On the way to work, I decided I’d thought far too long about the Hoodoo Gurus’ Purity of Essence (Hoodoo Gurus). The opening tracks – “Cracking Up,” “A Few Home Truths” and “Are You Sleeping” – promise a return to form for the (as far as I knew) dormant band. They capture the garage roughness and love of Beatles pop that were the hallmarks of their best songs. But one of the downsides of bands in semi-retirement or the slow dwindle is that they lose their mental toughness. They don’t make the hard calls necessary to produce memorable albums (cutting this from 16 songs to 10 or 12 would be a good start here), or they get distracted by horn sections, political lyrics, or personal growth – all of which would be understandably fascinating to someone in the band, but the results are songs that merit attention – I can’t get “A Few Home Truths” out of my head – but an album that’s best cherrypicked on iTunes.
Locally, I really want to like DJ Quickie Mart’s new mixtape, Ask Ya Mom an ‘Nem, QM Should Be in Treme, but it falls betwixt and between – not a seamless-enough mix to be satisfying as a listening experience independent of affection for the source material, but you want to hear more of the New Orleans R&B classics and obscurities. And why does everybody want to be on Treme? David and Roselyn are trying to stir up public outcry to get them on the show via Facebook.
… and I won’t say too much yet about the new Turtle Island String Quartet’s upcoming album, which is largely a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. I was drawn to the version of “1983 … (A Merman I Should Turn to Be),” but I couldn’t get the original clear enough in my mind to think about how they transformed it. The art-hoedown of “House Burning Down,” on the other hand, was immediately thrilling, and it was startling to realize how music as electric as Hendrix’s translates to an all-acoustic context.