I'm pretty sure this is all Jann Wenner's fault.
At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts last week in NY all kinds of bands mixed. And while most of the pairings were insipid and predictable, at least they made sense for the sentimental and star-struck (ie: U2 and The Boss, Sting and Stevie Wonder, U2 and Mick Jagger).
But Metallica with Lou Reed and later Ray Davies?
Sorry Ned—you think that's bad? Try "You Really Got me" and "All Day and all of the Night" with Lars' clunky power drumming and Kirk Hammet's meaningless needle riffing. It's a slap to Davies if you ask me, relegated to two songs with a band of former metal heads and current teetotaling grampas who have neither the talent nor the inclination to be adaptable.
Reed's songs don't fair much better (but we're used to Reed shitting on things, right?). And just because the trio of artists were semi-outsiders—when compared to U2 or Stevie—doesn't bless the pairing. Rather than the Hall of Fame proving it's vitality, it demonstrated again a pointless senility—no better or authentic than a wax museum. Except wax sculptures would've been easier on the ears.
Ray Davies has not ultimately side-stepped the geezer syndrome that almost every rocker his age has succumbed to, but he hasn't tarnished his damn-near unbeatable legacy nearly as bad as some of his peers. In fact, his Portland show last year was one of the best concerts in recent memory, sounding vital and alive. But this... this has happened.
I don't know who this record is for. Kinks fans? Chorus fans? A song like "Waterloo Sunset" can't be entirely killed by a Christmassy sounding choir ooh-ing in the background, but some of the other songs don't fare so well.
Ray Davies & The Crouch End Festival Chorus - "Picture Book"
Ugh. I need a hot bath and an original copy of Village Green Preservation Society, stat.
MÚM, HILDUR GUDNADOTTIR, SIN FANG BOUS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Múm's brand of quiet, weird intensity doesn't make them a novelty act. They're not miniaturists—"Marmalade Fires" is restrained, but it also soars in the way a symphony orchestra soars. "Sing Along," from the Icelandic group's most recent album, Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know, seems to build into something that could become a raucous explosion, but it just keeps ascending, like an ornate marble staircase that you keep climbing, only to find it leads to a dead-end wall, but on that wall is maybe the most moody, gorgeous painting you've ever seen in your whole life. PAUL CONSTANT
Yeah, that about sums it up. Like their artistic peers on that odd bankrupt (financially, not creatively) island they call home, Múm build precise little monuments of intricate melody and sound that are endlessly rewarding to the listener. Since the band will be making a rare appearance at the Aladdin Theater this Wednesday, we want to give you a pair of tickets to see the show. Just comment below and explain why you deserve to win your way into the loving embrace of Múm. The best comment by Tuesday (that's tomorrow) at 9am will be declared the winner. If commenting isn't your thing, you can still buy tickets right here. Good luck.
Múm - "Illuminated"
Woah. Stop what you are doing right this second and... okay, you can finish watching that video of the kitten falling into the garbage can. Done? Okay, good.
Now you must watch this excellent new Ramona Falls video for "I Say Fever." The first video from Brent Knopf's Menomena side project, and his debut Intuit recording, is a beautifully designed clip that features plenty of textured vintage artwork, odd-looking animals (bonus: with weapons!), and a slinky animation style that works perfectly with the song. It was directed by Stefan Nadelman, who previously worked with Knopf and Menomena on their "Evil Bee" video.
If this blog post had a YouTube star rating, I'd give it five stars, or "awesome."
This weekend Daytrotter posted a lovely little set from Shelley Short, captured on tape in their Rock Island, Illinois studio. Know what else is from Rock Island? The Rock Island High "Fightin' Rocks," a high school with a macot that is a rock. Exciting!
Anyway, Short performed four songs from her new A Cave A Canoo LP, plus explained how those constantly-flowing Portland water fountains work.
When I visualize this song I think of these little water fountains that are on street corners of Portland, where the water is constantly running, and the waters source is the snow from the top of the mountains.
Well, now we know.
Shelley Short - "Familiar" (Daytrotter Session)
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!