New Music Purchases

Last night before going to see The Secret Life of Eskimos (which wasn’t half-bad as a theatrical production, but the script left a little, well actually quite a lot to be desired), I stopped by an actual, physical music store and bought those old, archaic things called “cds.” I refrained from buying vinyl. This time at least.

“North Star Deserter (Dig)” (Vic Chesnutt)

This is a dark, brooding album that alternates between gentle music and some nicely loud dissonance. I have heard of Chesnutt before, but haven’t listened to much of his work. I am certainly going to look into exploring his music further. I actually want to write more about this album, but having only listened to it a couple of times, I am far from ready to say anything intelligent on this densely written, beautifully crafted set of songs.

“Foreign Affairs” (Tom Waits)

Recorded live in the studio, no overdubs or multi-tracks, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to own this cd. A lovely duet with Bette Midler, the epic gangster/film noir song “Potter’s Field,” and the tongue-in-cheek wordplay that somehow deftly mixes with melancholy on the album’s title track, are all high points of an incredible journey through the lives of people with no luck, no prospects and and no futures. Set against orchestral maneuvers that somehow mesh perfectly with Waits’ seedy bar style of presentation, and replete with the word play that only Waits can imagine, this is one of his more inaccessible, but consistently rich and rewarding albums.

Finally, a novelty(ish) cd:

“Dr. Who: Music From the Tenth Planet” (Ochre)

This cd is the soundtrack to the final William Hartnell Doctor Who story (and the first appearance of the Cybermen), and is short, clocking in at only 20 minutes. But the music is surprisingly listenable. There are some of those old episodes where the music is harsh, metallic, more sound effect that score. And while this isn’t going to be something I listen to on a regular basis, it’s a fun collectors item to have. (Picked it up for $8 and it’s being sold, used, on Amazon for $18.)

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