Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cubicle Tunes - Week of May 6, 2008

You thought you had heard the last of my incessant musical ramblings, yes?

To be honest, I thought I might have written the last of said musical ramblings. Lots of bitter happenings in the world of Vox Acerbus lately - a real estate deal gone sour, work travel for 3 of the last 5 weeks, and another real estate deal to replace the aforementioned sour one. Rodney Dangerfield said it best in Ladybugs:

"Two-story house. Yeah - before you buy it they give you one story, after you move in you get another story."
But I digress.

Through it all, I've managed to stay abreast of some very cool new stuff, as well as finally getting around to giving some earlier procured tunes their due credence. A few thousand miles in a van affords you that kind of opportunity.

1. You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into - Does It Offend You, Yeah? (2008)

This album goes against EVERYTHING that I like, and yet I can't stop listening. Electro-punk, funk-rock - whatever you want to call it - it ain't the soothing acoustic melancholy I usually immerse myself in. My favorites are "Battle Royale" and "Being Bad Feels Pretty Good", which would be quite at home on The Killers' Hot Fuss album. A paradox of the aural variety.

2. Who You Are - Cary Brothers (2007)

I was initially drawn into this record for the worthy cover of The Thompson Twins' classic "If You Were Here", but the dark and lonely miles of the western Michigan Upper Peninsula revealed the greatness of the rest of the album. "Ride" is simply stunning, and "Precious Lie" is epic sadness. And "The Glass Parade" features just the type of lyric that Vox Acerbus appreciates: "Just a voice inside your head, whispering that all the hope is dead, all the time you had to prove that no one really loves you". That, boys and girls, is why we listen to the words.

3. The Slip – Nine Inch Nails (2008)

The Slip is the second full length album released through the Nine Inch Nails website, and as a thank you to his loyal fans for years of support, Trent Reznor is offering it free of charge. Just click here, fill out the information, and you’ll get an e-mail with a link to the download site, where the files are available in many digital formats. You can also register and become eligible for presale tickets for the upcoming North American tour.

The album continues the raw machine-gun energy of 2007’s Year Zero, but for those (like myself) who revel in NIN’s darkened soundscapes, “Corona Radiata” and “The Four of Us are Dying” fit the bill.

4. Transatlanticism – Death Cab for Cutie (2005)

In anticipation of next week’s release of Narrow Stairs, I thought it prudent to revisit my favorite Death Cab album to date. Favorites include “Title & Registration” and its clever opening verse (“the glove compartment is inaccurately named, and everybody knows it, so I’m proposing a swift orderly change, because behind its door, there’s nothing to keep my fingers warm”) and the epic title track, which is one of those songs meant to be listened to at full volume. The record also contains one of my favorite songs of love desolation, “Tiny Vessels”, where Ben Gibbard sings “It was vile, and it was cheap, and you are beautiful, but you don’t mean a thing to me.”

5. Nonsuch – XTC (1992)

I am among the very few who wonder why people laud Skylarking so much more, because to me, Nonsuch is a better album. In fact, I would also rank Apple Venus Vol. 1 ahead of Skylarking as well. Blasphemy? Not to me, and it’s my blog. There it is.

XTC are some of the best lyricists ever. “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” is probably the most recognizable track, but the real gems here are “My Bird Performs” (“the cage is open but she has no desire to fly”), “The Disappointed” (“seems your ring upon my finger signifies that I’ve become the spokesman of . . . the disappointed”), and “Then She Appeared” (“and the moon which formally shone on the marbled midnight mile suddenly just packed its bags, now shines from her bright smile”).

It’s good to be home.

I’m out-