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the western lands

More recent acquisitions.

Thursday :

  • Giant Sand - Cover Magazine : I'd been meaning to pick up a Giant Sand release for a while, and this was in Greville Records' new releases section. I like it. As the golfer on the cover might suggest, it's a fairly leisurely amble, through quite a random selection of other people's songs. 3 of them wander off into a second song for a while, as they might when you're humming along to something in your head and somewhere in the background you go "hey ! this other song fits right in just now..."

  • American Music Club - Mercury : hailed as their best album, I finally found myself a copy in Polyester just before seeing Mark Eitzel. He did a couple of tracks off here - Gratitude Walks, and his paean to loneliness, I've been a mess. But there's also the memorable Apology for an accident ("well I've been praying a lot lately / it's because I no longer have a TV"), and Johnny Mathis' Feet.

  • Freedy Johnston - two albums - Never Home, and This Perfect World : I don't have much to say about these just yet, I've been too busy with Mark Eitzel and Giant Sand.

Today :

  • Giant Sand - Giant Songs : The Best of Giant Sand : this seems to be an early (1989) compilation of tracks from their first 4 albums. I don't normally buy compilations, but it was secondhand, and there's a heap of Giant Sand albums out there, so it might take me a while to get to them all.

  • esquivel! : a mid-90's compilation of Esquivel tunes, going cheap. I haven't listened to this yet. I guess it'll sit with those Tipsy CDs.

  • abbc - tête à tête : a collaboration between Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino with two French expats, Naïm Amor and Thomas Belhom. I was recommended this last night by Amazon, and was a bit surprised to find it in the shop today. Interesting, although I'm expecting it'll take a few more listens before I get the most out of it.

  • Willard Grant Conspiracy - Everything's Fine : I haven't got to this yet either, but that in the fishtank thing I picked up the other day, plus a track here and there on compilations was enough to pique my interest.

    I'm still a bit lost with their in the fishtank release in terms of how much seems to be contributed from each band, but I suspect this is more to do with my unfamiliarity with either of them. It's certainly a nice little EP, though, even if it doesn't quite manage to reach the Low / Dirty Three collaboration's sheer beauty.

  • Mark Eitzel - Music for Courage & Confidence : as far as I knew, this covers album wasn't going to be out until late next month (kinda silly given that he's touring right now - all the press had to go on about last years release, The Invisible Man, instead), but I guess somebody finally noticed. I had one listen through on the way to work and back, and it's pretty quiet, he seems fairly relaxed - no loud, disconsolate self-exorcisms here. That doesn't mean he doesn't add his own touch to the songs, it's merely done in a different way to what we might've expected. The title does suggest, I suppose, something a little more upbeat than usual, and the cover picture even has him holding three balloons. The liner notes mention it was actually all recorded back in 1998, but mixed at the end of last year. I wonder why they chose now. One of the more unlikely covers is of the Curtis Mayfield classic, Move On Up (hearing The Jam's cover of this has already desensitized me, preventing me from considering this some kind of sacrilege). Despite the horns and the lively drumming work, he keeps his voice down, denying the song's otherwise inherent energy. It's a curious battle, but it doesn't prevent the song from being one of courage and confidence, as its lyrics suggest.

* 17:13 * music