Leica M, 50mm Summilux Asph.
Archive for November, 2013
So we promised Magic Trick that we would wait for River Of Souls, out Tuesday, before locking the ballot box on the Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™. We will save them a spot on the shortlist, okay? Below, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER are the bands in consideration.
At Tulip Frenzy World HQ, the horse trading, lobbying, and outright bribery are in full force. We’ve cast a sideways glance at our competitors, and let us just say that this was one of the rare years in which we did not automatically scoff at the Uncut Top 50 list, and they did settle one thing for us: yes, the Parquet Courts album is to be considered this year, even though it actually was released last November. But no one listened to it until January 1, when we were all suddenly forced to grapple with a) 2013, and b) the Parquet Courts’ greatness. But mbv as the Album of The Year? Please, nice to have Kevin Shields back but it’s not really that good. Still, could have been worse.
We should note that we are NOT considering the Bob Dylan 1969 Isle of Wight release, even though it finally came out this year, and even though it is simply amazing. Why is it ruled out by the judges? Because we don’t think that’s right to knock a band in their prime out of consideration just because another incredible album fought its way out of the Dylan archives. But here’s a pretty great set of bands/artists who will be considered:
Thee Oh Sees
First Communion Afterparty
In consideration: 18 artists. It’s going to be a long few days of wrangling in these here parts. Stay tuned.
So funny, we’d been thinking this morning how unhappy we are not to be in Brooklyn tonight to see Television play at Rough Trade. And then we got this email…
For a long time, we’ve loved listening to Richard Hell’s music, particularly the two albums he recorded with the Voidoids — Blank Generation and the original Destiny Street. But since the ’90s, we’ve also enjoyed reading his fiction (Go Now), and then his excellent memoir, I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, which we absolutely adored.
Today, Richard contacted us out of the blue to let us know that he had just re-issued his compilation SPURTS AKA The Richard Hell Story because… well, we’ll let him tell it:
Leica M, 50mm Summilux Asph.
We loved the way Saul Leiter a) shot almost all of his best images in portrait aspect, b) used the frost on windows as something to focus on while the world took shape outside. We thought of Saul this morning, on a cold beautiful day. He was a master, and an inspiration.
The New York Times obit this morning was quite wonderful. R.I.P., Saul Leiter.
The Harlem River is not the Big Muddy, it’s not the Colorado, it’s not the Snake. By the standards of American waterways it’s something of an afterthought, better known for the highway that runs along it than its noble role separating Manhattan from the Bronx. Let’s put it this way: to most people, its most important aspect is that without it, Manhattan would not be an island. It’s a curious body of water to lend its name to an album as pretty as Kevin Morby’s Harlem River, promising something as pure as the Allagash, though we assure you, you wouldn’t want to drink from it.
But drink deep of this lovely, quiet, sometimes mesmerizing album. The title track is haunting, and would easily be a hit in that perfect world that so honors nine-minute songs. “Miles, Miles, Miles” is a piece of Americana stolen from the after-hours of the Blonde On Blonde sessions. It doesn’t take Cate LeBon to make “Slow Train” that perfect song for a Saturday morning when it rains outside, but it helps.
Morby has a nice voice, and we already knew he was a stellar musician from his work fronting The Babies and playing bass in Woods. The Babies — with their Pixies antecedents and their Brooklyn barroom roots — are not an obvious reference point for a quiet, soulful album like this. So it’s like Woods, right? Uh uh, for whereas the brilliance of that brilliant band is projected like a Titan rocket by the strength of Jeremy Earl’s voice, nothing Kevin Morby does is meant to announce itself. He’s just made a lovely, quiet album we’ll be playing on those rainy Saturdays, on those long car rides, for a long time to come.
Like Ron Wood before him, long, long ago, Morby’s got his own album to do, and we’re glad he did it.