Shot Of Rhythm

[ Tuesday, October 03, 2006 ]


Alternative rock

A true pop/rock eccentric released an album today, but don't let anybody fool you: I'm not talking about Beck. Sure, Beck's had his share of idiosyncratic albums, complete with the requisite genre-hopping and ironic disaffection. But, although I'm a Beck fan, he can't compete - either in terms of singularity or musical talent - with Lindsey Buckingham, who also released his (long-awaited) new solo record, UNDER THE SKIN, today. Thanks to his time in Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham is one of the most commercially successful singer-songwriters still plying his/her trade, and - though his ubiquitous chart presence with "the Mac" has guaranteed him the kind of fame that's both freeing and limiting - Buckingham's creative palette has never ceased to be challenging, inventive and sometimes flat-out weird. He expresses a variety of influences, from the Beach Boys (whose devotion to unusual melodies and harmonic structure is evident throughout much of Buckingham's work) to bluegrass (a genre which makes Buckingham's guitar playing sound like he's actually working a banjo, as my friend Kevin McCool points out). While his early work with Fleetwood Mac is radio-friendly enough to still be welcome staples on the oldies stations, he increasingly sought more difficult musical terrain, which would eventually lead him into a series of oddly interesting solo projects, as well as more challenging contributions to Fleetwood Mac albums.

Nowhere was this brazen innovation more evident than TUSK, Fleetwood Mac's famously ambitious and coke-fuelled follow-up to RUMORS. Locked in a studio, high as a kite and in love with punk/new wave records, Buckingham recorded his contributions away from the attention of either the record company or some of his bandmates. While his strikingly different contributions to TUSK were partly (maybe mostly) blamed for the record's relative lack of success, current critical attention lavishes praise on the disjointed, spiky, yet still powerfully tuneful songs produced by Buckingham. Listening to these songs today, they still sound like the future.

Fleetwood Mac - "The Ledge"

Fleetwood Mac - "Not That Funny"

Fleetwood Mac - "That's Enough For Me"

On this new record, although age has dulled Buckingham's rambunctiousness a bit, he continues to make music that his unquestionably, only his. Thanks to his strong songwriting, the nuanced craft with which he constructs vocal arrangements, and his literally unbelievable virtuoso guitar work, Buckingham still sounds more interesting, important and different than Beck likely ever will.

Lindsey Buckingham - "Show You How"

Lindsey Buckingham - "Try For The Sun"

Lindsey Buckingham - "Someone's Gotta Change Your Mind"

("Try For The Sun" is a Donovan cover, and I was this close to putting his cover of the Stones' "I Am Waiting" in its place.)

On the box right now: Solomon Burke, NASHVILLE.


Dove With Claws [8:54 PM]

[ Monday, October 02, 2006 ]


Coming attractions

There are literally hundreds of reasons for any music fan to heavily God-bless the Internet, and two of them emerged this week. These are two upcoming singles, that - judging by early listens - should both be huge, important hits. The Fantasia suggests that her potential is being fully realized (and with a very young-sounding Big Boi giving her supple back-up), and the track from the Shady/Aftermath crew is another piece of evidence that they might really be as good as they all say they are.

At the very least, even disregarding all potential impact and implications, these two cuts suggest that clubs will remain knockin' all through the fall. Save the last dance for me...

Fantasia (feat. Big Boi) - "Hood Boy"

Eminem (feat. 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Ca$his) - "You Don't Know"

On the box right now: The Roots, GAME THEORY. Yeah, I think this is the best album of the year...and it's gonna take a monumental accomplishment to replace it at the top of the heap.


Dove With Claws [7:49 PM]