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Fri, Jun. 20th, 2008, 04:41 pm
London Update....back after 32 weeks off

According to my profile page, I haven't updated in 32 weeks. Well what can happen in 32 weeks that's that big anyway?

So I now live in London, and moved here at the start of the year, so that's big I guess. Thus complaints and harangues about Vancouver have been quenched from my mind. This is not a temporary fling with the old world, i'm here for good, so it's time to start fresh.

My 32 weeks have been taken up with preparing to move, moving, settling in to East London, finding a job, and adjusting to living in a city that can actually handle (and not give a shit) hosting the Olympics. My last month has generally been devoted to the genius that is Sparks and their 21 albums in 21 shows. I will devote an entire post to this because the shows deserve it.

No longer working at a record store means I'm listening to and discovering music the old fashion way. After selling my entire CD collection before I moved and taking great strains to move much of my records, I swore i'd never buy a CD again. Taking that with my unwillingness to buy music online, and it's basically down to buying records when I can afford it. Here are a few releases i've listened to a lot on my hour long commute to work...

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges 2LP (Rough Trade / ATO)

  • Of course I'm going to start with MMJ, i've been waiting on this for a couple years now. I had the pleasure of seeing Jim James perform these songs at the St. James Church a couple weeks prior to the release and was generally excited about how they'd translate with the entire band on the record. Reviews of this record have been luke warm to down right harsh (but how serious can you take a website that labels stories heckling bands like Mogwai, Wolf Parade et al for their new album artwork as "News" ?). For me, the album is definitely a mixed bag, and when compared to their other releases, it's a bit weak. After the title track, the next two songs "Touch Me....Pt. 1" and "Highly Suspicious" are very poor and should have stayed b-sides. The singles tracks (based on their SNL and other promo stuff) are a bit too straight-forward, however "Evil Urges" is a great Mayfield-esque soul tinged track with a great guitar breakdown and opening riff. At times James really alters his voice we're used to, and his cameo on I'm Not There must have rubbed off, as at times he clearly evoked Dylan's vocal style on Nashville Skyline. The second half of the record is solid throughout and that's where to find the best tracks on the record.
Times New Viking - Rip It Off  (Matador)
  • I was of two minds with their first release, but with their first release on Matador I was floored out how good it is. I was lucky enough to see them on a triple bill with Jay Reatard and No Age at Barden's Budoir in Dalston (see review), and they were great live too. There are so many great songs on this record, and while Matador and Vice appear to be buying up everything remotely cool and punky at the moment, it was a smart move by them to release this. My fav of the year so far.
No Age - Nouns (Sub Pop)
  • Pretty much a follow up to my thoughts on TNV, as this record is great too. Yet I wonder if my nostalgia for mild obsession with late '80s early '90s Northwest punk at the moment is tinting how I listen to this as it's very early '90s sounding. Oh well, that's not a bad comparison. Speaking of which, the new Mudhoney record isn't half bad. It's the same old Mudhoney, still kicking it from the basement, but it's a fun little record.
Cheap Time - S/T (In the Red)
  • Way too many dirty garage punk bands out there right now but this record is a gas. A little glammy Iggy/NY Dolls esque, the songs evoke the band's name with every song clocking in at a couple minutes, with tight and well crafted pop hooks.
Upcoming shows I'm excited about: MMJ in three weeks,  reunited original lineup of the Butthole Surfers in Camden, ATP Halloween with Om, Wooden Shjips and Shellac, ATP in Dec. curated by the Melvins, Sun Kil Moon next month, and the return of No Age! How to pay for all this.... I have no idea.