Reviews

Mission of Burma

Tyler Wilcox

's drummer Peter Prescott announced that his band's reunion was over...

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

City: Denver
Venue: The Ogden Theater
Date: 2005-07-16

Mission of Burma
Imagine the poster, in big black, silk-screened letters: "The Monsters of Semi-Popular '80s Massachusetts Indie Bands -- REFORMED! FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY!" Mission of Burma, the Pixies, and Dinosaur Jr would make a hell of package tour. What's bizarre about this scenario it's no longer so fanciful. All three bands are on cross-country jaunts this summer playing their various brands of idiosyncratic post-punk. The only group missing is Galaxie 500, and though they might tell you differently, it's only a matter of time, right? If Lou Barlow and J Mascis can bury the hatchet in the name of a reunion (and those enticing reunion dollars) all bets are off. Of course, nothing lasts forever, or does it? At the Ogden Theater Mission of Burma's drummer Peter Prescott announced that his band's reunion was over. Not that Burma isn't going to keep playing, he just didn't see any point in calling it a "reunion" anymore. "I mean, it's been almost three years that we've been back together," he said with a laugh. "We've played hundreds of shows, recorded a new album… I don't think it's a reunion at this point." Prescott's right. By now, the initial shock of Mission of Burma's return has worn off. Most reformed bands are hit and run affairs -- a quick tour to soak up the adulation of the faithful and then back to respective solo projects. But Mission of Burma remains an ongoing concern for Prescott, bassist Clint Conley, and guitarist Roger Miller. And if their show at the Ogden was any indication, we should all be thankful that they've decided not to take the money and run. Though the members look their (middle) ages, the band is still a powerful live force, combining a riotous energy and spontaneity with a unique -- but always highly melodic -- approach to song. Mission of Burma stand apart from most rock bands because there's no discernible frontman. The band is more a living, breathing organism unto itself. As a result, songs bend and twist to the point where you think they're going to break into a million pieces and then snap suddenly back into shape. It makes for an exhilarating ride. As Prescott mentioned, Burma has recorded a new album, last year's ONoffON, and their set was sprinkled with the best cuts from that album. The most complimentary thing one can say is that these songs fit in perfectly with the rest of the band's esteemed catalog. Twenty years seems to have had little effect on their creative chemistry. And the chemistry isn't just onstage; from behind the mixing desk, soundman Bob Weston (also the bassist for Shellac) manipulated fragments of vocals and guitar parts, firing them back to create a bizarrely entertaining maelstrom of sound. At the end of one song, it sounded as though the dwarf from "Twin Peaks" was contributing back up vocals from behind the curtain, a fact that was not lost on the band -- they all broke into wide smiles. It's a tired cliché to say a band is, or was, ahead of its time. It might just be better to call the music Prescott, Miller, and Conley make timeless. Like the band, the music endures, which is a good thing, because the reunion is officially over.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image