Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wild Flag - Wild Flag

Wild Flag is being touted as a supergroup, which it technically is, but it's also technically just what you get if Sleater-Kinney hired a keyboardist and replaced Corin Tucker with Mary Timony. Whenever any of those people release something it reminds me of my late uncle, who was a Sleater-Kinney fan in Australia from about as far back as you can get. He would have loved this shit. They'd have you believe it's also what you get if you cross a hamburger with a hotdog. Yummy.

The sound of Wild Flag is predictably that of Mary Timony's circuitous yet disciplined guitar passages grafted onto Sleater-Kinney's bombast, but it's predictable in a "why didn't they think of that ages ago?" kind of way. Minus keyboardist Rebecca Cole, these people have been playing together in various combinations for nearly two decades, and it shows. Timony is the kind of guitarist who can carry an album by herself - see her last two solo albums for proof - but thanks to Carrie Brownstein, she doesn't have to. The two of them have each other's backs all the way through and explore many tangents that would have been impossible on their own.

I admit to a certain amount of bias, but I've gotta say Timony is the MVP here. In addition to her exquisite guitar playing, she's technically a better vocalist than Brownstein, who has less range and sometimes adopts an almost cockney affectation, though to be fair, Brownstein's clipped delivery suits the faster paced songs which Timony may have stumbled over. But really everyone is on point here; Cole's keyboards expand the melodic possibilities while drummer Janet Weiss is in great form...but when is she ever not?

Wild Flag packs a lot of detail into 39 minutes, but is short on genuine proggy epics. "Glass Tambourine" more than satisfies in that regard, but "Racehorse" really overstays its welcome. I wish they'd scrapped that one, added another minute to "Glass Tambourine" and thrown in another short song. So while nothing here is as ambitious as The Magic City, the second and last album from Timony's massively underrated 90s band Helium, a lot of it is almost as catchy. That's more than any of us deserve.

Wild Flag - Romance video

Monday, September 5, 2011

15 Great Albums That Are Shorter Than The King of Limbs

The King of Limbs may be Radiohead's most divisive album since Kid A or perhaps ever. One of the criticisms leveled at it by its detractors (and some of its supporters) is its moderate length. It is Radiohead's shortest album (37:24) and contains 8 tracks, which is at least two fewer than any of their other albums. Fuck that. It may be short, but it has girth. The best music is all about economy, not excess. Some of the albums listed below are short because the songs make their point and then fuck off. Others have a modest number of fairly long songs. Some hark back to the days when you didn't have 80 minutes to play with, while others were recorded by bands that are smart enough to know that just because you can make an album that long doesn't mean you should. They're all shorter than The King of Limbs, and most of them are better.

The Beatles - Revolver (1966)

The Beatles - Revolver (1966) - 14 tracks, 35:01

Can - Soundtracks (1970)

Can - Soundtracks (1970) - 7 tracks, 35:09

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On? (1971)

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On? (1971) - 9 tracks, 35:38

Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972)

Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972) - 11 tracks, 28:22

The Clash - The Clash (1977)

The Clash - The Clash (1977) - 14 tracks, 35:18

Wire - Pink Flag (1977)

Wire - Pink Flag (1977) - 21 tracks, 35:37

Robert Cray - Who's Been Talkin' (1978)

Robert Cray - Who's Been Talkin' (1978) - 10 tracks, 35:39

Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo (1978)

Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo (1978) - 11 tracks, 34:24

Midnight Oil - Head Injuries (1979)

Midnight Oil - Head Injuries (1979) - 9 tracks, 34:04

The Cure - Faith (1981)

The Cure - Faith (1981) - 8 tracks, 36:54

Pixies - Surfer Rosa (1988)
Pixies - Surfer Rosa (1988) - 13 tracks, 32:50

The Breeders - Pod (1990)

The Breeders - Pod (1990) - 12 tracks, 30:35

Weezer - Pinkerton (1996)

Weezer - Pinkerton (1996) - 10 tracks, 34:36

Neko Case - Blacklisted (2002)

Neko Case - Blacklisted (2002) - 13 tracks, 37:18

Spoon - Kill the Moonlight (2002)

Spoon - Kill the Moonlight (2002) - 12 tracks, 34:50

Friday, September 2, 2011

I told the witchdoctor I was in love with you,
I told the witchdoctor I was in love with you,
And then the witchdoctor he told me what to do,
He said that

Oo, ee, oo ah ah,
Ting tang,
Wala wala bing bang,
Oo ee, oo ah ah,
Ting tang,
Walawala bang bang

Oo, ee, oo ah ah,
Ting tang,
Wala wala bing bang,
Oo ee, oo ah ah,
Ting tang,
Walawala bang bang

Sex, War & Robots