Record Time 4-8-08
By Deanna Savelle
Hot new albums this week from Nick Cave, The Grouch, and Living Legends.
Nick Cave, famed Aussie singer/songwriter/producer releases his fourteenth studio album this week entitled, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. Backing him is a leaner version of his band The Bad Seeds. This is the band’s first album since the 2004 acclaimed release “Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus.” Cave returned in 2007 for a quick musical detour, backed by 3 of the Bad Seeds recording and briefly touring a side project called “Grinderman.” That project was a no frills, trash rock outlet for Nick and the boys, and is the perfect stepping stone from the sweetness of “Abattoir/Lyre” to the raw energy of “Lazarus.”
As the opening track of “Abattoir” hurdles out of the gate with Cave’s thundering cry “Get Ready for Love,” it immediately sets the tone for the album. Nestled tamely in lovely pastel packaging, “Abattoir/Lyre” is a double album full of Cave’s musings of love, religion, and emotion. Conversely, “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” delivers a torrid extravagance that gently creeps up on all who listen like a fever. Significantly darker, and more haunting, “Lazarus” is evocative of Cave’s earlier works. It is piercing, yet rhythmic and completely danceable; as heard on tracks “Today’s Lesson,” and “Midnight Man.” You can tell dearest Nick has fallen out of love since “Abattoir” and has let temptation get the better of him in the process. Several of the tracks on “Lazarus” have a sultry cadence, as best heard on the inquisitive “We Call Upon the Author.” Then tracks such as “Hold On To Yourself,” and the celestial, “Jesus of the Moon,” explore themes of relationships, personal freedom, and death.
Though Nick Cave’s words are powerfully ageless, intuitive, and carry with them quite a sting, what makes this album impressive is the juxtaposition between those words and the music. Having now written two film soundtracks (“The Proposition” and “The Assassination of Jesse James”), Cave and Bad Seed Warren Ellis have fully mastered creating musical imagery that feeds off of dialog. Veteran Bad Seed, Mick Harvey, leads the guitar laden odyssey together with Cave on guitar, piano and organ (he previously learned how to play guitar for the Grinderman project). Drummer, Thomas Wylder, along with the other Bad Seeds carve out the corporeal terrain of “Lazarus” through a wide range of instrumentation; from the deep organic tolls on the ominous “Night of the Lotus Eaters,” to the screeching immediacy on “Lie Down Here (& Be My Girl)”. Once the listener arrives at the final track “More News From Nowhere,” Cave has taken us on an erratic journey; full of sin, redemption, lust, greed, doubt and love. The listener is left begging for more, eagerly awaiting Nick Cave’s instructions on where the tale will take us next. “Lazarus” leaves us bursting with introspection, and teeming for change in our lives. With this in mind, one thing is for sure, Nick Cave is an ever evolving artist, currently working at the peak of his powers. There are very few people making music this evocative, radical, and creative. With no signs of slowing down Nick Cave shows us what true musical genius is really like.
This week is a good week for LA hip hop crew Living Legends (Murs, Luckyiam, Abstract Rude, Eligh, The Grouch, Aesop, Scarub, Sunspot, and Bicasso). Together, they have a new album out this week titled The Gathering. Plus crew member The Grouch released a solo album, Show You the World. Both albums have a very so-cal, light, breezy beat to them, much more so than any of their previous efforts. The rhymes flow in and over subtle horns, casual keys, and bossa-nova-esq drum kicks. The Grouch’s album in particular bears delicate Mediterranean undertones. Either album would be the perfect accompaniment to a cool cocktail under a warm sunset. Not to say that these artists are depthless mood creators, their lyrics are sophisticated, and care-free only in delivery. They all certainly have things to say about family, hate, and politics, and are not afraid to lay them out for you in a smooth, straight no chaser fashion. “The Gathering” and “Show You the World” are poised to be playlist favorites of the hip, cerebral, artsy crowd. Though that may offset longtime fans, those looking for a fresh sound in the indie hip hop community can find it here.