Thursday, March 16, 2006 ... 3:49 PM

Maybe Leno

I've been listening to Fox Confessor pretty continuously, and yeah -- it's fantastic. It's as dramatic delicate strong and emotionally bared as a candlelight vigil. If I'm being honest with myself, I think I still prefer Blacklisted; the sound of it just warms like a good jacket late in the autumn. But the new "Star Witness" and "Dirty Knife" hold that sense memory potential. We'll see how the feeling ages. Fox Confessor is a summer album, for sure. It casts long shadows and deep reds, like the magic hour in a Malick movie.

We're still unpacking the new hut and scrubbing down the old cave, but until later here are a couple of Neko videos.

Neko Case on Jay Leno
Check this out while you can; about a minute ago, youtube yanked it. The band sounds terrific. I'm happy to see the return of John Rauhouse, Neko's longtime banjo/steel/guitar picker. He's the guy plucking the antique archtop at stage right. I'm hoping all these folks take the stage at the Atlanta show.

Music video for "Maybe Sparrow"
I don't much care for music videos -- the lip synching, the listless strumming. I'd really rather watch true performance footage. But the animation here (by spooky artist Julie Morstad, who also illustrated the album cover) is pretty, if a bit too literal.



I've reconciled myself to the fact that while the album is full of 4 star material all over, it still leaves something lacking. Maybe it's just a free beer?

If Sufjan Stevens doesn't release another astounding '50 States' album this year, Fox Confessor has gained my attention as best album of 2006 thus far.

By Blogger Chris, at 3/23/2006 11:22 PM  

I finally remembered to check the Leno video; fortunately it hasn't been yanked yet from Prefix. If things were reversed, though, and Prefix had been the one to pull the the video, I might not have bothered. I get really frustrated with YouTube. There's some good stuff on there, but the clips takes forever to build a suitable buffer. Anyway, you're right, the whole thing sounds great. Thanks for the heads up, and just so you know, I love your blog.

By Blogger Gunter, at 3/27/2006 12:29 AM  

Hey thanks Gunter. My wife noticed that just before it was yanked, Neko had the Leno clip on YouTube linked from her homepage. So who requested the yank? NBC I guess, or maybe YouTube pre-empted a complaint. You can still find the clip there under a different heading. Streaming video still looks and sounds so poor to me, like ancient VHS tape, so I'm ambivalent about the whole thing.

Chris, I don't know, I think it's a fantastic record. Too short, maybe, but it feels complete at the end. I love short songs, songs that get out of their own way, don't drag their feet. And they cast long shadows. But then I think the best songs on the record are the grander stagey ambitious tunes. If you haven't got it, her record Blacklisted is darker and twangier and may hit the nerve closer to the bone. I can't do the star rating thing because I never know how to number what I hear. A four-star album on a July night might be two stars on a February lunch break. (I'm slightly embarrassed to report, but it's totally true, that I'm waiting for the weather to warm up in Charlotte before I can listen much more to Fox Confessor.) Also I can't afford to keep up with new music -- there's so much lauded garbage coming out all the time. Bright Eyes, Mindy Smith, Modest Mouse, everyone who has been compared by critics to Gillian Welch in the last 10 years. My Album of the Year for 2005 was Nina Nastasia's The Blackened Air, which came out in 2002. It's difficult for me to find context outside my own skin for music. Which makes this weblog pretty useless as a consumer guide. But I enjoy blah-blahing onscreen about the stuff I hear and read about.

By Blogger B. Earnest, at 3/28/2006 12:49 PM  

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Making Notes: Music of the Carolinas
(Novello Festival Press, April 2008)
includes my essay, "Link Wray"


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