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Showing posts from September, 2008

Shopping For Records #7: 4 Discs from the Village Vanguard

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Amazon purchase: John Coltrane The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings Box Set Impulse! Released: 9.23.97 I think I picked this up around April. Amazon.com had cut a decent amount of loot off of the asking price, so I figured I’d shell out the bucks. When the box set arrived, I cleared as much room from my iPod as I could and managed to get all four recordings on there. Then it was all I played for about a week or two straight. While reading Ben Ratliff ’s book, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound , I really felt the absence of the first Village Vanguard recordings from my album collection. These recordings were considered to be controversial for their time as Coltrane was in the process of breaking away from his Atlantic work and beginning his personal quest to find God through his saxophone. It would sound harsh, possibly irritating to some, and would cement Coltrane as a figurehead for the Avant movement, which was in its relative infancy with Ornette Coleman

No Ripcord: Fucked Up

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Fucked Up The Chemistry Of Common Life Matador Releases: 10.7.08 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Japandroids

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Japandroids All Lies EP/Lullaby Death Jams EP Self-released Released: 2007 (All Lies) & 2008 (Lullaby Death Jams) No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

MTV On The FM Radio

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TV On The Radio Dear Science Interscope Released: 9.23.08 Rating: 8 out of 10 So, I’m apparently in the minority. Having read the mostly unanimous wave of acclaim Dear Science , latest album from TV On The Radio , has received since the album hit American shelves Tuesday, I’m wondering why I’m the only one that’s a little disappointed. I’ve either lost my taste, or my copy of Dear Science is damaged. Or, I’m just not one for sugarcoated follow-ups to veritable masterpieces . When I’d first listened to Return To Cookie Mountain , TVOTR appealed to me as more of an Art band, an updated encapsulation of a vision shared by the likes of Eno , Byrne or Bowie . Their melodies recaptured Motown better than modern-day R&B has in the last twenty years while also employing some of Brian Wilson ’s brilliant vocal arrangements and they seemed to perfectly sum up the last fifty years in Pop music, but in a very contemporary and distinguishing way. They grabbed genres, mixed them t

Dig Yourself

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! Mute Released: 4.8.08 Rating: 9.25 out of 10 As of this writing, Nick Cave is almost 51. Having said that, when you listen to something like Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! , you realize that Cave is more of a performance artist than a frontman these days, expounding heavily into a microphone with adult-themed fireside tales, or reporting with a flamboyant flair for the dramatic that brings relevance to the most minute of details. You also realize that the Bad Seeds , this being their fourteenth album in their twenty-four year existence, are still a musically complex outfit that has grown wiser with its audience. Basing its title track upon the miracle that probably gave George Romero the inspiration he needed to gain his fortune and fame, Lazarus (“Larry”) stars as a malcontent, unhappy with the fact that he was brought back to the land of the living. Cave casts Larry as a would-be celebrity whose rise and fall from glory ends by u

No Ripcord: Ten Kens

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Ten Kens s/t FatCat Releases: 9.23.08 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Letters From A Tapehead is cheating...

Recently, while finding new ways to win friends and influence people to come here and read what I have to say, I came across a writing opportunity at No Ripcord , an independent online magazine that specializes in music and movie criticism. They were looking for writers, so I figured I'd fill out an application and send them a sample. I was hired. I know: Shocking. I submitted my first review yesterday: a rather unhappy mix of words and phrases thrown at the latest release by The Brian Jonestown Massacre , an unfocused and sloppy album called, My Bloody Underground . If you're interested, you can find that here . In the meantime, for those of you who still read Letters , I'm not bailing on this. I still plan to keep this up on top of the No Ripcord stuff. It was just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. So, now I can be found in two outlets. I plan to spread like a virus . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Marnie & The TV coming up...

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Over the last couple years that I've been busily pounding keys and madly spewing my point-of-view for others to read and, hopefully, appreciate, I've been on an exhausting rampage for anything new that I can discuss. It's not easy staying on top of many genres, which I try to incorporate throughout this blog in the hopes that people, music fans especially, will never corral themselves into any corner of appreciation regarding genre. That being said, Letters From A Tapehead has awarded me the opportunity to find and fall in love with two albums in particular: TV On The Radio 's Return To Cookie Mountain and Marnie Stern 's In Advance of the Broken Arm . Over the next few weeks, both Stern and TV On The Radio will have new albums out. Be on the lookout for: TV On The Radio Dear Science Releasing: 9.23.08 Unfortunately, I don't have much information on Dear Science and I haven't heard any released singles or leaked goodies. But, I've heard t

Ummm...Death Magnetic?

You attract "death?" That would explain Cliff Burton . Poor bastard never had a chance. Metallica , in an effort to promote their upcoming album, Death Magnetic , and possibly come off as somewhat Internet-friendly, are streaming six new tracks that you can listen to and chew on before you spend your hard-earned green. Listening to this new output, and keeping in mind that Rick Rubin is at the helm and hopefully undoing the light and fluffy knob work that Bob Rock had been applying to this band since the overrated Black Album ruined a good thing, it sounds like the band is finally trying to fill their mostly empty, untouched and airy scrotums with some actual pound-for-pound strength and refortified huevos. They seem to be retracing their steps for a long overdue return to what made them great in the first place. Granted, Metallica will never exude the fire, pain or passion with which they used to destroy audiences, but at least they're aware of how far th

Taro Tarot and Wet Zoo

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These Are Powers Taro Tarot EP Hoss Records (out of print, being reissued by Dead Oceans , 10.17.08) Originally released: 4.1.08 Rating: 8.5 out of 10 These Are Powers released two albums on Hoss Records earlier this year: Terrific Seasons and the Taro Tarot EP . Both these albums are being reissued as the band has signed with the Dead Oceans label, so neither are available at this time unless you want to find a copy on E-Bay or see what they’re going for over on Gemm.com . I can’t speak of the LP, but I can tell you that the Taro Tarot EP will be worth the wait. These Are Powers, a trio comprised of ex- Liars Pat Noecker , Anna Barie and Bill Salas (who otherwise makes wikkee-wikkee scratch beats under the name Brenmar ), is a well-oiled and precise machinelike force of No Wave cacophony and Industrial demolition. Taro Tarot offers up six tracks that encompass atmospheric drum-circle testimonial (“All Night Service”), undulating and thick beasts of low end burden (“C

Brother, Where Are You?

Yesterday morning, I was channel surfing while my daughter was rolling around on her play mat, yelling at her various stuffed animals, when I happened upon a documentary on Oscar Brown, Jr. . As documentaries go, it's very engaging and fascinating. A lot of it was filmed while Brown was still alive, so he's interviewed throughout and it's peppered with a lot of archival footage. The energy with which this man performed, even at 79 years of age, is unmatched. I've seen hip-hop shows where twenty-somethings performed and could barely catch their breath after throwing out a couple lines. This man's work ethic was enviable and inspiring. If you get a chance, find out when it's playing and check it out. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead