Known Johnson

October 18, 2008

Look and listen

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 11:23 pm

Look, then listen

Clockwise, starting at left:

Medeski, Martin, & Wood: Radiolarians I – It is really quite great – sounds like “the old days.” It’s the first of three albums based around material first tested on the road, then recorded, rather than the other way around.

Loudon Wainwright III: Recover: Speaking of old days, this is an album of Loudon covering his own older material, and, wow, it’s very, very strong. Joe Henry’s intriguing production doesn’t hurt, either.

Teddy Thompson: Separate Ways – If that last name looks familiar, you may know his dad, Richard, or mom, Linda. There’s an inkling of resemblance in Teddy’s voice to his dad, but it’s really in the very smart song-writing that you know you’re dealing with a Thompson. Otherwise, Teddy is working a much more roots-rock vein than his dad’s folksy, Scottish-tinged style. There’s a little country-twang in Teddy’s work, but I really like it a lot.

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip In The Grain – Otis Redding and Van Morrison, two names not really associated with indie music, but I can’t help but think of those two when listening to LaMontagne and especially not when listening to his latest, where he’s separated himself from the sparse nature of his previous releases with tighter arrangements. It makes it harder to ignore when he begins the album with a horn-infused soul number, too, but that’s okay because it works out just fine. Ray’s got a soft, raspy vocal that is unmistakably his own, even if some of his influences are pretty obvious.

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2 Comments »

  1. The new MMW is a return to form? Good to hear – I haven’t been all that impressed with them since Uninvisible, and that was six years ago (I’m a huge fan of The Dropper and Tonic as well). I may have to check out the new one.

    I recently acquired a promo copy of Teddy Thompson’s latest, A Piece of What You Need, and am quite impressed. He’s definitely not trying to sound like his dad – he seems to be carving out his own niche.

    I like Ray Lamontagne’s two previous albums so there’s no reason I wouldn’t be impressed with the new one. I dig the retro-ey cover art, too.

    I have nothing interesting to say about Loudon Wainwright. I don’t really think I’d be all that excited to pick up his new one, although the presence of Joe Henry makes it somewhat intriguing.

    Comment by Chris — October 20, 2008 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  2. Give the new MMW a shot via clips on Amazon before you invest, Chris. I don’t want to have you invest wrongly, but I do feel it’s back to the earlier material rather than the DJ-driven stuff.

    I also didn’t think I would like Loudon’s latest either when I read about it, but when I gave it a listen at Borders this weekend, I fell in love. He’s not simply re-doing old songs to reclaim some revenue from them – they are truly “re-imagined” and sit well alongside stuff from Strange Weirdos, which was also excellent (it might be better, actually.)

    Comment by Tom — October 20, 2008 @ 12:22 pm | Reply


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