Photo by David Greenwald
We’re back. Regular updates (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and other days too, if I have time and interesting songs) will resume now. Hope you all enjoyed the holidays. I, for one, am not excited about starting school again. So it goes.
Beirut – “Elephant Gun”: mp3
Gulag Orkestar sounds less like a debut record than a work in progress, a collection of grown-up songs and formless embryos alike. It’s a good album, to be sure, but the young Zach Condon has room to improve. “Elephant Gun,” from the Lon Gisland EP (the bonus disc to Gulag Orkestar’s overseas issue by 4AD), already shows signs of maturation. The instrumentation is less freewheeling and more focused, while Condon himself sounds assured instead of wild. The shape of things to come? We can only hope.
Belle & Sebastian – “Funny Little Frog”: mp3
The love showered on B&S in all the year-end listmaking led me to revisit The Life Pursuit. I still don’t think it’s the career-capping masterstroke everybody else does, but man, some of these songs are undeniable: “Funny Little Frog” might be the best of all, from its gaping-mouth bass line to Stuart’s inspired guitar solo.
Gastr Del Sol – “The Seasons Reverse”: mp3
In the wake of Jim O’Rourke’s trail of dead bands, collaborations and one-off experiments are more than a few surprises. While he doesn’t sing in Gastr Del Sol, his pre-Sonic Youth band, the lush pop style he’d go on to explore on Insignificance and Eureka was already evident: this is swirling, heady stuff, somewhere between ambient and orchestrated.
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs without particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top five. To read further installments, click below.