Saturday, July 31, 2010

55. Trouble in Dreams

55. Trouble in Dreams, Destroyer (Merge, 2008)

By the time of his final full-length album of the decade, Vancouver singer-songwriter and Destroyer bandleader Dan Bejar had come a long way from the four-track adventuring of his ’90s work.  The Aughts saw Bejar release six Destroyer full-lengths and a pair of EPs, as well as four albums as a member of the New Pornographers and two with Swan Lake (see #91).  Even just since his previous Destroyer album, the ’06 breakthrough LP Destroyer’s Rubies, Bejar made substantial contributions to four different groups’ records, including performing the bulk of instrumentation on girlfriend Sydney Vermont’s ’08 album (credited to Hello, Blue Roses) The Portrait Is Finished and I Have Failed to Capture Your Beauty.  If one looks only at the Destroyer material produced in the Aughts, the catalog reveals a series of ambitious and complex works: from his first masterwork Streethawk: A Seduction (’01, see #66) to the bold musical theater of the synth-heavy ’04 Your Blues and beyond, Bejar has repeatedly shown himself to be one of the decade’s strongest and most literate songwriters.  His prolificacy and willingness to work as a secondary on other people’s albums have afforded him an ongoing opportunity to hone his writing and performance, and a sequential examination of his Aughts output also shows one of the decade’s most significant progressions in pop craftsmanship.

Trouble in Dreams came after a sequence of Destroyer albums sprawling in construction or thematic in execution; while its running time almost matches the nearly hour-long Rubies, Bejar’s ’08 effort feels like the first streamlined collection of Destroyer songs since Thief in 2000.  While Bejar and Destroyer may seem synonymous, the project has been a group effort since ’98; its lineup has shifted progressively, though, and Trouble marks the first time in six years that Destroyer’s roster survived nearly intact from its previous record.  Only longtime drummer Scott Morgan is missing, replaced here by Fisher Rose (who played vibes and trumpet on Rubies).  As with most of Destroyer’s albums, Trouble was recorded at Vancouver’s JC/DC Studio with David Carswell and Paul Collins co-producing with the band, the latter one of Bejar’s New Pornographers bandmates.  The album’s production is warmer than any of its predecessors, a departure from the ragged live feel of Rubies; most of its songs are slow-burning, sometimes almost sensuous ballads.  The subjects often seem burdened by fatigue, concession, and a wish to get things over with; the album’s opening line is “Okay, fine,” the narrator of Blue Flower/Blue Flame concluding “A gray ashen sadness rises like the sun, oh well.”  My Favorite Year recalls halcyon days before a blunt reminder that “now it’s gone.”  The protagonist of Shooting Rockets, the album’s eight-minute centerpiece, whose “soul pukes,” finds lightness only in dreams because he has “street despair carved in my heart.”  These songs are cloaked in bewitching arrangements that temper the gritty accountings of the lyrics.  The State and Plaza Trinidad provide noisy interludes, delivering percussive crescendoes that provide sonic reminders of the characters’ emotional stress.  Only on My Favorite Year and Dark Leaves Form a Thread does the mood approach ebullience; even then, though, the narrator is ambivalent: “No, it’s cool, you go, I’ll stay,” Bejar sings on the latter, “perfectly at home with this dread.”  On its lyrical surface a potential gloom trip, Trouble in Dreams is Destroyer’s most sonically beautiful album and another gem in the catalog.

Highlights: My Favorite Year, Dark Leaves Form a Thread, Rivers, Introducing Angels

Sublime bit: Introducing Angels: its lush arrangement, Bejar’s hushed intonation of its title, and the silvery guitar riff slipping through its choruses.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

56. Gold Brick

56. Gold Brick, Jon Langford (ROIR, 2006)

Chicago-dwelling Welsh expatriate Jon Langford is one of rock’s most prolific artists.  While perhaps best known as a member of the Mekons from the Leeds punk class of ’77, Langford has made nearly three dozen albums with his other groups the Three Johns (’82-’90), traditional country collective the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, and cowpunk sextet Waco Brothers, as well as a multitude of collaborations with other songwriters.  Along with his tireless musical schedule, Langford is an accomplished visual artist; his paintings often depict other musicians, particularly the country and western acts who have inspired his own music since the Mekons shifted away from punk in the late ’70s.  Not until ’95 did Langford get around to issuing an LP under his own name; Misery Loves Company—credited to “Jonboy” Langford, along with the Cosmonauts—is a ramshackle but loving set of Johnny Cash covers (like his painting, Langford’s music often celebrates country artists).  With ’98’s Skull Orchard, a pop-tinged set of songs in honor of his Welsh homeland, Langford delivered his first true “solo” album, not hinging on collaboration or homage.  He would issue three more in the Aughts; works like Mayors of the Moon (’02, backed by Canadian alt-country group the Sadies) and All the Fame of Lofty Deeds (’04) are serviceable roots-rock albums melding cuttingly literate writing, amiable humor, and a keen insight to America’s cultural landscape. Langford’s next solo work, though, would take a confident and ambitious stride forward.

For Gold Brick, Langford took temporary leave of his usual solo label Bloodshot for NYC imprint ROIR, which had previously released Mekons and Three Johns one-offs. Subtitled Lies of the Great Explorers, or Columbus at Guantanamo Bay, it is an examination of post-9/11 American malaise and the impacts and shifting priorities of globalization.  Its first half focuses on individuals: the subjects of Little Bit of Help are “programmed for survival”; Workingman’s Palace chronicles the pressing need for escape, usually “where the Old Style light still shines”; Invisible Man illustrates regular folks’ 21st-century uncertainty, overlooked “like a pin in a map or dust on the screen.”  The title track addresses modernity’s solitude (“You leave home but you never leave home/Drive for miles in a car on your own”) and bland conformity (“The boring and phony/Are rocks for the lonely/To climb up on.”).  The second half dissects the U.S. mise en scène: Gorilla and the Maiden depicts Cold War Chicago’s incongruities of strip joints, Nazi marches, and investors who “paw at a city served up in chains”; Tall Ships imagines the vessels that carried many to the New World, now simply “carrying cargo/that nobody needs.”  An orchestrated cover of Procol Harum’s ’69 tune Salty Dog bridges the halves, in this context another depiction of immigration.  The finest piece is closing track Lost in America.  Composed for National Public Radio’s show of the same name and, in best Langford populist fashion, performed with musicians he found in the classifieds, it charts a course from pre-Colonial days to an imagined present where Columbus is detained by security and left to watch daytime TV, his mind reeling from the soulless progression of cartoons, game shows, and news-magazine exposés.  An astounding expository achievement, it should reassure anyone mistaking Gold Brick for a mere indictment of America: “We’ll turn the planes around today/And make them fly the other way/’Cos we know we’re all here to stay/And you know where you are/When you’re lost in America.”  Gold Brick examines a nation of proud individuals who may be a little worse for wear but who still believe in an American dream. It is Langford’s finest solo album to date and among the best work of his entire career.

Highlights: Lost in America, Gold Brick, All Roads Lead Back to Me, Invisible Man

Sublime bit: The beautiful arrangement of the title track, particularly Pat Brennan’s piano and Jean Cook’s violin lines.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

57. Truelove's Gutter

57. Truelove's Gutter, Richard Hawley (Mute, 2009)

Sheffield songwriter Richard Hawley—former Longpigs guitarist and Pulp sideman—is one of those trusty musicians whose excellence comes from finding a suitable niche and treading that same ground over a span of albums, each of which has its strengths yet may seem interchageable to the casual listener.  His solo material focuses on sentimental lyrics set to lush, old-fashioned pop arrangements that suggest a common ground between Buddy Holly’s orchestral work; the early rock material on Sun Records of the Elvis, Scotty & Bill trio; and jazz-pop singers like Nat “King” Cole and Johnny Hartman.  After a mini-album and four full-lengths, including the Mercury Prize nominee Coles Corner (’06; see #84), Hawley adjusted his formula to produce his most masterful work of the decade.

The follow-up to Hawley’s poppiest album to date, Lady’s Bridge (’07), Truelove’s Gutter is a departure from the post-war dance-band crooner material that made helped to make his previous two albums so enjoyable.  Here, Hawley does not abandon his proven form so much as he dials it down and stretches it out; this results in some of the most intimate, quiet material of his catalog as well as its most epic numbers.  Hawley had done quiet material before—the bulk of ’02’s Late Night Final and the final third of Coles Corner focus on hushed, sparse compositions—yet on Truelove’s Gutter the calmness takes the form of meditations.  Expanding on Hawley’s usual beat-combo instrumentation, the songs are accented by a bevy of unusual, sometimes arcane devices: a singing saw, the cristal bachet, a glass harmonica, the waterphone, Tibetan singing bowls, the Ondes martenot (the sole electric instrument of that lot, an early keyboard producing theremin-like vibrations).  This non-traditional accompaniment lends a unique sonic undercurrent to the record; when the opening cut As the Dawn Breaks slowly builds from a swelling ambient hum, to name one instance, the organic instruments can easily be mistaken for modern electronics.  Many songs on the album have extended run times, the average going over six minutes.  Two pieces, Remorse Code and Don’t You Cry, are ten minutes long.  Remorse Code is the album’s centerpiece; a ruminative, opaque depiction of drug addiction, it caresses a single, gentle riff for its duration.  “The ship is wrecked/With all hands/Look to the reef/False lights from the land,” Hawley sings; the capsizing metaphor ends bluntly with a haunting chorus of “Those white lines/made your eyes wide.”  No mere indictment of another person’s follies, its lyric concludes with “I was likewise/In those white lines.”  Don’t Get Hung Up in Your Soul is the most desolate number, Hawley accompanied by an almost inaudible guitar and bass with the singing saw adding a far-off and lonesome tone.  The album’s general quietude emphasizes the power of its occasional crescendo: the blazing orchestral swell that erupts in the fourth minute of the otherwise quiet Soldier On, for example, is the album’s most stunning moment in part because it happens only once.  The songs of Truelove’s Gutter strip the bulk of filigrees from Hawley’s proven approach to pop songwriting, leaving its compositions laid bare.  Sometimes almost painfully frank yet thoroughly compelling precisely because of its intimacy, this fifth full-length album of Hawley’s is a striking achievement that will long resonate as a peak of his career.

Highlights: Remorse Code, Open Up Your Door, Soldier On, For Your Lover Give Some Time

Sublime bit: Those knowing refrains of Remorse Code and the mournful guitar solos surrounding them, especially the one from 5:34 to 7:33.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

58. Carbon Glacier

58. Carbon Glacier, Laura Veirs (Nonesuch, 2004)

At the end of the Aughts, Pacific Northwest singer-songwriter Laura Veirs had made a sparkling pair of pop-rock albums with her group (known first as the Tortured Souls and then renamed Saltbreakers for her sixth LP of the same name), but she began the decade as a folk-based artist fresh off her rough-hewn debut album (Laura Veirs, ’99).  Her first Aughts LP, The Triumphs and Travails of Orphan Mae (’01), is a country-tinged acoustic song cycle about a woman journeying through the Western U.S.; its ’03 follow-up Troubled by the Fire is a largely gentle roots album, marking Veirs’s first prominent use of a full band and, though sparingly, a foray into the rock forms she would embrace more vigorously on later works Year of Meteors (’05, see #62) and Saltbreakers (’07).  Each of her Aughts LPs—all produced by drummer/programmer Tucker Martine—evidences considerable stylistic development, yet the most arresting of her first six albums is her ’04 major-label debut Carbon Glacier.

The album possesses a chilly ambience, many of its songs creating stark and haunting moods suggestive of its cover art’s frozen vista.  While Troubled by the Fire revealed Veirs’s interest in more aggressive arrangements, Carbon Glacier is a hushed affair, emphasizing her strengths as a folk singer yet adorning the acoustic material in a web of minimal electronics that sound more progressive than any of its predecessor’s revved-up efforts.  Veirs’s singing voice, like her composition and production, has developed over time; on Carbon Glacier, though, its idiosyncrasies—recalling the thin-ice overreaching of Guyville-era Liz Phair—add further to the distinctive sonics.  Though a wintry atmosphere runs through the album, it is not a purely bleak one; instead, the arrangements often conjure the crisp, quiet beauty of a moonlit blanket of snow.  This is best evident in the opening song, Ether Sings.  Veirs’s introductory midtempo guitar figure lasts only four measures before it is joined by an eerie, airy synth line, sounding almost like a theremin, that drifts away as quickly as it appeared; “Come with me and we’ll head up north/Where the rivers run icy and strong,” Veirs sings.  After a pair of verses, the song returns to the original guitar and synth melody, joined by a muted viola pattern and a ghostly and beautiful falsetto of “aah-ha, aah-ha” that repeats for the final ninety seconds.  Perhaps even starker is Icebound Stream, whose attractively lurching, repetitive melody sounds as if born of a hurdy gurdy whose batteries are running low.  Veirs’s voice is high in the mix; the lyric, sung in a similarly mechanical rhythm, is a fever dream of anthropomorphized lightning that makes flowers bloom in reverse and photographs fade to white.  The contemplative ballad Rapture marvels at the way humans capture art in permanence, “with photographs and magnetic tape,” and wonders if “love of color, sound and words/is it a blessing or a curse,” citing Kurt Cobain and “young Virginia Woolf/Death came and hung her coat.”  Shadow Blues depicts a lover frightened by her own feelings: “I’ve learned that love is scared of light,” Veirs sings, describing a “blackened kiss” and a protagonist who admits “I am dark about the whys of wanting” before vowing to “dig a coal mine, climb down deep inside/where my shadow’s got one place to go.”  The sonic tension is lifted only on The Cloud Room, an upbeat pop number with a near-funk drumbeat, presaging her later Aughts work.  Carbon Glacier is an album keenly aware of the dangers of nature, the unrest that can lie just behind beauty, and the loneliness of time.  From its vulnerable atmospheres comes the best work of Veirs’s first ten years of recording.

Highlights: Icebound Stream, Ether Sings, Snow Camping, The Cloud Room

Sublime bit: That wordless vocal coda from 2:13 to 3:30 of Ether Sings.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

59. I Am a Bird Now

59. I Am a Bird Now, Antony and the Johnsons (Secretly Canadian, 2005)

Antony Hegarty, an England-born, longtime US resident, toiled for years in the experimental theatres and cabarets of New York City before an arts grant in ’96 enabled him to record professionally with other musicians.  Hegarty named his nascent group after late transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson, and constructed a sparse, piano-based sound featuring his theatrical, almost operatic singing voice.  Their increasingly frequent late-Nineties live gigs got the attention of experimental artist-musician David Tibet, who had worked with Psychic TV and Nurse With Wound while leading his own group, Current 93, and operating the small UK label Durtro.  Tibet offered Hegarty an album release, resulting in an eponymous ’98 LP.  Hegarty’s talent arrived fully formed on Antony and the Johnsons, no surprise after eight years of live performance.  A relatively straightforward set of piano ballads whose lyrics address difficult topics from romantic catharsis to psychosexuality, it is good in its own right but the least compelling of his three studio albums to date.  It would be seven years before his next album; the group’s only new releases until then were the ’00 three-song Durtro EP I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy, two-thirds of which consisted of covers, and two minor split releases with Tibet’s Current 93 (half of a live EP and one studio outtake on a 7”).  While Hegarty lacked in prolificacy, his connections in the NYC art world secured him numerous collaborations and film appearances; most notably, he sang lead vocals for two songs on Lou Reed’s ’04 live LP Animal Serenade. These guest spots were no preparation for the creative leap of his next studio album.

I Am a Bird Now is a stark, soulful set of songs addressing gender identity, dysphoria, and psychic ascension from traditional concepts of sexual classification.  Twenty musicians and vocalists are credited, almost twice as on his debut LP, and only drummer Todd Cohen is retained.  The accompaniment includes strings and horns, used judiciously with minimal arrangements reminiscent of a chamber ensemble.  While Hegarty’s voice is the focal point, several other singers appear; Lou Reed contributes a spoken introduction to Fistful of Love, Devendra Banhart sings a brief aria on Spiralling, and Rufus Wainwright sings an entire song, the excellent What Can I Do?  The finest guest vocal comes when Hegarty duets with Boy George on the emotional You Are My Sister; the performance illustrates the power of George’s voice, a reminder that his Aughts activity transcended his tabloid-level mayhem.  “Hope there’s someone who’ll take care of me/When I die, when I go,” Hegarty sings on the opening cut, presaging the ruminations on death and transition he would examine closely on his next album, The Crying Light (’09; see #93); death is a theme on Bird as well, though here it is often followed by a second birth—that of the soul and sexual spirit. This is most pronounced in For Today I Am a Boy and, in the triumphant album closer, Bird Gehrl: “I’m gonna be born/Into, soon, the sky/’Cause I’m a bird girl/And the bird girls go to heaven/I’m a bird girl/And the bird girls can fly.”  Hegarty’s compositions on I Am a Bird Now speak to the ecstatic truths of individual identity, with a command seen in few other singers of the time.  His creative growth in the seven years since his first album represents one of the most startling progressions in Aughts pop music.  Bird controversially won the UK Mercury Prize (not for subject matter, but for disputes over Hegarty's residency; the prize is intended for British recordings), and remains NOYOUCMON’s pick for best album of 2005.

Highlights: Bird Gerhl, Fistful of Love, You Are My Sister, Hope There’s Someone

Sublime bit: One comes along about every three minutes on this album, but the sheer emotion of his vocal on Bird Gehrl encapsulates them all.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

60. Sweet Warrior

60. Sweet Warrior, Richard Thompson (Shout! Factory, 2007)

Richard Thompson is, it can be argued, a contender for greatest living guitarist.  His knack for avoiding the limelight and his unique playing style that abstains from typical guitar-god blues hokum means that your average Crossroads Festival attendee might not think so, but an examination of Thompson’s work reveals an astonishing breadth, color, and agility seen in few other masters of the instrument.  His first recorded work came as a member of English folk-rockers Fairport Convention, resulting in five studio albums from 1967 to his ’71 departure to pursue a solo career, and while the group continues to this day their most cherished material comes from the relatively brief Thompson era.  Prior to his ’72 solo debut Henry the Human Fly, Thompson also served as a session man for a variety of artists that included Nick Drake.  Following Fly, Thompson embarked on a joint career with one of that album’s backing vocalists, Linda Peters, who became his wife; they recorded six albums together before divorcing in ’82.  While operating in traditional folk and folk-rock milieu on his own albums, Thompson has collaborated with a wide array of artists, including David Thomas, frontman of visionary rock provocateurs Pere Ubu; experimental guitarists Henry Kaiser and Fred Frith; Captain Beefheart drummer John French; and, in perhaps his strongest guest appearances, with Anton Fier’s avant-rock project the Golden Palominos.  Thompson’s playing has figured heavily in a handful of films, most notably Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man (’05).  Were Thompson merely a brilliant guitarist, his nearly two-dozen post-Fairport studio albums would be a shallower pool; his exceptional talent as a singer-songwriter makes his albums rare demonstrations of first-class instrumental and rhetorical prowess coming from a single source.

Thompson recorded three studio albums in the Aughts, alongside a wealth of live albums (mostly fan-club releases) and the Grizzly Man soundtrack.  Of the trio of studio efforts from the decade, Sweet Warrior (’07) is the last and finest, a return to electric work after the largely acoustic ’05 Front Parlour Ballads.  Having left the major label system after '99's strong Mock Tudor, Thompson made Warrior on his own dime and shopped it to indie labels after its completion.  A balance of pop tunes (Mr. Stupid, Needle and Thread, and the sax-driven jaunt Bad Monkey the best among them) and thoughtful ballads, the album embodies its title by examining the battles of romance.   Elsewhere, though, the warrior concept is addressed in regard to the futile sides of war and military life (the concepts are mingled in an inner-sleeve photo of a flummoxed Thompson in military uniform and camouflage facepaint, flanked by beautiful women kissing his cheeks).  Dad’s Gonna Kill Me refers not to fears of an angry father; the title instead invokes Baghdad and the fears of a deployed soldier in the face of unarmored Humvees, conservative home-front propaganda, and the specter of death.  Even better is Guns Are the Tongues, the album’s climax and one of Thompson’s strongest pieces of writing.  It is a ballad of a seducer and her line of soldier lovers, each of whom is enlisted to avenge her family’s history: “Guns are the tongues, Little Joe/The only words we know/The only sound that’ll reach their ears.”  For every agonizing ballad there is a pair of upbeat, ebullient bursts of rootsy pop, balancing the album between confounding matters of the heart and weary stories of battle.  If the album has a fault, it’s length—at 66 minutes, Sweet Warrior is a heavy listening commitment; yet, it is one with many rewards.  At age 57 and in his fourth decade of recording, Thompson made one of his best albums.

Highlights: Guns Are the Tongues, Take Care the Road You Choose, Johnny’s Far Away, Too Late to Come Fishing

Sublime bit: The end chorus of Guns Are the Tongues and his soaring vocal on the last plea of “Dry the old eyes of my mother, Little Joe” at 6:02.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

61. Olé! Tarantula

61. Olé! Tarantula, Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 (Yep Roc, 2006)

London-born songwriter Robyn Hitchcock has maintained a prolific solo career since leaving new-wave psych-poppers the Soft Boys in 1980.  Issuing some three dozen albums, half of those being studio efforts and the rest comprising outtakes, radio sessions, live gigs, and revisitings of old work, Hitchcock has developed a devoted following while consistently delivering engaging new material.  A certified English eccentric, Hitchcock built a reputation for unorthodox lyrics about vegetables, insects, and other such matter, though it is unfair to categorize him as a strict humorist or capable only of idiosyncratic composition.  His quick-witted, picturesque writing makes him a natural descendant of influences Bob Dylan and John Lennon, and he has a knack for fragile beauty as much as for spirited, assertive pop music.  While he began the Aughts with a dismissal from Warner Bros., leaving him without a major-label deal for the first time since the late Eighties, it would be his most prolific decade, producing six studio albums, another six of live material and/or outtakes, two comprehensive box sets of his ’80s solo work, as well as a Soft Boys reunion album, accompanying EP, and an exhaustive reissue of their ’80 LP Underwater Moonlight.

Hitchcock’s ’06 studio album Olé! Tarantula, his sixteenth not counting Soft Boys material, finds him recording with a dedicated group for the first time since the ’93 disbanding of his backing group the Egyptians.*  The Venus 3 features several well-known Seattle-based musicians: longtime collaborator Peter Buck on guitar, R.E.M. touring drummer Bill Rieflin (also late of numerous industrial groups including Ministry, KMFDM, and Pigface), and Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows and the Minus 5 (the latter of which has also included Rieflin).  The album also features among its numerous guest spots contributions from former Soft Boys Kimberley Rew and Morris Windsor.  Most of Hitchcock’s previous Aughts work is reserved, acoustic music; stripped-down records like Luxor (’03) and Spooked (’04, his first on now-longtime label Yep Roc) are enjoyable, but are not among his most memorable efforts.  Olé! Tarantula is, conversely, his most electrified album since his work with the Egyptians.  It opens with two numbers that recall the finest of his ’80s pop heyday.  The hard-edged Adventure Rocket Ship juxtaposes a yearning lover with cosmic detritus like “skeletons of spacemen” and time-warp romance (“I kiss you in the past”); next is Underground Sun, a summery pop blast whose sound masks its lyric about a deceased friend (“You lie so lonely/Listening to the silence of the graves/You don’t belong there/You belong down south among the waves”).  A third pop blowout comes with ’Cause It’s Love (Saint Parallelogram), written with reclusive XTC frontman Andy Partridge yet unfortunately not boasting a guest appearance from its co-author.  Reprised from the Japan-only ’05 odds-and-ends LP Obliteration Pie is (A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs; despite a new arrangement with an incongruous synth line, the Tarantula version remains an album highlight.  The album’s closing song is its most haunting; N.Y. Doll is a moving account of the troubled last years of New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane.  Olé! Tarantula is a contender for Hitchcock’s best work of the decade; those craving more should seek out its companion EP Sex, Food, Death...and Tarantulas, which features live versions of Briggs and five other tunes from Hitchcock’s deep catalog.

* Or fifteenth, to those who insist on categorizing his 2000 LP A Star for Bram as a mere set of outtakes from the '99 Jewels for Sophia album.  I maintain otherwise.

NOTE: As a proponent of wax, it pains me when I cannot recommend a vinyl pressing of an album; however, the vinyl pressings produced by Yep Roc are routinely substandard.  Overzealous bass response, muddy mastering, and general poor fidelity render this label's releases best purchased on the compact disc format.  I've heard both versions of Olé! Tarantula, and the CD trounces the vinyl version.  If you do not care about fidelity, purchase a download of this album.  The vinyl receives a NOYOUCMON "do not buy" warning.

Highlights: Underground Sun, Adventure Rocket Ship, N.Y. Doll, (A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs

Sublime bit: Underground Sun’s pulsing bridge (“One for the girl who went away/Two for the girl that went astray/Three is in between you”).
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