Friday, August 22, 2008

Three to Consider: Additional Input Requested

The August edition of UNCUT has its usual plethora of suggestions to consider. Three that got pretty rave reviews are all tempting, but thought I would see what you all had to say about these before I went out bin sorting. And I should mention that I haven’t listened to everything I have that is new or borrowed and I wouldn’t want to violate the “no more buying until all recent additions have been digested” now would I? Right.

Okay, so here are three to consider.

The Hold Steady’s new release, Stay Positive (which isn’t all that new now), has been getting positive reviews all over the place, but Allan Jones is ecstatic: “If it was their intention with this record to, among other things, leave the listener speechless, they’ve done a good job. I’ve been listening to it virtually non-stop for the last few weeks, and I’m still trying to find the right words to describe Stay Positive [snip].” Now I have none of their albums so this would be a first and I am not sure I am in the mood for a rockin’ album right now, but this review and the Q&A with front man Craig Finn makes seriously consider dipping my toe in this pond.

Next up is Randy Newman’s new release, Harps and Angels which is his first offering in ten years—not counting all the soundtracks and arranging he is doing . . .and I am not discounting that work at all (who am I, The Academy?) since he did the soundtrack for what is probably my favorite movie of all time. It has been a while since I have actively listened to his stuff, but here again UNCUT has a provocative way of promoting this latest effort: “In the event, Harps & Angels provokes approximately equal parts gratitude that Newman got around to it, and vexation that he doesn’t do this sort of thing more often. Exactly 40 years since his eponymous solo debut, it’s both awesome and faintly depressing how few compete in his league.”

Finally, someone I know virtually nothing about, Micah P Hinson, but his new effort Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra sounds, um, interesting: “But the real beauty of this wholly engaging record is the contrast between Hinson’s dry basso profundo and the (almost) euphoric banks of strings that swell behind banjos and acoustic guitars. The chamber music-noir of “I Keep Havin’ These Dreams” sounds like a despondent relative of “Eleanor Rigby”, while “We Won’t Have To Be Lonesome” has the ‘60s sweep of a Spectoresque teen ballad. . . . Rich in its moods, this could well be Hinson’s best yet.”

Shop or stop?


Lisa B. said...

I downloaded The Hold Steady disk last week, probably on the strength of similar reviews as the ones you're reading, but haven't gotten around to listening to it yet. Why am I not more excited by Randy Newman? Know nothing about this Hinson person. And that is my complete knowledge about the matters to which you refer.

suewho100 said...

thanks for the quick uncut synopsis... they really like hold steady .. i can't get it - not yet at least. I mean hold steady, not the mag. i won't quit trying though.

CPS said...

Sue--are you saying you "don't get" The Hold Steady or for some reason you literally "can't" get it? Assume it is the first--and if so, what is your take? What are the hurdles?

samiller99 said...

I just activated my google account - so what was suewho100 (old aol thing) is now samiller99.... same person..

anyway - - I don't like Hold Steady, but I think I SHOULD like them. It's been at least 8 months since my last attempt, so I am going to give it another go with this new CD.

Since it has been so long, I can't even remember why they didn't grab me. I'll be sure to report back!