Imaginary Brazilian Revolution

Brazil is a state of carefree serenity. Brazil is attained by forsaking sanity.

Return . . . I will . . . to old . . . Brazil.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gas Music

One Friday a month I drive all around the Baltimore area writing down gas prices for a survey company in California. You may be familiar with my work. When CNN reports that gas prices have gone up or down or whatever they usually cite the survey to which I contribute, the Lundberg Survey. So that's why I'm special. But that's not the point. I like these Fridays because, although I'm in the car for about six hours and my butt gets sore and my knees get achy because my little Corolla wasn't built for well-nourished, genetically superior Americans, I get to listen to a lot of music very loudly. I don't have these opportunities often. My commute to the lab is only 15 to 20 min. so I don't spend a lot of time in the car alone. I listen to the iPod in the lab, but I have to turn it down a bit so that I'm not too anti-social. When I'm driving with the wife and kids it has to be nice music and not too loud. I usually get two or three new albums to listen to and then I listen to a bunch of other stuff. Here's what I listened to yesterday:

Six Organs of Admittance--School of the Flower (2005)

This is the first time I had heard this album. I didn't quite absorb it all, but I'm intrigued. It's light, kind of ambient/droney folkish stuff. I checked this album out because it was on the "Listeners Also Bought" list at the iTunes Akron/Family page. Have I mentioned that I love Akron/Family? Well I do.

Vetiver--Vetiver (2004)

Another new (to me) psych-alt-freak folk type thing. Devendra Banhart (who I don't like much) plays guitar. Nice, mellow acoustic folk.

The Magnetic Fields--i (2004)

I was dozing so I had to pull over and snooze a bit while this was playing so I didn't get a good listen but what I heard I liked. It wasn't the music that made me drowsy, by the way. It was a late night and early morning.

The Flaming Lips--At War With the Mystics (2006)

Annoying. Also brilliant. Also annoying. I think I'll write a proper review of this one.

Sufjan Stevens--Greetings From Michigan (2003)

Good. Not as good as the awesome Illinois. The songs here just kind of blend together. The sound is great, though.

Neko Case--Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)

Good stuff. Her voice is great and the music is outstanding. I think Calexico is the backing band for several of the tracks and they add quite a lot.

Beth Orton--Comfort of Strangers (2006)

Good songs. She has a compelling voice and sings expressively. The album may be a bit long. Maybe a bit bland.

Cat Power--The Greatest (2006)

Kind of ditto Beth Orton. A prettier voice, but not too much energy.

Talking Heads--77 (1977)

I needed something spunky after all the controlled niceness. 77 did the trick. "No Compassion" and "Psycho Killer" are just awesome. The rest of the album is good too. I haven't decided on a favorite early Talking Heads album, but this one rivals Fear of Music and More Songs About Buildings and Food.


At 4/09/2006 9:02 AM, Anonymous Susan M said...

I work with someone who was at the Stop Making Sense concert. Man.

I'm lucky that I get at least an hour a day in the car for music, and I can wear headphones all day long at work. :)

Stuff I've been listening to in the car lately: Calexico's new one, Garden Ruin, Gillian Welch - Time - the Relevator, Opeth - Still Life, Electric Light Orchestra - Out of the Blue, and Uncle Tupelo, No Depression.

All are highly recommended.

At 4/09/2006 9:03 AM, Anonymous Susan M said...

Oh, and maybe I shouldn't say this, but--couldn't you just call all the gas stations?

At 4/09/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger Standard Chuck said...

What what what what (that's my modified version of the Yeah Yeah Yeah song)??? Where do you get a job like that?

Spot on reviews, T-bone. I'd recommend Seu Jorge (the dude who made the acoustic David Bowie songs for The Life Aquatic) and Kings of.

Hey, I didn't know you still go to shows? Also, hear hear on reducing volume...just because we can does not mean we should.

At 4/09/2006 8:25 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

Architecture in Helsinki's In Case We Die, Living Things' Ahead of the Lions, and Olivia Tremor Control's Dusk at Cubist Castle. That's been my driving music lately. All three are pretty awesome, but The Olivia Tremor Control is just too awesome.

At 4/09/2006 8:28 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

Woops...also...anyone else disappointed with At War With the Mystics??? I was with Tom in feeling irritated most of the time. I'll try again and again for the Lips, of course, but after first and second listen, I'm disappointed. Yoshimi would be a tough record to follow though. (However I'm sure they said that about The Soft Bulletin as well.)

At 4/09/2006 10:01 PM, Blogger Tom said...

I've often wondered why not just call the gas stations. I don't know. I just know they tell me I have to go to the station so I go. It seems like if they could do it by phone they would just contract out to a calling center in India.

Chuck, I got the gig when I moved out here. My cousin worked there and a need arose right as I was arriving in the area. Pretty sweet way to make a little dough.

I don't go to a lot of shows. In the past six months I've been to three: Jeff Tweedy solo, Low, and Magnolia Electric Co. w/ Destroyer. I'll probably go to a few this summer. Maybe the Lips or Radiohead (I think they'll come nearby), depending on the price, and maybe a cheaper indie show or two that catch my eye.

Tyler, I think you'll find a fair amount to love on At War With the Mystics if you give it a little more attention. I think they could get rid of a few songs and make a masterful EP that would be a worthy follower to Yoshimi. But yeah, The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi set a high standard.

At 4/10/2006 7:14 PM, Blogger White Man Retarded said...

I am disappointed with the Mystics...and the Lips have been all for me for over 13 years. It's depressing; I think the politics have killed me; Where does acid rock fit into politics? polyphonic spree is writing protest songs, wayne coyne is writing protest songs, has Beck? That would kill music for me. What used to be great about the Lips was all of their songs were open to subjective meanings, not statements. I hate statement-rock. It is the height of pretension or wanna-be-ism...I like a couple of the songs on the new album, but overall, blah. I'll still see them live, though.

At 4/10/2006 7:16 PM, Blogger White Man Retarded said...

Clouds Taste Metallic, Oh My Gawd, Priest driven ambulance, telepathic surgery, check those out. They're better than yoshimi!

At 4/11/2006 7:15 PM, Blogger Tom said...

I posted a review of At War With the Mystics at I agree that the directed political songs are lame. "The W.A.N.D." has a great sound, though.

I'm just starting to explore the Lips' catalogue before The Soft Bulletin. I'll go for Oh My Gawd next, I think.


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