Some Tuesdays are just too flippin’ sweet. When too many records I’m excited about get released in one day, I don’t know what to do — I get all overwhelmed and can’t figure out where to look or what to listen to. Come to think of it, the same thing happens when I walk into a sports bar. Hm…
This past Tuesday was one of those loaded release days, and because I haven’t done a Read It Later Roulette post in a while (Pocket had the nerve to change Read It Later’s name and ruin the gimmick), I thought I’d change things up and spend a few turns bouncing from one release to the next in the inaugural game of Release Day Roulette.
Let’s spin the wheel!
First stop, Tempest. You know how when you find a $5 bill on the sidewalk, it’s impossible to walk by that spot in the future without glancing down? That’s how I feel about “Nettie Moore” and late-era Dylan. I ALL-CAPS-LOVE that song, which was released on 2006’s Modern Times, so for as long as he’s still kicking, I’ll be optimistic when a new album comes out. I haven’t yet found my “Nettie Moore” on Tempest, but I’m giving the album a few more listens before I walk on by. One thing is for sure — the nearly 14-minute title track about the Titanic is… something. I don’t know what, but it’s a whole lot of something. I mean, he mentions “Leo” and his sketchbook! Sadly he doesn’t include a nod to the “Draw me like one of your French girls” meme. Now that would have been something.
People just love remixing The xx, don’t they? Off the top of my head, I have a hard time thinking of a group whose new music can clutter Soundcloud with remixes as quickly as The xx’s can, and so far, their new album Coexist has followed suit. I mean, I get it — their fierce commitment to minimalism means they offer a nice, big canvas on which you can paint whatever you want, and some of these remixes are certainly worthwhile, but filling that tremendous blank space kinda misses the point. There’s such nuance and character in a song like “Chained” already, and I have a hard time believing that any subsequent remix is going to steal a significant number of plays away from the original.
One of the things I love about Patterson Hood’s songs, and Drive-By Truckers’ more generally, is how they grow on you. (Does it qualify as ironic that DBT is also my favorite lawn mowing music? Maybe a little?) In my experience, Hood’s stories sink in slowly, as I gradually get to know the characters and their dark, desperate worlds. Just as people gain depth the longer you know them in real life, the richness of detail and abundance of lyrics in his music allow meaning to blossom over time, and “Better Than The Truth” — the subjective snapshot of a malcontent named Billy Ringo from Hood’s new solo effort Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance — is a great (and enjoyable) example.
This is the unexpected, unmitigated winner from Tuesday’s batch of releases. I didn’t know The Magic Door was coming out — frankly, I hadn’t listened to any of Chris Robinson’s post-Crowes work before this — but I couldn’t get through the very first listen of “Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go” without singing along. And while chipping in on this particular chorus — “There’s a thrill up on the hill/ Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go” on repeat — isn’t exactly reciting Homer, simple lyrics alone can’t explain that type of reaction. When a song grips you that quickly, there is a special type of magic involved, and the rest of The Magic Door has it in droves.