Nathan (vovat) wrote,

  • Music:

Have you been reading your Gita?

I've had a chance to listen to the new Frank Black album, Christmass, a few times, as well as to watch the accompanying DVD once. Considering that it's primarily a live record with a few new tracks thrown in, and that it hasn't even had a proper release in this country, my expectations weren't as high as they otherwise might have been. I have to say, though, that it's a great record. For one thing, seven new songs on a stopgap release (which Frank TOTALLY needed, seeing as how it's been an entire SIX MONTHS since his last release, which was a double, that guy is prolific) is a better showing than you might expect, and some of these songs grabbed me much more quickly than the majority of Fastman Raiderman. The opener, "Do What You Want (Gyaneshwar)" is one of my favorites. Sant Gyaneshwar was a thirteenth-century Hindu spiritual leader; but the lyrics seem to better fit this guy, who was probably named after the earlier Gyaneshwar. Other highlights include the catchy "Demon Girl," and the somewhat psychedelic "Radio Lizards" (featuring excellent backing vocals by Mark Mulcahy). Also here is "All Around The World" (not to be confused with "All OVER The World"), a traditional song that was played at the Pixies show I saw back in 2005. As for the live versions of previously released songs, the a cappella take on "Six Sixty-Six" is really cool, and I like the simple Frank-with-a-guitar arrangements that most of the other have. Some of Frank's best recent songs ("I Burn Today," "Massif Centrale," "Manitoba," "Bullet") are included.

The DVD is a recording of a brief live performance that has Frank playing thirteen songs in quick succession. While the brief spoken bits are so jovial and amusing as to make me wish he talked more, there's still something quite appealing about the almost effortless way he just plays one song after another, often with no pause in between. One of the most interesting performances here is a take on "Two Reelers" that has Frank doing sort of a combination of singing and speaking. I also think the live version of "Sing For Joy," while pretty close to the Honeycomb version, brings out the emotion better than the studio performance does.

Speaking of new albums, I can't really think of too much that I'm looking forward to this year. I've heard talk of a new Rilo Kiley album, which might end up being the first album of theirs that I'll get when it's still new. And They Might Be Giants are supposed to have TWO new ones, but we all know how they are about meeting their announced release dates. (And just in case you don't, well, they're BAD about it. :P) A lot of bands I like came out with albums in early 2006, but it looks as if 2007 might be a little slower. Even Christmass is technically a 2006 release, even though I don't think most Americans received it until this year. So what's everyone else looking forward to this year, as far as music goes?
Tags: albums

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