Elgar – Violin Concerto; Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending (1997) by Nigel Kennedy et al.

Categories: 1997 and Music.

This is the kind of selection that feels tailor made for someone like Kennedy. Lots of pyrotechnics. And he shows off. And that’s great. But I feel much the way about this set that I feel about so much of Elgar and Vaughan Williams; I just feel like there is better contemporary music from the period, music that is far more engaging even if it isn’t always as virtuoso. So this is fine, but that’s it. 7/10 Read More

Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline (1997) by Fred Eaglesmith

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I really hope that he means 105 mph rather than 105 kmph, because if he means the latter, the entire province of Ontario drives faster than he does. Anyway…Here Eaglesmith seems to more thoroughly embrace Alt Country and all that that entails. That’s fine in my book. The songs are still strong. And the arrangements are different this time. The only drawback is the reprises, really. 8/10 Read More

We Were the Mulvaneys (1997) by Joyce Carol Oates

Categories: 1997, Books, and Fiction.

This is one of the most emotionally devastating novels I have ever read. Unfortunately, the end of the novel feels a little rushed and slightly artificial. I don’t think I should harp too much on this because the majority of the novel is outstanding, horrific, a page turner and probably a fair allegory for the dissolution of the nuclear family in the US in the post-1960s. 9/10 Read More

The Best of Tommy Dorsey and His Clambake Seven (1997 Retrieval)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

Dorsey – along with his brother – was often accused of not playing “jazz”, something of a hurtful accusation to someone who felt he was a jazz musician. This was actually a fairly common thing in the ’30s when jazz and popular dance music were pretty tough to distinguish (to this day, many people will tell you Glenn Miller played jazz). Maybe I’m looking to hard for motive, but it sure seems to me like this band was at least an attempt to prove those people wrong. This band definitely played jazz, and so if his big band was indeed Read More

Do Make Say Think (1997)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

So at first glance to me this is like the non-electronic side of Tortoise with a bit of the Montreal side of things pulling the music into some non-Tortoise-y directions (which are welcome). There is a also a big “math rock” (ugh, what a name) influence in here as well. This combination makes the band stand out from some of its contemporaries, since they are Tortoise-y but different enough to warrant consideration. The big issue with this album is it seems to need a producer. There’s a little too much here and it’s a bit of a mess. I guess Read More

His Best (1997, MCA) by Bo Diddley

Categories: 1997 and Music.

Along time ago R&B was actually something called rhythm and blues. This CD, which collects many of Diddley’s singles and b-sides from 1955 to 1966. His earliest music of 1955 – now his most iconic – lacks the country of Elvis and Carl Perkins, the gospel of Elvis and Little Richard, the manic intensity of the Killer, and the complete package and polish of Chuck Berry; Diddley is rawer and definitely on the rhythm side of R and B (except for “I’m a Man”, which is so blues Muddy stole it). But this music still made a huge impact on Read More

The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (1997) by John Coltrane

Categories: 1961, 1997, and Music.

When Coltrane and his “quartet” recorded these performances, he was just releasing Ole Coltrane, so I think it’s safe to say that much of what was heard here came as a shock to anyone in the audience who wasn’t constantly seeing him live. And even when the LP version came out the next year, much of it still probably sounded about as out there as anything could that wasn’t free. I mean, My Favorite Things came out about six months before these were recorded and as much as that album is radical in its own way, it is still very Read More

Percussion Music: Works by Varese, Colgrass, Saperstein, Cowell, Wuorinen (1974, 1997, Nonesuch) by the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble

Categories: 1974, 1997, and Music.

This is a fine selection of modern “art music” attempts to break out of western traditions by making percussive music. Not really knowing a ton about any of the composers, save Varese, that’s tough for me to say, but it seems a fair sample. Colgrass’s piece in particular is a highlight. It’s nice to see that there was an orchestra dedicated to this kind of music back in the ’70s, a time when one would thing there would be a least some empathy between rock musicians trying to expand their horizons and “art” composers and ensembles trying to expand theirs. Read More

Transmission by the Tea Party (1997 EMI)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

It’s easy to rip on bands who rip off others. But when they rip off stuff you like, it’s significantly harder. I guess this sort of explains how the blogosphere etc can over-hype revivalist bands all the time when it might make no sense to the rest of us. If you like a genre enough, you often don’t care for originality. So I used to be a huge Tea Party fan when I was younger, and I still like their first two albums and EP enough (though I should really adjust my ratings) because I like the bands they rip Read More

Prime Cuts by Suicidal Tendencies (Epic 1997)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

We should all just get past the idea that compilations suck. They do, and so those of us who know this should just not buy them (FYI, I don’t own this). That being said, they can be useful to borrow from a friend (like I am doing right now) or what have you. This way you can at least find out whether you should buy the albums. So there are a number of problems with this that I, a non-ST fan, was not really aware of: re-recorded songs (ugh) and new songs (ugh). Both are big signs to stay away Read More

Official Live: 101 Proof by Pantera (Eastwest 1997)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

The only fucking thing I fucking learned from fucking listening to this is that fucking Phil Anselmo is an idiot. All joking aside, not knowing their studio output I can’t really compare the versions. I can say that it is a live comp, and so it suffers from that. Worse, it has new studio tracks tacked on, presumably in an effort to sell more copies (which is unintentionally hilarious). The performances are pretty good. Can’t say I like the ballads as they all sort of sound like Metallica. 6/10 Read More

The Larry Sanders Show

Categories: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and TV.

Having recently (re)watched The Larry Sanders Show: I think The Larry Sanders Show is one of the great American television programs and one of the great comedy programs of all time. Though it was certainly not the first TV show to parody TV, nor was it the first show to be about talk shows, it was the first laugh-track-less American comedy I know of (setting the stage for the numerous laugh-track-less comedies we have now) and it was about as dark and outrageous as anything then on television. The acting is so good that you sort of forget it’s a Read More

Lie to Me by Jonny Lang (1997 A&M)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I have no issues with Lang’s playing. He manages to sound like multiple players at different times, which is generally a good thing, since he doesn’t remind me of any one guitarist too much to seem derivative. He is a pretty good blues guitarist, and very good for his then age. His voice is another matter. Yes, it is incredible that a teenage white boy sounds like an old black man but that is the problem. He shouldn’t try to sound like an old black man. The kid needs his own voice. Better yet, kid needs a singer. And a Read More

90s Movies

Categories: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and Movies.

Again I need to warn you about my ratings. In many cases the one and only time I watched these films was in high school, when I was far less discerning. In other cases, I really liked a movie then, then watched it 5 to 10 years later and saw that it was mediocre or bad and got embarrassed and my rating is often a reaction to that feeling, meaning I am subsequently harder on a film if I liked it the first time and I now see it for what it is. I have added asterisks to movies I don’t Read More

Zaireeka (1997) by the Flaming Lips

Categories: 1997 and Music.

In the CD players (this time around): 2 of the four discs of Zaireeka by the Flaming Lips. In case you don’t know, the album is 4 separate discs of the same “songs” and you are supposed to create your own listening experience using 2, 3 or 4 discs played at certain times. Right now I have disc 1 and 2 going slightly off, it’s pretty rid-damn-diculous. Incidentally, the theory is you will never once repeat a playing because each CD player is different. Who knows? It’s pretty crazy to hear one piano chord (obviously distorted by something) from one Read More

Hands on a Hard Body (1997, S.R. Bindler) Etc

Categories: 1997 and Movies.

The other day I watched Hands on a Hard Body. It was an awesome movie. Here is the best moment of it: “It’s like a movie that I once saw. It’s called Highlander. In the end, there can only be one.” Why this is funny…no, why this is amazingly hilarious: Until that point in the movie, despite the contest itself, there is still a pretty serious tone. This guy was serious. He didn’t get the quote right, it’s : “There can be only one.” Apparently immortals having swordfights (for some reason I can’t remember) is the same as trying to Read More