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Music of the Moment – December 2018

Speaker

December 7, 2018 - 5:03 pm

KBCS’s Gordon Todd recommends the new Iron & Wine, and the latest Beatles reissue.

The BeatlesArtists: The Beatles
Album: The White Album Esher Demos
Label: Apple/Capitol

The 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles’ White Album includes a surprising bonus that sheds new light on this wonderfully sprawling album. The home recordings the band made at George Harrison’s house in the London suburb of Esher reveal more unity among the Fabs and among their disparate songs than previously believed by Beatles chroniclers. These intimate, acoustic Esher Demos show a band having fun, without the acrimony later associated with the White Album studio sessions. Minus electric guitars or cheeky production, the songs fit together and flow easily from one to the next – even “Mother Nature’s Son” to “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” Without the studio polish, the Esher Demos is like a newly unearthed Beatles album for us to discover. – Gordon Todd, KBCS

Iron & WineArtist: Iron & Wine
Album: Weed Garden
Label: Sub Pop Records

Iron & Wine, the nom de band of singer-songwriter Sam Beam, has a talent for crafting acoustic folk/pop songs that are colored with shades of melancholia and pain, optimism and hope without sounding melodramatic or facile. These six songs were left unfinished during the production of Iron & Wine’s Beast Epic, one of the better albums of 2017. But they aren’t dross that didn’t make the cut, they’re gems that Beam took the time to polish. “What Hurts Worse” starts gently, urging the listener to “become the lovers we want,” gradually building in urgency, it becomes a plea for love and kindness in this divisive time. “Waves of Galveston,” which uses the city’s history of hurricane destruction and difficult recovery as a metaphor for Beam’s red-state, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps home of Texas, is deceptively political. “It’s too bad that you ain’t got a soft place to fall,” Beam softly sings. “It’s too bad Texas leans to the least in us all…If you can shoot the pistol, then you can wear the pants.” – Gordon Todd, KBCS