Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's in the Bin? - November 4th, 2008

One of the sheer joys of being in an indie record store is browsing the bins. Just starting somewhere, flipping through things, pulling out items that catch your eye, giving a few of them a test spin. So in the fourth of a hypothetical series, I've browsed the "New Arrivals" bins here at Twist & Shout, picked out a few things, and gave them a listen. The nature of used record stores being what it is, I can't promise these items will still be in the bin by the time you get here. But hey, browse the bin anyway. You might find something else of worth.

CD - Interpol - Antics
It's a bit early in the game to label this their "forgotten" album. But between their stunning, "everybody-come-check-THIS-out" debut Turn on the Bright Lights, and the excellent return-to-form Our Love to Admire...came this. Which I guess would at the very least have to be labeled a disappointment. But upon revisiting it post-buzz, I find that it's really not disappointing at all. It's just not quite as immediate as their debut. The songs range from good to great, but rather than jumping out and grabbing you by the ears, they're more subtle. They lay there, and expect you to actually go listen to them. And oddly, doing so proves quite rewarding. "Next Exit" may be a rather oddball opener, but there's plenty of goodies to be found afterwards - notably "C'mere" and "Evil." This CD probably isn't worth as many cool points as Turn on the Bright Lights would be for your next cocktail party, but then again, maybe it is. If you're ready to do a bit of explaining to your friends, that is. And for some, that's the entire point.

CD - Takacs Quartet - Beethoven: The Early String Quartets
I'm going out on a limb a bit with this one, mainly because my knowledge of classical music isn't very extensive. As such, my discussions about classical music and recordings generally hover around "I prefer this one" rather than any true critique I can offer. But I've got several classical recordings in my CD collection, and I'm always on the prowl for more. So let's bring this one down to my level - is it something I'd get? Well, kinda sorta maybe.

I don't know the Takacs Quartet. Judging by the back cover, they wear dinner jackets, hold their instruments and stand in semi-circles, which means they're similar to 95% of other classically-bent quartets. But this two-CD set was somewhat of a surprise. When I see the words "string quartet," I tend to think "chamber music." Four people playing pleasant music that quite often can sort of drift into the background. There's nothing wrong with that, of course - record labels have been minting "The Most Relaxing Classical Album in the Universe!" CDs for years now. But the music here isn't really well-suited to that. The music makes you notice. The bowing is "sharp" and dramatic throughout much of these two discs, which keeps this front-and-center music rather than "something pleasant to put on in the background." I'm not sure if the pieces are written that way, or the Takacs Quartet just played it that way - there's my classical ignorance coming into play. But the pieces were really nice. I enjoyed listening to them. I'd just have to remember not to put it on when I felt like zoning out.

7" - Jorgen Ingmann - "Desert March/Tovarisch"
It's weird and fun coming across something different by an artist you know precisely one song by. I know "Apache" from its appearances on countless "Instrumentals of the 50s and 60s" collections, and so I was intrigued to see what else Jorgen could do. I was expecting "Desert March" to be a rather slow, mournful, almost oppresive number, which shows I'm a product of my time - they'd never release something like that back then. Instead, think a Cub scout troop marching to a jamboree on a particularly warm day, and you'll be in the ballpark. The rat-a-tat snares in the background give it that fun-patriotic "You're a Grand Old Flag" feel, and the Les Paul-esque "guitar choruses" help make it a cool forgotten early-rock instrumental. B-side "Tovarisch," I guessed, would be about as authentically Russian as "Apache" was Apache, and there, I didn't miss my guess. Or did I? The label claims the song is "Trad Adapated by Jorgen Ingmann," so perhaps in fact it is a Russian folk song. But if so, it's been 50s-rock'd into an even more Les Pauly number than the flip. But that's only problematic if you consider "Les Pauly" to be an insult rather than high praise, and that's certainly not the case with me.

- Mondo Gecko

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Antics has "Slow Hands" which is one of my favorite Interpol tunes. All their albums are certainly worth having.