Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Week in Music - November 22

A confluence of issues have led to me not being able to blog more regularly. I really want to keep slogging on so I'd like to use the weekly format that Tom Hull uses so effectively and recap the music that I have been listening to during the week. So, with no further ado....

Wilco - What's Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014 (Nonesuch, 2014) After the "alt-country" powerhouse Uncle Tupelo imploded in the early 1990's, vocalist and guitarist Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco, discarding any pigeonholes and developing into a powerful rock 'n' roll band. Their earlier years are captured on the first disc leading with the poppy "Box Full of Letters" and the grinding rock of "I Got You (at the end of the Century)" and "Monday." They also write some moody and enigmatic music on "Misunderstood" and "Via Chicago." When Nels Cline joined the group they now had a genuine guitar hero which power the witty "I am Trying to Break Your Heart" and "Handshake Drugs." While fans will always quibble (where is "Bull Black Nova"!?!) the selection is really well chosen, featuring the band's most familiar songs and including excellent album tracks as well.

Avishai Cohen's Triveni - Dark Nights (Anzic Records, 2014) Avishai Cohen is a trumpeter (not to be confused with the bassist of the same name) originally from Israel but now living in the United States after attending the Berklee School of music.  On this album he is joined by Omer Avital on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums and guests like his clarinetist sister Anat on "Betray" which also uses electronic effects to excellent effect. There are two jazz standards, a subtle and mournful bass and trumpet duet on "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and the quieter nature of their music is also explored on Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." The album concludes with a swinging version of "I Fall In Love Too Easily" with guests Gerald Clayton on piano and Keren Ann on vocals.

The Rolling Stones - From the Vault: Hampton Coliseum (Eagle Rock, 2014) The Rolling Stones join the ranks of The Grateful Dead and King Crimson in regularly releasing concerts and rare recordings from their archives. This concert was originally a pay-per-view event from Virginia, and is presented here as two audio CD's and a DVD of the original broadcast. It's quite a value for Stones fans as well, clocking in at nearly 2.5 hours both in audio and video. They were at the end of a 50 concert grind following the Tattoo You LP and mix some of the new material with older classics. Right from the start they juxtapose a tentative "Under My Thumb" and piano driven "Let's Spend the Night Together" with funkier tracks like "Shattered" and "When the Whip Comes Down." There are a few gaffs and Mick Jagger desperately tries to keep both the live and TV audience engaged, but overall when the group hits its stride this is a worthy addition to the canon.

Send comments to Tim.