What's it been like a hundred years since the last Talking Heads album? Don't tell David Byrne that. He's quite content in his quest for the perfect world sound and has let Talking Heads go. On Feelings he's working hard to coordinate his love of world musical styles--everything from danceable African beats to the sinuous South American urban soul--with his wonderfully smart pop music views. You say it sounds like he's still in Talking Heads? Well, yes and no. More often than not his solo albums have always had some tidbit of inspiration, but not the scale of musical ingenuity Talking Heads possessed. Feelings has it shares of cool songs, "Vaseline" and "Burnt by the Sun" being a couple of them. There's plenty of slick musicians who sound like they really enjoy making their way around the starts and stops, the hiccups of notes Byrne employs. He's always been able to wrap his voice around some of the weirdest sounding music.
The lyrical expressions contained in Feelings are pithy snippets about the travails of love and life. Byrne, with his voice smoothly entwined in the pristine production, leads his band through some out and out rocking ("The Civil Wars"), Indian raga ("Daddy Go Down") that also has a great country fiddle break, a slinky vocal turn ("Vaseline") against the backdrop of a galloping beat, and a quiet and tender lullaby ("Amnesia") with a very nice guitar solo (we received a promo copy so i'm sorry I can't tell you who plays it). Overall Feelings is a fine recording for Byrne, and with Peter Gabriel being currently AWOL from the recording scene, leaves Byrne as the last of the popular stars combining all manner of world music styles into their own.
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult
A Crime for All Seasons
Oh yeah, a new My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult album. I love this hard rocking, experimental band from Chicago. If you've never heard them before, A Crime for All Seasons would be a pretty good introduction to the band. They're like this close to being an industrial dance band, and equally as close to being a metal band. It's an enticing blend, sort of like mating Roky Erickson with the Cramps and tossing in Pop Will Eat Itself, that consistently keeps you listening and trying to name the influences. The songs, with titles like, "Fangs of Love," "Lucifer's Flowers" and "Blondes with Lobotomy Eyes" suggests a vampirish, sci-fi, cartoony quality, but don't let that turn you off. It's all just silly, fun music. Key song on the album is "Yesterday's Void," bringing all the disparate elements together into one smooth, beat thropping, dance club piece of pop.
September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill
Aside from the late Bobby Darin, rarely do we get treated to magnificent performances of Kurt Weill. And they're renditions performed by so many great artists. David Johansen's version of "Alabama Song" is so good that the Door's version seems campy by contrast. While Darin's version of "Mack the Knife" has become the version of choice, you can't easily dismiss Nick Cave's either. Nor Bertolt Brecht's lighthearted 1930 German version. Cave's low, brooding voice puts a sinister spin on the song. Everyone performing on September Songs put their hearts and souls into these 14 songs. Where else can you find the recently deceased William S. Burroughs talk singing his droll way through "What Keeps Mankind Alive?