Music

Condor Moments: …And Though We're Told We've Got It All, The All We've Got Is Freezing Cold

Baroque orchestral music terrorism that recalls all the oddballs -- Zappa, Beefheart, Akron/Family, the Residents, Sun City Girls, Man Man, the Art Bears -- without really sounding like any of them.


Condor Moments

...And Though We're Told We've Got It All, The All We've Got Is Freezing Cold

Label: What Delicate Recordings
US Release Date: 2007-10-02
UK Release Date: Available as import
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About a minute into mad, over-the-top "Butlins' Rash", as campfire folk choruses melt into a synthetic Euro groovy beat, there's a pause in the action, and an identified voice observes, "I've never seen anybody gut a fish like that before." A lounge-lizardy other (you can practically hear the polyester shirt and mustache) replies, "I guess you haven't seen much, baby." Well, hold on, because by the end of this record, you will have seen, or at least heard, plenty. And Though We're Told is an overstuffed frenzy of an orchestral freak-out, switching moods and time signatures and instrumentations on the drop of a dime, stitching whacko, murmured choruses about ginger beer onto giant prog-rock-from-the-1970 guitar riffs. There are manic, sing-alongs, wicked Weimar piano riffs, jazzy fusion-ish guitar improvisations, glockenspiel plinks and ironic trills of baritone. "Liquorice Fish Dish" could easily be a Man Man tune, with its testosterone chants and banging piano. "Counterpoint Study" pits a mad man's mutter over sweeping, sky-high sung choruses. Closer "(I Hope) Raymond (Is Still Alive)" somehow brings everything home safe, the folk musings, the proggy interludes, the weird samples, the quicksilver changes in mood and tempo. I have no idea -- none -- what the album is about, but it is never boring.

6

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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9

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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