Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

What's In My Car

One of the little advantages of resumed employment is that I can once again indulge my Columbia House Music Club habit. (Not exactly the broadest music catalog on Earth, but a good way to get a lot of CDs cheaply, if you order strategically.) Herewith, some reviews from the first CD case of new (and not-so-new) music, briefly interrupting my Teaching Company course on World Religions:

Korn -- Untouchables -- ehh. Adequate, but thoroughly unremarkable metal. I fail to see what the hubbub was all about.

Great Big Sea -- road rage -- a generally nice album, as expected. msmemory and I went to see GBS in concert some months back, and I was reasonably impressed by the music: slick but still enthusiastic Nova Scotian folk music. Reminds me of a young version of Schooner Fare, with much bigger audiences. I still think their opening act, Seven Nations, was cooler, but this live disc is definitely a worthy investment.

Jethro Tull -- Benefit -- far from new, but still vintage Tull. This is one of their jazzier albums, but from the days when their jazz style still had a little soul to it, before it all turned into modern pablum. Tull was my very favorite group for many years, and I mourn the fact that they haven't done anything really interesting since Broadsword and the Beast, and nothing truly great since Songs From the Wood. (Personally, I think that they've never surpassed Aqualung, but msmemory disagrees; she prefers Songs From the Wood.)

Caera's album -- okay, I confess: it's still in the car, which is at the shop, and there's no chance that I'm going to remember the Gaelic (or whatever language it is) title. But it's still worth mentioning. Caera na Cride Tren is a Carolingian with an astounding facility for languages: far as I can tell, she has at least a smattering of pretty much all the Celtic tongues. And she's quite talented with the harp. She (and apparently a partner who I don't know) have put out a very pretty album of ballads, mostly not in English. Ballads aren't usually my thing, but I know good music, and I'm quite impressed. The whole EP is good, and the third track is an insidiously catchy a capella piece that stuck in my head for four days...

The Best of Britny Fox -- yes, yes: it's a third-rate one-hit-wonder late-80's hair band. But I must confess a sneaking fondness for several of their tracks. And time has treated them far better than their insipid contemporaries, Whitesnake. (Whose greatest hits album I also picked up, and which reminded me that while I remember all of those tracks, I despise pretty much all of them.)

The Who -- The Ultimate Collection -- this album says a lot about the sheer importance of the Who over the years. This is a big collection: over 30 tracks on 2 discs. And not only do I know all of them by heart, I consider almost every track a true classic, one of the great, defining songs. There are only a couple of other groups that could make a similar claim. Great stuff...

Moby -- I Like To Score -- hmm. Okay, I'll grant that 18 is a very good record. But I've tried several other Moby discs now, and I find them all, well, kinda bland. Not bad, but totally unmemorable. I listened to this one about a week ago, and I couldn't tell you a thing about it...

Devo -- Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! -- insane, strange, delightful stuff that I can scarcely believe is now almost 25 years old. Stands the test of time well: it's makes no more sense than it originally did, but it's still bizarrely fun.

The Crystal Method -- Vegas and Tweekend -- a group that finally penetrated my consciousness due to Frequency, my very favorite video game. (I originally bought it when I was interviewing at Harmonix, the game's developer. At the time, I borrowed tpau and learnedax's PS2 so I could get familiar with the game. I just broke down and bought myself a PS2 this past weekend, mostly so that I can play it again.) Anyway, Frequency is a deliciously addictive music game with a brilliant soundtrack, and I came away with a list of groups I had to check out due to it. Crystal Method topped that list, and the albums didn't let me down. Tweekend is solidly good electronica, lush and complex the way I like my techno. And Vegas is top-shelf -- I find that I already know half the tracks, and love all of them. Definitely the high point of this buy, proving that sometimes I do win.

Fear Factory -- Concrete -- and then, sometimes I lose. I also picked this up because of Frequency, since Fear Factory did the excellent title cut on the game. The album, however, turns out to be comically bad, the sort of industrial rock that gives industrial a bad name. Guitar tracks so energetic that they don't have time for little niceties like melody and harmony. (Or, frequently, notes.) Lead vocals that sound like nothing so much as King Kong gargling carpet tacks. It's fortunate that I'll be listening to Vegas frequently, because I suspect I'm only going to get one listen out of Concrete...

So much for loud music. Now, on to the religions of India...

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