Television – Live at the Old Waldorf (Spotify) – Headphones
No music at all today until I left work. On the way home I listened to Television’s ‘Live at the Waldorf’ release which came out on Record Store Day as a limited issue a few years ago. I’d love to snag a copy of it but unfortunately it sells for silly money online these days, such is the beauty and wonder of RSD. I only heard it for the first time recently when I looked it up on Spotify on account of high praise it was drawing on ILX. I’d previously listened to Television’s sole other official live release, ‘The Blow Out’, as well as a bunch of bootlegs I’ve downloaded over the years. Sadly the poor sound quality of everything I’d heard before ‘Live at the Waldorf’ had managed to somewhat obscure and ultimately deter from so the often proclaimed brilliance of Television live. ‘Live at the Waldorf’ powerfully evidences the force that they could be live. The sound is excellent and the performances simply outstanding. It captures the band in 1978, touring on the back of their seminal debut ‘Marquee Moon’ and just prior to the release of their largely underwhelming follow up ‘Adventure’. Shorter album cuts like ‘Venus’ and ‘Friction’ are played with sparkling intensity but it’s the two longest songs on the album, cult non-album favourite ‘Little Johnny Jewel’ and the bright shining star that is ‘Marquee Moon’ that steal the show. I love when ‘Little Johnny Jewel’ breaks momentum around the 6 minute mark and Tom Verlaine starts picking away at a phrase that sounds like it’s about to burst into ‘House of the Rising Sun’ before cranking out one of his signature lead-as rhythm-riffs as Richard Lloyd summons his guitar to soar above. ‘Marquee Moon’ is treated to a similarly epic arrangement and afforded plenty of room to breath in a performance that to my mind at least equals if not surmounts the majesty of the album version.
Wolf Parade – ‘Semi Precious Stone’/’Agents of Love’ (mp3) – Headphones
I polished off my walk home with a couple of Wolf Parade tracks in the form of their final web only double-single ‘Semi Precious Stone’/’Agents of Love’. Despite not being bowled over by it on its initial release their last LP ‘Expo 86’ was an album I seemed to find myself coming back to frequently. Nonetheless I was relatively indifferent to the news that followed that the band were calling it a day as I felt that the various side projects they had maintained throughout the life of the group had become, at that point, equally, if not more, compelling. ‘Semi Precious Stone’/’Agents of Love’ is however a welcoming reminder of just how powerful Wolf Parade were as a unit and made me a little more mournful about their passing. Spencer Krug penned ‘Semi Precious Stone’ ranks amongst the best songs he wrote for Wolf Parade and there’s a moment towards the end, where Krug plays a mean fuzzed up organ phase which leads into a searing guitar line by Dan Boeckner that seems to be ushering the song to a close before exploding back into life; it’s a quite remarkable moment for me, one that really demonstrates how effectively the two compliment each other’s songwriting in a way that’ll be missed. Boeckner ‘Agents of Love’ is punked up rallying call of discontent in the usual style that evokes sort of alternative universe version of Bruce Springsteen. The last Handsome Furs album was great but marked a shift away from the kind of urgent guitar playing that had previously characterised his usual style to a more exclusively electronic sound and for me the guy is best with a guitar strapped around his neck thrashing away with passion. Krug’s Sunset Rubdown seem to be on indefinite hiatus and although his Moonface project is proving to be conceptually inspired the stuff he’s put out been only OK, and usually I’m a sucker for anything he touches. Surely these guys haven’t burned out. I hope not. I hope that in time ‘Semi Precious Stone’/’Agents of Love’ may be considered as a fitting, near high water mark, eulogy to how great Wolf Parade were rather than a saddening reminder of how good they could be.
Sharon Van Etten – Warsaw (lossless) – Headphones
Sharon Van Etten – Give Out (lossless) – Headphones
Lotus Plaza – Strangers (lossless) – Headphones
Grimes – Infinite Without Fulfillment (intro) (lossless) – Headphones
Grimes – Genesis (lossless) – Headphones
Grimes – Oblivion (lossless) – Headphones
Random playlist of recently released stuff that I listened to while writing most of this. On the Sharon Van Etten LP I absolutely adore the first 3 tracks and struggle with the remainder of it. I find it especially painful when the guy from Beirut appears which is strange as I don’t mind Beirut normally. The Lotus Plaza album I really like although I’ve been holding off it until I get it on vinyl. I have listened to it a fair bit on Spotify whilst out and about though and while it’s actually pretty great I do fully endorse the Coke Machine Review write up of it which bemoans that underneath all that lovely reverb and hazy ambiance there’s not really much at it’s heart. Fair enough though, it’s candy for the ears. The Grimes album I just don’t get whatsoever; I’ve tried listening to it a bit and though I have warmed to it a little I suppose it’s really just not impressing me much. Musically it has an interesting vibe to it but personally I just find her voice grating and really fatiguing to listen to for anything beyond a song and in the end I always find myself feeling a genuine sense of relief in just turning it off.
New Order – Lowlife (Deluxe Edition) (CD) – Hi-Fi
I fancied some New Order. I’ve overheard people talking about them a lot recently with them playing live again. I chucked this one on mainly to listen to the 12” version of ‘The Perfect Kiss’ which is probably my single favourite New Order song and it really benefits from a couple of extra minutes playing time. I listened to another two or three tracks; remixes and extended versions of ‘Shellshock’ and ‘Sub-Culture’. I switched it off when ‘Shame of the Nation’ came on.
Spiritualized – Laser Guided Melodies (CD) – Hi-Fi
Randomly pulled this one out. I have 3 or 4 Spiritualized albums although there not a band I’ve ever really loved. I like the idea of them and I love Spacemen 3 but there’s something that puts me off them a bit, maybe the vocals. I keep on meaning to listen to them more and I put something on by them every now and again but it never really sticks.
I then left the world of sound for the evening and watched the football before finising writing this. Off to bed now with some mellow tunes and off to sleep.
Stars of the Lid – Avec Laudenum
The crem-de-la-crem of modern ambient drones.