Thursday, January 31, 2008

Playlist for 2/1

Vampire Weekend
Once - Soundtrack
Willie Nelson - Moment of Forever
Shelby Lynne - Just A Little Lovin'

Friday, January 25, 2008

Village Voice Pazz & Jop

My village voice >Tom Lane's ballot pazzandjop07 is now available for viewing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nashville Scene Critic Poll

Nashville Scene Poll Voter-Eighth Annual Country Music Critic's Poll
This poll is for 2007 is now up, and while it doesn't list individual ballots, it does have my name as a voter if you scroll down the page. I like this poll, because it's definitely more modern Country in its voting. In the Top 15 are marginal albums by Joe Nichols and Trisha Yearwood. Two records that would never finish in a non-Country voting poll.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Playlist for 1/23

Rhymefest - Man In The Mirror (mixtape)
Okkervil River - Golden Opportunities and Stage Names
Sia - Some People Have Real Problems
Drive By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Monday, January 21, 2008

Who Was That Man In That Mirror?

There's a remarkable rap album out that you can't buy, but you can download for free. The rapper's name is Rhymefest and it's a tribute of sorts to Michael Jackson called Man In The Mirror. Most rap albums lose me with the skits and the gangsta, but here the skits work and it's refreshingly clear of gangsta and booty calls. Using old J5 and solo samples, intercut with diaglog from MJ's recording session's this mix tape does something that Jackson hasn't been able to do since the mid-80's. Be portrayed as he was before going crazy. Which is the supreme entertainer of his era. Rhymefest has fun with Jackson, but also respects his catalog. I doubt MJ will ever hear this tribute, but if he did he'd probably smile for the first time in ages.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Giving It Away

If you're a band with a following that doesn't sell a lot of CD's, does giving your product away in a magazine make sense? In the latest issue of Relix, Big Head Todd and the Monsters have done just that. A band that I've heard of but have never seeked out, their latest album is tucked in with the magazine. It's a good album, especially if you like Hold Steady, although the blues that kicks off the album is generic. But it is a good album. Yet, I probably would've never bought it had the magazine not gave it away. Established artists are reluctant to do these things. Sure, in 2007 Prince and Ray Davies gave their albums away in English newspapers. But would they have done it here? New bands, long-running bands like Big Head Todd who don't sell but do good concert business, for them it makes sense to get their product out there. Older acts like Prince and Ray Davies realized this to a degree.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Critical Fatigue

Near the end of their great album run in 1970, Robert Christgau once wrote about a CCR that "ho hum, another Creedence album", while giving it an A- grade. Critical fatigue sets in for all artists. I'm thinking about Los Lobos, REM, Wilco, Steve Earle. Year after year good product, but the critical admiration starts to fade with too much product. I was thinking the same thing while listening to the Drive By Truckers Brighter Than Creation's Dark, their first album without Jason Isbell. On their last album, even the band sounded tired, and while critic's gave some praise it was faint praise. Surprisingly enough this is a strong record with Isbell, who went through the motions on their last album. The only critical thing I could say is that it doesn't Souther Rock hard enough. It's mellow Southern Rock, but good Southern Rock. I emphasize the genre because hardly anyone champions it any more. Kings of Leon, for sure, but Southern Rock seems to be a forgotten breed. Drive By Truckers are the best of the recent bands keeping the Skynyrd legacy alive. Will critic's bite at this, their best album since their before last? Maybe. But for me, it's a good addition to a strong library. Critical fatigue or not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 Critic Poll

My 2007 Critic Poll Ballot: Tom Lane is now up. Next Village Voice and Nashville Scene.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

On That Note...

On that note, thanks to a good contact at Da Capo, I've just read 3 books in the last couple months. Will Hodgkinson's followup to his Guitar Man: Song Man. An excellent followup. The Portable Atheist, which is scholarly, but worth it for historical references. And Will Friedwald's 1996 perfect tome on Frank Sinatra's music, not personal, life Sinatra The Song Is You. The last I found real cheap in a catalog. You find 'em where you can.

Books vs. Music

I've often wondered if the Book industry is in the same boat as the Music. Books, like CD's are expensive. I had great ideas of buying new ones with Christmas gift cards, but came away wondering who would pay $20 for a hardback, and $15 for most non mass-market paperbacks. There's a lot I want to read, but with CD's eating in to the budget, books become a secondary buy. Even the used pickings on can run you $10 with shipping. I'm guessing the Book market survives better than the Music one because it caters to an older crowd. They are the ones buying the expensive hardback titles, while the music industry courts the kids who won't pay $15 bucks. So, we are happy for the used market in both areas, and for cutouts and for places like Costco which mark down books ( but not CD's, surprise). Yet, when I walk around Borders I wonder who's buying all this stuff.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Science Class

In going back to the vaults, as I always do while the new music is slow, I came upon Laurie Anderson's 1982 Big Science, now reissued on Nonesuch. This album has intrigued me for 25 years, so I finally gave it a go. It was well-reviewed in 1982, and back then the only cut I heard, "O Superman" didn't sound like anything I'd heard before. But it and Anderson seemed to artsy for me. Listening to Big Science now, it definitely was ahead of its musical time. Talking over lo-fi beats would be considered just another alt-indie record today. But in '82 it seemed so primitive. Anderson explores the future as she saw it back then, and nothing's changed. I can't quite call it a classic. Anderson is an aquired taste, for sure. Maybe a single-disc compilation. But I'm glad I gave it a spin.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Playlist for 1/10

Fabulous Thunderbirds - Wrap It Up
Hives - Black & White Album
Quincy Jones - Dude
Billy Paul - Best of
Diana Krall - Best of
Laurie Anderson - Big Science (reissue)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Goin' Back

Until the new '08 releases start coming in, I've been playing catch up with albums that I let go when I got rid of most of my vinyl last year. Most of these are nostalgia choices. I can't say that they are the greatest albums ever, but they bring back memories of certain things. School, first job, first dates, youth. Isn't that why we continue to listen to music? Once the new stuff rolls in, I'll let go of those memories, but not for long. Next January I'll look back again.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Playlist for 1/4

Taylor Swift - s/t
Freddie Jackson - Rock Me Tonight
Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Lori McKenna - Unglamourous
Jill Scott - Collaborations

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year End Poll Update

Right now, I'm holding on 3 Critic Poll ballots for 2007. Village Voice, Idolator and my first time voting in it- Nashville Scene Year End Critic Poll Voter. The latter I'm most excited about because it's my first time voting in a primary Country oriented poll. Idolator and Nashville Scene are to posted this month. While Village Voice usually comes out in February. Links will be provided when they post my ballot.

Tom's Top CD's/Singles/Reissues of 2007
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