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re: Steinmanesque

Posted by:
fnord 05:46 pm MST 09/23/17
In reply to: re: Steinmanesque - fnord 11:41 am MST 01/25/17

Two new releases to talk about.

I've brought up Amanda Palmer before. I think you know by now that she is one of the songwriters in hold in esteem close to Jim; and I've met her a couple of times. She's a great person. (My wife hates her, but maybe that's jealousy.) Her Dresden Dolls material is more steinmanesque than her solo albums have been (if more stark in the arrangements) but it's all recommended.

Amanda's new CD, "Piano is Evil," just came out. It is all solo-piano retakes of her "Theater Is Evil" album. While this is even more spare than the punk cabaret and pure pop sounds of her other albums, it reminds me a lot of the demos Jim has shared with us over the years. Amanda's playing style is very Jim: lush, fast and forceful. And then there's this:

A number of years ago, I read an interview with Jim, talking about his early days with his band The Clitoris That Thought It Was A Puppy. He admitted that he played the piano too hard and too fast and he would tear up his hands, leaving them bleeding by the end of each show. He would then hold them up for the audience to see, because that seemed like a really rock & roll thing to do.

The photo on the Piano Is Evil disc is Amanda's bloody hands over a piano keyboard.

The other new release is by the band Cousteaux. Cousteaux used to be called Cousteau, but got sued by Jacques' heirs and had to change their name to Moreau. After the break up, singer Liam MacKahey put together a new band, The Bodies; and songwriter Davey Ray Moor released a solo album and produced albums for others, as well as writing movie scores.
Moor and McKahey are back together, under the original name with a silent X added. (Can't sue a silent X.)

Cousteaux' sound is not in itself steinmanesque. It is most easily compared to Steely Dan, in that it's a perfect combination of rock and jazz without being fusion. However, it is the exact opposite of Steely Dan. Instead of jazz musicians playing rock, Cousteaux is rock musicians playing jazz. And they do it well.

The reason I'm bringing it up here, since they don't sound like Jimfluenced at all, is because the McKahey/Moor team is the best collaboration of a singer and a songwriter since Meat and Jim. McKahey is the best interpreter of Moor's material and at his best when doing it.

(I should say, I LOVE Liam's two Bodies albums, and the Moreau album which was recorded without Davey. Liam is himself a great songwriter, and so far he has batted a higher average solo than Meat has. Or Art Garfunkel.)

So, that's what I'm listening to this weekend. How about you?


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