The Word December Magazine/Now Hear This CD
An exclusive - actually, a world-exclusive interview with Tom Waits is the main cover story of the December issue of The Word. It's delightfully free of End-Of-The-Year Lists, possibly because someone on staff owns a calendar.
Instead, the magazine focuses on long interviews with Madness, King Creosote, and Status Quo, several short interviews, including one with Tenacious D, reviews aplenty, and assorted interesting features.
A roundup of celebrities who have whored themselves out to sell products includes a Diana Krall Rolex ad ("Knowing the rules makes her a schooled musician. BREAKING THE RULES makes her a jazz musician." Well, isn't that special? Only it's pretentious, arrogant stuff and nonsense.)
However, The Word gives a Samuel L. Jackson Barclay's commercial the nod as the "most pretentious advert history".
I hadn't heard about William Shatner's All-Bran campaign. Or maybe I forgot; it's hard to keep track of all his ads. Does he reject any offers?
George Clooney has done a lot of commercials, including a faux-wacky martini spot in which he plays a person whose issues - narcissism? alcoholism? - leave a presumably innocent woman, dog, and yacht in the hands of a calculating stranger. Hopefully, tragedy did not ensue.
Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore gives a preview of the sold-out Nightmare Before Christmas 2006 Festival he's curating, which starts December 8 at Butlins Minehead Resort in Somerset. Moore says, "I wanted to bring over a lot of bands I think are interesting who don't stand much chance of coming over there too much." In the line-up: The New Blockaders, who Moore calls "extremely influential in the realm of noise music." Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth are also playing.
In another feature, several people, including Sean Lennon, BBC anchor George Alagiah, and "subscriber of the month" Financial Times journalist Rebecca Bream give music, film, and book recommendations. Lennon calls it "embarrassing" that Citizen Kane is one of his favourites, to which I say hey. Lennon owns his film-geekdom, though, calling the flick "so seamlessly shot and expertly crafted. You can watch it 100 times and every time it's like a tapestry, to see the way things are connected in that movie." I hear him. I wouldn't want to watch it 100 times, but it's deeply wonderful. So beautifully directed. The mise-en-scè is brilliant; it tells a story, and continues to do so throughout the movie. It was so obviously the product of people who cared intensely about their work. The contrast with modern films is rather stark. Not every movie can, or should, aim for brilliance, but it seems like a lot of filmmakers aren't even aiming for mediocrity.
The Word's Now Hear This! disc this month rates much higher than mediocre. Eric Bibb contributes a great blues/folk track, and there are strong tracks from Lloyd Cole and Lucinda Williams, among others... such as the ones posted.
The Word: Now Hear This! Issue 46 (December 2006) Track Listing:
1. Eric Bibb - Tall Cotton
2. Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
3. Lloyd Cole - Woman In A Bar
4. Ben Folds - In Between Days (available on Supersunnyspeedgraphic) Cover of the Cure song, driven in equal parts by piano and enthusiasm.
5. Beirut - Brandenburg (available on The Gulag Orkestar) Melancholy lyrics, beautifully sung, set to music inspired by Eastern European sounds. There are some mournful strings (including a mandolin), tambourines, horns, pretty much whatever they could find. Sounds really good though.
6. Joan As Police Woman - Anyone (available on Real Life) Alt-torch song.
7. Tom Rush - No Regrets
8. Bernard Fanning - Which Way Home
9. John Smith - Winter
10. The Radio Dept. - Pet Grief (available on Pet Grief) This is nineteen-eighty-what? "And if you need someone who doesn't talk back, I'll shut my mouth for you, anything you want me to." Rather than seeing that through modern eyes, as codependent, I'll see it through 80s eyes. He's a romantic John Cusackesque guy. Awww. Swedish guys. Their alt-pop songs are so sweet.
11. Ali Farka Touré - Erdi
12. Alela Diane - The Rifle
13. Little Axe - Same People
14. Loudon Wainwright III - Turkish Revelry
15. Damien Juado - I Am Still Here