The Playlist of Life --- Trollheart's resurrected Journal - Music Banter Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Members Journal
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-17-2014, 12:09 PM   #2611 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default




Dear Mordwyr
Thanks for the gift of Kishi Bashi's “Lightight”. At first I really didn't like it, although I loved the opening track. But I ended up having to listen to something else (Nickelback, I'm sure you understand the importance of a new album from The Chad!) and stopped halfway. I went back to it today and, well, I must say I really liked it second, or first-and-a-halfth time around. It's very poppy, kind of gave me a boyband feeling, but the violin really adds something, and I realised I knew one of the songs. Yes, I have to say I'm impressed and I really like this now.

Have a Happy Christmas!
Trollheart
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2014, 04:39 PM   #2612 (permalink)
Mord
 
Zhanteimi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 4,874
Default

Hooray!
Zhanteimi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2014, 09:42 PM   #2613 (permalink)
county fair energy
 
WWWP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,775
Default

You should check out Kishi Bashi's debut, 151a if you want more of him. It's a perfect album IMO, just spectacularly lovely. He was a member of of Montreal originally - not sure if you're familiar with their work - 151a has all the storytelling associated with of Montreal but with added reverence and whimsy.
WWWP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2014, 01:54 PM   #2614 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default


Hey! Where'd you get such a WEIRD Christmas song?

Yeah, there are some odd ones out there, to be sure, and over the last month or so I asked for your oddest, strangest, most disturbing and downright weird Christmas songs. Now I'm going to talk about them, in

Note: Anything that was suggested but which I don't think is weird or different enough is not getting included, but there's no need for the blown gasket, Charlie, it just didn't fit in, okay?

I was originally going to rank them, but fuck me, they're all pretty off-the-wall, and who is to say which is weirder? So instead I'm just going to list them in the order they were suggested. Which means we kick off with this:


Seasoned greetings (The Residents) from the debut album “Meet The Residents”, 1974

A weird little instrumental which sounds like they either listened to a lot of Waits, or he to them. Strange instruments with a thick bass backing track and something that sounds like fingers being scraped across a blackboard, psychedelic little noises, sax and horn, but no vocals which makes this really only a Christmas song in name. Oh wait, there they are, right at the end. Meh. Still a bit of a disappointment really. On we go.



Santa Claus has got the AIDS this year (Tiny Tim) 1980

Anyone who knows of Tiny Tim will remember him for the ukulele-accompanied hit “Tiptoe through the tulips”, but that was in 1968, and this was written twelve years later, as the AIDS epidemic began to make itself known and spread across the world. Sources indicate that Tim did not know how serious the disease was, and of course he had no idea how many lives it would claim, so you can perhaps forgive him for his making a joke (and a buck or two) out of it, but even so it does seem incredibly ill-timed and insensitive, given what we know now. Of course, it's easy to be judgemental with hindsight. Fun, too.

The fact that he uses the word “the” in front of AIDS, rather than the single acronym as was very quickly adopted as the disease took a deathgrip on the world is an indication of how little he knew about this curse on mankind. I have to say though, it's not really funny. It's not even a good song. Perhaps in 1980 you could laugh, but here and now it just seems crass in the extreme. Definitely a case of an old washed-up has-been trying to cash in on human misery to make a few dollars. Bah! Humbug! Next!



Fuck Christmas (Tankard) from the album “The Tankard”, 1995

Yeah, this is more like it: a straight-ahead, metal extended finger to the holiday season. Noddy Holder, eat your heart out! Love the line ”Christmas time is here again/ Time to give your cash to them!” Right on guys! The end line is great too: “He was fucking born in August anyway!”
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2014, 01:57 PM   #2615 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default




Dear Blaro
Woah man! I had totally forgotten what a superb album Nick Cave's “Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus” was! Double album so double pleasure! I think after the disappointment of “Nocturama” I had started to believe he had peaked with “The Boatman's Call”, and didn't pay this album the attention it deserves. I think I loved every track, and it has once again reaffirmed my faith in the godfather of darkness. Stunning. Thank you very much for the gift.

Have a great Xmas!
Trollheart
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2014, 03:07 PM   #2616 (permalink)
Mord
 
Zhanteimi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 4,874
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolverinewolfweiselpigeon View Post
You should check out Kishi Bashi's debut, 151a if you want more of him. It's a perfect album IMO, just spectacularly lovely. He was a member of of Montreal originally - not sure if you're familiar with their work - 151a has all the storytelling associated with of Montreal but with added reverence and whimsy.
I second this. 151a is amazing, and of Montreal's stuff is worth checking out, too!
Zhanteimi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2014, 05:27 AM   #2617 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default





Dear Chrysalis,
Thanks for the gift of “I can hear the heart beating as one” by Yo La Tengo. I had never heard them before, beyond a lovely cover version WWWP did, but I must say I was very impressed. I don't think there was any song I didn't like, and I loved quite a lot of them. Think I'll be checking into them more in the future. Quite a surprise, and a pleasant one at that.

Thanks again and Happy Xmas!
Trollheart
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2014, 08:19 AM   #2618 (permalink)
A Jew on a motorbike!
 
Josef K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 800
Default

YLT are great and they have a lot of really good albums. Glad you liked that one!
Josef K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2014, 11:25 AM   #2619 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default




Dear bob
Thank you for the gift of “Dream dances in the land of the known unknown” by Skull Defekts. It sounds as weird as the name does! But a good kind of weird. I don't recall any specific tracks per se but I also don't remember hating anything; if I had to use a single word to describe the music I guess it would be “hypnotic”. Very interesting and quite stimulating. Good pick.
Have a great Christmas!
Trollheart
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2014, 01:40 PM   #2620 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default



All right then. We're only five days from the big day so I guess it's time I listened to another Christmas album. This time I'm returning to my first love, progressive rock. There aren't, to be fair, that many to choose from --- prog artistes don't seem to turn out Xmas albums the way some in other genres do --- but I did find this one, which, though it's not all Christmas songs, does seem to fit the bill.

3 ships --- Jon Anderson --- 1985 (Elektra)

Made up of a mix of carols and Christmas songs revisited and some of his own original material, this album was released by the Yes singer and frontman almost thirty years ago, but still sounds as fresh as when it was recorded. Well, Christmas albums by their nature don't really date, do they? It opens on a typical Anderson original, “Save all your love”, with chiming keys and soft percussion, possibly harp in there, Anderson's signature soprano complementing the song perfectly. A short song, just over a minute and a half, but a nice introduction to the album and it leads into “Easier said that done”, with a sweeping synth intro that then kicks up on sprightly guitar. Definitely a slight sense of gospel in there, some nice backing vocals and a very catchy tune, quite AOR in tone. Not as multi-layered or dramatic as his work with Yes, but with an engaging simplicity that allows him to cheekily slip the melody of “O come all ye faithful” into the guitar solo, playfully riffed off by Trevor Rabin.

The first proper Christmas song is up next, and gives the album its title as Anderson interprets “I saw three ships come sailing in” with an atmospheric opening, very Yes, before it takes off on a beat and arrangement quite similar I feel to his hit with Vangelis, “I'll find my way home”. Nice jaunty guitar mostly staying in the background, allowing Anderson to exercise his pipes as only he can, rimshots going off on cue to punctuate the song. A children's choir adds a sense both of wonderment and innocence to the piece, while Rabin racks off another tasteful solo. Some very peppy piano too. “Forest of fire” opens with jungle sounds, bongo beats and in fact reminds me a lot of fellow progger Peter Gabriel, very much in fact: this is really close to his “San Jancinto”. Good exuberant vocal from Jon – you can almost see him dancing around with some sort of African mask on, getting really into the native vibe.

Another choir, this time I believe it's a gospel one, which works very well with the idea of praising God as they sing "Ho-san-na!” It finishes very abruptly though and we're into “Ding Dong! Merrily on high”, which is kind of hard to make a mess of, but Anderson handles it well. I couldn't honestly say it's any better than the original, or any other version I've heard, but it's not worse. It's a little light, but then it barely reaches the two-minute mark so not much room for improvisation there. “Save all your love (reprise)” then lasts longer than the original song, about twice as long, develops the theme a little but I'm not sure we needed another crack at it. It is nice, but just comes across as a little superfluous, unless Rabin is winding up with one hell of a solo or something? No, he's not.

Another Christmas favourite then, with “The holly and the ivy” getting the Anderson treatment, nice flowing piano and the return of the children's choir. It's nice, but a bit twee, and for some reason reminds me of another Anderson of prog fame... Some nice triumphal brass, but really it's a little wearing and I'm just waiting for it to end so I can get on to the next track. Ah, here it is, and it's an original song with that Caribbean beat again, congas or something, maybe marimba, something island-ish anyway. “Day of days” is pleasant, but again very lightweight, this not helped by the addition of flute to the song, though there is a nice Yes-inspired passage there on the synth. Sort of a Mariachi feel to it now, oddly, and I would definitely have to say I'm not impressed with this.

The next one is very short, less than a minute. “2000 years” runs on a nice jaunty little keyboard line, but really it sounds like something ripped out of a bad “Scrooge” musical. The choir grates pretty badly here, and to be fair Anderson doesn't help. Luckily as I say it's very brief, and leads into “Where were you?” on slow whistling synth and oddly-timed percussion, then picking up into a sort of marching rhythm which, were this any other artiste or album, I might think could be gearing up to be a rock anthem. It's certainly the punchiest of the songs I've heard on this album so far, though that's not saying much. “Wimpfest” is an unkind, but unfortunately appropriate description of this album, I feel. This song goes some of the way to rescuing it, especially with a slick little guitar solo from The Cars' Elliot Easton giving it some teeth, and the chorus is very passionate and upbeat, but that just leaves one original song to go, as the next one and the closer are versions of Christmas standards.

One of my alltime favourites, “O holy night” gets a good run through, with stately keyboards and slow, measured percussion, with Anderson's clear, angelic voice rising to the heavens, the choir coming back in to help him, though truth to tell he doesn't need any help. He is joined on the song though by gospel star Sandra Crouch, who has a nice bluesy style of delivery, and the two almost opposites work very well together. Definitely does the classic proud. Ends a little limply though I feel. One more Anderson-penned track in “How it hits you”, and it's quite rocky and boppy, a nice surprise. Very exuberant and joyful, but I would have liked to have seen Rabin cut loose on the guitar more. What we get in fact is a peppy keyboard solo, which is nice, but this song was crying out for a guitar solo. Anderson then throws in a reprise of “Ding! Dong! Merrily on high” for some reason...?

We close on another Christmas favourite, as his daughter Jade giggles her way through a whimsical interpretation of “Jingle bells”, cute but ultimately throwaway. But then I suppose this is a Christmas album, and it is Jon Anderson, so whimsy is to be expected. Not how I would have closed it out though.

TRACKLISTING

1. Save all your love
2. Easier said than done
3. 3 ships
4. Forest of fire
5. Ding dong! Merrily on high
6. Save all your love (reprise)
7. The holly and the ivy
8. Day of days
9. 2000 years
10. Where were you
11. O holy night
12. How it hits you
13. Jingle bells

Yeah. Not really impressed to be honest. The album neither kicks the ass out of Christmas (not that you would have expected it to) or falls totally over the precipice into cutesy-poo land, but wobbles dangerously on the edge, trying to decide what it wants to be. Given that Anderson wrote some original material to go with the Christmas songs, you have to assume he meant the album to be taken seriously, but there's very little on it that really stays in the mind. From the pen of such a master songsmith this is pretty third-rate fare. Even the Christmas interpretations, with the possible exception of “O holy night”, are nothing to write home about.

Quite disappointing in the end. Bland, uninteresting and flat. Sort of like my Christmas pudding I suppose. A really poor effort, and to be fair to him, not up to his usual standard. Perhaps I should listen to “Olias of Sunhillow” again to erase the memory of this musical equivalent of socks-and-aftershave...
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2024 Advameg, Inc.