June 19, 2010

Playlist Week of 6-19-10

* Vivaldi: Double Violin Concertos (VBO/Marcon/Carmignola/Mullova) (Archiv Prod. CD)
* Geminiani: Cello Sonatas, Op.5 (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Handel: Solo Sonatas, Op.1 (AAM/Egarr) (d.1) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op.2 & Op.5 (AAM/Egarr) (Hamonia Mundi 2CD)
* J.S. Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Clavier, Vol.2 (Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Schoenberg: String Quartets (Arditti) (d.2) (Montaigne/Naïve 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Slug’s Saloon, New York, NY 6-07-72 (AUD 2CDR)
* Sun Ra: Strange Celestial Road (Rounder CD)
* Grant Green: Idle Moments (Blue Note CD)
* Grant Green: The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark (Blue Note 2CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Thrust (Columbia CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Arena Santa Giuliana, Perugia, Italy 7-16-08 (FM 2CDR)
* Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: The Moment’s Energy (ECM CD)
* Shine: Heaven and Hell (Innerrhythmic CD)
* Kip Hanrahan: Days and Nights of Blue Luck Inverted (American Clavé/Pangaea CD)
* Kip Hanrahan: Exotica (American Clavé CD)
* Olu Dara: In the World: From Natchez to New York (Atlantic CD)
* Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home (mono) (Columbia/Sundazed LP)
* Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (mono) (Columbia/Sundazed LP)
* Bob Dylan: Infidels (Columbia SACD)
* Grateful Dead: Winterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings (6-8-77) (GD/Rhino 9+1CD)
* Grateful Dead: The Horizon, Rosemont, IL 3-10-93 (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: The Horizon, Rosemont, IL 3-11-93 (SBD 3CDR)
* King Crimson: The Great Deceiver (Live 1973-1974) (d.1) (DGM 4CD)
* U2: The Unforgettable Fire (Deluxe Edition) (d.1) (Island/Universal 2CD)
* Robert Pollard: Moses on a Snail (GBV, Inc. LP/CD)
* Animal Collective: Spirit They’re Gone…/Danse Manatee (Fat Cat - UK 2CD)
* Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam (Domino CD)
* Animal Collective: Water Curses (Domino CDEP)
* Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino CD)
* Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind (Domino CDEP)


Robert Pollard’s umpteenth solo album is (despite its cheesy cover) an undeniable late-career triumph. As you know, I’m a huge fan and love to obsessively collect the endless stream of records the guy puts out. But regular folks are likely put off by the sheer volume of releases and unlikely to even stick a toe in the ever-expanding discography (especially with a cover like that). So it’s too bad that Moses on a Snail will likely not be heard by the huge numbers of people out there who would undoubtedly enjoy Pollard’s mature song-craft. At age 52, Pollard still believes in the redemptive power of rock music and, with longtime collaborator Todd Tobias, has just released his most immediately enjoyable album since 2008’s Off to Business. (That was, by the way, several albums ago.)

Sure, Pollard can’t hit the high notes the way he used to with Guided By Voices, but his voice remains an instrument of vast and subtle range, from a cockney-esque drawl to blue-eyed crooning; from strutting rock godhead to frail, vulnerable folkie to every other musical persona imaginable. Yet Pollard always sounds like his own inimitable self, singer and song united in a convincingly charismatic whole. And here Pollard delivers one of his most focused and impassioned vocal performances in ages. The songwriting is also consistently compelling with the typically elliptical lyrics conveying an unusually somber tone. Meanwhile, Tobias’s deft multi-instrumentalism and layered production style provides slickly polished yet respectfully weighty musical settings perfectly tailored to each song, contributing to the album’s beginning-to-end coherence. From the stately, strummy opener (“The Weekly Crow”) to the conclusion of the epic, hard-rocking title track, Tobias consistently demonstrates a profound sensitivity to Pollard’s uniquely quirky musical vision as well as a mastery of the art of record-making. Tobias has, over time, become Pollard’s most perfect amanuensis.

Not due in stores until next Tuesday, my copy arrived in the mail yesterday and (in an unusual move for me) I’ve been listening to it over and over ever since. It’s just that good! Thankfully the LP comes with a free copy of the CD or I would be relentlessly wearing away the grooves of the limited edition vinyl. Moses on a Snail is an instant classic (never mind the cover).


Re: Animal Collective. It took a while, but I get it now. That means I have to hear the rest of it. Fun!


Sam said...

When I first saw that cover, I thought you were holding a Rod McKuen album!

Glad you're enjoying Animal Collective more--I just wish they'd get a melodic bass player like Colin Moulding and crank him up in the mix.

We almost had an overlap--I pulled out "Moment's Energy" to play but fell asleep before I got to it. Something about it being late at night, sitting still, beer in hand, work the next day...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Here's my lists for last week:

Playlist 2010-06-21

*Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music vol. 1: First a-chronology 1921-2001, disc 1
*AMM: 2001-04-15 Chicago (CDR)
*Miles Davis: Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time, disc 1
*Giuseppi Logan: Giuseppi Logan Quintet
*Rick Rozie/Lee Rozie/Rashied Ali: Afro Algonquin
*Sun Ra: An Evening with Sun Ra, vol. 1 (cassette compilation)
*Sun Ra: The Magic City, side 1
*Sun Ra: 1972-06-07 Slug's (CDR)
*Sun Ra: Media Dreams (Art Yard) disc 2
*Cecil Taylor & Derek Bailey: Pleistozaen Mit Wasser
*Cecil Taylor & Han Bennink: Spots, Circles, and Fantasy
*Cecil Taylor Workshop Ensemble: Legba Crossing
*Cecil Taylor & Gunter Sommer: Riobec
*Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley: Leaf Palm Hand
*Cecil Taylor European Orchestra: Alms/Tiergarten (Spree)
*Cecil Taylor Trio: 1988-10-23 Freiburg, Germany (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: 1989-03-02 Cambridge, MA (CDR)
*Bollywood compilation, from soundtracks at "Music From the Third Floor" disc 12
*Circulatory System: Circulatory System
*Cornelius: Fantasma
*Cornelius: Point
*Cornelius: Sensuous
*Deerhoof: The Man, The King, the Girl
*Dr. Dog: Shame, Shame
*Grateful Dead: 1971-12-05 Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, NYC (CDR)
*Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune
*High Llamas: Cold and Bouncy
*Kinks: Face to Face
*Major Organ and the Adding Machine: Major Organ and the Adding Machine
*Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St. (deluxe ed., remastered)
*Tower of Power: 1974-05-14 Ultrasonic Studios Pre-FM, Hempstead, NY (CDR) disc 1

Reading log 2010-06-21

*Bachman, Richard (Stephen King). Blaze (started)
*Esslemont, Ian. Night of Knives (started/finished)
*Erikson, Steven: Dust of Dreams (finished)
*Marias, Javier. Your Face Tomorrow, vol. 1: Fever and Spear (in progress)
*Larson, Gary. The Complete Far Side (in progress)
*Musil, Robert. Man Without Qualities (in progress)
*Palmer, Robert. Blues and Chaos (in progress)

Rodger Coleman said...

Rod McKuen!! Hahahaha! You're right, that's EXACTLY what it looks like.

So, what do you think of the "Exile on Main Street" remaster. I've heard mixed things about it. I HATE what they did to the cover! It looks terrible!

Sam said...

Well, it sounds great to me. It's a bit clearer, but it still has that murky edge. I need to do a comparison. The packaging sucks: a 12-page booklet that's almost all crappy photos. No text. No info at all beyond personnel--they don't even indicate which of the bonus tracks they doctored with new overdubs. That being said, the bonus tracks are great and very much of a piece with the album. I think you can get the bonus disc separately at Target for $9.99 if the new mix doesn't appeal to you--it'd be worth it.