(Shuffle on, Sandy Denny > Big Star > Ted Leo/Pharmacists (live) > Goblin > Robert Pollard > Deke Falcon (live) > Minor Threat > Ryan Adams > Nic Jones, Tony Rose and Jon Raven > Neil Young/Crazy Horse)
So I’m going to have to say “credit where it’s due” and concur entirely with the hegemonic indie swab’s review of the new Walkmen lark. Really, it’s just a lark. It’s not unfun, I guess, but it’s the sort of thing that should be a bonus giveaway or fanclub whatever. Despite the really far-too-cheeky covers – “Save the Last Dance for Me,” for chrissakes? – I would like to hear the Nilsson original. But there’s the problem: by releasing this album, the Walkmen have undoubtedly inflated the cost of the Nilsson LP as traded on ebay or at the shops. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s this economic angle, and only this angle, that makes me begrudge beloved bands of mine getting huge. I don’t really care if Nirvana’s on CSI unless it’s gonna cost me money, you know? Does that make sense?
On the other hand, the release of this record in no way takes away from my unconditional endorsement of the Walkmen, as such. I don’t even know whether to classify the album as a misstep, so much as this weird, ‘neither here nor there’-style blip in their ouevre. I have a feeling that the forthcoming Jay/Anders Gob Iron thing is going to be a similar experience for me, but I hope I’m wrong. And maybe more importantly, I can count on the fact that seeing Gob Iron (or the Walkmen) live could hardly be anything short of an immediate, amazing experience. I think it’s kind of sick and short-sighted to expect artists to make (or attempt) only ‘major’ works. We wouldn’t have a Hearts and Bones or Crying of Lot 49 if things worked that way.
I went to that Massachussets institution called Newbury Comics last night and scored some shits. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have reached a point where a lot of the records I want are to be found in the “Nice Price” section of any old shop. I got that long-overdue remaster of No Depression for $9.99, par example; the Idiot and Lust for Life were also there, but I wanted Bender’s advice as to where I should start. I think this bonus – which allows me to feel throwback-y but not at all hip – makes up for the Walkmen/Harry Nilsson situation described above.
I also scored the new Califone, which I’m very excited about. And then there’s the two cd Dead C anthology. We live in strange times when this very, very obscurantist outfit is getting assigned “classic, influential” status. There’s even a sticker on the cd that pulls the whole “if you like Wolf Eyes…” thing. WTF, people? Double-yuh, tee, eff.
I haven’t even gone near the books I scored at the actual conference. The combined Verso/AK Press table was a little bit absurd. Especially when they went all “50% off” this morning.