Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Singing For The Stringman

The latest issue of Rolling Stone once again features a grizzled old rocker on the cover, but since it’s a grizzled old rocker I like, I won’t complain. Neil Young’s mug will be staring out from the cover of RS for the next two weeks, and they’ve put together a few special online features in conjunction with it. The excerpt from the cover story they’ve posted online only covers well-worn territory of Young’s childhood, but hopefully the full article offers something more insightful. Which isn’t to say I’m going to buy a copy, I haven’t bought a copy of Rolling Stone in many many years and don’t think I could bring myself to do so now. The full piece will be online eventually.

A more interesting feature is their list of the best Neil Young songs you’ve never heard. Appropriately, I’ve never heard most of these songs save for “I’m The Ocean”, “Soldier” and “Stringman” but can attest that those tunes definitely stand up with anything else Neil has penned. Maybe I should make an effort to the rest of those listed, though that probably means I’d have to listen to Re*Ac*Tor… To roung things out, they’ve also dug up an old interview conducted by Cameron Crowe circa 1979. I haven’t gone through the whole thing yet, but it definitely looks like a piece worth taking the time to read, seeing as how it catches Neil on the cusp of entering his most… eccentric decade to date.

And finally, the website for the Jonathan Demme concert film, Neil Young: Heart Of Gold, doesn’t have much yet besides the trailer, but promises more content before the film’s theatrical release on February 11.

Stylus has given themselves a makeover for the new year and, well, it looks kinda Pitchfork-y. I was no fan of their old design, it was a real pain trying to dig through their archives to find old posts and whatnot, but the new look is rather uninspiring either. But at least they kick things off with a review of the reissue of Slowdive’s Just For A Day reissue, declaring it the cure for the common cold. I picked up the reissue at the end of last year and have to say, the remastering is quite nice – the old version was so quiet – but the bonus disc is worth the price of admission alone. I would have liked to get the double-disc edition of Souvlaki as well, but there are so few extras on there that I don’t already have (thanks to the bonus tracks on the original North American SBK edition) that I couldn’t justify it.

Billboard talks to The National about meeting and playing with Bruce Springsteen at a recent concert paying tribute to his Nebraska album. Brooklynvegan has pics and a review of the event in New York City last week. The Billboard piece mentions that the band will be doing “a short east coast and west coast run” of touring in late March. Man, how much do you want to bet that there’s going to be a Toronto date in the last week of March… when I will once again be out of the country. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I was in Estonia or something when The National was in Toronto back in September… I haven’t. Man.

The Journal News gets acquainted with Emily Haines of Metric. Via LHB.

Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater and Okkervil River fame tells Chart there’s no such thing as indie rock, just budget rock. The new Shearwater record, Palo Santo, is done and will be out in May.

Paste reports on the making of the butterfly-powered video for The Shins’ “Saint Simon”.

np – Dot Allison / Afterglow

By : Frank Yang at 8:55 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Paul says:

    //…probably means I’d have to listen to Re*Ac*Tor//

    Wait, I don’t see the downside to doing this. It’s one of the more unjustly maligned albums in Young’s catalogue.

  2. Frank says:

    yeah, I figured someone would call me on that. truth is, I’ve never heard it. I haven’t heard a lot of Neil’s 80s output – when I was first getting into his stuff years and years ago, I didn’t really make a distinction between his different eras and ended up listening to a lot of his, well, worst works. It left me with something of a negative reflex to the Geffen years. Just seeing "Landing On Water" makes me shudder.

    But maybe I should (selectively) revisit the Reagan years…

  3. Gary Campbell says:

    Hey Frank, so how does the Just for a Day reissue compare with the vinyl record? (Remember, this is a test of your vinyl cred….)

  4. Eric says:

    It’s always annoying when RS motivates their classic rock pseudo-cred in lieu of even remotely attempting to cover/break/mention any new music.

    And "Trans" f’in rocks!

  5. Frank says:

    well, there’s a balance that needs to be struck. If you’re always chasing the next big thing, you end up like the NME and get stuck with the nasty aftertaste of the flavour of the week. And if the veterans are still interesting and creative, then by all means they deserve still deserve some press.

    But if the piece is just going to be a retread of stuff well-covered (like the Neil excerpt appears to be) then yeah, why bother. Interesting thing about RS is if you look at their individual writers’ year-end lists and whatnot, they’re really keeping up with the good new stuff. I just don’t think they’re allowed to write about it…

  6. Dodge says:

    "I Am The Ocean" could be the best Neil Young song ever.

  7. Jess says:

    re: stylus redesign. Its really annoying to not be able to read the entire article title. eg. "Staff Top 10 – Top Ten Totally…" It is so boring and overwhelms you with too much text and not enough useful information.

  8. philip r says:

    the shins video is here (fwiw…):

  9. Patanoia says:

    Another vote for "Re.act.or". But you’re right, "Landing On Water" was horrible.

  10. Sean Palmerston says:

    Landing on Water isn’t horrible, it just isn’t great. It’s a good list of songs that they have on there for the most part, but the NY songs on the last CSNY reunion record suffer from terrible (over)production.
    NY is supposed to open his archives at some point this year – although it was originally supposed to come out in 2000 and Neil’s attitude on it seems to change like the weather, so we’ll see. There is a 4-CDR set put together by NY’s online mailing list the Rust List that is pretty much all unreleased songs. There are tonnes of unheard gems in there, so I am curious to see what will make the final cut.
    And yeah, both Re-act-or and Trans are great albums, critics be damned!

  11. Sean Palmerston says:

    Oh yeah, the 4 CD NY thing is called "Archives Be Damned," which I forgot to mention in my first message.