All posts for the month October, 2004

Badly Drawn Boy
Pantages Theater, Minneapolis

Badly Drawn Boy (aka Damon Gough) might be laughable were he not so unrelentingly earnest. I mean, present lyrics such as these –Sometimes you’ve got to rewind to go forward/ There’s some good times around the corner/ But have you fed the fish today? – to someone unfamiliar with the artist and I think it’s fair to expect a snicker, if not a guffaw.

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For being one of the most enigmatic performers in the history of popular music, Bob Dylan sure sounds normal in this NPR interview. As one friend, a big Dylan fan put it, he comes across remarkably like just another guy from Hibbing. I had been ambivalent about picking up Chronicles: Volume One until I heard him on Morning Edition. Now it has moved to the top of my reading pile.

The Figgs

{mosimage}Until they opened for and backed Graham Parker on tour a few years back, I had never heard of The Figgs. I still wonder why; The Figgs make the kind of smart, spare power pop I that’s formed the core of my listening diet since the late 1970s.

The answer, I suspect, is that their writing and performances sound so effortless that you almost don’t take notice of them. And the fact is, The Figgs probably don’t have a great album in them. But they do have some really good ones. None of the songs on this double disc contain grand statements, but all are catchy enough to make Palais my favorite Figgs album to date.

This is musical comfort food. Not anything substantial as a Sunday pot roast, more like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – sweet, salty and{mosimage} satisfying, but nothing you’ll catch yourself raving about. A few years ago that would’ve been bad news for a band this good. After a few listens Palais might’ve ended up on the CD shelf with the hundreds of other discs, rarely to make its way to the player again. But this is perfect music for the iPod era, where it can share playlist space equally, and each random emergence will be greeted with a well-earned smile.