crunchy blues guitars and the gravely vocals and put the rest on autopilot. At no point did I think "man, this is a good song." Decent, yes. Good, no. I'll probably never play it again unless someone specifically requests it. C-

Ghostface Killah,
Fishscale: Yes! Yes! Now THIS is a good record! Who would have figured eight years ago that Ghostface would be the one to emerge as the true star of the Wu-Tang Clan? Everyone figured it would be Method Man, or if not, then surely RZA would become a mega-producer-star (like Kanye or Pharrell). Ghostface always got props, but was never really in that conversation. But now, it's clear who the star was, and is. Fishscale is great, top to bottom. The beats are soft but menacing, cutting-edge yet nostalgic, and Ghostface's free-associative but still somehow very lyrical lyrics are almost brilliant. They are the lightning to the beats' thunder. Together it's all just a quiet storm, baby. A

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Town E. Dispatch said...

i agree on the truckers. i put their last three records (dirty south, decoration day, southern rock opera) in my top ten of my lifetime list.

this one is half baked.

i've heard that both patterson hood and jason isbell both have solo records in the can, but the record company wouldn't put them out until another DBT record came out, in order to capitalize on the success of the dirty south.

and the thing is, 'a blessing and curse', sounds just like that. a collection of tunes that had been cast aside gathered together to get the record company off their backs. think of the title 'a blessing and a curse' - could they be talking about success?

either way, they're still my favorite band.

MSH said...

Interesting theory...doesn't Patterson Hood already have a solo record out? Is that this one, or another one?

Also, which ones are Hood and Isbell in the photos? Is Isbell that really, REALLY redneck looking dude with the longish hair, kind of young looking?

Interesting aside: Isbell is the real last name of Izzy Stradlin from Guns N Roses. Isn't that interesting? Yes, I thought so as well.

Town E. Dispatch said...

hmmm... i dunno. i'll go look at the album photo. but as for REALLY redneck, wouldn't that be all of them? hood is my favorite, though isbell is a close second. third guitar player mike cooley also sings and writes some tunes. hood has a solo record that's all acoustic called killers & stars. it's good. he has a full band solo record due out soon. if you go to pattersonhood.com you can listen to some of the tracks.

they're a three headed monster that DBT.