Feb. 18, 2010

Hi, everybody. I’m enjoying the Olympics. There’s been a lot of hockey lately, and some of the figure skating is on tonight as well. I wish I could have gone there, but I didn’t think ahead, and I don’t have a passport, so I’ll just have to watch on TV.

A mixture of new and old up are up for review in music. I just downloaded a 2007 album by Can, but I still haven’t listened to it, so there’s no report on that yet. Probably next time.

Away we go, then.

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Swords of I-Ching, “1200 Pieces of People

This album came out on Giant Monster Records, in January of this year. I love the Japanese print-style artwork on the cover. Despite the plural title, this appears to be a small group, just one vocalist and whoever’s the DJ. You’d expect a more esoteric perspective than the average writer, and that’s true. He throws in images of the sole warrior roaming the landscape in search of justice, time going by, the way the music business wears people down, and much more. “Slave Name” is not just a shot at the past, but the present as well– so many artists go into the business for self-expression, only to find that they must change their names and do what somebody else wants. So many “suppress their souls” that it’s hard to tell many artists apart in the pop crowd. Swords here does a good job of resisting that trend. The production is a little slick, but the lyrics are engaging throughout, and it’s good to see another person digging up images that haven’t been overused. There’s a lot of culture out there for writers to explore, and you won’t get bored with Swords’ debut.

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Christine Primrose, “S’ Tu Nam Chuimhne

Irish music has a long and varied history. There are countless collections available of boisterous party songs and historic odes, and these are fine, but it’s good to hear another facet of the panoply. Primrose provides us with twelve songs in Gaelic. She supplies English titles in the track listing, but the sung vocals are Gaelic through and through. (I don’t have access to any lyric sheets for the rest of the words.) Even though I have to guess at some of the content, Primrose’s voice is beautiful and light, with a sweet tone that lends a nice understated energy to everything that she does. The vocal pitch is fairly high, but not so much that you lose anything. The backing musicians are quite good as well. I haven’t before been much of a fan of fiddle music, but the support that appears here is done just right. It enhances and upholds the vocals without sounding too dense. Favorite song: “Togail Curs Air Leodhas (Setting a Course for Lewis).” Put on this release and you’ll have a hard time turning it off.

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Joey Casio, “Attack Decay

“There is no better world,” Joey bravely declares in the opening track ‘Now,’ “we choose to love and live in this one.” What follows is an all-too-short set of shrieky synth tunes which feature Joey’s energetic, panicked voice over lashing drumbeats and bloopy sound effects. He’s pretty shameless throughout. If you like your songs regimented, you will find Joey’s sonic missives to be like a seat on an out-of-control teacup ride. He takes a lyrical parade through science-fiction nightmares and cartoons alike. If you can put your seriousness on a shelf, Joey’s music is syrupy, angular and very, very bonkers. “Our saga is just beginning,” he announces: I hope he means it.

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Okay, short post for today, but I thought it should be that way so it’s not too overloaded. More stuff next time. Thanks, and see you soon.  🙂

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