The Rob Gordon Shuffle: 3/14-3/20
Song-only edition this week. As always, let me know if the mp3s stop working and I will re-up them.
1. Lois – “Rougher” (Download)
Lois is/was a lo-fi, indie-folk singer on K Records. This is a track from her 1996 album Infinity Plus. The first 40 seconds or so sounds like a bizarre field recording of a young girl counting to herself in an attic as someone (her father?) calls out “Deb?” Spooky as hell. I usually skip it. The great part about this song is the detuned guitars and Elliott Smith’s harmonizing. That Lois holds her own here says quite a lot.
2. Jim O’Rourke – “Halfway To A Threeway” (Download)
The Halfway To A Threeway EP, as well as being a great companion piece to the stunning Insignificance, is probably going to be Jim’s only real folk record. As such, it’s a real rarity. It’s full of O’Rourke’s surprisingly adept finger-picking and occasionally nears Nick Drake territory. The title track is all Jim, though, with lyrics about an obvious sexual innuendo (“I hope that you won’t go away/because I’m halfway to a threeway”) set to the saddest harmony ever. It’s impossible to tell just how serious O’Rourke is with his solo projects, but when the songs are this good, it doesn’t really matter.
3. Ryan Adams – “Dreaming’s Free”
Mr. Adams is releasing four discs of music on three albums this year. For anyone else, I’d say that was over-ambitious, but Ryan records that much every year. Credit to Lost Highway for finally giving in and putting it all out. “Dreaming’s Free” is a track from the recently-leaked Destroyer Sessions, a group of recordings done prior to his solo debut, Heartbreaker. Destroyer Sessions work best as a companion to the similarly bare-bones unreleased Suicide Handbook. “Dreaming’s Free,” like Heartbreaker‘s “AMY,” shows off Ryan’s McCartney influence with one of his best melodies. Why a ten-disc Ryan box isn’t available on his website remains a mystery to me.
4. LCD Soundsystem – “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”
This sound is PURE JOY. If you haven’t heard it yet, do so. I’m not going to say that their new album is bad, but putting this song at the front of any record would pretty much ruin the rest of it. “I’ll show you the ropes kid, show you THE ropes.”
5. Luna – “The Owl And The Pussycat”
Luna is a band that has always put out competent, enjoyable records that everyone likes and then ignore. It’s a shame that Rendezvous is their last album; it’s easily the best of the ones I’ve heard, kicking up the tempo on the Velvet Underground freak-outs and slowing down the ballads enough to create some much-needed differentiation. “The Owl And The Pussycat” references the famous story of the same name, and wouldn’t be out of place on Yo La Tengo’s Summer Sun. I’m a sucker for songs about the beach at night.
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs and albums without any particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top 5.