For the past two days I’ve basically listened to Rufus Wainwright’s new album, Release The Stars, and nothing else. I’m pretty sure, after listening to the album about 20 times, that it’s my favorite Rufus Wainwright album. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s 33, or that he’s survived a drug addiction, but something feels different about this album. It feels more fleshed out, more mature.
But the album is still full of Rufus-isms, singing about love, devotion, sex, and fame. The tracks are also very worldly, ranging from German parks and palaces (Tiergarten & Sanssouci, most likely influenced by his boyfriend Jorn Weisbrodt), to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Paris.
I think my two favorite songs are, ‘Nobody’s Off the Hook’ and ‘Release the Stars’. ‘Nobody’s Off the Hook’ reminds me of Jeff, and makes me smile every time I hear it. I know I’ve listened to it more than any of the others. ‘Release the Stars’, the title track, is the album ender. It’s an amazing song about Hollywood and the stars who live here. What makes it so great is the tremendous build up, with piano and organs wailing, horns blaring and strings rising and falling, and soul singers harmonizing with and bolstering Rufus’ hypnotic voice.
Release The Stars comes out May 15th on Geffen Records.
Thursday night I headed over to the Mt. Eerie show at Family. I parked, walk in right at 7 when the show starts… and there are like 7 people in the bookstore. Mega lame. Finally, my friend Mark shows up and people trickle in, and the shows starts about 30-45 minutes later. It was a completely amazing show.
He sat down on a speaker with just his acoustic guitar and started playing. This will sound kind of cheesy, but he controlled his voice like a second instrument. He played about 16 songs, some new, some that I didn’t recognize. Overall, it was a really amazing experience.
I just got the new LCD Soundsystem CD, Sound of Silver, and I’m liking it WAY more than his last one. I’ve listened to it about 5 times through so far, and I think it’s a lot more structured and concise then his last one. The album sounds like a hybrid of Underworld/New Order/other 80’s synth pop and 70’s disco.
The beats throughout the album are pretty repetitive, but his voice carries the songs completely. This is especially true on the last song, ‘New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down’. His voice sounds fragile and heartfelt… it’s just damn good. My other favorites are ‘Someone Great’ and ‘All My Friends’.
Well done, James Murphy.
P.S. His website says he’s playing in LA on April 29th, the day after Coachella, but the venue is TBD.
I was browsing around Gorilla vs. Bear earlier when I came across a link to a guy named Clutchy Hopkins. At first it seemed like one of those overly weird bands/artists that I pass on because of their overt weirdness. But I decided to give him a listen to see what it was all about.
Shit. This guy is so good.
He’s got a crazy blend of jazz/funk/hip hop that just sounds so perfect.
You can listen to 12 of his songs on his Stage.FM site in order to get a good feel of what he’s all about.
His official site says that he has some records at the Amoeba on Sunset, so I’m going to have to check that out tomorrow.
Pearls Before Breakfast
This is an article from the Washington Post that I saw on Kottke. The photo above is Joshua Bell, the focus of the article. But overall the story is a brilliant social experiment.
“No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.”
So, would you stop?
I got this in my e-mail today. Phil Elvrum hardly ever plays shows… like EVER. And the fact that he’s playing at Family makes it all the more exciting. I’m getting Graham and I a ticket tomorrow morning. WOO!
I was able to get two, although the guy there only wanted to give me one! Lame!
KEXP has the best connections. They were hanging out at South by Southwest and had a few really awesome bands come by, namely, Beirut, Fujiya & Miyagi, Peter Bjorn & John and Okkervil River. Not only that, they also have the performances available for download… for free!
Visit KEXP’s blog to download all the free goodness!
P.S. Check out Midlake live on The Interface. Another awesome free download.