June 14, 2004

From the Radio Francis playlist

After a slight CD buying lull, I went on a binge this weekend. The two I can already tell will be on heavy rotation this week are the two I almost didn't purchase, based on lukewarm reviews: the new Magnetic Fields and Beta Band CDs. The half-hearted concept behind the Magnetic Fields album -- all the song titles start with the same letter? What's next? An album where every song has no adverbs? -- put me off a bit, but despite what the reviews led me to believe, it's a much more consistent set of songs than "69 Love Songs", which contained lots of half-baked ideas among the brilliant ones. The lack of a shoestring budget also helps matters; lo-fi purists may complain about the "good production values" and "lush instrumentation" and "lack of tape hiss", but those people should go listen to a collection of Robert Pollard demos and stop bothering the rest of us. The Beta Band is still writing the same song, but these are some of the best versions of that song to date.

From the same batch of CDs, but on the other end of the scale, I'm not in love with "Louden Up Now" by !!!, despite lyrics designed to warm my heart (such as "You can tell the president to suck my fucking dick"). It might still grow on me, but it just feels a little wanting for ideas. It mines that aggressive-guitar-plus-dance-beats thing that's been going around lately pretty well, but after the kick-ass EP they released last year, I had higher hopes. Maybe if I give it a few days and try again I'll feel more generously towards it.

Posted by Francis at 04:58 AM