Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just the right amount of guitar

My review of the Reigning Sound’s Live at Goner Records, the band’s second live album in five years, runs today at Dusted.

“The last time Reigning Sound made a live album, for 2005’s The Reigning Sound: Live at Maxwell’s, the playing got so heated that Cartwright ended with just three working guitar strings. (He is apparently not the kind of guy who travels with a rack of guitars and an underling to tune them for him.) This time is much mellower. He only nearly gets electrocuted, right in the middle of ‘Two Thieves.’

“Live recording is fraught with difficulties, unpredictable and occasionally dangerous. Most bands do one live record, two at most, and certainly not two in a row. But the Reigning Sound is so clearly a 'live' band, that it sort of makes sense. Even their studio records sound like live records, minus only the crowd noise and banter. And weirdly, the sound on this particular live recording, laid down at Memphis’ Goner Records store in June 2005, is sharp and clear, much less fuzzy than Too Much Guitar. This version of ‘We Repel Each Other,’ (coming right after the electrical problem) is spectacularly tight, fast and aggressive. The album’s take was like being bludgeoned with a baseball bat – this one is like being cut to pieces by razors. You’ve never heard the words this clearly, never felt the gut punch of the whole band shouting ‘Hey!’ like this.”


Silly intro…but you get the idea

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