Pre-election day CDs

Hmm, the seeqpod widget doesn’t work so good, maybe a link to the playslist in their main site would be better? Probably won’t make a difference, but here it is. Now then, on to business.

39) Musikás and Marta Sebestyen: Morning Star

Lovely, aching, sparse, churning Hungarian folk music; Sebestyen’s voice has the mournful quality that so suits the harmonic minor group of pitches much Eastern European folk is played in (the “gypsy” scales…), the ones that hooked Bartók when he was a young composer. And of course the band is cool:; fiddle, viola, bass fiddle, dulcimer, a little mandolin, and something called a “hit-gardon,”which is precisely a cello that you hit with a stick, and also pluck with your finger, as a percussion instrument. “Gymesi dallamok” (Cry Only On Sundays). the most rousing track here, features two gardon bashers, and makes me want to drink plum brandy and shoot dice with the devil, or at least his cousin. (bonus: I was sure I heard Tuvan throat singing on one track, and sure enough, there it is in the liner notes, on a song representative of asian/hungarian cross-pollination, or perhaps shared origins, it’s not clear. But it is funky.)

40) MoxyFruvous: Bargainville

My wife used to tend bar at a small music joint, and if the bands spoke to her like she was a human being and not just another employee, she would buy their CD. So, the guys in Moxy Fruvous apparently are decent human beings, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy their music, and I didn’t. Way too clever clever songwriting goo, harmonies as rich as a sanitary napkin, and annoyingly tight-assed instrument diddling… no, not much to see here. Imagine Take 6 fused with the Austin Lounge Lizards, raised in Canada. (bonus: not as bad as Wolfmother).

41) The Fugs: The Fugs First Album

Ah, but for the grace of god and a world lacking in psychedelics, the Fugs might well have been Moxy Fruvous. Basically this is Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferburg and whoever else they could convince to hang out in the Village somewhere and imbibe whatnot and sing “Boob-a-lot” and “Swinburne Stomp” and of course, “Nothing.” Very funny, occasionally profound verbiage bellowed over incredibly amateurish instrument tracks. And they’re still at it! (bonus: “Defeated” is a bonus track on this CD, and is probably my favorite Fugs song, which starts out “when I was a little baby boy / my mommy defeated me” and just gets better from there….)

42) Lyle Lovett: Step Inside This House

I group Lyle and kd lang together in my head, maybe because they both started out doing country swing stuff, and they both slept with Julia Roberts–no, I’m kidding, no idea who sleeps with who out there in the world and no desire to know. But, this is a geographically-organized collection of covers, like kd’s Hymns of the 49th Parallel (cd 15, for those scoring at home), this one all covers of West Texas songwriters: Townes Van Zandt, Steve Fromholz, Guy Clark, Walter Hyatt, and a bunch of others. 2 CDs, and not a stinker among them, which is not something you can always say about Lyle; much as I love some of his own compositions, he has a tendency to slide into the cheese dip and get all smarmy with his weird shaped head… I wish my head was shaped like that. (bonus: several pictures of Lyle’s head, usually next to someone else for comparison.)