Johnny Depp Rocks! Blog

April 25, 2009

Pandemonium Ensues – a review from a casual Tilbrook fan

Wow, my second blog post within a week!  Let’s see how often I stay this active.  Anyway, I thought I’d offer a record review of Glenn Tilbrook and The Fluffers’ new album, Pandemonium Ensues, which features a guest appearance from Johnny.  I should preface this by saying I’ve never been a huge fan of Tilbrook or Squeeze.  I’ve long heard lots of accolades and praise for Squeeze, but songs like Pulling Mussels From A Shell or Black Coffee In Bed never caught my interest quite enough to really pursue that band’s music; I guess it was just not a genre for me.  On the other hand, this allows me to listen to the album without any preconceived notions of what Glenn’s music should sound like, so I can just enjoy the music on its own terms.

All in all, I enjoyed the record more than I expected to.  There is a range of styles, and some work better for me than others.  I have a feeling that the songs that work best for me are the ones that sound the least “Squeeze-like” to my uneducated ear.   The first single, Still, along with songs like Little Ships and Interest & Love, the latter of which features lovely vocals by Vanessa Paradis, strike me as the type of easy-listening Brit Pop that I was expecting.  They are enjoyable enough, but not particularly engaging to me.  On the other hand, Product, featuring lead vocals by the Fluffers’ bassist, Lucy Shaw, is perhaps a little too experimental and bizarre.  Another more experimental, techno-sounding song is Happy Disposition, and I’m still deciding what to think of that one.  At the least, Glenn should be given credit for trying things.

However, I had no trouble getting into the harder rock songs, Slaughtered Artist and Beachland Ballroom.   Though The Net and Melancholy Emotion remind me a lot of Paul McCartney, and are catchy, memorable pop tunes.  Black Sheep is an odd one that reminds me somewhat disconcertingly of The Monkees– perhaps something that Davy Jones would sing.  At first, the song seemed silly and a little annoying: “Baa baa baa baa baa, black sheep.”  Really??  But I am starting to find myself going along for the ride, because it’s such a sweet tune.  Relentless Pursuit is a standout with gorgeous harmonies that are reminiscent of both The Beach Boys and, more recently, The Polyphonic Spree.  My favorite song on the album so far is the opening number, Best Of Times, with an infectious Cajun-style sound, which really draws the listener in right off the bat.

And what of Johnny’s guest spot on Too Close To The Sun?  Well, it sure is different!  This techno tune isn’t one I’d automatically choose as a favorite musical style, but yet, it’s a fun, psychedelic melody that reminds me a lot of 60’s soundtracks with maybe a little 70’s prog-rock thrown in.   It’s a cool way to top off the record, and Johnny is game to play along, with his repetition of the line, “Too close to the sun.” Don’t forget to listen with earphones!  Johnny gets to mix it up at the end by saying, in a rather Jack Sparrow-like voice, “Whose son are we talking about?” Heh.

According to an interview Glenn gave in the Newark Star-Ledger, the song was originally going to be called “The 13th Bar”, and was going to feature a friend of Glenn’s named Pete.  The band would count out 13 bars, and then Pete would recite the line.  However, poor Pete got bumped once Glenn had the chance to invite Johnny to guest.  Now, try counting the bars, if you can!  It’s easy to get mixed up, and once or twice when I tried, the line seemed to come in a little early or late, but that could’ve been me miscounting!  Or maybe they decided not to keep the count so rigid when they changed the title.  But most of the time, especially in the middle portion, I counted 13.  At any rate, I thought that was a cool little tidbit.

In summary, I find Pandemonium Ensues to be a cool, very listenable album, with some average but agreeable ditties, along with some standouts.

3 stars (out of 5)

Cathy

Johnny Depp Rocks!

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April 18, 2009

(No Depp Content) – I pulled into Nazareth…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — madscntst @ 10:45 pm

Actually, I pulled in… or rather, I flew in, to Austin, TX, a couple of weeks ago.  I was there for a Bruce Springsteen concert (#97; yes, I’m a lifelong fan) and to enjoy a nice weekend with a friend.  I’d only been to Austin once before, in 2002, for SXSW.  That trip had been a wonderful (but exhausting!) blur of waking up at noon, Waterloo Records in-stores, day parties and barbecues, and memorable showcases all night long, not to mention the excellent food and drink.  As I’m not getting any younger, this would be a considerably more relaxed trip, other than, of course, the concert that I was there for.  Still, there was no reason not to still take advantage of the fine city’s offerings: a trip to Waterloo, some more shopping, and some excellent food and drink.  But it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Austin without hearing some good Austin music, and so my friend and I went to catch an acoustic gig by Johnny’s former P bandmate, Bill Carter.

Carter was playing with another area songwriter/musician named Stephen Doster.  I wasn’t familiar with Doster but later learned that he has worked with Nanci Griffith and put out at least one album.  Due to having taken our time with a delicious steak dinner and a longer-than-expected drive to the venue, and the gig ending earlier than we thought, we only got to hear them play for half an hour.  But it was well worth the trip!  Besides a couple of songs I didn’t recognize, they played Carter’s Cocktail Waitress (At The Poodle Dog Lounge), The Band’s The Weight, The Beatles’ Two Of Us, and The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women.  What a treat to hear such first class guitar work and wonderfully blended vocals in such an informal, relaxed setting, while sipping on some delicious locally-brewed pale ale.  A perfect, if short, evening.

My friend brought up a tip from us as they were packing up their gear, and shook their hands and had some nice words with them. I was in one of my silly shy modes and chose to hang back.  But she said they were both gracious and lovely, and very appreciative that we came to hear them.

A night later, Bruce Springsteen put on a typically amazing performance:  3 hours of non-stop passion and energy.  It was probably the best I’d seen Bruce in the last several years, and definitely reaffirmed my fanhood.  Even so, I can’t help but think back to the night before, listening to two guys with acoustic guitars with no huge backing band, no fancy lights or stage effects, and no huge crowds, but just playing music because they love to play music.   Two completely different experiences, but then again, maybe not.  When it comes down to it, it’s the music that matters.

Cathy

Johnny Depp Rocks!

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