the iPhone Blues: April 15th

7 days, 7 albums loaded onto my iPhone. Here’s what I listened to and what I have to say about it.


Artist: Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Review

Album: Live 1975, the Rolling Thunder Review

Comments: For me, the best part of this record is Rob Stoner’s bass playing. The pocket is huge and he is tirelessly inventive, turning the basic structures of most of Dylan’s songs into a strange canvass for melodic bass playing. Scarlet Rivera’s violin playing is also melodic and biting, giving most of the gig a similar feel to Dylan’s other 1975 masterpiece “Desire.” Dylan isn’t in great voice but he brings a lot of energy to the table. Live 1975 is a treat for Dylan fans but its not for everyone.


Artist: David Bowie

Album: Young Americans

Comments: A Philly Soul rock record, there aren’t many of these. Somehow, the Thin White Duke pulls it off, intricate MSFB arrangements stacked against dystopian lyrics about the pitfalls of fame. Philly Soul had a short run, with disco quickly supplanting it as pop music’s flavor of the week, but it’s a shame more artists haven’t looked to the genre for inspiration.


Artist: Flower Travellin’ Band

Album: Flower Travellin’ Band

Comments: The Flower Travellin’ Band are a Japanese psychedelic rock band from the 70s (?). I don’t have a ton of info about them, but their music is an apolcalyptic combination of heavy riffs, banging drums and fiery guitars. Fans of Black Sabbath should check them out.


Artist: Fuck Buttons

Album: Tarot Sport

Comments: I liked this album a lot when it was released in 2009, but I couldn’t really get into it last week.


Artist: Miguel

Album: Kaleidoscope Dream

Comments: A lot of people think this was the best R & B album made last year. In terms of production quality, hooks and vibe I agree with them. But (and this is a big but) Kaleidoscope Dream is filled with lyrical clunkers that I just can’t deal with. The worst offender is probably “Do You Like Drugs” which juxtaposes that line with do you like hugs? What’s sad is the synth bass underpinning the song is so hooky its warbling around my head while I’m trying to pan this record. I’m conflicted.


Artist: Miles Davis

Album: In a Silent Way

Comments: Fusion is a genre that was horrendously abused by people wearing headbands and berets. The word fusion evokes solos, lots of notes, chops and record executives trying to find jazz for white people. I hate Jaco Pastorius. I hate Return to Forever. I hate the entire genre. But for some insane reason critics like to call the electric music Miles Davis made in the late 60s and 70s “fusion.” This is wrong. There are no berets and there aren’t many solos. The playing is collective and strange, beautifully lyrical and completely unhinged. Miles is the anti beret: there’s no mental masturbation here.


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Filed under China, Listening Project

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