Daily Archives: October 4, 2008

Media Mix XVIII: Brotherly Love Edition

I pretty much forgot about Oasis between 1996 and oh, about six weeks ago, when I noticed Los Bros. Gallagher would be releasing a new record on one of the weeks I had a pair of CD reviews due. I liked their first two albums, and it turns out I like their new one, too. If you care about this band at all, you doubtless already know that songwriter/guitarist Noel Gallgher was injured after some guy stormed the stage and shoved him into the audience at the Toronto Virgin Mobile Festival last month. I’m going to check out their show at the Patriot Center with Ryan Adama just a few days before Christmas.
Incidentally, I have a bootleg of Oasis recorded at the Patriot Center in 1996. What moved me to buy this at Salzer’s Records in Ventura a few years back, when I never was an Oasis superfan? Your guess is as good as mine. It never took much arm-twisting to get me to open my wallet at Salzer’s. I also had that CD single of an incredibly profane argument/fistfight the Gallgher brothers got into on (I think) British radio in the mid-90s. Don’t know why the hell I would ever have owned that, either.

Rachel Yamagata’s Elephants . . . Teeth Sinking into Heart is apparently a double CD, though my advance of it collected all 14 of its tracks on a single disc. The two-disc strategy is to emphasize the binary nature of its slow half and fast half, I guess. But the slow half is almost twice as long as the fast half.

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Jenny Goes to Synagogue

Like Sarah Palin, Rilo Kiley-leader-cum-alt-country-diva Jenny Lewis had some onstage image-mending to do Thursday night: Her new solo album, Acid Tongue, isn’t quite the musical equivalent of a 3 a.m. phone call, but after Lewis’s prior under-her-own-name effort, 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat, it’s a letdown, mostly discarding her unique millennial introspection in favor of been-there 70s country-rock.

But when Lewis entered the Sixth and I Synagogue from the back, floating stageward in a dazzling floor-length green dress while cooing the a capella “Run Devil Run” with which she routinely opens concerts, she effortlessly commanded this most beautiful and holy of rooms. Even the fact that she kicked off the set proper with “Jack Killed Mom” — a bland, awkward stew of murder ballad and gospel rave-up — couldn’t really derail the momentum of her entrance.

Lewis used her siren-strong alto to better effect on “The Charging Sky” and “Rise Up with Fists!!!,” establishing a pattern for the 70-minute concert: The songs on which Lewis stood and sang (with and without guitar) were always better than the ones on which she sat and played piano. Her paramour, Jonathan Rice — he’s a guitarist in her shaggy-in-sound-and-appearance band when he isn’t making his own records — showed palpable chemistry with the star, dueting with her on the ecstatic “Carpetbaggers.” But all was prologue to when the band huddled around one microphone to harmonize on the new record’s aching, gorgeous title track. (“I wrote this song a while ago, but it kind of hung around,” she said, which was as verbose as she got all night.)

Later, Lewis and Rice convincingly cast themselves as the new Emmylou Harris and Graham Parsons, with a haunting cover of “Love Hurts.” The show’s unchallenged pinnacle, it followed a holy-rolling “The Next Messiah.” On disc, the number is overlong and overwrought, but in this setting, it felt visceral — uplifting, even. Maybe you just have to hear it the Messiah’s house.

A slightly shorter version of this review appears in today’s Paper of Record.