Come Monday night, things are about to get pretty effing loud north of Chinatown. Portland,...
Published: 07/18/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
No singer defines Southern soul — hell, soul music, period — like Otis Redding. His ecstatic scream is iconic, but he was also a prodigious songwriter and arranger, singing charts to the horn section in lieu of writing them down. Shout! Factory’s Complete Stax/Volt Singles is hardly the late great’s first compilation, but it’s an exceptionally fine one. Presenting every A- and B-side in its original mono, many for the first time on CD, its 70 tracks are a treasure trove for any serious, or even curious, aficionado.
Songs Cycled (Bella Union), Van Dyke Parks’ first (more or less) proper full-length outing in a quarter-century, is a triumphant return for the legendary, lately resurgent arranger/composer and inveterate musical fantasist/archivist. Rummaging through a gleeful grab-bag of new originals, far-ranging covers and re-recorded selections from across his catalog, it’s an excellent (re)introduction to his quaint, quirky, polymathic style, full of characteristically lavish and rickety shoe-string symphonies.
—K. Ross Hoffman
A lifelong wrestling devotee, Andy Kaufman was the first heel comedian, who thrived on enraging his audience. He also never completely broke character, as evidenced on Andy and His Grandmother (Drag City/Process Media), the first release culled from more than 80 hours of recordings made between 1977 and 1979. Kaufman carried his recorder everywhere, giddily capturing post-coitus conversation, instigating feuds between his lovers or frightening his grandmother with reckless driving and then taunting the cops who pull him over. The tapes are intimate, revealing and discomfiting field recordings from a constructed persona.
Floating in a parallel new-age/sci-fi netherworld, the debut LP from recombinant Chicago production duo The-Drum has the forbidding look and feel of a recondite critical-theory treatise. But it doesn’t feel that way: Abstract, elusive and unpredictable as it is, Contact (Audraglint) is also consistently, curiously alluring on a sensual level, playfully sifting through several decades of digital audio detritus (chintzy synth presets, liquid percussion shards, splutters of metal-coil slap bass) while splicing footwork and dub techno.
—K. Ross Hoffman