Tuesday, March 08, 2005

 

"This travellin' band was not well received"

The Jayhawks head off into the sunset Listen to Bottomless Cup Listen to Nevada, California Despite giving us a glimmer of hope with a recent tour that reunited longtime front man Gary Louris with long-departed singer Marc Olsen, The Jayhawks have officially called it quits. I have to admit this leaves me with some mixed feelings. I haven't been particularly fond of the last couple of Jayhawks records (Rainy Day Music left me cold and Smile was an obvious - and failed - grab for radio-friendly pop appeal) but any band capable of putting out a record like Hollywood Town Hall is a band you want to hold out hope for, even after lineup changes, auto accidents, bizarre life-threatening illnesses and resulting years of non-production. Hollywood Town Hall is a record that hits more than a few "most essential" lists. It's as important a piece of the alt-country cannon as Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne, Wilco's Being There, Son Volt's Trace or Richard Buckner's Devotion and Doubt. Pick up a copy and thank me later. Bottomless Cup is from The Sound of Lies, the first record the Jayhawks released after Olsen's amicable split with the band in 1995. Like Being There (which predates it by about eight months) Sound of Lies is a statement record that attempts to jump away from alt-country (whatever that is) into experiments with grown up pop, noise and Beach Boys-ish walls of sound. Unlike Being There, not many people view it as a groundbreaking record. It's probably not, but to my mind some tracks on Sound of Lies (Bottomless Cup, and Stick in the Mud which reflects on Louris' divorce) deserve a spot in the LASH hall of fame and any breakup mix ever made. Buy a copy of Hollywood Town Hall Buy a copy of The Sound of Lies In other nooze: If you haven't seen it, Brooklyn Vegan has posted a link to the Arcade Fire video for Rebellion (Lies). Though it's fun to think Win and gang are getting love from MTV, the video is kinda feh. Largehearted Boy alerts us to a SPOOKY story about what the RIAA is doing to downloaders in the excited states. Thank God we live in America junior. (Psst, Canadians, if you don't want to end up getting sued, get involved. Our liberal copyright laws may not stay this way forever) . Kenny Shinkle (the guy who introduced me to the Jayhawks back in the day) has hooked me up with a very interesting NPR interview with the RZA.
Comments:
The Jayhawks will be missed, but they had a good run. Fatcitizen may be a "Town Hall" man, and it's a wikked rekkid (as he might say), but my choice would have to be Tomorrow the Green Grass. The back-to-to-back opening tracks, Blue and I'd Run Away, are an incredibly beautiful start to an album, and heartbreaking harmonies punctuate the entire disc.

On the downside, I paid good money a few years ago in VanCity to see a wooden, predictable show. The highlights were the rousing singalongs of early favourites; the rest of the show was a soulless grind through the later, noisier material referred to above.

Of note, too, was Louris's participation in the all-star alt-country band, Golden Smog. I'm sure his reedy pipes will be serenading us with a new project soon.
 
TT's dead right about the Jayhawks live show. My only experience with them live was at the Austin City Limits festival a few years back. . . very sleepy ... but Jen Gunderman is a further scientific proof of Fatcitizen’s Incontrovertible Law of rock, Number 9
 
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