Tonight’s show started off with Picture Book, a one-hour mixtape of songs dedicated to the captured image, whether it be a personal snapshot or an exotic postcard. The rest of the night was the usual Mixtape territory, closing out with my latest inexplicable favorite, International Sangman.
The story of Nell Smith & The Flaming Lips is as improbable and unexpected as their album full of Nick Cave covers. Existing in a triangular universe of mutual admiration, Where the Viaduct Looms gave us the opening track tonight, the menacing “Red Right Hand”.
If The Wedding Present were the traditional sort, they would be bringing coral to the festivities. This one is from earlier in their career, closer to the wood years, but the Velvet Underground never goes out of style. This is from another good VU tribute album, Heaven and Hell from 1991 or so.
The rich wood floorboards were squeaking under the strain of the game. They had removed their shoes, sketched out the board using a special beeswax that would not damage the finish, and were hopping as lightly as they could, for they respected the solemnity of their location. Nonetheless, the portraits lining the Hall of Admirals in the Museo Maritimo Nacional felt they finally had something to frown about, their serious Chilean brows furrowed in naval concern as they observed the farrier and the anthropologist enjoying their tournament.
The first time you hear Courtney Barnett taking on the Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” what you get is an electrifying shock of recognition: you know that distinctive voice, you know that timeless melody, but what you’re hearing is completely new. I must add that there’s a VU tribute album every few years, and even the worst of them can be decent, supported by the strength of the songs, but this one (also titled I’ll Be Your Mirror) is exceptionally good.
It’s a celebration of Pat Fish, also known as The Jazz Butcher, who passed away unexpectedly last week, on October 5. We kick things off with another one of my favorites, the Asylum Street Spankers, taking on his “D.R.I.N.K.” to glorious heights, followed by a couple of sets drawing from his 20th century material.
Tonight started out with an hour of the sickest music around, which is to say songs about illness, medication, and other health-related issues. The following two hours were the usual incomprehensible mixture of genres and bad attitudes.
Some bands are obscure, others are sporadic, but The Mabuses are downright enigmatic. Their music is hard to describe, and while the word “psychedelic” has become a commonplace and devalued label to put on something these days, in this case it would apply as a feeling of existing in a disjointed but entirely fascinating musical reality rather than a genre.
Uwe Schmidt has had an extensive career, recording under many names as electronic musicians do, but it’s his work as Señor Coconut (and now as Atom™), where he deconstructs familiar songs into something Kraftwerk would play if hired to play a quinceañera, that brings me this very particular weird glee.