A quick check of Patti’s website reveals that two decent songs were indeed booted from the record to make room for some of the newer material. I pray that i’m just having a terrible day, and that this record will rock my socks off tomorrow, but i doubt it (seeing as i even managed to listen to my demo cd today, which usually bugs the hell out of me). Indicator of the problem at hand? Producer: Freddie Katz. Front Cover Photo: Freddie Katz. I’m not sure why Patti would want someone else so involved in her music after making such a stunning solo debut, unless she’s fucking the guy. The woman’s a genius and she played every damn guitar on her first album, leave her alone!
In a continuation of the trend of women from the Alanis Era just now releasing some dubious second efforts, today i opened my mailbox to find a padded envelope from Patti Rothberg‘s management containing a copy of her new Candelabra Cadabra. Patti was (by far) my favourite of her ilk (also including Joan Osborne & Tracy Bonham), and i’ve held out hope for a spectacular second effort for years now. My first disappointment came when Patti was dropped from her label a few years back though she had recorded a “promising” disc tentatively titled My Name is Angus. Apparently this project got flushed as Patti dropped off the radar for another couple of years before resurfacing with her own domain name and acoustic shows throughout the Northeast Corridor. I attended one and was encouraged… Patti played a crop of wry new songs intermingled with her classics and was in good humour. The only down point was the presence of her overbearing and totally awful new sideman, Freddie Katz. Freddie played his guitar too hard, sang badly, and generally detracted from Patti’s overall presentation. He looked like a pirate with his hoopy earring and his black jeans. I think he might have been drunk (whereas Patti just managed to douse her guitar with Corona when she tried to get the lime to sink).
A sleek vinyl single was released at the same time as her new shows and it was terrific. It showed great sonic evolution while retaining the biting wit that makes Patti’s songs so unique. However, well over a year later her long-awaited second disc is nothing but disappointment. Gone are the fluttering acoustic guitars and clear but throaty lyrics, replacing with wanna-be indy-gal posturing and overly loud electric guitar played by good ol’ Freddie. A cover of the Bowie classic “Moonage Daydream,” boppy “Dish It Out,” and the charmingly cynical character in “Wry It Girl” are nearly the sole high points on this dismal effort which doesn’t once manage to display words or noises that hearken back to the genius i was expecting. And, lest you think that my comparative criticism is unfair, you should know that i would have never touched this album if i didn’t already like Patti … everything from the campy gothic lettering to the murky red photo on the back of the booklet screams “bargain bin” and the music doesn’t do much otherwise.
I hope beyond all hopes that the album grows on me, because it sincerely hurts me to not like it. Some of these songs were fresh and new in concert, but these arrangements and production values have a stranglehold on their livelihood. I hope that Patti and her album find the right audience and i wish her continued success, but i’m not sure i’ll be shelling out $16 to be a part of it next time…
It’s hard to get to know an album without any recognizable ‘singles.’ I usually force myself to listen to a disc beginning to end over and over until i develop some favourites to look forward to, and then i backtrack to all the other songs relative to their position in regards to my favourites. or something. Of that massive cd influx i just experiences, Madonna’s are the only albums i know anything on, which makes each album delightfully fresh yet frighteningly unknown. The latest aural fixation is indy-rock-stars Death Cab For Cutie, who i only had previously owned a scant 5-song EP by. I owned it and loved it, so over break i paid their (excellent) label Barsuk Records a visit and came away with $30 and four discs (plus one demo tape). I’ve not managed to form opinions on the rest of my order, but DeathCab’s We have the facts and we’re voting yes is a nearly flawless album with engagingly non-poetic lyrics and that nearly trademarked indy-squeak on all of the vocals. I’ve seen both the Forbidden Love EP and the album on numerous 2000 best-of lists, and it looks like i’ll be seconding that endorsement. Currently on track 3 of my fourth repetition in the third set of repetitions. And they’re all favourites, so far.
My personal favourite music critic has just put out his best of 2000 list, and i was pleasantly surprised to find Sarah Harmer on it. I heard bits and pieces of Sarah’s disc You Were Here for the first time on our local folk station last week while at the coffee shop and decided buying it was a risk worth taking. Being the hip boy that i am, i ordered it online and inadvertently had it sent to my house, where it sat shrinkwrapped until today when i braved snow and grey skies to retrieve it. I just got back to the apartment with it, popped it on, loaded the top2000 list, and before the second track even began i was hearing about it from the mouth of my favourite reviewer. (He also endorsed Spoon‘s favourite band, and a tepidly awful Nina Gordon album.) Seeing as i’m still tracking down a few stragglers from 2000 (i also just got Joan Osborne and DeathCab for Cutie), my best-of list will probably be reserved until next month. So, in the meantime, go read the list i’d write if i had 6x the disposable income and 4x the amount of time i have to review cds. And tell him how much you love him.
I find this rather patronizing….
“Long paragraphs are easier to read online with occasional line breaks. Your opinion will be enhanced by pressing “Enter” twice after every third or fourth sentence. “
That was encountered as Epinions comment on my sparkling pj harvey review. While one can occasionally get lost in thick paragraphs of prose, i shudder to think that the rules for web-authoring include the phrase “Press enter twice after every third or fourth sentence.” >sigh
Reserving judgment on the new U2 disc until i get to know it a bit better. Of course, that would have to happen tomorrow if i’m going to be able to get my review done in time for this week’s paper. The album just doesn’t hit me as hard as i feel it should; i’m not sure if it’s a result of a general apathy to U2 or the fact that the album is mediocre. Maybe after suffering through Pop i would actually appreciate it…