Jerry Grit’s Year in Albums #2: March

This would have been up earlier, had I not erased the first version. Oh blog posts…easy come, easy go, not so easy coming back. And don’t get me started on WordPress’ new formatting limitations. So here’s a shorter, less funny and image-restricted version.

This month was an even more insane for music accumulation than both January and February combined. The mere prospect of documenting every album I now have gives me a stomach ache. So I’m limiting this post to albums I had a chance to think about. Even though it only represents about like 10%. I still have this glut problem. But I still appreciate all of it. Unless it stinks. 

Michael Showalter – Sandwiches and Cats This should have been funnier. I was just as disappointed with the Michael Ian Black CD. What happened to these guys? They are so stand-up-comedy-ish. The “clean penis” bit is great, but nothing of the genius of the State. It’s still old school observational comedy. But I may be overestimating the State from the 3 episodes I kind of watched.

Dengue Fever – Venus on Earth Chhom Nimol’s voice is the seller here. Their whole kitschy Cambodian pop shtick has been getting a lot of hype lately (Fresh Air?), and it’ll be too bad if her voice gets overlooked when the balloon bursts. She’s had to have been with better bands. If you can recommend a better album, I’m all ears.

Stephen Malkmus – Real Emotional Trash God bless Stephen Malkmus. He’s been a seminal influence, he always impresses live, but the fear is his solo output has diminishing returns. He’s like the George Lucas of indie pop, where Pavement are like the solid original trilogy and all the solo stuff are the treacly goofy prequel mess…okay, that’s unfair. But still, I think he needs a band, he needs someone to prevent him from indulging every eccentricity. Would it be so bad if he just joined the Jicks? It doesn’t matter, I guess. I’ll still buy it. “Wicked Wanda” is pretty good.

Thao – We Brave Bee Stings and All “Beat” is my new running song. And I feel good about running to it. It earns its driving force, without programmed beats or gimmicky loudness, but with a catchy and rhythmic hook. I feel like hitting myself at points. So it’s been weird. I’m happy, I’m running, I’m hitting myself.

Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See I need more soft noises to drown out the dumb sounds of a college town. And this one does the job nicely. Not a memorable tune in the bunch, though. But I put it on to forget it, so no surprise that I don’t remember anything.

The Gutter Twin – Saturnalia Much better than I thought. The terrible band name for the Greg Dulli-Mark Lanegan collaboration was bested (or “worsted”) by an even more awful album name. Who wants to think of these fogeys engaging in an orgy, ritual-based or not. But still they’re backed by a great band and they continue and build upon with cool shady guy reps. No real standouts, but this is an old fashioned album. Good for night listening. If you buy into either of their vibes, like I do, you’ll be happy with it. But it’s not canon-bound.

Betty Davis – They Say I’m Different Wow. This was made 34 years ago? It’s like a coked up Erikyah Badu got in a time machine and crashed into Sly and the Family Stone’s garage (Overblown Time Machine Simile #1). I’m not a funk fan. It’s faux cool bothers me. But she keeps it pretty weird. “He was a big freak/I whipped with him tourquoise chain”…What?

Destroyer – Trouble in Dreams Another Dan Behar album. I’m onboard with the schtick, but it’s not for everyone. And it’s not as great as This Night or Streethawk—which have moments where you might actually identify with Dan. Nope, you gotta set sail here. I haven’t listened to it that much. Too busy playing the Destroyer Drinking Game

She & Him – Volume One I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. It’s like M. Ward got in a time machine, picked up Carly Simon on a lonely day, and hung out at Phil Spector’s studio during its gaveyard shift (Overblown Time Machine Simile #2). Still, it may be offering up its pleasures too easily.

John Cale – Paris 1918 I still don’t know who he is, but this is of course excellent, elegant and well-crafted. It feels like I should already have this, like I’ve lost $15 while simultaneously finding an old cd.

Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster I like it, but I’m a little skeptical of the let’s-get-ecstatic-by-the-beauty-we-create thing. Or that means I’m bitter.

The Everybodyfields – Nothing Is Okay My family makes fun of me for loving unapologetically sad albums like this. Screw them. They ache and wrench beautifully. Canon bound

Tift Merritt – Another Country The song I love the best is the one my father taught to me. “The kindness of a stranger is dust from an unseen wing. But an old friend at my table is by far the finest thing this tired mile could give to me.” The colors of the man I love are deepest blue and green and it isn’t very often that I say just what I mean, ’cause the feeling seems to scatter and these words fall in between. For what I miss, I’ll just tell you this. It’s something to me.

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Concert Review–Jens Lekman and the Honeydrips

I wrote another review. This time Jens Lekman (yay) and the Honeydrips (nay)  perilously subjected themselves to my critical gaze. The bat part is totally true.

And if the review reads a little strange, be advised that the Isthmus and I are on opposite sides of the parenthetical dash issue–I use them, they take them out.

Jens defends the precious. Photo credit Brooke Jackson.