Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Give And Be Taken

Photo by Patrick Marold

Eric Bachmann has worn many hats over the years. He started out as the hard-barking frontman of angular ’90s college rock heroes Archers Of Loaf. He then reinvented himself as the lonely troubadour on the first couple Crooked Fingers records, terrain he revisited on 2006’s gorgeous solo effort To The Races. And with the last couple Crooked Fingers records, in particular 2005’s sublime Dignity & Shame, he proved to be just as capable as a lush pop artisan and bandleader. And now on his latest effort Forfeit/Fortune, which once again finds him operating under the Crooked Fingers banner, he decides to be all of the above – simultaneously.

Perhaps as a reaction to the singular starkness of For The Races, Bachmann has crafted one of his most eclectic and fully-arranged records – one that manages to incorporate aspects of his entire career from gruff-voiced Archer-esque numbers to somber, solo-ish pieces, while still treading some completely new sonic territory. The heavy-handed production might be a point of contention for some, utilizing decidedly un-Bachmann-ish touches like drum machines and synths.

Those more left-field tangents give Forfeit/Fortune a certain, “WTF?” quality and in some cases probably distract and detract from the songs themselves but those instances are thankfully rare. It may be a bit dizzying, but the Forfeit/Fortune experience is a good one. The overall flavour isn’t too far from Dignity & Shame, maintaining that record’s Spanish accents if not its cohesiveness and adding some Balkan influence for good measure. It’s also a bit back-loaded with the best material, culminating in a stellar duet with Neko Case. Bachmann fans might find themselves a bit off-balance listening to this latest record, but there’s still plenty solid to hold on to.

Crooked Fingers are currently on tour with Okkervil River and will play the Phoenix this coming Sunday night, October 12 – to which I’m giving away passes. New City Chicago, The Hartford Advocate and Crawdaddy have interviews with Bachmann about Forfeit/Fortune, which was released yesterday. It’s streaming in its entirety as Spinner and comes in both standard and deluxe CD formats, the latter of which comes with a documentary DVD amongst other goodies. Check out the trailer.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Phony Revolutions”
Video: Crooked Fingers – “Let’s Not Pretend (To Be New Men)”
Stream: Crooked Fingers / Forfeit/Fortune
MySpace: Crooked Fingers

In addition to streaming Bob Dylan’s new Bootleg SeriesTell-Tale Signs, out yesterday – Spinner has got a couple of the tracks available to download.

MP3: Bob Dylan – “Mississippi”
MP3: Bob Dylan – “Dreamin’ Of You”
Stream: Bob Dylan / Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8

Neil Young could take a lesson or two from Dylan in archive-digging efficiency. No Depression reports that to no one’s surprise, the release of Archives has been delayed from this Fall until January or February of 2009… sure. Whatever. As a form of compensation, Bad News Beat reports that another Archives live set circa 1968 and entitled Sugar Mountain will be released on November 28. Neil is playing the Air Canada Centre on December 4 and 5.

Pitchfork and The Skinny chat with Kurt Wagner of Lambchop.

Marc Perlman of The Jayhawks and Golden Smog talks to Prefix about the process of assembling the latter’s recent best-of comp Stay Golden.

Paste talks to M Ward about what’s next for both him (new record called Hold Time out in February) and She & Him (Volume Two is “in the works”).

Minneapolis City Pages converses with David Berman of Silver Jews.

Matador has massive plans to entice you to pre-order the next edition in the massive Pavement reissue series, Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.. It’s out November 18.

Political Affairs talks to Billy Bragg about affairs of a political nature.

Much delight in these parts that Neil Halstead has a date at the Drake Underground on November 8. No, he’s not bringing his surfing BFF Jack Johnson with him but you can’t have everything.

MP3: Neil Halstead – “Paint A Face”
Video: Neil Halstead – “Queen Bee”

Noah & The Whale are coming back to town for a date at the El Mocambo on December 9. The band have been keeping a tour diary from their just-completed North American jaunt at LiveDaily and Seattlest interviews frontman Charlie Fink.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals have a date at the El Mocambo on December 10. The McGill Tribune has a chat.

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: General

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  1. Greg says:

    I think you are forgetting the best part of Eric and that is the one and only Barry Black. Unfortunately only 2 LP’s exist but both are outstanding and should not be dismissed. In my humble opinion BB blows CF out of the water.