My one vice, the one bad habit that will one day be the ruin of me, is buying much much more music than I can afford. One day, I’ll go too far, and end up homeless, or crushed under the weight of a falling cupboard full of CDs… or worse, I could end up a musicblogger. I’ve noticed that quite a few people who write about music in weblogs are desperately unhappy, and although music can help people remain sane, writing about it often allows writers to wallow in whatever their problem was in the first place.
For now, though, I can buy CDs and vinyl and pay for them out of my tax refund, which was a big’un this year. It’s irresponsible, but it won’t actually bankrupt me… yet.
I have some time to spare right now, so here and in the next few posts will be a roundup of stuff I bought in the past couple of
Today, I got Want One by Rufus Wainwright, now marked down at the record store. Rufus is the son of Loudon Wainwright III, one of my favorite singer/songwriters.While he does have some of his dad’s melodic sensibility, the music on Want One sounds more like a cross between Muse and Jellyfish, with traces of Roy Harper. The lyrics are less anecdotal and poignant than dad’s, and more existential. Not sure if I like the lyrics, and his voice can grate a bit after a while, but the tunes are strong and the big production is just gorgeous. The layered instrumental work keeps it interesting. One to play a few more times before I can tell if it has any staying power. Update: after three listenings, I can say that the answer is no. Rufus’s vocal mannerisms annoy me and the orchestrations get in the way of the songs.
I also got Smoke and Strong Whiskey by Christy Moore. Moore is the older brother of singer-songwriter Luka Bloom, and the similarity is clear in his voice and songwriting approach. I was very much immersed in coloring Friday’s comic while I listened to this for the first time, so I can’t say too much about it, other than that it was rockier than I expected it to be. It’s very much an Irish record, but a folk-rock one instead of the folk that I expected. Soft folk-rock, mind. It has electric guitars and hammond organs, but doesn’t get very loud, mostly because Moore’s voice is very quiet. Smoke and Strong Whiskey is pleasant enough, but nothing stuck out. There’s a cover of the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” on the album, but while it’s better played than the original, it lacks the original’s energy and the cattiness that you got from the duet between Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl. Moore’s own songwriting is pretty good though, and I’ll probably end up loving it when I’ve heard the record more often. Update: on repeated listening, I like about half the songs. “Scapegoats” is a particularly good one. It’s odd to think that 14 years on, there is once again a need for songs like that.
One record I left in the bins was the 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition of Burn by Deep Purple. I want it, but it’s a full-priced ShinyDisk so I ain’t buying it in that format. I’ve placed an order for the vinyl version which will hopefully arrive next week.
Another Deep Purple item that I had placed an order for is Live Encounters (Amazon UK Link), because I expected that one to be an EMI release and therefore a ShinyDisk as well. I also expected this live album to be a recording off the most recent tour. I was mistaken; it has a concert from 1996 and is released on a Polish label. The vinyl edition, which arrived today, is strictly limited to 2000 copies, so it’s even collectible. That’s just as well because the recording itself isn’t very good. 1996 was a great year for Deep Purple, one in which they released their best studio album in two decades and sounded like a hungry young band again, but you can’t tell that from this poorly-recorded concert in which singer Ian Gillan strains constantly. There are better live albums from the same year available – in fact it’s one of the better-covered periods in the band’s existance. The record has some exciting instrumental work, but is otherwise missable.