I can only think of a handful of bands currently making challenging and creative music thirty two years into their careers. One of those bands is Wire. Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey are the current members of the other London’s most influential punk bands and have just completed an extended trek throughout North America in support of their latest album Object 47. On the heels of their final 2008 date at Chicago’s legendary Metro, the band stopped by the Daytrotter studios to record a session of old and new music. Colin Newman explains:
In keeping with Daytrotter’s “played” feel we chose four songs from the set we have been touring throughout Europe & North America during 2008. We did this session the day after the last date of the North American tour (in Chicago), which was in fact our last date of 2008! We never attempt to “reproduce” album versions in our live sets, so each piece must find its expression as a live entity. In that way this studio recorded version of Wire playing live was a unique document. Falling at the end of our most extensive touring year since 1987 it became a unique document recorded at a unique time!Download here.
Also on Daytrotter, a new session from the Department of Eagles. Their latest, excellent recording In Ear Park has been playing endlessly in my cd player and will no doubt figure prominently in my 2008 Year End List. This exceptional session works as a well worn “folklore-ish" accompaniment to that. Department of Eagles is the the side project of Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen and his New York University college roommate Fred Nicolaus.
Last, and by no means least, the Athens, Ga., band Of Montreal has been making some of the most eclectic music of the past decade. On the band's latest cd, Skeletal Lamping, Of Montreal plunges listeners into the freakishly surreal world of Georgie Fruit, the "transsexual alter ego" of singer Kevin Barnes. Barnes, has built a reputation on meticulously crafted, synth-driven psych-pop, with flamboyant production* and gleeful sonic flourishes. Of Montreal brought this musical spectacle to Washington, D.C. for a show at the legendary 9:30 Club and NPR were there to record it.
Listen and download here.
* The peak of recent onstage theatrics came mid-set in NYC during "St. Exquisite's Confessions," when Kevin Barnes mounted a very nervous looking white pony, singing the song's first minute or so from atop it.