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   Friday, March 14, 2003  
Logistical stuff, unwellness, "more things to life than music", etc...

Anyone who already has some M.Ward in their collection will of course be buying Transfiguration of Vincent blind (or should that be 'deaf'?), out in Europe via Matador April 28. Allmusic have already got it and it's pushed them right off the fence: 'nothing less than spectacular...[he's] the real deal.' The man himself kinda reveals more here. As before, Ward enlists the services of touchstone geezer Adam Selzer who appeared on reallyrather's Best of '02 runner-up album Polk by Tracker (if you haven't got yours yet, why not!) and it's equally ace predecessor, Ames. Selzer is also one of a rotating cast who pitch in to realise Kyle Field's delightfully wonky vision on Little Wings' Light green leaves.
A 'favourites of '02' list contender for sure had this blog come across it sooner, the dozen tunes on Light green leaves have a very loose, good-natured, homespun feel. ''Like a more upbeat Will Oldham..tapping an alt-country vein that's heavier on the "alt" than the country,' said AMG, who really liked it; '..marvel at how many disingenuous folk songs one man can author in the shortest given period of time,' suggests Pitchfork who really didn't. With undertones of Bacharach here & there, what we have is simple strummin', light percussion harmonies which reallyrather can quite imagine would have many wincing. But for anyone who can handle the likes of Mendoza Line's Timothy Bracy, or Conor Oberst, this is a low-key treat. Fall sweep marvellously book-end's M.Ward's O'Brien; The way i deux is another cracker and the closest Little Wings get here to stirring energy. Small changes keep things alive, Under your blanket's female vocal and the simple jaunty accordian on Uh-oh (it's morning time again). Far too whimsical for some certainly, reallyrather has the facts and, frankly, is voting 'Yes!'...

An affirmative thumbs-up also goes to The Be Good Tanyas second release, Chinatown. Ten weeks into the year, this takes an early lead with more of the beautifully affecting folk simplicity we were introduced to on Blue horse. The mood here is bit more sombre and consistent but there are no wrong turns and, once again, it's their own compositions which hit home. Ship out on the sea and In spite of all the damage encapsulate the way the Tanyas bring this music down from the mountain and onto the streets. (Apparently, guest vocal menace Emmylou has been sniffing around. Hey, girls, if she offers in future stay unique, just say 'Thanks, but no!') reallyrather caught lovely shows in Brighton and HMV Oxford Street where they packed the aisles.

So, Nadine finally sign up with Trampoline Records (founded by Pete Yorn & co.) for release of Strange seasons. Interesting choice; the Trampoline family of course also sort of includes Gingersol who relaunched their own Trainwreck at cbgb's last month...

Judging by the comments on their message board, seems like reallyrather's decision to pass up Wheat when they opened John Mayer's UK dates was a wise one:
"Unfortunately, I can't think of a single positive thing to say about Wheat's performance. This was straight up and down meat and potatoes rock. Zero subtlety, zero atmosphere, zero excitement and zero interest from me. This was a band I loved and they were absolutely shit."
Hmm...anyone else?
"Wheat just pumped out the 3 minute pop tunes one after another...too much pointless keyboard playing from the Billy Joel school of '70s rock"
Now reallyrather was aware that wheat allergy was increasingly common but dear oh dear, crikey, etc. So, what have you got to say for y'self, Mr Ricky Brennan? Well, quite a lot actually [edited]:
"First off, we have evolved quite a bit in the last almost three years since 'Hope and Adams', and the progression of the band may seem more drastic to some than it seems to us. We're not the same band that made 'Medeiros'. That's what we were into then, and now we're into other things. Most people's tastes change in five years. We do still have many songs with some of the vibe that we have always had, and in fact tried to include a few in the set we've been playing. When you only have 35minutes you're somewhat limited. When we get to headline and play for an hour or more we can include more of the earlier stuff. The keyboard thing is a brand new endeavor that we are trying out. We have always had lots of keyboards on our records and thought about doing it ourselves but decided we would rather stick to guitars and have someone join us who could cover a lot of other bases. it's too bad that the opening bit with the keyboard player doing synth sounds didnt translate because we were actually hoping that would seem kinda cool and he was using some of the sounds that we used on medeiros so we in fact thought we were taking it back a bit. Guess you can't win sometimes. We are excited about our new record and what we are doing, and anyone who wants to come along for the ride is welcome."
Sounds like the band wouldn't mind being on the radio a bit more than they have been in the past and are shaping themselves accordingly which needn't necessarily mean becoming less interesting. They swung by BBC 6Music when in London and played a couple of numbers from the forthcoming album Per second, per second, per second, every second - media players at the ready...

Josh Rouse announces completion of new album 1972 with production by Brad Jones. Presumably you'll get to hear some of these noo tunes at his one-off London show on May 12 at the charmingly un-rock'n'roll Bush Hall. Having caught his solo Borderline show last year, reallyrather can't honestly recommend this one - he's not quite as charismatic as he seems to think he is. If it was a full-band gig, the ticket would be booked already...
   posted by SMc at 10:52 AM |