Published on February 17th, 2021 | by Dave Scaddan0
The Feedback Society’s Week in Music
Dave Scaddan goes through some of the music he’s been listening to in the last week, bringing you some awesome recommendations to listen to.
Lou Reed Live at Alice Tully Hall
Fans of Lou Reed may recognize this concert from a long-circulated bootleg that had a picture of a ticket stub on the cover – now it’s getting an official release. The show, captured during Lou’s first post-Velvets return to a New York stage, won’t offer any glimpses of rare tracks or flashy cover tunes, but it still merits a listen due to an excellent performance. Since Lou Reed is one of those artists (like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Kris Kristofferson) who’s much, much better at songwriting than he is at singing, what I want from his live shows is good energy and a great performance by the supporting band, which is exactly what’s on offer here. Right from track one, ‘White Light / White Heat’, you can tell you’re in for a treat when Lou punctuates the chorus by quipping, “sho is funky.”
The setlist is split between VU favourites and songs from Lou’s first two solo albums, and the band gives some new flavour to certain numbers. Tunes like ‘Satellite of Love’ and ‘Sweet Jane’ that would normally be somewhat somber are given a playful lift while ‘I’m Waitin for the Man’ and ‘Can’t Stand it’, which tend to rock out, are played with a gentle reverence that colours them in a new and fitting way. As with most live albums, Live at ATH won’t be too exciting for the casual fan, but years of familiarity with Lou Reed’s catalogue will make this show fun and exciting.
Madlib – Sound Ancestors
There’s not much I can tell you about this record that will say more about it than the name on the label. The legacy of Madlib is the legacy of a second-to-none beatmaker. You can already find lots of reviews trying to rank where this album belongs amongst Madlib’s excellent catalogue, which I’m not going to do. What I will do is mention which of his albums sound most like Sound Ancestors. If you’re a fan of some of his earliest work, specifically Beat Konducta Volume 1-2, Sound Ancestors will be a similarly thrilling experience. Since BKV 1-2, the Konducta has mostly released albums that are heavily, specifically themed, examining the sounds of various parts of the globe, paying homage to certain specific influences, even remixing the products of certain labels. None of those thematic limitations apply here, leaving Madlib free to roam, making Sound Ancestors as exciting and unpredictable as those earliest projects. I personally love what this artist can do with a regimented theme, but sometimes it’s fun to hear what he can do with no rigid template. Here, he’s free to surprise us with what’s around every corner like he used to back in the day.
Kaishiwa Daisuke – Program Music Volume III
Kashiwa Daisuke is a pianist and composer who doesn’t try to hide the fact that he works with recording software. Some describe him as working within a style called “neo-classical”. Program Music Volume III is a single, fifty-minute-plus track that begins as a pastoral-sounding blend of piano and strings, and develops into an aural assault of drum and bass before your very ears. I don’t really need my classical music to be “neo-ed”, but I love the journey a great Kaishiwa Daisuke composition can take me on. He’s capable of taking the loveliest lullaby you’ve ever heard and gradually glitching and warping it into something striking and busy, all without breaking the spell of the original theme.
Negativland – The World Will Decide
This is a beautifully paranoid sound collage from the masters of that little-loved style. Negativland’s persistence as mashers and splicers of audio from speeches, commercials, interviews and corporate instructional videos is amazing to me, since I rarely read or hear about anyone enjoying their craft. Yet here they are with this late-2020 release that’s taken me a while to internalize. They’re taking on the theme of digital commodification on The World Will Decide, weaving a tale about how humanity worked to put its entire consciousness into the ether, only to forget about who they were entrusting it to and why. While doing this, they manage to be scary, funny and irreverent as ever, but they also deliver something more musically satisfying than anything I remember hearing from them before. There are actually some sick beats on this hour-long adventure about the use of data to compile, track, trace and predict our behaviour. Negativland know about how corporations are watching you to try to get more of your money and freedom, and they’re not going to let you forget that you invited them into your mind.
Delvon Lamaar Organ Trio – I Told You So
My favourite modern instrumental combo are back with their second studio album and their high-spirited, upbeat attitude could not have arrived at a better time. It’s great to hear DLO3 back at it, doing what they do best with a good-times vibe that needs only a Hammond organ, a Fender Strat and a drum kit to express itself. This trio’s first record, Close but no Cigar, has been given as much playtime as anything else in my collection over the past three years, and I Told You So is a fresh sip of water from that same pure and pleasant stream. Jimmy James is still picking out funky, hitchy, herky-jerky hooks while Delvon smooths out the edges with his organ tones.
Last week also provided an upload of a from-home performance on Seattle radio KEXP’s Youtube channel where I first heard DLO3. If you’re short on time and you want to hear this group playing something you already know, you can jump to the 22:22 mark and get into their cover of ‘Careless Whisper’, but you really should watch the whole thing.