That three-day weekend flew by didn’t it?
It was a pretty good holiday, though, all in all. Sean and I went strawberry picking on Thursday afternoon, got 7 pounds of berries…the real kind, the kind you can smell from ten feet away, not the plastic things they sell in supermarkets. So we made a strawberry pie and strawberry smoothies and that was good. You can never have too many strawberries.
On the 4th, Sean astonished me by getting up at 7:30 a.m. to run the “4 on the 4th” roadrace down in Keene. I was pretty sure he would bag out, but he didn’t and we had a pretty good time. He took about nine minutes off his last year’s time, finishing at 31:28, not bad for a 13-year-old (though there are some freakishly fast 13-year-olds out there). The woman who won was 54! And ran the thing in under 21 minutes, 5:20 or so per mile, pretty amazing. I did a 28:31, which was fine, but not great.
So, then we did not so much until the fireworks, except I listened to the Jay Reatard singles about four times in a row, damn, what a fun record! (And how dark and twisted underneath). Next day I continued to punish my fading body with a 20 mile run, the first in the current marathon training schedule (I’m running DeMar in Keene on September 28th). And we had dinner with some friends that night, which was particularly great, but probably too dull to talk about. (Now I start worrying about boring you, right?)
Anyway, it’s all over, so let’s catch up on the music stuff. First, my not-entirely-enthusiastic review of the new Wire at Dusted today:
Object 47 (Pink Flag)
Even though this is Wire's 47th recording (counting EPs, singles, live albums and god knows what else), the band's reputation still mostly rests on its three groundbreaking albums in the late 1970s: Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154. When people say that something "sounds like Wire," they mean it sounds like these three records – either brash and fast and loud like the first two, or tentatively melodic, experimental and synthy like the third. They forget, for the most part, that Wire itself didn't sound like Wire for much of the late ’80s and early ’90s, that in those dance-influenced, synthetic years, Wire actually sounded more like New Order. A series of fractious post-2000 reunion recordings – the three Read and Burn EPs and the summing full-length Send – may have allowed us to forget that Wire had its pop side, its new wave side, its technology-fascinated dance side. If nothing else, Object 47 serves as a reminder that no one should ever assume they know what the next Wire album will sound like, only that it will differ from the last.
More: here: http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/4400
Wire is giving away an mp3 of “One of Us”
And also, a review of Will Johnson’s split Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel recording, which is low-key and excellent.
South San Gabriel/Centromatic
Dual Hawks (Misra)
A two-disc set contrasts two overlapping bands headed by Will Johnson, the four-piece, raucous Centro-Matic and the quieter, string-embellished South San Gabriel. Both CDs have stunning moments, the South San Gabriel one right up front with the luminous "Emma Jane," a whisker-stubbled, ruminative ballad. Despite lush fingerings of acoustic blues guitar and baroque turns of cello and viola, the song remains spare, its arrangements giving space for Johnson's rueful, sigh-damaged voice. "Of Evil/For Evil" feels denser and more threatening, as Johnson murmurs ominously above slow-marching piano notes and trilling, edgy strings. The Centro-Matic disc is looser and less premeditated but no less compelling, with key players talking and laughing in between fuzzy, distorted takes. Best cuts here include urgent opener "The Rat Patrol and DJs" and country-rollicking "Twenty-Four." Johnson slips telling lyrics into the slow songs and the rockers, injecting emotional resonance and intelligence into two very fine discs.
Standout Tracks: "Emma Jane," "Twenty-Four" JENNIFER KELLY
Here’s Centro-Matic’s “The Kite”
And South San Gabriel’s “Trust to Lose”