Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Musical update

Stephen Malkmus' new album sounds at times a bit like the Allman Brothers. All those long hippie guitar rave-ups, albeit on songs that have characteristic Malkmus chord sequences and start-stop dynamics. I'm quite enjoying it, although the analogy isn't entirely praise. The best song, "Out of Reaches," could have been a Pavement ballad. (Now that's higher praise.)

Ray Davies' new album is really good. Probably his best album of new material since Arthur (with the Kinks) back in 1969, although this is not as high praise as it may sound as there are few intervening contenders. The Kinks, after having extraordinary self-direction and integrity in the mid-1960s, when they paid a price for not trying to fit in, spent the next couple of decades being as crassly and reductively commercial as one could possibly be. Plus Ray got too boringly bitter. The current album has a few overly preachy political moments, but overall it's a bit as if Lennon had lived, mellowed, and rediscovered a voice that could work for him.

The new Dengue Fever album is very enjoyable and lively. Not sure if I will want more of their work, but the fusion definitely works.

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