Latest Listening

May 19, 2005

Last week, I bought a couple of albums (via iTunes) for the first time in about three months.

Beck is one of the few artists whose albums I'd go to purchase as soon as they're released. I didn't quite buy Guero as soon as it was released, but it was the first album I bought since it was released. The first track, E-Pro evokes Devil's Haircut, Odelay's opening track, but takes one its own identity with its catchy na-na-na chorus. The other standout track is the breezy Girl. The album may be the first from Beck that actually mixes his sonic collage/new jack swing side with the folk/acoustic side.

I considered buying Ben Folds' new album, but instead picked up the first (eponymous) Ben Folds Five album. I first heard the Ben Folds Five on Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight (back when it was on WNEW, when WNEW was still a rock station) and thought, "hey, these guys are fun," and eventually bought Whatever and ever, Amen when it was released. I kept my eye out for the eponymous debut, but even when I did find it, I never found it priced below $17.99.

But the trio's debut album is different from their two subsequent major label releases because of the attitude. On their debut, BF5 is a punk band dressed in the clothes of a pop piano trio. The combination of reckless energy with pop songs on piano is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the band's subsequent albums couldn't keep up the same energy level.

Whatever and Ever had some of this same energy, particularly on One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces and Song For the Dumped, but diluted across the rest of the album. I never bought the third BF5 album. They played at Tufts the week it was released and the show was really boring. Trying to become more polished sucked the energy out of the band and its live show. The band lost the raw energy that it captured on its first album.

I have yet to buy their album, but I have been listening to The Ditty Bops shows from the Internet Archive. These two women play catchy music that draws heavily on the sounds of the 1920's. It's fun stuff. The Ditty Bops will be at Mercury Lounge on June 9.

This week, I also picked up the Arrested Development Season 1 DVDs, while Fox picked up Arrested Development for a third season. They haven't made a huge mistake.

Posted by Andrew Raff at May 19, 2005 11:15 PM
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