Archive: March 2010

Leonard Bernstein, wow? Wow.

Sarah Baird of new music publisher Boosey & Hawkes mentions on Twitter:

“I want it…I want it…I WANT IT!!!!” John Adams posts Bernstein’s sexiest photo. Thoughts on emotion + music? http://bit.ly/9ntce6

I was too distracted by the photo to read the blog post. That is some hotness right there.

Apropos of nothing, now that Ricky Martin has come out, do I have to pay attention to his music? Gay musicians are part of this site’s coverage, after all.

Favorite edition 2010: Quarter first

I may as well just call it now.

All the new releases in which I’m interested have all been pushed to April, which makes 2010 Q1 a dud for predicting what may end up on the year-end favorite list. Of course, it’s pretty ridiculous to make such predictions when the year is only three months old. (As if that stopped me before.)

Of the five albums bearing 2010 release dates I’ve so far encountered, only three have managed to wedge their way into regular rotation:

  • Tokyo Jihen, Sports Is this Bizzaro world we’ve entered? While Sanmon Gossip seems like the Tokyo Jihen record Tokyo Jihen never recorded, Sports is the Shiina Ringo album that never followed up Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana. The writing on this album is really, really good, and the performances even tighter. I grew to like Sanmon Gossip with a lot of effort, but Sports grabbed hold immediately.
  • Res, Black.Girls.Rock! Res made this album available as a free download on her web site in late 2009, but only recently did she make it available on CD — with poster! — so I’m considering this a 2010 release. How I Do was a remarkable debut, and the eight years since have not diminished Res’ muse. In fact, she gives rock a bit more focus on this album.
  • Sade, Soldier of Love Sade’s previous album, 2000’s Lovers Rock, was the first time Sade made a really cohesive album. Soldier of Love doesn’t feel quite as together, but demand for new Sade material outstrips supply by a long proverbial mile. And given the long wait, Sade and co. made sure it was worth it.

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Wendy & Lisa: White Flags of Winter Chimneys

I have a TV blog. It’s dead. The one-two punch of TiVo and the writer’s strike from a few years back killed it.

It didn’t help the shows that came in the wake of the strike’s conclusion sucked — nothing on the level of The West Wing or Gilmore Girls (shut up), Battlestar Galactica and Friday Night Lights not withstanding.

Perhaps the one good thing to come out of the strike was a new album by Wendy & Lisa. The former members of Prince and the Revolution became film and television composers in the late-’90s, and the strike put them out of work when productions shut down.

The duo’s previous album, Girl Bros., was released in 1998, and the decade of work since then greatly expanded the pair’s sonic palette. White Flags of Winter Chimneys bears little resemblance to their post-Prince solo work.

Simply put, it’s the rock album they always had in them.

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Looking ahead, March 2010-May 2010

I’ve been pretty neglectful keeping up with new releases. I let a new album by STRAIGHTENER and a new single by the brilliant green go by without any notice. Well, I did notice them — I was just too lazy to post about them.

I think part of the difficult with compiling these entires is the slow pace of the release schedule. Since the last time I posted a round-up, I would visit my usual sources for news and be totally underwhelmed by the offerings.

I didn’t report anything because there was nothing to report. And I just get this sense that the malaise of the recording industry’s woes is coming through in the release schedule — why bother putting out product few customers are buying?

Well, here’s what I managed to scrounge up.

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Onitsuka Chihiro: DOROTHY

Onitsuka Chihiro set a pretty high bar with her 2000 debut, Insomnia. Subsequent albums haven’t quite achieved the same level of focus and consistency. (This Armor didn’t even come close.)

So it was easy to assume Insomnia would be the unmovable obstacle, the peak by which everything will be compared and none surpassed.

Well, she just might have done it.

Midway through the decade, Onitsuka sought to free herself from the balladeer confines in which her management — and perhaps her audience (myself included) — wanted to keep her. The first effort of this make-over, 2007’s LAS VEGAS, was more admirable for its effort than for its execution.

DOROTHY, however, finally brings Onitsuka to the point she’s been fighting to reach for the last few years — as an artist of breadth.

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