Music

Various Artists: Sounds Eclectic

Andrew Gilstrap

Various Artists

Sounds Eclectic

Label: Palm Pictures
US Release Date: 2001-04-03
Amazon
iTunes

Los Angeles public radio station KCRW has been long been regarded as one of the last bastions of sophisticated radio programming. Their flagship program, Morning Becomes Eclectic, provides an intimate live setting for artists ranging from PJ Harvey, R.E.M., and Joe Henry to Nikka Costa, Coldplay, and Lyle Lovett. The station has documented much of this history on its website, where you can listen to streams of previous shows, and in the record bins with Rare on Air and Morning Becomes Eclectic discs.

The current Sounds Eclectic disc runs the spectrum from good to transcendent. The show's strength is that even across radio waves, the performer's true charm and charisma are conveyed along with the music. In that light, there's nothing wrong with David Gray's rendition of "Babylon" (which is sparkling but ordinary) or Travis's "Driftwood" (which is thankfully livelier than the studio version), but they certainly pale beside some of their disc-mates.

The cut that really presses me back into my chair is Stars performing "Going, Gone". Delicate and aching, it rides a slightly hurried electronic pulse that could simulate either a heartbeat or a ticking clock to glorious effect. Neil Finn reaches back to an obscurity from his Crowded House days with "Throw Your Arms Around Me". Armed with just his acoustic guitar and his voice, he nails the song's giddy heart. Badly Drawn Boy, for his part, offers up the spry piano melody of "Magic in the Air". If you've been wondering what all the fuss is about concerning these artists, these tracks should settle the matter.

In a nod to the disc's excellent sequencing (something all too rare on compilation CDs), you can look at other songs in other ways. Beck's lopes through an enjoyable rendition of "Lonesome Whistle", but it's an old man's song sung by a man who is still fairly young of soul. Its flipside is Willie Nelson's "Healing Hands of Time", an old man's song sung by a man who's been through enough to know that a failed relationship needn't send you to the edges of the earth. Where a younger singer might have clenched the song in an over-emotive stranglehold, Nelson smiles through the lyrics like they're a comfort. All of these tracks (and more by Patti Smith, The Dandy Warhols, Shivaree, and others) are bookended by Yo-Yo Ma's gorgeous rendition of "Prelude: Bach Cello Suite #1 in G-Major" and Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Energy Flow". Both serve to put a stately wrapping on the proceedings, as if to say, "This may be pop, but it's serious music, and good music. You should listen up". If you've heard Morning Becomes Eclectic, it's a point that's nearly impossible to disprove.

Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

"I'm an Audience Member, Playing This Music for Us": An Interview With Keller Williams

Veteran musician Keller Williams discusses his special relationship with the Keels, their third album together, Speed, and what he learned from following the Grateful Dead.

Books

Shintaro Kago's 'Dementia 21' Showcases Surrealist Manga

As much as I admire Shintaro Kago's oddness as a writer, his artistic pen is even sharper (but not without problems) as evident in Dementia 21.

Music

Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad Proclaim 'Jazz Is Dead!' Long Live Jazz!

Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad bring their live collaborative efforts with jazz veterans to recorded life with Jazz Is Dead 001, a taste of more music to come.

Film

"I'll See You Later": Repetition and Time in Almodóvar's 'All About My Mother'

There are mythical moments in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. We are meant to register repetition in the story as something wonderfully strange, a connection across the chasm of impossibility.

Music

Electropop's CMON Feel the Noise on 'Confusing Mix of Nations'

Pop duo CMON mix and match contemporary and retro influences to craft the dark dance-pop on Confusing Mix of Nations.

Music

'Harmony' Is About As Bill Frisell As a Bill Frisell Recording Can Be

Bill Frisell's debut on Blue Note Records is a gentle recording featuring a few oddball gems, particularly when he digs into the standard repertoire with Petra Haden's voice out front.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 4, James Chance to the Pop Group

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part four with Talking Heads, the Fall, Devo and more.

Music

Raye Zaragoza's "Fight Like a Girl" Shatters the Idea of What Women Can and Can't Do (premiere)

Singer-songwriter and activist Raye Zaragoza's new single, "Fight Like a Girl", is an empowering anthem for intersectional feminism, encouraging resilience amongst all women.

Music

VickiKristinaBarcelona Celebrate Tom Waits on "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" (premiere)

VickiKristinaBarcelona celebrate the singular world of Tom Waits their upcoming debut, Pawn Shop Radio. Hear "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" ahead of tomorrow's single release.

Television

'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Is  Better Than Okay

The first season of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a funny, big-hearted love letter to family.

Music

Jordan Rakei Breathes New Life Into Soul Music

Jordan Rakei is a restless artistic spirit who brings R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and pop craft into his sumptuous, warm music. Rakei discusses his latest album and new music he's working on that will sound completely different from everything he's done so far.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.