A Few Recent Things
Martha Waingwright - s/t : purchased from Karmadownloads for $9US so there's no reason for you to not go and buy it, is there? She's a fairly standard singer/songwriter and her parents genes can be found in both her singing style and writing but it certainly has some great moments although it's not as coherent as I'd have liked.
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine : this 2003 recording remains unreleased due to record company ennui and it's a real shame because it's easily her best suite of material. There's less of the bluesy intonations that have bored me in her previous releases and more avant leanings in the songs and arrangements (which is, I suppose, why Sony doesn't know what to do with it but it could just as easily be positioned in the same area as Tom Waits : slightly weird singer / songwriter).
Toychestra and Fred Frith - Big Toys : A surprisingly short little album which says all it needs to say and then gets outta town. Frith is, as always, an excellent contributor, fitting in perfectly with the squeeks and tinkles from the rest of the band.
Pere Ubu - Fontana B-Sides : Scrapping the bottom of the barrell comes to mind immediately.
The Reels - Neighbours : The last album from a very under-rated electro-pop band. By this time (1988) they'd become so completely ironic (and hated themselves so much to boot) that there was no place left for them to go except up their own arses. It's all cover versions of iconic Australian pop songs that have been done in the styles of other genres so the intention is to laugh at them archly. It never quite works as intended. Instead just find their version of Creedence Cleerwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" where a good song has been mutated into something sublime.
Saint Etienne - Travel Edition : Ya know, I think you really had to be in London in the early 90s to actually appreciate this band. Dull, slightly dopey, cod-orchestral pop.
Bob Drake - Little Black Train / The Shunned Country : LBT is a fantastic slice of hard progressive rock musicianship tempered by a playfull waywardness. TSC continues his love of Gothic horror tales but with 52 sub-minute length pieces it's frantic pace wears thin.