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What's it like?
And with regards to the album: Chance would be a fine thing.
but I'm going to hijack this thread to ask what stuff of Bill Callahan's I need in my life. I picked up Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle and Rough Travel for a Rare Thing (not realising it was a live album but liking it a great deal) on a whim and now I dunno where to go next. What do you reckon?
Dongs of Sevotion
I haven't heard the earlier stuff than that but I hear Red Apple Falls is quite good.
As is 'Supper' & 'A River Ain't Too Much To Love'. 'A River ...' is probably the most similar to Eagle.
Hi first Solo album 'Woke on a Whaleheart' is pretty good too, although most people didn't like it.
WOAW is superb. didnt realise it wasnt well liked.
prefer it to eagle on the whole, much more musically varied.
Get Knock Knock.
What a comfortable rut Smog's Bill Callahan has settled into. Roundly acclaimed as a master songwriter despite having done his best work (Wild Love) 11 years ago, all that's required of him nowadays is to strum out a few minimal chord sequences, free-associate in his lugubrious baritone and await the paycheck. Ain't life grand?
Throughout this solo effort - his fourth, for what it's worth - Callahan mumbles ever onwards like a charmless tranquilized version of Giant Sand's Howe Gelb. The comparison bears analysis: Callahan sets his acoustic muse to work in the service of his precious authorial ego, whereas Gelb's various projects demonstrate his playfulness and versatility. Profundity cannot be faked, neither can subtlety, and when Callahan attempts a breezy wistfulness, it's plain embarrassing. "I watch David Letterman in Australia! Or America!" he exclaims on "America!" Forgive the vulgarity, but who gives a shit? Really?
If Apocalypse really did constitute the high watermark of songwriting in 2011 , we should be sounding the alarm. Thankfully, this is most definitely not the case. Perhaps, it's time to revoke the canonical status of persistent underachievers such as Callahan and Will Oldham (don't even get me started on Iron & Wine and Bright Eyes) and banish them to ILX for good, diverting our attention more fulsomely towards artists with genuinely inquisitive approaches to traditional songform, whether this means James Blake and Jamie Woon or Alex Tucker and Richard Youngs.
can't comment on the main bulk or the review having not heard the record and it could be totally spot-on in regards to Apocalypse, but sidestepping the quality of Eagle and River especially is pretty embarrassing. often forget how much the wire sucks balls sometimes
Bill Callahan does not make particularly Wire magazine music. He's not what you'd call 'experimental', so why bother reviewing it?
Dear oh dear.
Alexander Tucker > Will Oldham?
Jamie Woon > Will Oldham!
is embarrassing themselves. it's just a shame that 'first place' is in music's most revered publication.
try-hard indie bellend
But totally disagree on the review - Apocalypse is possibly one of the most moving Callahan/Smog albums I've heard. Usually his albums have two or three songs that really *get* me - All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast, All Your Woman Things, Say Valley Maker - but I'd say that a good six out of the seven here are fairly devastating. It's perhaps not as melodically inclined as '...Eagle' (though he disagreed that he'd been any musical shift in focus when I interviewed him for tQ </jag>), but I find his assertion "if ... really did constitute the high watermark of songwriting in 2011..." really weird. No-one's claiming that (as far as I know), and as far as fourteenth albums go, he's still doing a pretty fucking good job.
Or are they counting the live album too?
but he seems to have been in a bad mood recently, slagging off pretty much everything. Maybe everything is crap though.
Will Oldham isn't underachieving I reckon. He just releases a lot of music. It isn't all going to be good.
was 16 years ago.not 11.
i'm very much enjoying it...think i might even prefer it to eagle.
funnily enough, the above wire review actually nails what is brilliant about callahan whilst trying to dismiss him.
...'all that's required of him nowadays is to strum out a few minimal chord sequences, free-associate in his lugubrious baritone'
er...well....yeah. yes please. i'd very much enjoy that actually, cheers.
but another solid 8/10 addition to his discography. he's never released an album resembling bad, or even mediocre by anyone else's standards.
Massive cliche but love how it's both very much him but also totally it's own album with production/lyrical themes/instrumentation etc.
still think free's and universal applicant are pretty much nothing songs, but the rest i love.