widg‧et /ˈwɪdʒɪt/ [wij-it] -noun: Pointless ramblings from the New Forest. Obviously complete & utter Rubbish. Why must I contibute to all this endless talk about me? My self-indulgent knees, spilling themselves all over the internet. Obviously i am Jon and his hair, I AM HIM!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dance to the Music (Part Eight)

It's time to finish up this long-winded series of ear-candy blatherings and get the past out of the way before I can get around to banging on about 2006. So without further adoings, heeeeeere's Johnny's guide to what good sounds like.

John Frusciante - Shadows Collide With People
TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
Rufus Wainwright - Want One (2003 US)
The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart
(2003 US)
(honorary mention: Kylie Minogue - Ultimate Kylie)

I haven't heard the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album yet, but based on the hideously dull, syrupy singles I'm not sure I want to. Ignore any chili-based preconceptions, John Frusciante's albums are never anything less than interesting and this is a stonker. He has a stronger voice than I would have expected and it's perfectly complimented by that of his collaborator, Josh Klinghoffer. The groups of vocal tracks are punctuated by strange, yet compelling electronic warblings, sending the listener into a hypnotising trance of both relaxation and unease.

I may not have given TV On The Radio a try if this bunch of odd noise makers weren't signed to the love of my life, 4AD. Which would have been a shame, but I did, so it's not an issue. Shut up. It takes quite a while to get used to the awkward, off-kilter sounds of this album. In fact, scratch that, you don't get used to it and you shouldn't. Maybe that's the point.

I was making a chilled-out birthday compilation CD for a mate and was a couple of tracks short. I followed up some internet recommendations and found this Sufjan Stevens CD. I'd never heard of him before and this was a bloody good find. Though he's now gaining a lot more recognition for his American states series of releases this one is a lot sparser in its arrangements. Just guitar, banjo and voice, mostly. Very pretty, but not too sugary sweet. A great Sunday morning record, if you can be arsed to get up that early and here's the perfect excuse.

I came quite late to Rufus Wainwright's party, missing this flamboyant Canadian-New Yorker's first couple of albums. I didn't even get this one until the end of the year, more than twelve months after it was released in America. I naughtily bought it on a whim, after the buying-for-oneself deadline had passed in December, lying to myself that I'd give it away to someone else for Christmas. Partly bombastic & operatic, partly quiet & circumspect, this is a monster of an album, producing sessions prolific enough for a sequel. Part two had already been released in the US by this time and I managed to score an import copy on a trip to Barcelona early the next year, but although Want Two is just as wide in scope, Want One is the original and best. Catch him in concert next year, singing the hits of Judy Garland. I'm not lying.

It was a toss up between this Stills album and Green Day. To make the decision easier I asked myself which choice would make me look cooler, so I plumped for the less well known one. Yes, I know I don't need anything to make me look cooler, I am, of course, as cool as it is possible to be, but that's as maybe. See look, I've gone all this way without actually mentioning anything about this lovely Canadian band or their album. That's how cool I am, I don't need to say anything about it and you will still trust my judgement implicitly. It's good, trust me. Peace. Word. No Doubt. etc.

And just to shoot all my ideas of coolness out of the water, here comes this years guest star, Kylie. I haven't been including compilations in my lists, but this is here for Jenny, so she will shut up about my glaring omission of this sexy, Antipodean dwarf. Disc one covers the same period as her previous couple of Greatest Hits, but with significantly fewer tracks. Some may say that this is a good thing. I would not be one of them, to my eternal shame.

Martha Wainright - Martha Wainwright
Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004 US)
Brendan Benson - The Alternative to Love
50 Foot Wave - Golden Ocean
Editors - The Back Room

I first came across Martha Wainwright, based upon her brother Rufus' recommendation in Mojo magazine. Under 'currently
listening', he'd listed an ep called 'Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole' and I was intrigued. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it's far more than the confessional, sub-Alanis Morrisette venting that the title may suggest, in fact it's not just more than that, it isn't that. Sometimes fragile, sometimes powerful, but always compelling, as can be heard on a recent single drowning out Mr. Snow Patrol's weedy voice.

The Arcade Fire's debut may well have been The Bowie's album of the year for 2004, but we don't all have the luxury of living in a country that releases records on time. Having seen this lot live I can only assume they are either very good at acting the part of complete nutters, or are, in fact, actually absolute nutters. Judging by the album I would go for the latter. Let this record confuse your ears with its cornucopia of musical (and non-musical) instruments, producing a cacophony of disparate sounds, but all seeming to coalesce into a unified, but noisy, whole.

Why oh why oh why is
Brendan Benson wasting his time with pub rock band The Raconteurs? He may be having more fun with his mate Jack White, but I'm not hearing it. Rewind a year and you can see what he is truly capable of. A stunning, highly melodic, heavy wow of an album.

I'm running out of steam, fast. I'm going to have to end on a couple of quickies. 50 foot wave is 4AD stalwart Kristin Hersh's new band. With Throwing Muses just reuniting sporadically, every few years, we can rely on The Wave to provide us with the loud, raw & rocking live sound we need as the counterpoint to her acoustic solo albums. The Editors have made the album that Interpol should have made as their second. This is a good thing, we get both.

Phew. And to celebrate the conclusion of the saga here's a picture of me and Martha, that's right, mmme and Mmmmartha, mmmmm. Look she's smiling. I am not stalking her (repeat five times, or until believed).
The End.


Blogger AlphIANo said...

Hoorah! Great end to a good series. Poor Mr Snow Patrol!

Some worthy admissions, and yet curious omissions too (no Sigur Ros or Illinoise for 2005?). By the way, was american idiot really 2 years ago? Blimey.

Right, mister, 2006 - get cracking!

1:37 pm


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