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a little bit of BK in VA

Posts made in June 30th, 2009

FOREIGN BORN-“Person to Person”

Los Angeles foursome Foreign Born deliver Person to Person this month, on what is fast becoming one of my favorite independent labels, Secretly Canadian.  The album is remarkable not because it breaks ground or changes rock and roll as you know it, but because it does so well what you already know so well.

Like so many bands today, Foreign Born borrow heavily from the classic rock canon.  There are shades of David Bowie on “See Us Home,” for example.  (No, those swells and crashes aren’t like Arcade Fire or The Talking Heads.  Know your history!)  “It Grew On You” recalls 1950s psychedelia, improved by technical proficiency and incredible production.  And if “Winter Games” doesn’t borrow the main riff from “Last Train to Clarksville,” I’ll eat my hat.

In the past, the word “anthemic” has been used with frequency to describe this band.  The word is not inappropriate, but it fails to convey the detail in their work.  The Killers make anthems: Big riffs, big vocals, and a thick sound.  Those items are Foreign Born’s shopping basket too, to be sure, but there’s so much else going on here, too.  Like the bubbling notes that introduce “Vacationing People,” the skillfully placed vocal overdubs, and the intricate drumwork on every single cut.  Powerful lyrics sung with staggering skill, incredible musicianship, and songs that move from the sweet to the killer, from toe tappers to heart warmers, make this one of the best albums of the second half of 2009.

Vacationing People

Early Warnings

BONUS COVERS RELATED TO BANDS MENTIONED IN THIS POST!

My Body is a Cage (Arcade Fire)-Sara Lov

Rock N Roll Suicide (David Bowie)-Rilo Kiley

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COMICS BREAK: THOR!

According to Comic Book Resources, J. Michael Straczynski (nominated for an Eisner) is leaving Thor because he refused to allow Thor to be involved in an unnamed Marvel “Big Event” crossover.  I applaud him.  In fact, I’m standing and clapping right now.  Civil War changed the Marvel Universe for the worse, and it was difficult to follow the action without reading all the crossovers.  Skrull Invasion and Dark Reign have been even worse, mucking up even books whose continuity was otherwise pretty much self-contained (like Spider-Man Brand New Day).  The X-books are virtually unreadable for the same reason—you have to buy like three or four books a month (at $4 a pop) just to follow the characters.  For the fan of individual characters, or for the cost-conscious, these “Big Events” are huge turnoffs and make me less likely, as well, to experiment by buying a couple issues of a book I don’t normally read (such as New Avengers or Wolverine).  D.C. is no better (in fact, it’s worse).  I know adults read comics, but most of the fans are still relatively young and on fixed budgets.  Moreover, few if any of these crossovers are actually any good for the character, and many force the books to change to fit the universe so that creative authors with their own visions are crowded out of  the book.

So I applaud Mr. Straczynski’s stand.

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MJ SHOUT OUTS!

The hills are alive with the sounds of Michael Jackson.  I was gonna post something on the dude because no matter what his faults were, he made some good music, but . . . For many reasons, I just don’t feel comfortable paying tribute to him.  I’ll send you here though.  And here (ooh!  stars are sad!).  Of course, here is a tribute to another talented musician who died.

And if you dig mashups, here’s the ultimate MJ Mash post.

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