Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Roundup: Your Cat Needs Prozac

Photo Credit: Kate Wurtzel
Up until recently, I have had reason to believe my cat Mork is immortal. At sixteen years old, he is still incredibly spry and holds his own against his canine brother, who is well over forty pounds bigger and decade his junior. One of Mork’s more annoying quirks is that he has always been a bit vocal, especially at night. In the past, I’ve just administered aquatic therapy (aka, the squirt bottle) and after a couple of days he gets the hint. Recently, though, it’s been bad – really bad. He’s been wailing from 2-4 in the morning, and even dumping full glasses of water on him has done little to change his attitude.

If it was just me I would simply be annoyed. With the Little One on board, however, the situation is simply unacceptable, so I took Mork to the vet to see if there was a physical cause for this behavior. Several hundred (painful) dollars later, we out that he is incredibly healthy for a cat his age, he’s just going senile. While this paints a pretty pathetic picture, the lowdown is still lost hours of sleep and added hours of frustration. The veterinarian is sympathetic to our problem, however, and seems to understand that we want to do what we can for old Mork the Immortal as long as it is effective and sustainable. So my cat is on Prozac now. No kidding,

On to the roundup:

Carl OrffCarmina Burana: Listening to this one for perspective on the band arrangement I’m teaching the kiddies. In spite of the liturgical immensity of this piece, the lyrics to this work center disturbingly on the secular topics of envy and lust for power.

Yamantaka // Stereo Titan - YT//ST: This group stands on the precipice of doing something genuinely novel, but still approachable. YT//ST has the dubious honor, however, of containing the first track that the Little One has ever consistently objected to.

The Who - Live at Leeds: If you've only heard the studio versions of their pre-1970 hits, you are missing out. Live at Leeds is one of the few live rock albums that I accept as a classic.

Hello = Fire: Dean Fertita is one of the "other" Raconteurs, and after spending several years on my list as an expensive import, his solo project finally came up under $10. Its middle-of-the-road “Sloanishness” was, unfortunately, a little disappointing as a whole.

John Coltrane - Giant Steps: Although you don't have to be a jazz expert to like Giant Steps, being acquainted with jazz theory certainly deepens the experience. I couldn't do what he does, but I can definitely appreciate (and be amazed) by it.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless: After a two-year holding pattern, album is finally starting to click for me. Hailed as an influential classic by a host of 90s guitar bands, Loveless is indeed something different entirely than anything else that was happening at the time.

Stereolab - Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night: Bright, sunny, 60s style bubblegum pop crossbred with European lounge psudeo-jazz noodles. As a whole, the album is a bit overlong, but it certainly never grates.

Rush - 2112: On the merits of the title track alone, easily one of Rush's best works. Part of me did not want to move on to Farewell to Kings, but in the interest of time, I chose not to linger.

Rush - A Farewell to Kings: Rush opened up their sonic palate on this album and fully embraced the prog-rock paradigm. Keyboards played a more prominent role, and Peart's drumset expanded to include a variety of orchestral percussion.

Field Music - Plumb: For me, Field Music is the new Jellyfish. Plumb is an amazingly deep example of the work that still needs to be done in the power pop genre.

Dungen - Ta det lungt: I stumbled across this album several years ago at the same time I discovered Mew. I had good luck that year.

The White Stripes - Elephant: I've never really gone wrong with a White Stripes album, but Elephant is my favorite. Jack White writes consistently killer tunes and unapologetically delivers them, grit and all.

Frank Zappa - Waka Jawaka: This is one of Zappa's largely instrumental releases from the mid-70s. If you get Zappa’s distinctive stream-of-consciousness approach to melody, you'll love this album.

And one last album that is not represented on the playlist:

Beardfish - Mammoth: Unfortunately, this album exemplifies what I find tiresome about so much contemporary progressive rock. Even though it has funny time signatures and instrumental noodling, there doesn't seem to be much to hold on to.

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