Sunday, January 20, 2008

Albums Worth Searching For, Part I

Cracker, Greenland

Formed after the breakup of celebrated indie band Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker is the brainchild of David Lowery, former lead singer and main songwriter for C.V.B.
Cracker achieved almost immediate success on alternative rock stations with their self titled debut, but it was their second album, Kerosene Hat, that got the critics to take notice. Lifted by the college radio hit LOW, it contained more blues and country stylings than the debut, and their finest hour in the song Eurotrash Girl. Apparently the band couldn’t sustain the momentum and they ended up releasing three more mediocre albums and one live effort that went largely unnoticed. I had written them off, but decided to give them another try with Greenland, as it was getting good reviews in the press. I’m glad I did. Easily their best effort since Kerosene Hat, it contains the same type of roots-rock content coupled with solid songwriting. Lowrey sounds invigorated, and even experiments (successfully, I might add) with prog rock in the masterful tune Sidi Ifni.

Califone, Roots And Crowns

Drawing musically from blues, folk, and Appalachia music and mixing it all in a blender with modern production techniques (feedback, noise and various electronics), Califone have created pretty, yet somehow unsettling, otherworldly soundscapes on their 8th album. They sound like no other band, and this particular album rewards repeat listeners with a weird and accessible release that just gets better over time.

Bill Drummond, The Man

Former founder of the KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front), this little known album is a much more subdued affair than his later work. More singer-songwriter on this one than the techno terrorist he eventually became, it includes songs such as ‘Julian Cope Is Dead’, ‘I Believe In Rock And Roll’ and ‘Ballad For A Sex God’. Acoustic and slide guitars dominate, as does Bill’s thick Scottish Brogue accent. Most notorious for his burning of 1,000,000 pounds of English currency as a commentary on the state of the art world, he is certainly one of the most interesting artists of the last 30 years. This release is a small gem of a record and is certainly worth seeking out.


Hal Johnson said...

Well E, thanks to your blog, I'll be asking for iTunes gift certs for my birthday. Very interesting post, though. Thanks.

uNCLE e said...

Hal, that's ALL I ask for anymore...