release the stars (and others)

I got Rufus Wainwright’s new album, Release the Stars. Like most of his albums, it took me a while to warm up to, but it’s pretty damn good. “Going to a Town” is pretty awesome, and melancholy (shocker), and hey, also he totally hates on America! Seriously, Rufus, if you hate America so much, why don’t you just leave!?! Oh right. I guess he did. In fact.. other song titles: Sanssouci, Tiergarten. Gee, do you think he’s been living in Berlin? Anyways, it’s good, pick it up. I have been listening to it on repeat the past two days. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m gay for him, but I might possibly be gay for him.

Anyways, in keeping with my “something is better than nothing” approach to blogging as of late, here’s a mishmash of other things I have been listening to:

  • Prokofiev’s 5th piano concerto and his first two symphonies – I like Prokofiev a lot, but I think he’s a little schizo for me. His stuff is all over the place. I don’t know the fancy classical music student terms to elaborate further, but there it is.
  • Ravel’s Piano Concert in G major (Francesco Tristano Schlime) - I like this a lot. Sorta depressing, though.
  • Bebel Gilberto’s new album, Momento - not bad, not great. More of the same. Hard to beat a smooth, Brazilian seductress who’s a member of the Gilberto clan. The songwriting is a little bland on this, though, and she sings in English too much. Come on. Portuguese please. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • The High Strung - Get The Guests - I just ran across this randomly on Emusic and liked it. Poppy rock, sorta reminds me of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at times, but with less guitar and more harmony. “Maybe You’re Coming Down with It” is the stand-out track. Bonus points for naming the album with a reference from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
  • Loretta Lynn - I went through a brief but compulsive Loretta Lynn phase last month. Did you know she had four kids by the time she was 17? FOUR KIDS. I’m 27 and I can barely keep a plant alive. Anyways, I finally got the album she did with Jack White (Van Lear Rose). It’s pretty good, but not great. “Portland Oregon” is pretty cool.
  • The RZA’s soundtrack to “Afro Samurai”. This is a pretty fun soundtrack. It sorta makes me want to see Afro Samurai.
  • I got two albums by Cape-Verdian singer Lura: Di Korpu Ku Alma, and M’bem Di Fora. Both are pretty amazing. She’s got one of the sexier voices I’ve ever heard.
  • Akira Ifukube - He wrote the scores to the Godzilla movies (among other things), and they are actually pretty good.
  • Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha. I’ve become somewhat of an Andrew Bird fan of late. This is his latest album, and it’s no drastic derivation from his previous stuff, but it’s still pretty awesome.
  • Panda Bear - Person Pitch: the first album I regret downloading from Emusic. My god, what a hunk of crap. The review compared it to the Beach Boys. No. Sorry. It’s like if the most annoying talentless indie band you can think of decided they like the Beach Boys and wanted to imitate it. I am not sure what mood struck me when I first heard this that I thought it might be good, but now when it comes on shuffle I lunge for the “skip” button, and, failing that, puncturing my eardrums with a pencil.
  • Patty Griffin - Children Running Through: Nashville native. good stuff. I missed her (two) shows at the Ryman, which is literally down the street, making me, yes, a loser. Anyways, this is a great album. I haven’t heard her earlier stuff, but I hear this is a little poppier/edgier/somethingier.
  • Frank Popp Ensemble - Touch And Go: I don’t know too much about them. They are German. It’s sorta like revival 60’s-ish girlgroup/spy music, or something. I think they’re coasting on the downtempo wave that has gotten everyone interested in 60’s spypop stuff again. Whatever. Nothing revolutionary, but it’s fun. She’s got a decent voice, too.
  • Colin Hay - Going Somewhere - This is a collection of songs sung acoustic by Colin Hay. In case you’re some kind of loser and don’t know, Colin Hay is the guy from Men at Work. This album is actually really great, and his talent shines on it. “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” is probably one of the most depressing songs ever written, though.
  • Apartment - The Dreamer Evasive: I like this album a lot. I’d describe them as being a somewhat derivative rip-off of Gene, but I like them anyway. Gene, in turn, was basically a derivative rip-off of the Smiths, but I liked them anyway. And the circle of life continues.
  • Forro in the Dark - Bonfires of Sao Joao: Brazilian dance music. Nice to listen to if you’re in the mood for it. Cool guest spots by David Byrne and Miho Hatori (swoon)
  • Ratatat - I’ve got a couple of albums by these guys, one of which is just instrumental, Ratatat. It’s sortof like this electronic, instrumental, uh … music. I hope I cleared that up for you. They also have two volumes of hiphop remixes that are pretty fantastic. There’s a remix of Missy Elliot’s “Hot” that is pretty awesome. Hot, even.

Phew. I think that’s it. I’ve been listening to a lot of music, just … not really writing about it.