Monthly Archives: December 2009

Bob Dylan – Christmas In The Heart (Columbia, 2009)

Nick: It’s very hard to know how to judge this.

do you think of it as a Christmas album?

if so it’s not bad, most Christmas hymns are just really ditties, so there’s not much to work with.

or do you look at it as a Bob Dylan album?

because in that case it’s not very good.

some folks have said it’s all a joke, that he’s being ironic.

I don’t agree with that.

either does Bob.

{track 6: Little Drummer Boy}

like this is one of my favorite Christmas songs, one of the classics.

and this is not my favorite version.

I don’t think he adds anything to it.

it’s interesting, his voice is becoming more and more like Louis Armstrong.

I wish Louis Armstrong was actually singing this, he’d put a lot more into it.

also the mixture of really sort of classic Christmas hymns and you know, popular Christmas…show songs I guess, doesn’t work.

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas next to O Come All Ye Faithful just doesn’t fit.

wait, isn’t he a Jew?

he converted to Christianity in the 80’s.

{track 10: Must Be Santa}

so far this is the best!

well it was the single.

this is fun, party music, the only one that’s worked so far.

the rest sit between sickly sentimental stuff and badly sung hymns.

if the whole album was like this I’d actually buy it.

now, this is very difficult to express but…

I don’t know if this because we all know who Bob Dylan is but I’m listening to the lyrics more and it shows the songs up as the crappy ditties that they are.

if this was any commercial choir and orchestra Christmas album you wouldn’t pay attention to the lyrics but he makes you listen.

{track 13: Christmas Island}

that is a really awful song.

this album falls between five stools.


I think we’ll be sticking to A Charlie Brown Christmas for our dinner listening. Merry Christmas to all you guys! See you in January.


Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy (Matador, 2009)

Nick: Childish Prodigy? well he certainly makes childish jokes with his name!

actually I kinda like these first sounds.



but is it good?

I don’t know, strangely enough.

I’m finding it hard to decide.

it sounds like something from quite a long time ago, if you know what I mean?

where are they from?



I have no idea why this is…this might sound weird…

but I thought they might be German.

well Kurt Weill was German.

yes but I knew this didn’t have anything to do with him.

do you know what impression I get?

it’s of a…

if you make a sculpture out of a load of rubbish, a dust-pan, a broomstick, some potato peels, whatever, and then it turns out quite nice.

and this is like that, if you took apart all the elements… they’re crap alone.

all the voices going ‘bu-buuuuuuu’ and so on.

but put it altogether and you have something quite good.

ordinarily crap and conservative bits put together to make something interesting, a triumph of mixing?

Two apologies!

Firstly! Sorry there hasn’t been many posts of late. Nick and myself have had very little work to do recently. Now, you’d think with all this spare time we’d be able to review numerous albums every day but the reality is we’re not sitting in the office together much. We’ll try harder in January, promise.

Secondly! I always try to avoid plugging stuff I’m involved in here but this is kinda late notice and I haven’t seen much else about it anywhere as a result so….This Sunday, Foggy Notions presents Kurt Vile w/ Lie Ins (I drum) in Twisted Pepper, it’s an early show and costs 13.50. Come along, it’ll be fun.

Super Furry Animals – Rings Around The World (Epic, 2001)

{track 5: Receptacle For The Respectable}

Paul McCartney is chewing carrots and celery on this track.

as percussion.

Nick: oh right.

it’s very poppy.

almost too poppy for me.

and it’s quite inconsistent.

how so?

well every song sounds like a different band!

and it’s over layered, I can’t make head nor tail of it.

too much going on.

everything and the kitchen sink.

it can be slightly interesting, but it’s needless.

like, you had to tell me about Paul McCartney, I would’ve never noticed, no one would.

if you strip away all the other instruments can you hear the sound of a spider making it’s web on this track?

keep it simple boys!

actually, I’m not for keeping it simple, I’m for things that are aurally practical.

to my mind the whole thing has a lack of clarity.

the voices, the mix, the melodies, the whole thing is diffuse.

there’s no clear idea of what they want their music to be.

here’s a quote:

We were trying to make a blockbuster album that was going to be like The Eagles, but we left off the tracks that sounded like The Eagles. We had big debates about the line-up, but it ended up being a 50 minute album; it was going to be an hour-and-a-half. I was into the excess of it, that was the whole point. We had Chris [Shaw] who makes a huge sound engineering the record. We were trying to make utopian pop music that had pretensions of being progressive and exciting

right, well they failed.

I can see what he’s getting at, but this isn’t exciting, this is a mistake that not just musicians make but all artists do, they confuse quantity with excitement.

if they had dropped half the stuff, it would be a serious help.

get Paul McCartney to crunch his celery somewhere else! send him to the kitchen.

oh! i thought it was over there.

every song sounds like a finale.

if this was book, I’d say it needs an editor.

someone to go through it with a red pen, not that! not that!

one of my pet hates with cooking – rainbow trout with almonds.

that’s what this is.

it’s a fine dish without the almonds.

leave the almonds out.

you can hear that it could have been a terrific album.

but it isn’t.

maybe if they had had John Lennon slicing an onion on one track it could’ve been better.

Zing! I like stupidly massive albums. Sometimes.