John Coltrane – The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording
The latter parts of the career of John Coltrane were marked by successive steps away from traditional jazz conventions. While he alienated some, others marveled at Coltrane’s journey and purer modes of expression. His studio albums are often perceived to get weirder as the artist progressed, but they are actually carefully orchestrated steps toward a more singular vision that may or may not have ever been realized by Coltrane on this earthly plane.
For this reason, the last recorded Coltrane concert would be of ultimate interest of followers of his work. This CD documents a concert comprised of two songs, both clocking in at around a half an hour each. The recording quality is less than perfect, but at times, the distortion inherent in the taping accentuates the intensity of the performance dealt by the most out there backing group Coltrane ever assembled.
The Olatunji Concert is a soul-shattering document -the ultimate Coltrane CD in more ways that one.
Interpol – Interpol EP
At first glance, the most remarkable thing about Interpol’s debut single is the price. CD singles usually go for at least twice that amount. So combine that with the mildly good press the New York City group has been enjoying recently, and it’s an easy purchase. That’s how they get you.
This single, in addition to being one of the most appealing rock CD’s of the year, is little more than an advertisement for the forthcoming full-length album, which anyone who gave these three songs more than a single listen will be irresistibly compelled to buy.
The music itself is dark and epic in scale befitting the lyrical content. The comparisons to Joy Division are inevitable but not necessarily unfortunate with vocalist Paul Banks doing an excellent Ian Curtis. With any luck, Interpol will serve as a melancholy antidote to the slap-happy aesthetic rock has assumed over the last few years.
Sleater-Kinney – One Beat
After a two year maternity leave, Corin Tucker and Sleater-Kinney gallop out of the gates with a myriad of different instruments to bolster the twin guitar nucleus of the band. One Beat is the band’s most refined, not to mention brilliant, outing to date.
Rumored to be “weirder” than anything the power-pop trio had done in the past and even suggested by one of the more clueless members of the music press to be their first record “to do drugs to” (an assertion that elicited nothing more than embarrassed laughs from the band themselves), One Beat is actually anything but.
Looking back at their career, one notices a dramatic trend toward poppier sounds from record to record. Their latest record is the culmination of this trend; an album that wouldn’t sound too out of place in a “My Little Pony” commercial, but simultaneously retains the intelligence and anger of previous releases.