News and Notes
This Time It's Love
When jazz singer Kurt Elling isn't punching out standards like "My Foolish Heart" and "A Time For Love," he's adding original lyrics to classic instrumental pieces. It's called vocalese and Elling's voice, inventiveness, and sheer charisma may make him the genre's most exciting practictioner in decades. "Freddie's Yen for Jen," a soaring scat tour-de-force to the tune of Freddie Hubbard's "Delphia," is not to be missed. If you find yourself in Chicago on a Wednesday night, catch Elling at the Green Mill Lounge on North Broadway.
The site was originally a dismal, caustic swamp. Now it's The Kingdom, a futuristic model of Danish health care. But the socialization of medicine has failed; the building and its inhabitants are crumbling, physically and psychically. These first four episodes of a Danish television series center around the ghost of a young girl, but director Lars von Trier has also populated the institution with a myriad of neurotic living characters who would be more at home in Twin Peaks than ER.
Do The Collapse
GBV main-man Robert Pollard says he wants a hit record. Who wouldn't? Of
course, anybody who cares about music knows that hit records aren't
necessarily good records. Cross a beloved indie band with a
bigtime producer and longtime fans can't wait to cry "sell-out!" Luckily,
Pollard and Ric Ocasek don't give them the chance. While Bob delivers the
most consistent songs of his career, Ric gives them a big, clean sound,
and then gets out of the way. Yes, there are a few new-wave keyboard
parts, but they're more Candy-O
than Heartbeat City. Sure, Do The Collapse isn't Bee Thousand, but that's alright -- while break-throughs are sweet, follow-throughs may be sweeter. And it just might be a hit.
Ooh La La
You hear a lot of The Who at the movies lately. "The Seeker" is on the American Beauty soundtrack and "Baba O'Riley" is the musical centerpiece of Spike Lee's Summer of Sam. Of course, the trend may have started with Wes Anderson's choice of "A Quick One While He's Away" for his brilliant comedy, Rushmore. So what does all this have to do with The Faces? 1. Kenny Jones was in The Faces, and later joined The Who, replacing Keith Moon. 2. The title track from Ooh La La backs the rousing final scene of Rushmore. 3. "Borstal Boys," "If I'm on the Late Side," and the oft-covered "Glad and Sorry" make this album the one to pick up before you dutifully purchase a copy of Who's Next.
Reading Kosinski's Steps feels a little like witnessing the birth of a sexual predator. David Foster Wallace calls it "a collection of unbelievably creepy little allegorical tableaux done in a terse elegant voice that's like nothing else anywhere ever." Grab a copy, wrap a fish hook in a small ball of dough, swallow whole, and enjoy the sensation.
[Editor's Note: While we highly recommend reading Jerzy Kosinski, we don't condone swallowing sharp, non-digestable objects.]
Often overlooked, this sometimes visceral, sometimes vicious EP offers Bob Mould at his post-Husker-Du best. Over top of his signature, wall-of-sound guitar, Mould spits out lyrics of disenchantment and humiliation. It's perfect for the Friday drive after a frustrating week of dealing with your boss.
John Sayles' fable of love, redemption, and fragile hope springs fully-formed from the end-of-the-road beauty of Southeast Alaska. The film matches flawless cinematography with a host of exquisite performances. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio plays Donna, a vagabond chanteuse on the saloon circuit; David Strathairn's Joe Gastineau is a wilderness woman's wet dream; and Vanessa Martinez as Donna's troubled daughter has a fire of her own. Limbo transcends expectations with oppressive weather, spawning salmon, and a courageous denouement.