About Us
A penny for your thoughts indeed. Around here that would be a raise.

What makes a good blog? I think thematic consistency, a little exhibitionism, and honest writing. I can promise you the last one.

Most of my posts seem to be about music or politics. Some of them are funny. But all of them would love to hear a comment from you.

Oh-- and please welcome God to the APW team. We're thrilled and humbled to serve as His earthly vessel.

My Photo
Location: NYC

I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

Email Me

Recent Posts


Site Info
Powered by:


Designed by:

Blog Design: E.Webscpaes

Terror Alert Level

Weather Forecast | Weather Maps | Weather Radar
New Records!
Sunday, September 12, 2004
So I'm sitting here with a stack of new albums. Let's see what we see, shall we?

Various Artists, Por Vida. This is a tribute to a great under-rated American voice, alt.country singer/songwriter/rocker Alejandro Escovedo (the album link will take you to his site). Over 30 of his great, often heart-wrenchingly sad, songs on this double-set, interpreted by one hell of a crop. To wit: Lucinda Williams, Los Lonely Boys, Cowboy Junkies, Calexico, Steve Earle, Peter Case, John Cale, Ian McLagan, Sun Volt, among others. Portion of the proceeds go to his health care expenses; he's been off the road with Hep C over a year.

Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, The Equatorial Stars. That link will take you to Fripp's Discipline Global Mobile record company, where you can buy all the hauntingly beautiful Crimson and Fripp work. This is the duo's third album, and I think their first since 1975. Ambiant music, your sister who likes New Age might dig it, but the textures and undulations are beguiling. You can let it sit in the background, but give it a serious listen and see exactly what's there.

The Silos, When the Telephone Rings. When they started out, Silos records sounded like family outings; like if someone came over with a tray of lemonade for the busy musicians she ended up singing a backing vocal. Their album Cuba from 1988 is a stone cold alt.country masterpiece.

Over time they stripped down to a trio, and became essentially a vehicle for Walter Salas-Humara (the latter not necessarily a bad thing.) Their last two records seemed a departure from the classic sound of the band. Heater (1998) definitely had its moments-- including the incandescent "Stoplight" and "Mom Out Dancing." But the follow-up, Laser Beam Next Door, was perhaps too much steeped in the taut power trio vibe into which the band had evolved. The Silos had gone from a lush band to a sparse band, and I missed the lushness. A listen to LBND's "Four on the floor" interpreted with more space by Walter on the relatively rare Woozy album served to suggest what the record could have been-- more mystical, subtle, yet with more stick-to-your-ribs musical goodness. Laser Beam definitely rocked; but the Silos can do much more.

So this new one comes out, and guess what? It sounds like the old records! Mary Rowell, electric violinist (the violin is electric, not her. Well, actually she is, sorta) who featured prominently on those early Silos records, is back in the fold, if not as a proper band member, than certainly making a contribution. Ditto vocalist Amy Allison, who sings beautifully with Walter and makes her presence felt on the very first song. I hope they take the ladies out on tour.

This record rocks as earnestly as any Silos record. The songs, the instrumentation are just spot on. The song "When the Telephone Rings," with the refrain "How I long for New York, when the telephone rings," is as personal and heartfelt as Salas-Humara's best work (with Allison's quirky vocals wrapping around Walter's). I'm calling it their best album since "the one with the bird on the cover." (1990)

Jonathan Rundman, Public Library. I admit, I bought this because Salas-Humara produced and the Silos (including Rowell but not Walter) are the backing band. But the album was a total creeper; great in its own right, I liked it better each time I played it. A hybrid between alt.country and power pop that works. I'd say more, but at the artist's request I wrote a review at Amazon.

Jill Sobule, Underdog Victorious. It is hard for me to write about a new Jill Sobule album. When you're a fan of Jill's, you are exposed to the songs in various forms for some time before the album comes out. (She might even ask you after the show if its any good.) Take the outstanding and instantly likable "Jet Pack." I first downloaded an early version, basically voice and guitar, probably a demo, from her site in September or October 2001. I've seen her play it a probably 20 times, maybe more. I've heard subsequent recorded versions as she posted them online. So bottom line, the record just doesn't hit me like a new record usualy does. Jill really lets her fans inside the process, so-- especially if you go to her shows-- you've lived with these songs for 2, 3 years.

That said, this is out on Artemis, who are demonstrating (as if their hip roster wasn't proof enough) what a cool label they are. It may be Jill's happiest record yet, opening with a sad but ultimately very funny song "Freshman", then hitting you with a 1-2 punch of "Jet Pack" and "Cinnamon Park." Instantly likable (although, again, there's a verse missing on "Cinnamon Park" from earlier versions that I notice because its on the version on my iPod.) As usual the songwriting is top rate throughout; she left off enough songs for a whole 'nuther solid CD. In particular, "The Last Line"-- a song about a pair of dysfunctional lovers in the disco era, making word play out of the last line as in last line spoken, and the last line as in last line of cocaine-- is a hell of a piece of songwriting. And of course you'll love the song about Joey Heatherton.

Talking Heads, The Name of This Band is the Talking Heads. A double live album that came circa '81, documenting on lp 1 the early version of the band, and on lp 2 the glorious expanded edition, featuring the Remain In Light band, including Adrian Belew. You ask me, Belew did some of his best work ever on Remain In Light and on the associated tour. Never out on CD before, this release just came out on Rhino, vastly expanded from the original edition. the second lp, which featured 7 songs from the expanded line-up, is now a 14-song disc featuring every song the Remain In Light big band played in the set, in order.

When Remain In Light came out, it was a revelation; one of the few albums after which music never sounded the same to me again. I haven't even played the first disc yet, although i'm sure it is fine; for me, disc 2 is where the action is. Also recommended: the first Tom Tom Club record (the one with Genius of Love); Adrian Belew's first solo album, Lone Rhino; Eno and Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (a pre-cursor to Remain In Light); and of course, the classic Remain in Light.

Also in my pile: Two official boots from Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe site; and because I've been on a kick about how records sounded in the 70s, CD copies of some albums I had on vinyl only but never rebought until recently. Of special note: the Stills-Young Band, Long May You Run. This is stone cold great; at the time it was panned for not being as good as a Neil Young record. But with the perspective of history we can see that the 3 Young albums that preceeded it were On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, and Zuma, and one can be readily excused for putting out the fourth best album on that list. Personally I think it holds its own with the other three, both the Young and the Stills songs.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 6:20 PM  

My Friend Flickr
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called layne. Make your own badge here.



Political Crap

Recent Tracks

Take me back to the top!
© 2005 A Penny's Worth| Design by: E.Webscapes