Archive for March, 2010

Frightened Rabbit

March 28, 2010

There’s obviously something going on a Fat Cat Records these days. The wave of truly excellent young Scottish bands they’re digging up is very suspicious. I’d guess genetic experiments if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve already been so in love with so many artists from that land for so many years, from The Skids to the Cocteau Twins, Lowlife to Mogwai. Something in the water there, perhaps. Or the beer.

The latest group are led by The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Frightened Rabbit, all to be found on the aforementioned Fat Cat label. Frightened Rabbit have just released their third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks and, after listening to it relentlessly all week I can safely say, without exaggeration, it’s an early contender for 2010 Album of the Year.

frightened rabbit winter of mixed drinks

As much as I’m looking forward to The Love Language’s Libraries on Merge later on this year, it’s going to have to be mind rending to beat out the quality of songs collected on this album here. Skewed, infectious, eclectic rock and roll with a definate celtic feel and some very clever, at times very frank and amusing, lyrical content. The songwriting is exceptional, the tunes anthemic at times and all viciously catchy. Something tells me these boys are about to become critical darlings with this album and, with a little luck, see no small measure of success, too.

All well deserved.

Highly recommended, as you might expect.


Dear Tea Baggers

March 27, 2010

You are all Bill Maher’s bitches.

I love this guy, I really do, and he’s 100 % right (or left, I should say). In the absence of Bill Hicks and George Carlin, he’s the clearest voice we have against the backward, grinding idiocy that’s near as dammit turned this once great nation into a 3rd World laughing stock.

Sorry, folks, and I know many of you don’t believe in the theory anyway, but the rest of us would like to start to evolve into something we don’t have to be ashamed of anymore.

It’s already going to be a bit easier without the massive, dead weight of Rush Limbaugh dragging us down.

Adios, scat muncher.

I’m In Love With That Song

March 18, 2010

Alex Chilton, only 59 years old, passed away in New Orleans yesterday. This has stirred a poignant sadness in me, as often happens when musician I enjoy fades from this life, especially when it seems a bit too soon. Kind of a pang and a wince when you see that headline.

Alex Chilton Dead at 59.

I fully admit I only discovered his music through other sources. This Mortal Coil did two incredible covers on the It’ll End In Tears album, “Kangaroo” and “Holocaust”, and they were so profoundly moving, so sad and deep, it was clear that, beyong the gorgeously atmospheric production and the incredible voices of Gordon Sharp and Dominic Appleton, there was an astonishly good songwriter at work there.

Still, I rarely traveled to times as ancient as 1978 in search of my music so it wasn’t really until I heard the Replacement’s “Alex Chilton” that I decided I needed to hear the originals. I went out and hunted down Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers on vinyl at a used record store and brought it home to my old turntable.

Looking back now, I realize that scratchy vinyl was the only way to listen to a work like that. Those beautiful, almost fragile sounding tunes came sneaking out of the speakers amidst the crackle like the echoes of a hunrdred lonely, angst filled nights. Each note, each word distinct and emotive, powerful without overpowering. A masterpiece for sure.

Those who refer to him as a “cult icon” provide an unfair stereotype I think. It’s just a lazy description for someone who influenced a lot of others with his talent and never received the popular attention that, perhaps, his work deserved. Then again, popular attention is pretty overrated in the world we live in.

He was the songwriter’s songwriter, I think. The people who matter certainly know who he was. Hopefully, that was enough.

Say hello to the Venusians for us, Alex. And rest well.