It's nice, and even downright encouraging, to see a pleasant little indie band like the Shins in the Billboard Top Ten - # 8 this week, after being # 2 last week. I like the album and have played it a number of times, although it seems to shut the door on the thought that the Shins might actually make it to the top ranks artistically. Hard to see why it took them so long (about the same time between this album & the previous one as between Sergeant Pepper and With the Beatles). But still, albums I'd actually listen to don't often land so high on the charts. Leaving aside Dylan's latest, which though tame is a tribute not just to his 1960s career but to the fact that Love & Theft (released in 2001) was so good.
Other recent listens show my vintage a bit more, I guess. I had never gotten a CD of the Clash's first album, although I had a tape for years & recall walking around the Bronx with my brother back in the day so he could find an import copy (this being before the US release). Still great. Stevie Wonder's Innervisions, another 1970s album I'd never gotten as a CD, is also pretty good if a bit more dated. The Velvet Underground Live 1993 is disappointingly tame. It's certainly odd to hear these guys strike up, say, Venus in Furs & hear the crowd cheering as if it had been some Top Ten hit of their youth instead of selling 2,000 copies or whatever. I decided to try the 1993 live album because the Velvets' three live double albums from 1969-70 (Quine, Max's, 1969) are all so great, but in those days they actually owned the songs rather than being a covers/revival band.