Monday, March 05, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Queen and The Mouse

Check out this video for a slowed-down version of Okkervil River's "No Key No Plan," from the Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP. The video itself is just shots of lead singer Will Scheff traveling through an airport and some city too blurry for me to identify, but I really dug this rendition of the song.

I've also been listening to the new Modest Mouse album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, all week. The one with Johnny Marr. It's coming in anywhere between strong and quite strong. I'm pretty sure I like it significantly more than Good News For People Who Love Bad News.

First single, "Dashboard," comin' at ya:

As you can probably tell from this song, the addition of Marr hasn't significantly changed The Mouse's sound. Naturally, the guitars are emphasized this time around, but not once was I reminded of "Boy With the Thorn In His Side." In fact, it feels very much like a follow up to Good News, although the songs are a bit looser and more dynamic this time around. Less tight little pop songs like "Float On" and one-off Tom Waits-inspired oddities, more intensely spacey rock songs. My favorite track, to which I can't seem to find a legitimate link, is "Parting of the Sensory," which definitely has a "Cowboy Dan" kind of vibe. And "Cowboy Dan" remains one of my favorite Modest Mouse tracks.

Having said all that, I think the above video is pretty stupid. I also didn't really like the "Float On" video. Oh well...

I'm kind of split on The Good, The Bad and The Queen, the latest weird side project from Damon Albarn, aka The Dude From Blur.

On the one hand, it's kind of a cool concept album. Low-key songs about quotidian London life with an occasionally sinister, even supernatural, undertone, performed by Albarn, Clash bassist Paul Simonon, the guitarist from The Verve and drummer Tony Allen. According to Wikipedia, Albarn said the album's actually a mystery play in interviews. Also according to Wikipedia, and contrary to what I had been told, the album was apparently not co-produced with DJ Danger Mouse, thus preventing this post from having a cool rodent theme.

I've found that it's pretty good background music for when I'm working on the computer. But to just sit down and give it a complete listen...well, I get kind of bored.

It's the sort of thing that might very well grow on me over time. My iTunes does inform me, now that I'm checking, that I've listened to lead-off single "Herculean" and the first track, "History Song," a significant number of times. What I'm saying is, I reserve the right to reverse this opinion at any time, and you should probably give the thing a listen to judge for yourself if you have any interest in Albarn's music or contemporary British rock.

Here's the video for the album's most Blurry track, "Kingdom of Doom." Watch this video while squinting and it's almost like Albarn and Graham Coxon have gotten back together!

The last thing I want to talk about music-wise is the big Police reunion. They're playing in LA, but it's at Dodger Stadium. Who the hell wants to go see live music at Dodger Stadium?

I HATE DODGER STADIUM! And not only because I hate baseball, although that's part of it. It's just inconveniently located and uncomfortable and gross and the parking lot ranks among the most ungainly and difficult to navigate I have ever utilized. It takes hours to get your car out of Dodger Stadium, even following a typical, poorly-attended Dodger game. Imagine after a sold-out concert! With everyone leaving at once, unlike the crowds that begin to trickle out at the bottom of the Fifth when they realize they are at a Dodger game.

And sitting way the hell up in the nosebleed seats trying to enjoy a band's performance? No thanks. Not to mention, I'm certain decent seats will only cost several hundred thousand dollars by the time WMA's finished buying up the entire loge section for its preening millionaire client roster.

So, I won't bother to see The Police this summer, even though it would be awesome to see all those old songs again. I mean, I saw Sting play at what was then Irvine Meadows several years back with my parents (who are massive fans of Sting solo albums for some reason), and he did a lot of Police songs, and that was cool. But it's not the same as seeing the complete old band getting back together.


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