Back to it… CDs…

Lordy, lordy, I’ve listened to a few CDs but have had no time to list’em. Now I do!

43) Ned’s Atomic Dustbin: Some Furtive Years: A Ned’s Anthology

Bands with 2 bass players, viva! The Dirtbombs are my new favorite 2 bass (and 2 drummer!) band, but Ned’s whatever ya call it were enjoyable as well, cartoonish in the UK style, airy and fast, pop-punk before such an idea became a kind of aural ipecac… Apparently, Ned’s was at the center of the Grebo subculture; I find the apparently constant need to differentiate oneself whilst finding others of like mind to share the effects of this need with quite funny, an endless parade of subcultures that seems a symptom of modernity–but who knows, perhaps medieval monks scalloped the hem of their robes to signal to others that, in fact, Corinthians was the best book of the Bible, no matter what the Abbot said. In another sense, these genre categories are simply a way to sort information… and now that I think back on it, I can’t remember any of the Ned’s songs I just listened to, just the sound, so I guess categorization is important. (bonus: ok, I can remember 1: “Kill Your Television.” And no, I didn’t just look at the case.)

44) Small Fry: Capitol Sings Kid’s Songs For Grownups

“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”! “Mairzy Doats”! ” The Pussy Cat Song (Nyow! Nyot Nyow!)”! I have long been angered by the infantilization of the US public, by slogans encouraging us to embrace our inner child, spend money and time foolishly, indulge ourselves in puerile brand loyalty… and I still am, but celebrating childhood and being a childish adult are 2 very different things. These songs made me giggle, dance a bit, and reminded me that childlike wonder is useful for leavening adult seriousness, but is not a condition one should aspire to. (bonus: go on, somebodies’ grandpa…)

45) Iris DeMent: Lifeline

Iris DeMent’s voice is a wondrous instrument, capable of soaring yet entirely fragile and quavering; it is also an acquired taste, I understand, and I have certainly acquired it. This CD is a collection of country gospel songs, gently produced so as not to get in the way of Iris’s voice, each composition adding a different feel, which is hard to do with a gospel collection–or at least it seems hard to do, since so many gospel collections swerve between rousing and somber, with little room left over for other moods. “God Walks The Dark Hills,” which features Iris solo with her piano, made me tear up, and I’m not even that sort of believer. (bonus: “I Don’t Want To Get Adjusted” is my new favorite song title.)

46) Roky Erickson: I Have Always Been Here Before, The Roky Erickson Anthology

2 CD set provides the listener with an interesting map of production techniques Roky’s collaboraters have used over the years, and of course a bunch of weird songs that yell at traffic. The 13th Floor Elevators songs all have that electric jug thing percolating in the background, which, if one is in the wrong mood, can be pretty annoying… but I was in the right mood, I guess, since I dug it. Even on those early songs, the lyrics are a bit odd and definitely tortured, and then Roky goes into the asylum and comes out to form a group called Bleib Alien and writes songs like “Red Temple Prayer (2-Headed Dog)” and “Creature With the Atom Brain.” Puts me in mind of a line from Mike Leigh’s movie Naked: “What’s it like to be you? Pretty hectic, I would think.” (bonus: Roky is apparently doing well now, playing gigs, and no longer obsessed with mail. It is sad to think how primitive we are as a species when it comes to mental health…)