Old Albums Revisited
I love music, if that wasn't apparent from my blog. I like making new discoveries in music, checking out new styles and different artists. However, in front of me were over a hundred and fiftey CDs that I hadn't listened to in quite a while. Some albums you just can't go back to, they had their day at some point and the expiration date has long since past. Other albums just need more time before they can be appreciated again. Portishead's first album is like this for me. I still like their music, but I'm not in the right frame of mind to listen to them right now. Some albums are perfect for the moment.
The first album I popped on was Tricky's Nearly God, a moody opus that includes the talents of Bjork, Martina Topley-Bird, and Terry Hall. (ex-Specials frontman) Last time I played this album would have been at the club I DJ'd at in Montreal, the Jupiter Room on St. Laurent. It is a very stilted kind of album, consistent in mood and tone, but a little inconsistent stylistically. But that is what makes it such a brilliant album. With some exceptions, albums that just present the same thing all the way through will loose me somewhere along the way. Couple of tracks that tend to lag a bit, but overall the album just slips under the listener's skin and stays there.
The third album I popped on was Mogwai's Happy Music for Happy People. It was released in 2003 and I was initially smitten with the album. The opener, "Hunted By A Freak", is a hauntingly beautiful piece that builds gently and dramatically. After seeing the band perform at the Commodore, (an excellent show, by the way) the album started to loose my attention. Soon I was only listening to to "...Freak" and the sixth track, "Ratts in the Capital". (which is very much like what you will find on their My Father, My King ep) I probably stopped listening to it altogether around November `03. It has been good to rediscover this album again. Songs like "Kids Will Be Skeletons", "Killing All The Flies", "Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep" and "I Know You Are But What Am I?" have taken on a whole new life in their absence from my ears. The beauty and well... majesty of this album absolutely astounds me. Mogwai's songs/compositions are dynamic in every sense - volume, tone, tempo, etc.
The next disc was one I bought back in 1993, Matthew Sweet's Altered Beast. I may not have listened to this since about 2000. Often given a bit of a short shrift and perhaps unfairly compared to his previous album, Girlfriend. That album was a a kind of underground pop/ college radio hit from what I can remember. Girlfriend, as I recall, was very consistent musically and emotionally. Altered Beast was a bit more of an untamed effort, if you'll excuse the pun. Although they appeared on Girlfriend, guitarists Richard Lloyd (Television) and Robert Quine (now deceased. Played with Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Dim Stars and did session work for Lou Reed, John Zorn, Brian Eno and Tom Waits) they really gave Altered Beast the raw edginess that seemed to have dulled the enthusiasm of so many critics. Part pop, part rock, part alt country ...Beast still holds up 12 years after its release. I was listening to it with my friend Elijah and we both agreed that it has aged well and still sound contemporary. Given how poorly some of the albums I bought at the same time have aged, that is quite an accomplishment.
That is it for now. I am tired and must sleep soon. I may post more on some of the albums that I have rediscovered in my collection. I probably won't be ripping anything apart, though. (sorry Trent) I figure that I have done that enough in my past, so it is time to move on.
And yes, I did listen to the above albums while writing this.