Category Archives: Another Spin

Another Spin: Tom Verlaine – “Dreamtime”

I’ve been very fortunate as of late when it comes to finds in the bargain bin. I’ve been able to walk away with Paul McCartney’s Ram for insanely cheap, and mix that with the brilliant Moby Grape self-titled album in the same spot. I found Dave Von Ronk’s great 90’s collection of odds-and-ends, Going Back to Brooklyn, for dirt over at Kim’s. But the best find is one that flies under radar, and that distinction belongs to the newly relocated Earwax Records in Williamsburg. I’ve never been a fan, frankly, due to their tendency to overprice for both new and used records, but their bargain bin contained a gem I’ve been desperate to find ever since committing to my love for Television since their eponymous third album. While Television certainly had it’s flaws, I am willing to look back on it fondly at times, and even, maybe, find the need to go back and redo my own review of that record. But there’s a missing link between Television’s second album, Adventure, and their third. That missing link is somewhere in Tom Verlaine’s solo records, and there is no better individual link than his second solo album, Dreamtime. 

After the Jump: TV’s greatest hit.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Rock Primer: How to Start Listening to Captain Beefheart

Much like the efforts we take to write more, exercise more, drink less, spend less, work harder, take more time for ourselves and family, etc. etc., we also make resolutions at the beginning of a new year to change our cultural consumption habits as well. Maybe you’d like to visit more art museums, or read at least three historical non-fictions by the end of the year. Maybe you also want to start listening to an artist that you never really considered listening to before. Here at Electric Comic Book, we are dedicated to helping you get the most out of your musical experience, and so, we’d like to offer this short Rock Primer on how to appreciate a classic artist that can seem daunting to jump right into. Our first subject to this new feature is the notoriously intimidating Captain Beefheart.

Whether you’ve read past essays on this site on the life, times, and death of the good captain (aka Dan Van Vliet), Captain Beefheart still remains a mystifying and daunting figure for both the myths and legends behind his personal life, but also what’s actually on the records. While many of them are worthy of acclaim after years of gestating in the critical back shelf, it seems that since his death in 2010, interest in Captain Beefheart’s music has enjoyed a slight upswing as other critics (namely, Rolling Stone, who, I’ll admit, put together a good list of songs, but not albums) pointed to his ‘best stuff’ in their  eulogies — many of which pointed to his masterpiece, 1969’s Trout Mask Replica.  However, because it does remain a haunting, challenging listen — even now, and after I published last week I would sooner turn that album on at a party before White Light/White Heat — the focus of his ‘best’ is not the intention here. This primer will be a guide for those who still look upon the Captain’s work with trepidation, and need a guide on dipping your toes in first before diving in to the rest of the Beefheart legacy. And even though many of your favorite artists will be quick to cite him as an influence, and usually point to Trout Mask Replica as the starting point (indeed it was for me), there are some who are still unable to make the plunge. Mind you, among the artists who consider Beefheart an influence include (but are not limited to): Tom Waits, Jack White, Kurt Cobain, John Frusciante, Black Francis, John Cale, Little Feat, the Clash, Johnny Rotten, Beck, the Black Keys, Beck, and Matt Groening — who got the Magic Band to reunite for the year he curated All Tomorrow’s Parties. And if you like any of them, chances are you’ll find something to love about the shambling, intentionally mad, silly darkness and intentionally ‘wrong’ music of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. And for that, we don’t start with his most well-known work, but in a some safer territory.  

After the Jump: Loving One of Rock’s Most Difficult Personas. 

Continue reading

Another Spin: “White Light/White Heat” by the Velvet Underground

Without any kind of expectations, without anything in my slate of things-to-do, my roommate and co-writer of a potential comedy troupe/series has fostered upon me a Very Lou Reed Kinda Christmas this year. Er. . . Hanukkah, in my case.

After scouring the record shops that he and I regularly frequent, he bought a copy of White Light/White Heat behind my back, and offered it to me on the fifth night of Hanukkah.  Indeed, it is missing from my collection, but it’s one I did not think I would so readily miss. I bought the album on CD, and short of one awkward car-ride listen and several attempts to reconcile the album’s extremely polarizing nature (both within itself and in criticism of the Velvet Underground’s avant-garde improvisation and their lyrical content), I haven’t really had the chance sit down with it and judge it for what it is: The 293rd entry on Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500 list of the ‘greatest albums ever made.’ For those of you playing at home, that means that (in the immediate sense), the MC5’s Kick Out the Jams is slightly worse than White Light/White Heat, which is marginally better than Bob Dylan and the Band releasing The Basement Tapes. But hey, it’s Rolling Stone, so take what you will, with many grains of salt.

After the Jump: A good reason why everyone should try heroin at least once, okay? Okay? Here we go. 

Continue reading

Another Spin: Television – “Television”

After the release of their second album, Adventure, 70’s art-punks Television split up for good in 1978. Between the differing visions for what their music could be, and Richard Lloyd’s own drug use, one of the seminal bands of the original CBGB scene (or, hell, according to Will Hermes’ book, the band to start the CBGB scene) suddenly went away. Lead singer, guitarist, and principle songwriter Tom Verlaine remained productive through the 80’s, but to as little prevail as his material with Television. After 1991, the ‘year punk broke,’ after Nirvana’sNevermind, Television, perhaps inexplicably, reunited. On one hand, it could be to bask in the the afterglow of the bands doing precisely as they did, and as well as they did, suddenly finding sales and success where Television originally could not. On the other hand, it could have been the band’s attempt to cash  in on the generosity of the bands of the time so willing to name-drop their influences as points of reference to understanding their music.  Either way, 1992 saw the release of Television’s third album, their self-titled effort, fourteen years after their unfortunate disbanding.

Since 2001, Television has toured on-and-off, and rather than sticking to the classics from Marquee Moon and Adventure, they’ve incorporated many of the tracks from Television, perhaps to many of their fans’ chagrin. But what lay beneath questionable intentions behind why the album exists in the first place lies something that is, at once, a cash-in, and a simplified essence of the band’s own influences. And in releasing Television, the band, whether they realized it or not, fit in perfectly with the era, despite being elder statesmen to the punk scene of the the 90’s.

After the jump, an explanation of what, exactly, a Marquee Moon is.

Continue reading

“Looking Back At. . .” Feature with TheMusic.FM Launched

“Looking Back At. . .” is TheMusic.fm’s new feature, wherein two critics take a look back at some of the new classic albums in the past decade (and slightly beyond) to see where they hold up nowadays,  as well as re-reviewing secret gems, lost opportunities, flashes-in-various pans, and so forth.

To kick off the feature, I gave my two cents on Interpol’s 2002 debut, Turn On the Bright Lights. I am very proud to be a part of this new semi-regular feature, written in partnership with TheMusic.fm, and I hope you will enjoy this excursion beyond the Electric Comic Book.

Any suggestions on a ‘new classic’ album we should check out in the future? Tell us what you think in our respective comments sections!

Prisencolinensinainciusol.

It may not seem like it, but this video has been what this blog has been about the whole time. The while time. This materwork of effortless awesome, made to sound like the Velvet Underground meets K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

Another Spin: The Rolling Stones’ “Their Satanic Majesties Request”

I am by no means a great fan of the Rolling Stones. When I admit this, there is usually a sense of outrage that anybody can go on loving rock and roll music without having an unending affinity for Mick and the boys. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’ve done some fantastic work (my favorite being Beggar’s Banquet, followed closely by the raw Between the Buttons), but I’ve always felt their albums, while by and large good, each have a tremendous flaw that I cannot overlook. And usually, it’s a misplaced or misdirected song. As I’ve mentioned, I love Beggar’s Banquet, but I usually stop the tape before “Salt of the Earth.”

Between the two albums I consider best from their catalog is Their Satanic Majesties Request, an album that has a special place among critics, as it has the distinction of being an album that people usually say, upon once mentioning it, “oh, THAT album. Yeah.”

 

Oh. THIS album.

So what, really, is the deal with this album? Well, why don’t we all sing this song together, open our heads and. . . just judge this thing.

After the jump, spoken words, snoring, and jazz flute!

Continue reading