A couple of recent acquisitions in the ADS music library covered today.
I’ll start with PAS/CAL’s Dear Sir, because its opening track “Little Red Radio” is not only a great pop song but seasonally appropriate. I’m not sure I can think of another track that plays what appear to be three tonally very different organ parts against one another – I’m particularly fond of the very distorted one in the left channel. The title track from the EP is a slice of psychedelia (its genre cued immediately by the drums and bass shoved into their own stereo channels: can you tell I’m relistening to these tracks in headphones while I write this?). Curiously, both tracks feature the speaker promising to be good. ‘Tis the season, apparently.
And in the “how the hell did I miss this?” category: Charlotte Hatherley’s Grey Will Fade. Andy Partridge is one of her champions, and that makes lots of sense – but even though Hatherley’s compositions have plenty of left turns, she’s much more interested in bashing away on her guitar (and her bass: she plays almost every note from both instruments on this album) than Andy’s been lately (I mean, before the accident rendered him temporarily unable to do so, that is). Some other folks she’s apparently impressed play with her on the album: Rob Ellis on drums (formerly with PJ Harvey), Eric Drew Feldman on keyboards (and the occasional bass: Feldman’s played with everyone from Captain Beefheart to Pere Ubu to Frank Black), with Morris Tepper guesting on guitar on one track (another former Beefheartian).
But the real reason I can’t believe I missed this when it came out in 2004 is that it’s just jampacked full of brilliant, undeniable songs. I had trouble choosing two, but “Paragon” and “Bastardo” are among the better ones. “Paragon” jumps through a crazy series of chordal hoops, but finishes standing tall, if gasping for breath, firmly in bravura pop territory. “Bastardo” tells the sad tale of a new lover and a lost guitar…wait a minute: the narrator in “Little Red Radio” is begging for a new guitar…and promising to be “good.” Well, apparently he was good in some ways…
(Hatherley’s new album The Deep Blue is due out sometime in 2007.)