By Kat Bein
By Shea Serrano
By S. Pajot
By Terrence McCoy
By Falyn Freyman
By Shea Serrano
By Jacob Katel
By Michael E. Miller
Years of hard living and harder drinking, bad management and worse timing, culminated in Frizzell's too-early death in 1975. That's the Way Love Goes chronicles the best of the ABC recordings that would wind up being his last, and I'd argue that this period featured the most consistently perfect music he ever made, not to mention the best songs (with friend Whitey Shafer assisting) he ever wrote. His voice here is deeper, and he resorts to his patented note swirling much less often, rendering the technique all the more effective. On the gorgeous Frizzell-Shafer title track, he sounds as lucky and grateful as any singer, ever. And while the jaunty honky-tonk piano on the original "I Love You a Thousand Ways" twenty years earlier always seemed to be fighting Lefty's words, this 1972 version, recorded at his next-to-last session, sounds both as hopeful and afraid as I always thought it should. Like everything on That's the Way Love Goes, it's just beautiful. No arguments allowed.
Count No Count
Alternately dense and claustrophobic, noisy and imminently catchy, the music issued by Dean Wilson under the pseudonym Illyah Kuryahkin both defies and obliterates the possibilities of the four-track recorder. Simply put, he turns the damn machine inside out. Count No Count, Wilson's epic debut disc, balances the neo-psychedelia of the Apples in Stereo with the swinging kitchen-sink clutter of Neutral Milk Hotel. But unlike those home-taping outfits, Wilson is less concerned with words than sounds. Lyrics are mostly undecipherable (although the crib sheet helps reveal the extent of Wilson's broken heart), and is delivered in a creepy but charmingly innocent whisper. His blissful pop melodies are submerged in layers of tape hiss, found sounds, fuzz, and catch-all percussion (from cheapo drum machines to bottles tapped with chopsticks to what may or may not be cardboard boxes).
Great as it is, there's not much on this sprawling but focused opus that grabs you quite as firmly as last year's breathless, pulsating "Takin' a Train" (available from Arena Rock on a split single with Guided by Voices guitarslinger Mitch Mitchell). Nevertheless, with Count No Count Wilson has found a new place to dwell amid the underbelly of trippy lo-fi rock. You'd be wise to join him. (Arena Rock, Box 632 Village Station, New York, NY 10014)
-- John Floyd
In its latest attempt to grab the attention of musically subliterate twentysomethings, Angel Records has married a classical CD to a nine-page crime novella in the style of Mickey Spillane by way of Quentin Tarantino. This is Volume 1, clumsily titled The Death of the Look of Hope. (Will Volume 2 be The Look of the Hope of Death?) Each of the nine brief chapters is associated with a musical selection on the CD. For example, the obligatory scene in the tacky Trocadero club ("Dancing girls, dancing boys, drums, bugle beads, and monkey fur") is to be read to the accompaniment of George Gershwin's Cuban Overture, and the sultry love scene between the gumshoe and the good-girl-gone-bad goes with the purple passion of the "Adagio" from Rachmaninoff's Symphony no. 2.
I don't associate detective stories with classical music -- I hear wailing sax and cocktail piano instead. Still, the Paul Taylor Dance Company once reset Stravinsky's seminal The Rite of Spring as a murder mystery in Chinatown, so perhaps Pulp Classix isn't such a weird idea after all. (At least no weirder than the idea that Tarantino is a great director.) The music, of course, is excellent: four selections by Prokofiev, two by Gershwin, and one each by Puccini, Rachmaninoff, and Britten. Note, however, that with the exception of the Cuban Overture, these are excerpts from larger works -- just right for moviegoers and dime novel readers with short attention spans. The performances are from previously issued recordings from the label's back catalogue, and are effective, for the most part ... as if it mattered.