Initial Reactions (2011): Lucinda Williams, St. Vincent, Justice

Lucinda Williams – Blessed – (ind): I don’t think I’m being lazy when I say this sounds pretty much like a new Lucinda Williams record. I loved Car Wheels (SO good), but everything I’ve heard her do since sounds like a facsimile of that record. This is no different. It’s not bad or anything; "Blessed" is a really memorable tune for all of the right reasons. So I’ll commend it for all of the Lucind-heads and move on. ("Blessed")

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy  – (ind): Suffers not so much from a lack of craftsmanship as a lack of tunefulness. Makes a strong first impression with "Chloe in the Afternoon." Otherwise, not a memorable track to be found. Falls into the same category as My Brightest Diamond, only St. Vincent dwells in post-modern abstract pop rather than neo-classicism. Yawn-fest, for the most part.

Justice – Audio, Video, Disco. – (ind): Basically Ratatat (French edition), right? Or is it the other way around? Which came first? Where am I? It all dissolves into philosophy from there. This sort of sound has a shelf-life of exactly one album. Once you’ve heard it one time, you’ve heard enough. I suppose I just prefer my IDM with the emphasis on the "I" rather than the "D,"  and that not so much for “intelligent” as “introspective.”

REACTION KEY

[!!!!!]: Enthusiastic. Frequent rotation. A buyer. Contender for year’s best.
[++]: Positive. Good stuff. Possible grower?
[ind]: Indifferent.. Underwhelmed. I don’t expect to come back to this one.
[—]: Negative. A real screw-up. Don’t even bother.

Listening Log: “The Long Surrender” by Over the Rhine

4a2c0178-f941-4a20-b098-080ac0f75172[4]Just finished listening to the latest (as yet unreleased) long player from Over the Rhine, wonderfully titled The Long Surrender. It’s pretty great, but in the interest of not spoiling it for anyone, I’ll just offer a few brief reactions:

  • Strikes me as a cross between Drunkard’s Prayer (instrumentally) and Good Dog, Bad Dog (thematically). No disrespect to The Trumpet Child, but this is the record I was hoping they’d follow up Drunkard’s Prayer with!
  • Joe Henry did a fantastic job with the production. These tracks are as dense and mysterious as a dark forest. This is a total “headphones” album!
  • That’s a gorgeous album cover.
  • Was that Lucinda Williams on track 5?

All in all, I think the L&K Express has gone and made one of the best records of their career.  Can’t wait to get my hands on it come January 11th.

UPDATE: Read my actual review here.