Thursday, May 20, 2004

I did catch 801 at the Knitting Factory last night. They basically proved that Eno's songs are virtually indestructible, and I'll say no more. Had to leave before Ida came on. Oh well.

[While I was writing the next bit, I had the feeling that I wouldn't be the only person doing the Clinic today. I was right. Check fluxblog for more...Matthew and I seem to have similar opinions.]

The new album by the Clinic is unofficially out and about...the version I heard sounds like it might not be final (the mixing seems unfinished on a few tracks) but it's hard to tell. What I heard sounds like an improvement on Walking With Thee in that it has more energy and immediacy. It was slightly sad that Walking was the album where they started to get widespread attention, as I have a feeling that lots of people heard about "this great band" (possibly via Radiohead), bought Walking, didn't hear anything spectacular, and therefore didn't buy the preceding two albums.

If you haven't heard their first two CDs you might like the new one. It has better production and basically continues to spin variations on the two or three things that the Clinic do (cutting and pasting bits from the Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers and Violent Femmes on the one hand, minimalist homemade dub experiments on the other). If you have heard their other material, you're probably going to spend some time being annoyed while the Clinic recycle song ideas that have already been recycled several times. As an example, here's the current track #7 (title is apparently wdyyb) from Winchester Cathedral. And here's the great D.T. from their self-titled singles collection. See the problem? One more track from the singles collection, which remains my favorite Clinic album: here's Monkey On Your Back, which really nails the little details (backing vocals, shaker egg, stops and starts, that "whooo" bass noise, and the spot-on impression of Jerry Harrison on the keyboard solo). If you've never heard the Clinic, I'd recommend the new album. If you have heard them,and especially if you have Internal Wrangler and the compilation, I'd take your budget into consideration before buying. If you're the sort of person who felt the need to own every single Billy Childish release, feel free to ignore me.

Back in 2001 I got a promotional CD called Japan Nite Sound Sampler 2001 which was an attempt to get US attention for nine Japanese bands. I think that of these, Petty Booka, who do twee, ukelele-based versions of well known songs (I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, The Tide Is High) have had the most stateside success, with a domestic release of a best-of last year.

The song from the compilation that I always liked best was called Shikai No Haba by Bleach, an unfortunate band name because there are reasonably contemporary American and UK Bleaches, not to mention a certain Nirvana album. I've never been a huge fan of...what's the right term...Japanese Spazzcore? But this song, despite sounding on first listen like a temper tantrum, actually makes sense and after a few listens to sort it out, it's pretty catchy. Even if it initially sounds to you like a bunch of angry twelve-year-olds freaking out, I hope you'll stick around 'til about one minute and forty-five seconds into the song when it suddenly goes into a really neat melodic bit before plunging back into the abyss. Also impressive is that the song, which pretty much starts out at 11, somehow manages to climax at around 12 right before the end.

When I first got the CD I tried to get more info, but couldn't find anything. Checked the other day, though, and Bleach have a web page here. The band doesn't look anything like what I'd imagined. Don't be put off by the cartoon drawing of the group...they don't sound like a California pop-punk band.

Last thing: Andrew Beaujon has posted a few more Women In Rock mp3's on his blog site. I haven't listened to them yet, so I don't know if they're good. I realized, reading his post, that I should probably clarify that "Mystical Beast" is the name of this blog, not a pseudonym. I just don't usually sign my blog-related emails...there's a reason but it's not at all interesting.

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