Take Five

I missed Take Five last week because I was in England, but I’m back! Here are my thoughts on all things music this week:

Finds of the Week

  • Yesterday morning, WERS bewitched me again. They played a live version of Dire Straits‘ “Expresso Love,” perhaps the first Dire Straits song I’ve heard outside of their big hits. And I fell in love. Before I went to work, I ordered their album “Making Movies” and placed a couple others on my wishlist. It was one of those moments where everything clicked and I wondered why I hadn’t pursued the Dire Straits back catalog earlier.
  • Boston-based record label Grinding Tapes, which specializes in limited edition and handmade pressings of “socially relevant music in both analog and digital formats,” is adding a new twist to the ol’ promotional compilation. They’re combining the distribution of their compilations with a mix tape/CD swap. The idea is genius. Send ’em three mix CDs (could be three distinct mixes or three versions of the same mix) and $7 for shipping ($5 if you want a less pretty version of the promo disc), and this summer you’ll receive three random mix CDs plus the promo disc. They will begin accepting submissions on Apr. 16, the same day they open a two-night showcase at the Armory in Somerville.
  • I was delighted to see, on April Fool’s Day, that MBV’s Ryan Catbird shared the video to Nelson‘s “Love and Affection”. True confession: I really liked this song when it first came out. And… I still kinda do. No joke.
  • The New Pornographers song “Crash Years,” from their forthcoming album “Together,” is available via iTunes. As good as “Your Hands (Together)” was, this song is an even more promising glimpse at the new disc. May 4 can’t come soon enough.
  • Music for Ants conveniently bundled new songs by the National, the Hold Steady and LCD Soundsystem in one tidy blog post. Enjoy.

Live Music

On my first day in London, I was jet lagged beyond belief. After having lunch with a friend of my mom’s at the National Portrait Gallery, I retreated across the street to St. Martin-in-the-Fields church to wait out the rain and maybe doze a little in the pews. The church regularly hosts concerts, and I was lucky to encounter a free, open rehearsal for that evening’s concert by London Concertante, a chamber music ensemble. Now, I’m not well-versed in classical music, nor am I a great appreciator of it, but I have to say, that was a fine way to spend a rainy London afternoon. I was impressed by how lush and powerful their arrangements were. Here’s a not-so-great photo of the rehearsal.


My next day in England, I went to Greenwich. I spent some time in a coffee shop, reading the local free lifestyle mag Short List. While reading, I came across a blurb for the band Local Natives, described as “an urban Fleet Foxes.” When I got back in the states, I downloaded the recommended track “Airplanes,” and Short List did not lie. The LA-based band offers catchy grandeur wreathed in harmonies and wonder. Read more about Local Natives from Brooklyn Vegan.

New Releases

Newbury Comics is selling the new, Steven Page-less Barenaked Ladies album for $7.99 this week, but given how steadily the group has gone downhill — and especially with the departure of Page — I was hesitant to throw my eight bucks at it blindly. Luckily, AOL Music is really good about offering free full-album streams of new releases. So I listened to “All in Good Time,” and.. I’ll be spending my $7.99 elsewhere. It’s serviceable, and the band takes the opportunity of Page’s exit to shine a greater spotlight on the talents of Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan. But given the high bar the band has set for themselves over the years, it falls way short. I hope they continue to find success, though. Barenaked Ladies is one of my favorite all-time bands, responsible for some of my most important musical moments.

In other news, last week I picked up the Weakerthans‘ new live album and the new Ted Leo, both of which were delightful.

Second Thoughts

Despite the warnings from Dave, I succumbed to AmazonMP3’s $5 offer for the new She & Him. And… yeah, I should have known better. I actually really liked “Vol. 1” when it came out, but it did not age well. “Vol. 2” is more of the same. Nothing horrible, but nothing new or great, either. Relatedly, Dave pulled one of the better April Fool’s pranks I saw yesterday, though you’d have to know him (and his unrelenting loathing for all things Zooey Deschanel) to get it.


One response to “Take Five

  1. Tam and I were just talking the other day about how much “Expresso Love” sounds almost exactly like “Tunnel of Love”. Obviously they’d sound similar, given the distinctive sound of Dire Straits, but the parity between those two songs is eerie.

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