Author Archives: ruanvv

Yeah! The End!

Nick: So this is really the end?

Yeah, feels good right?

Do you think they’ll throw a party for us? Like Road Records? We do deserve one don’t we?

I’ll be able to start my new blog now. I’m going to call it ‘Old Man Moans’.

Very descriptive title.

Well that’s what it’ll be, an old man moaning. And I might invite other old people to moan with me.

That’s what the world really needs.

Well, hopefully people will find it humourous.

Do you have any final words of wisdom for your fans?

No, not really.


Silver Jews – The Natual Bridge (Drag City, 1996)

So what record would you like to do today?

Nick: Well, I was thinking, if I choose a record I already know, and have known for years then we lose all sense of spontaneity. It’s like it’s been rehearsed.
So I was trying to think of bands that I’ve heard of that we haven’t reviewed and one that came to mind is… Silver Jews? You talk about them all the time and I see their albums lying around the house, so how about we review them?

Oh, ok sure. I think we have reviewed them before though…..yeah back in November 2008, but sure we can do an earlier album.

Here’s The Natural Bridge.

{We’re in the attic, rain is thundering down on the roof, obscuring the sound}

Turn it up please.

Yeah you need to hear the lyrics.

Why?

Uhm…

Is this recent? It’s almost timeless. Could’ve come from any time. It’s relaxed and relaxing.

Woah. It came out 14 years ago.

There’s a lot of attention to detail in the music. In fashion they’d call it detailing. It doesn’t stay on the same route, there are lots of subtle, new bits.

Look at this weather. Hahaha look at that woman with the buggy! Haha! Oh dear, poor woman.

It’s nice but I don’t think I could listen to a lot of it, it can drift from relaxing to soporific.

I have a book of his poetry downstairs if you’d like to read it.

Whatever, how about I send you on an essay he wrote?

Alright.

{Record ends}

I need something to wake me up now.

Still the best band ever. Along with Dexy’s and Sparks and loads more. But still.

http://www.weeblackskelf.co.uk/cordsuit/


So…

I guess it’s not the end just yet, we only got two albums done this week as Nick was out gallivanting Tuesday and Thursday and today I’m too busy. Can’t let Groom be the last album we review, so there’ll hopefully be 2 or 3 posts next week!

xx
r&n

Groom – Marriage (Popical Island, 2010)

Why do you wanna do this?

Nick: Why not? Why avoid it?

Isn’t a little close to home? You’ve met the five people who made this record, I’m one of them.

So? Do you not think we should?

Hey, it’s your week. I just want you to be as honest as you would if..

You know me.

{Half an hour later}

I do like it, it’s cohesive, it comes together well. In some places the voice works but in others it just doesn’t. The more musical backing he has the better he sings, when the instrumentation is more sparse…I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like he sings with more confidence when the band is all there behind him.

I have a feeling this is a grower, the more you listen to it the more you get out of it. Musically it’s very good but I can’t help wondering if some of the songs would be better sung by someone else. Don’t ask me who, a woman or a man would be fine. It’s probably a personal thing, sometimes it just grates on me.

{Track 10: This Golden Age}

His voice sounds terrific here actually.

Did you want to review the album or his voice?

Well his voice is a big part of the album, and it’s a terrific album. It’s not even a criticism really, there’s just some places where it doesn’t work for me.

Also, I haven’t really heard anything else I could compare it to, it’s a unique sound.

Meatloaf?

Meatloaf? Not at all.

You’re nowhere near Sparks type uniqueness but I think people would recognize this after only one listen.

Ehhh…thanks I guess? Dunno what he’s gonna pick tomorrow, hopefully something he’ll have more to say about.

http://groom.bandcamp.com/

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge, 2010)

This is actually the first time we’ve featured them, but they’ve been mentioned here more than any other band.

Nick: Really? Maybe you’re right.

I like it a lot, but it’s strange… to compliment it you have to say things that sound negative in comparison to what they done before. It’s less exuberant, it’s probably less inventive, it’s actually more grown up. If you had to guess the age of the people who made the first record you’d say 17 or 18, it had a studenty feel. But now they sound like they’re mid 20s or early 30s, this is more established, and yet I think it’s very good. I hate to say middle of the road but its true.

I think this would reach a broader range of listeners.

Do you think there’s many people who haven’t listened to them yet?

Well that’s not the same thing, this will get more people listening to them, it’ll change their minds.

When we went to see them in the Olympia, I must’ve been the oldest person there, at least twice as old as the next person, but now I can imagine their shows will be full of older people.

You didn’t have much fun at that show…

Well I was surrounded by people pissed out of their minds, they didn’t come to listen to the music. I was worried about the guy in front of us, it’s steep up in the seats, I could see him toppling off the balcony. But then I’m old so I worry about that stuff, all the people his age probably would’ve loved to see that!

But I think it’s the music not the crowd that kept the older people away. Everyone who I told I was going raised their eyebrows, most didn’t even know who I was talking about!

I think somewhere between the first and second album his voice became incredibly miserable sounding.

You think so? I don’t think it ever sounded uplifting…in fact he doesn’t look very uplifting either.

They take very serious photos.

Yes they do.

This is also a lot more orchestral isn’t it? The only objection I have, and it’s a minor one – it tends to be quite samey, a lot of the songs are very similar.

What do you think of the whole ‘Suburbs’ theme?

Ahh that’s just something for them to hang their hats on, it’s not important.

I’m starting to agree with your brother, the songs are all too long.

{Track 15: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)}

I really love this one.

It’s probably the least ‘Arcade Fire’…

Yeah, but I’m surprised at how well it fits in with the rest.

The album has a great cohesion. It’s very….of one thing.

These songs all come from the same part of the forest? Just on the outskirts of the suburbs?

Yes, but almost too much! There is almost no surprises in it.

{Track 16: The Suburbs (Continued)}

Actually this is a surprise, I thought it was over.

So there we go, Nick finally gets to choose an album, can’t believe we’d never ‘done’ Arcade Fire before. Just found out what he wants to do tomorrow, I’m nervous.

http://www.myspace.com/arcadefireofficial


Sparks – Indiscreet (Island, 1975)

Nick: Electricians?

Turn it up.

It’s very distinctive, if you’ve heard it once you’ll recognise it anywhere, you’ll never confuse them with anyone else.

{Track 3: Without Using Hands}

I couldn’t put my finger on it until this track but it has a real cabaret quality to it!

They should be writing musicals, or he or whoever, this should all be happening on a big stage with a big production, it’s musical theater. I love it. Terrific stuff isn’t it?

And it’s melodically memorable too, it’s not just the style marks them out.

Where are they from?

Los Angeles. A lot of people always thought they were British.

Yes, I would have thought that too, I can see captions on the bottom of the album cover ‘Recorded On A West End Stage’. It’s very retro.

Released in 1975.

Yes but this is very thirties or forties.

{Track 5: Under The Table With Her}

He’s even imitating a British accent here! And again, it has a sense of humour. And he has such a great voice, super voice. Great control.

Aha.. their ‘first pop musical’ came out last year, ‘The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman’.

See?

Also they must be very intelligent guys, you can tell that straight away. Not that that’s any kind of endorsement.

They’re the new Gilbert & Sullivan!

But….at the same time you have to realise it’s a limited appeal.  Did their musical do well?

I’m not sure, hold on, yeah seems to have gotten good reviews allover, oh, it was only performed on the radio, not the stage.

Oh, well it’s something you instantly think of when you hear them, ‘they should make a musical’ and they did! And i hope they get to keep making them.

It was a toss up between this and one of Dexy’s three albums for my last album on the blog ever, hope I’ve made the right decision. See you next week, where Nick will be choosing the albums!

http://www.myspace.com/allsparks


Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Rock ‘n Roll With The Modern Lovers (Castle, 1977)

What’ll we do? What’ll we do? Oh! Haha, YES! Ok you ready? You’ll love this.

Nick: Urgh…is that the guy I hate?

Hahaha, it’s my last week y’know?

Is that a reason for torturing me?

Actually I quite like the intro. But I’m afraid it’s still a voice I absolutely can’t stand. It’s mainly the accent, that sort of plummy sort of phony sort of public school…

{Track 4: Summer Morning, has a spoken intro}

Such a horrible accent, ‘Flaaz’ {flies}. I’ve had that very few times in my life, you come across a person and your instant reaction is; HIT THEM! I’ve never seen the guy but I have feeling if he walked into a room I’d want to hit him right away.

He sounds like, what we’d call in the Dublin vernacular, a prick. He sounds like a prick.

He could be a lovely guy, I’m sure his mother loves him, I could be totally wrong, but I just detest him.

Some of the music is actually nice! It would be great if they engaged another singer. I just can’t get past his voice, it’s a pity. Maybe I need counseling? There must be some deep psychological reason why I can’t take him.

Some folks say that The Modern Lovers’ first recordings ‘invented punk’.

Well a lot of people who were leaders or innovators were no good.

He could be a great guy, gives to charity, influenced all these great bands but he has the voice of an arrogant prick.

The lyrics and the music have this…how would I describe it? It’s phony primitive.

Does he have many fans in Ireland?

Well the last couple times I’ve been to see him it’s been packed.

So do I run the chance of being beaten up?

I don’t think his fans are the violent type.

No? So they’re just arrogant pricks as well?

Not a great verdict – Phony primitive music sung by an arrogant prick.

One of my favorite albums by one of my favorite dudes.