This continues the posting of arbitrarily selected songs (the sixth track) from last week’s CD purchases. Or disinterment, in one case. This installment focuses on tracks by bands whose names begin with letters in the second half of the alphabet.
The Minus 5 The Minus 5 (The Gun Album) (2006) “Cemetery Row”: Why yes, that is Colin Meloy, singing wistfully of lemonade and gin and rhyming “matchsticks” with “halfwits.” (Of course, in so doing he’s only doing Scott McCaughey’s bidding.) This is, I believe, the only song Meloy sings on – so Decemberists fanatics need not rush out to buy this CD on that basis alone (oops – too late – they were all rushing out the door in 19th century frockcoats right after “Colin Meloy, singing…”). So, another album full of melodic but sometimes curiously arranged songs full of decidedly curious lyrics (my favorite bits of nonsense are from “Hotel Senator”: “She’s a hotel senator from a nightstand fatherland. She’s a representative of the broadcast prison band.”)
The Ponys Laced with Romance (2003) “Looking Out a Mirror”: I really liked the Ponys’ Celebration Castle CD from last year, so I picked up this earlier release. More of the same – here their typical garageyness is melded with a sort of drive-in horror-movie sound to fine effect, a sound that suits the singer’s voice (rather like Robert Smith’s cousin who runs a motorcycle repair shop).
The Soft Boys “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” live on KEXP Seattle, 10-31-02: Not a new release – not a new purchase either. (Unfortunately, not a release at all.) Back when the Soft Boys reunion was an ongoing thing, I obtained a CD-R full of mp3s from the 2001 tour, along with several radio appearances primarily from 2002 in support of Nextdoorland. I’d begun burning CDs from them (at the time, I could play mp3 discs only in my computer), and had been distracted from trying to arrange and edit about 10 CDs’ worth of material. I’d completely forgotten I’d even burned this CD, until last week I was digging through some old CD-Rs full of mp3s to enter them into my mp3 database program, and found this CD. Well hey. My random choice of the sixth track proves fortuitous here (it’s the first track from the KEXP show, following five from a BBC-2 show two weeks earlier), since this is the only recording I have of the Soft Boys doing this Dylan track. (They do not appear to have played it on the 2001 tour.) Now you have it too – isn’t that neat?
Swords Metropolis (2005) “Land Speed Record”: My confession here is that despite what sometimes strikes me as a bit of overwroughtness to Swords’ sound, for the most part this band’s music is scientifically extracted from a lot of ideas residing in my head about what makes music interesting. They’re right down the center of my own personal musical alley, in other words. I’d heard a couple of tracks before (they were previously known by the unwieldy name The Swords Project) but it wasn’t until someone posted “Family Photographs” from this album that I was hooked. And that, too, was almost accidental: the mp3 didn’t have proper ID3 tags, so it was playing away in iTunes taunting me. So I googled a few key lyrical phrases and found out which song and band it was – and then bought the CD. This track is typical: longish, intricately (if not busily) arranged, emotive, complex.