Saturday, December 30, 2006

WXPN Top 50 Countdown - Day 4

29. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Trip: I believe this record answers the nagging question – what if Patsy Cline and Patti Smith made a record produced by Shadow Morton and used The Band on every cut. This sounded so god damned good today on the radio that I’d like to replace Jenny Lewis with this one as my # 4. Inspirational verse:

And nothing comforts me the same
As my brave friend who says,"I don't care if forever never comes'
Cause I'm holding out for that teenage feeling
I'm holding out for that teenage feeling"

Michael: This album sets a mood from the first tune (“Margaret vs. Pauline”) and sustains it through twelve stellar tunes powered by Case’s sublime voice. Smart, confident and sexy as hell, she’s one of the best we’ve got.

28. Rodrigo y Gabriela – Rodrigo y Gabriela

Trip: I’m not buying the hype on this one, not one bit. Yes, they are excellent players and probably blindingly good live. But it seems like aural wallpaper and my prediction is this one is forgotten by the Super Bowl.

Michael: The surprise XPN hit of the year. Instrumental flamenco guitar music? Who would have guessed?

27. Eric Clapton & JJ Cale – The Road to Escondido

Trip: The Road to Boredom.

Michael: I’m sure that this is probably a pleasurable minor affair, but I haven’t heard it.

26. Tom Waits – Orphans, Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards

Trip: I’m gonna lose my rock geek card on this one, but by and large I’m not a fan of Waits the carny barker and sound collagist. To be sure, there are great moments on all Waits records, but there are a lot of head scratchers too. Since I hold Closing Time, The Heart of Saturday Night and Small Change as his high water marks, put me down for “bawler”.

Michael: I’ve had this epic for just a few days, so I’ve not absorbed the whole thing, but I’ll note two things: (1) “LowDown” is one of the hardest straight-ahead rockers Waits has ever recorded, and (2) “Road to Piece” is stunning in its blunt assessment of the current political and military climate in the Middle East. Waits is so sure of what he wants to say, he doesn’t even bother to rhyme.

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