Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Where the meadows are green

ALASDAIR ROBERTS "The Magpie's Nest"

Alasdair Roberts has a new album out: eight delicate, awesome interpretations of traditional murder ballads. I haven't seen the album make much of a ripple at all, though. Is it that he makes the folk music but it's really not noticably "new," "weird" or "American"? I do dig that contemporary takes on Scots-Anglo folk are not so capital-I important, which is probably all for the best. Anyway, there are more crucial things for "the press" to cover -- like, there should be at least a thousand articles expounding at length on M.I.A.'s politics/ not politics and the legitmacy thereof; why the bland and tired MOR-fests of Keren Ann and Beck exist in such an exciting middle of the road that you should care and stuff; whether Colin could really kick Conor's scrawny ass or not; and more about Bloc Party and Kaiser Chefs because we really need to also care about bands not fit to tie the sneaker laces of the fucking Knack.

This here song, taken from the 2001 LP Crook of My Arm, is the polar opposite of a murder ballad, though I suppose the psychopaths among us might just see it as the prelude to one. It's one of those tunes that makes you just want to roll down the grassy hill with the boy or girl you adore, and then go sip a shake together while staring into each others' eyes. Just do all of that ridiculous stuff they do in bad movies, when you feel like no one else is in the room but your sweetie, that kind of stuff. You might know Shirley Collins' version? Yeah well, I like Alasdair's version a lot better.

Speaking of cheesiness and unpopular sentiments and sentimental film, I have pretty strange taste in movies, running from abstract classic avant garde flicks to treacly heart-pulling schtick. Every time The Right Stuff comes on cable I have to watch at least a chunk of it; last night I was marveling at the little effects that superlative "non-objective" filmmaker Jordan Belson was called on to add to the film -- the floating pure orbs of color and cloud formations the astronauts see when they peer out their capsules? That's Belson. Does anyone know what he's been up to in the last dozen years? I don't think he's passed away and I hear he's still active, but on what? And why'd he remove his films from distribution in the first place?