So I'm watching this Kate Bush DVD compilation that nessus put together last year, and besides confirming that she's talented, beautiful, benignly weird, firmly grounded, and infinitely patient with clueless interviewers, I noticed that:
- Yes, the 70s really were that ugly.
- Yes, hair really was that big in the 80s
- It's all about image control now.
Kate Bush was definitely a pioneer in the integration of dance and video/film into what the pop audience expects to go along with a pop song, but when she was doing this in the late 70s, she was like an alien landing on another planet… much of the DVD's content from that era draws on TV appearances on shows that still had a whiff of BBC Light Entertainment about them, and there's no way that you'd market someone like her now in such a mainstream, untargeted way. Now, it's all about looking right and having your highly targeted demo pick up on what they're supposed to pick up on. Too bad, because a lot of the fun of pop is unlikely meetings of people and styles.
I've only heard the new Cat Power album, The Greatest once so far, but I think it's going to be rank among her own work and most likely for 2006 as a whole. For the most part discarding the starker arrangements she's used in the past, this album was recorded in Memphis in Ardent Studio with veteran studio types, and the change has done great things for her singing – maybe our generation is finally going to get the Dusty Springfield it deserves ! And of course the other Ardent touchstone for the music for music people out here is Big Star, and it's uncanny how some of the tracks that use strings do in fact sound a little like Sister Lovers, but with a sense of fragile beauty that is organizing itself to be stronger, instead of barely holding together or falling apart.
Deerhoof were great live – the world's best prog rock trio + Japanese female singer ever. One of the opening acts, L'Ocelle Mare, was a guy playing some kind of cubist flamenco – I might post a video I took of it, it was pretty intriguing.
Deerhoof almost never make it through any song without throwing in shifts, stutters, twists, and turns, but for the most part, you can follow along and enjoy the ride. They didn't do “Song of Sorn” (which is on Milk Man and also the worthwhile compilation Fields and Streams), but they did cover a My Bloody Valentine song for the encore. I'd like to hear what they could do to “Glass Onion,” by the Beatles, who the band are actually mentioning as inspiration these days. But that's pretty much the same kind of inspiration that XTC took from those guys too – not sounding like them, but applying the same sense of pop experimentalism to what's happening to them now. And that's a pretty good way to operate in my book.