There are brand new albums out by two of my favorite musical acts, Wilco (Kicking Television) and Buckethead (Kaleidoscalp). Both works, I am very happy to report, are masterpieces. Merry Christmas to me!
Kicking Television is a snapshot of a good band performing live in their home town in front of dedicated fans. The music exudes warmth and well honed execution among band mates who truly seem to like each other. Nels Cline has definitely put his mark on the sound with his extremely fast metal riffs and steel pedal drawl. Jeff Tweedy is at the top of his game as band leader and guitarist. The album is always playing at the music store in Cedar City, much to my delight. Everybody in southern Utah should shop at Groovacious, the best Mom & Pop music store in America!
Kaleidoscalp marks a return to heavy death metal shards carefully layered over sarcastic trash talking robot electronica with a healthy dose of horror movie cheese thrown in for good measure. Buckethead is a master blender of sounds, textures and beats. In this album he is successful at keeping the action moving along like a thrill ride at the amusement park. He doesn't get as bogged down in displaying his virtuosity, as in previous albums, and as a result is much more successful at connecting all of the disparate elements in each of these pieces together, stringing the listener along on a pleasant ride through the mental graveyard of postmodern alienation and the ultimate redemptive clarity that is possible through the music of a very talented artist. It can be a bumpy hellish ride to beauty and grace. Just read The Inferno.
The Android of Notre Dame is a great song as is the finale She Sells Sea Shells by the Slaughterhouse, which is reminiscent of the sweet tranquility and peace found on the albums Electric Tears and Colma. He's worth forking the bread over for!