January 19, 2013

Playlist Week of 2013-01-19

Yo La Tengo - Fade

* J.S. Bach: Violin Sonatas (Manze/Egarr/ter Linden) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Ravel: Piano Works (Queffélec) (Virgin Classics 2CD)
* Poulenc: Works for Piano (Parkin) (Chandos 3CD)
* Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (d.2) (selections) (Savoy/Atlantic 8CD)
* Miles Davis: The Cellar Door Sessions 1970 (d.1-2) (Columbia/Legacy 6CD)
* Sun Ra: The Paris Tapes: Live At Le Théâtre Du Châtelet 1971 (Art Yard/Kindred Spirits 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Cosmo Earth Fantasy: Sub-Underground Series Vols.1-2 (Saturn/Art Yard CD)
* Sun Ra: WKCR-FM, Columbia University, New York, NY 1977-07-08 (FM CDR)
* Sun Ra: Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Saturn LP>CDR)
* Andrew Hill: Mosaic Select (d.2-3) (Mosaic 3CD)
* Andrew Hill: Grass Roots (Blue Note CD)
* Andrew Hill: Lift Every Voice (Blue Note CD)
* Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra: The Hearinga Suite (Black Saint CD)
* Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra: Blu Blu Blu (Black Saint CD)
* Jemeel Moondoc & Connie Crothers: Two (Relative Pitch CD)
* Why Not Northwest (J. Butcher/T. Muller/D. van der Schyff): The White Spot (Relative Pitch CD)
* Mary Halvorson Quintet: Saalfelden, Austria 2012-08-25 (FM FLAC)
* Isaac Hayes: Black Moses (Enterprise/4MWB 2LP)
* D’Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin CD)
* Frank Ocean: Channel Orange (Island/Def Jam CD)
* Jimi Hendrix Experience: Winterland (d.1) (Experience Hendrix/Legacy 4CD)
* Grateful Dead: Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA 11/10/73 (d.1-2) (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Grateful Dead: Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA 11/11/73 (selections) (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield (selections) (Atco/Rhino 4HDCD)
* Pink Floyd: Soundtrack From The Film “More” (Pinkfloyd/EMI CD)†
* Pink Floyd: Ummagumma (Pinkfloyd/EMI 2CD)†
* Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother (Pinkfloyd/EMI CD)†
* Pink Floyd: Meddle (Pinkfloyd/EMI CD)
* Pink Floyd: Obscured By Clouds (Pinkfloyd/EMI CD)†
* New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies (d.2) (Factory/Rhino 2CD
* Guided By Voices: The Bears For Lunch (GBV, Inc. CD)
* Guided By Voices: Down By The Racetrack (GBV, Inc. 7”EP)
* Chelsea Light Moving: “Burroughs” (Matador MP3)
* Chelsea Light Moving: “Groovy And Linda” (Matador MP3)
* Chelsea Light Moving: “Frank O’Hara Hit” (Matador MP3)
* Yo La Tengo: Fade (Matador LP+7”/FLAC/CD)(†)
* Porcupine Tree: Stupid Dream (KScope CD/DVD)
* Porcupine Tree: Lightbulb Sun (KScope CD/DVD)
* Porcupine Tree: Recordings (KScope CD)
* Opeth: Heritage (Roadrunner 2LP)
* Katatonia: Night Is The New Day (Peaceville CD)
* Mastodon: Remission (Relapse 2LP)
* Mastodon: Leviathan (Relapse LP)
* Mastodon: Blood Mountain (Reprise 2-45RPM LP)
* Mastodon: Crack The Skye (Reprise 2-45RPM LP)
* Mastodon: The Hunter (Reprise 2-45RPM LP)
* The Sword: Age Of Winters (Kemado CD)
* The Sword: Gods Of The Earth (Kemado CD)
* The Sword: Warp Riders (Kemado CD)‡
* The Sword: Aprocyphon (Razor & Tie CD)
* Wild Nothing: Nocturne (Captured Tracks CD)†(‡)
* Ex-Cops: True Hallucinations (Fat Possum MP3)†



Yo La Tengo is a band that can do no wrong, in my opinion. After going on thirty years of consistent greatness, it’s become easy to take them for granted. So while their new album, Fade, is great, as usual, there have been some notable changes. The epic-length noise workouts endless organ drones are gone, and while I enjoy that sort of stuff (sometimes), the resulting album is their most concise and cohesive in decades. Perhaps this is partly a result of a change in producers. Parting company with Roger Moutenot, who produced every other  album since 1993’s breakthrough, Painful, the band instead recorded Fade at Soma Studios in Chicago with post-rock majordomo, John McEntire, at the helm. Besides deft sequencing and editing, the difference is subtle but significant, with the voices and instruments taking on a detailed hyperrealism while still retaining the band’s natural warmth and intimacy. The hissing distortion and squalls of feedback, when they appear, are tightly woven into the luscious musical texture while McEntire and his Tortoise cohorts contribute tasteful horn and string arrangements, giving several songs a classy, neo-jazz sheen.

At a little over forty-five minutes, Fade was meant to be heard on vinyl, where the two halves of the album are thrown into stark relief: side one being more uptempo while side two is mellow and atmospheric. But they work as whole, with the rock and pop songs on side one revealing sober lyrics about mortality, love and loss while side two’s wintry ambience is leavened with bittersweet songs about commitment over the long haul. It’s a mature, startlingly personal record from one of my longtime favorite bands, with the soaring, stately album closer, “Before We Run” being one of the most beautiful things they’ve ever done. While also providing the ideal listening experience, the numbered limited edition LP comes with a bonus seven-inch single containing two typically quirky covers, “I Saw the Light” by Todd Rundgren and Times New Viking’s “Move to California,” plus a download card for the full album in both FLAC and MP3 file formats. To further sweeten the deal, the download also includes yet another exclusive track, “Oriole,” eleven minutes of quietly droning electronics. These extras are nice but ultimately a distraction from the perfection that is Fade

1 comment:

Sam said...

This sounds good. I have enjoyed the long space out stuff from them; it'll be fun to hear that reined in a bit too.

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2013-01-21:

*Wolfgang Rihm: "Concerto Seraphin" (Musikfest Berlin 2008) (CDR) disc 2
*Muhal Richard Abrams Experimental Band: 2012-08-25 Saalfelden, Austria (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton Septet: "Accelerator Ghost Dance" 2008-07-25 San Sebastian (DVD)
*Anthony Braxton Falling River Quintet: 2012-10-10 Berlin (CDR)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Unheard Voices
*Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey: 2012-09-23 Magic Garden, NYC (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock/Achim Tang/Simon Camatta: 2012-11-15 Essen, Germany (CDR)
*Charles Mingus: 1972-08-14/15 Ronnie Scott’s, London (CDR) discs 1, 3
*Roscoe Mitchell & the Note Factory: Far Side
*Sun Ra: Featuring Pharoah Sanders and Black Harold
*Sun Ra Arkestra: Cosmo Omnibus Imagiable Illusion: Live at Pit-Inn
*Sun Ra and His Arkestra: Astral Planes and New Moon Beams
*Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
*Boston Spaceships: Let It Beard (selections)
*David Byrne & St. Vincent: Love This Giant
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2013-01-11 (wav)
*Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky
*Grateful Dead: 1972-11-19 Houston (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-02-22 Champaign-Urbana IL (CDR) “Dark Star”
*High Water Marks: Songs About the Ocean
*King Crimson: The Great Deceiver (discs 2, 4)
*Mars Volta: The Bedlam in Goliath
*Opeth: Watershed
*Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs: Pharaohization!
*Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention: Cruisin’ with Reuben & the Jets

Reading List 2013-01-21:

*Barks, Carl. Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man (finished)
*Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry (in progress)
*Bellamy, Dodie. The Letters of Mina Harker (in progress)
*Proust, Marcel. In Search of Lost Time, vol. V: The Captive, transl. Scott-Moncrieff/Kilmartin, rev. Enright (reread/in progress)