Feb 192009

Remember Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, his first stripped-down, hard-hitting attempt at getting away from the numbers? I know some of you own this album. It never did anything for me, but I’m using it to set up what I hope will be a discussion in which we share the outer ranges of our listening moods, from whatever you consider your most stark, bare-bones album to the album that suits your richest, frothiest listening needs. Please don’t bother with all the albums in between. Be a man (or woman) and choose one album from each end of your emotional spectrum: what do you most want to listen to when you need to spend some time in your personal Nebraska, and what do you most want to listen to when you need to run free through your own personal Wonderland – you know, maybe fill up the tub with bubblebath and pour yourself a glass of champagne! You dig?


  32 Responses to “From Nebraska to Wonderland”

  1. Bare-bones: Pink Moon by Nick Drake

    Pure froth: Casanova by The Divine Comedy

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    Bare-bones: “Tribute to Jack Johnson,” Miles Davis — mainly, I tune into the stark, bare-bones (and brilliant!) guitar work on it. Otherwise, one of the “bird-song” compilations by Olivier Messiaen

    Pure Froth: an Association comp I put together.

  3. Bare-bones: Robyn Hitchcock, I Only Dream of Trains.

    Pure Froth: Joe Jackson, Jumpin’ Jive

    (but that Association comp sounds pretty luscious…)

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Bare bones: Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding

    Pure froth: The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (German true stereo edition)

  5. diskojoe

    Bare Bones: Robyn Hitchcock I Only Dream of Trains

    Pure Froth: The Best of the Shangri-La’s

  6. Favorite bare bones (from lots of choices): Townes Van Zandt, Live at the Old Quarter

    Favorite froth: Paul Desmond, Desmond Blue

  7. BigSteve

    Bare-bones: anything by Gillian Welch
    Froth: anything by Pet Shop Boys

  8. Umm, I think that Robyn Hitchcock album is called ‘I OFTEN Dream Of Trains’.

    OK, as for me. Bare bones, I’ll go with ‘John Lee Hooker Plays & Sings The Blues” by The Detroit Lion, his own baad self.

    Uh, froth, huh? OK, I’ll say ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ by Belle & Sebastian. It was either that, or ‘Kites Are Fun’ by The Free Design, but that one borders on diabetic coma territory.

  9. diskojoe

    You are right Mr. Bittman, it should be “I Often Dream of Trains”. Like a French dog, I made a “four paws”.

  10. BigSteve

    I ONLY Dream of Trains would be even more bare-bones.

  11. pudman13

    I generally don’t like bare bones. It’s fine in concert, I suppose…but I like my music to have a beat, or something.

    That said, I have to pick something so I’ll go with PINK MOON, which does something extremely smart that most bare bones albums don’t: it keeps the song and album SHORT.

    Froth, huh? I suppose you mean overproduced with orchestration and stuff as opposed to over-complex (i.e. no Yes.) The easy answer for me is Daughters of Albion…the greatest soft rock album ever.

  12. Bare-bones: Grouper, Dragging a Dead Deer up the Hill

    Froth: Van Dyke Parks, Discover America

  13. Mr. Moderator

    Pudman13, your concept of froth can be what you want, even Yes. Your honeymooon suite bathtub can be filled with whatever bubbles you desire.

  14. dbuskirk

    Bare Bones: Yoshi Wada’s LAMENT FOR THE RISE & FALL OF AN ELEPHANT; side on is Mr. Wada singing wordlessly in an empty swimming pool, side two is a bagpipe droning mechanically (maniacally?) while hooked to a vacuum cleaner, at the bottom of the same swimming pool.

    Frothy: I really into those first two Biff Rose records these days, THE THORN IN MRS ROSE’S Side (’68) and CHILDREN OF LIGHT (’69). I’d lump him in with his contemporaries Randy Newman and Nilsson for his love of Tin Pan Alley and orchestrations but his songs hit me harder. He’s most famous for writing “Fill Your Heart” from Bowie’s HUNKY DORY.

    The excellent new album from Scott Pinkmountain has a gargantuan-sounding 60 piece orchestra as well.

  15. dbuskirk, Wow, could you burn me a copy of that Yoshi Wada record? Or make me a tape? I’ll pay for the blank & the postage. I’m totally serious. Sometimes I dig that kind of thing. I’d like to see the album artwork, too.

  16. Bare Bones – John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band

    Froth – Sam Phillips – The Indescribable Wow

  17. Bare Bones – The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience – Love Songs

    Froth – Lilys – Better Can’t Make Your Life Better

  18. BigSteve

    geo suggested:

    Froth – Sam Phillips – The Indescribable Wow

    I don’t dislike Phillips’ recent records, but do any of her fans not wish that she’d head back towards frothy?

  19. saturnismine

    bare bones (which I would argue *can* have a beat, pudman; see the mod’s choice of John Wesley Harding, or even hvb’s choice for that matter): unknown pleasures, joy division or syd barrett’s solo albums.

    mr. clean, when “better” came out, i remember my girlfriend at the time claiming “i have a lilys headache” when we had finally od’d on that album. pretty frothy.

    my froth choice (and i don’t usually go for this end of the spectrum): hmmm…spiritualized live at royal albert hall.

  20. saturnismine

    i just realized, mod, that you said “choose one album” in bold print.

    so i’ll go with unknown pleasures: stark in sound and vision.

  21. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks for being a man, Sat!

    BigSteve, I’ve said before that I’d really like to get Sam Phillips some treatment and get her off her bare-bones kick. I like some of her recent albums too, but enough already!

  22. bare bones-Big Black-Songs about Fucking

    full froth-Barbara Streisand-Guilty

  23. I usually like to listen to those two simultaneously. It’s stark-slammin’ froth-core at it’s finest.

  24. 2000 Man

    I think for Bare Bones I’ll pick The Black Keys – Rubber Factory. It’s pretty lush for two guys, but I listen to it more than I listen to things like The King Khan and BBQ Show or Mr. Airplane Man. I like a lot of that two guys making a hellacious racket stuff.

    For my Froth I’m glad I get to pick Yes. I have to go with Close to the Edge. That’s super frothy. I thought of Built to Spill and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, too.

  25. I really like the early Sam Phillips records, but I think she was done with what she was doing and I’m not yearning for her to go back to it. While her new records are “Bare-Bones”, lacking the baroque arrangements of the ones through Omni-Pop, I think they’re pretty rich in the way they fill up the space with sound and groove as opposed to detailed complexity.

  26. I was actually thinking this morning that I should maybe change my bare-bones pick to Sam Phillips’ Fan Dance.

    Like many people, I first discovered Martinis and Bikinis, which I’ve always had an affection for. Omnipop I like to listen to about once a year. Sonically, it’s pretty mindblowing, but there’s so much going on you really need to take it easy. It’s not an album you can listen to every day or week even.

    I didn’t pick up the new one. The two songs Mr. Mod posted here didn’t do much for me.

  27. mockcarr

    Bare bones I’d go for a Solipsistics album, the most spare and bleak is Careful How You Go.

    Frothy is defined by the Monkees, for me it’s the first cd of the Music Box, but if that doesn’t qualify as an “album”, I would say More Of The Monkees.

  28. What’s all this debate about Sam Phillips? I mean, the man recorded Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jerry Lee, etc, etc. His place in history is secure. Though I’d hardly term any of the above “frothy”.

  29. Also, I’ve never heard of the Sun Records you guys were mentioning. What gives?

  30. dbuskirk

    BB: “Wow, could you burn me a copy of that Yoshi Wada record? Or make me a tape? I’ll pay for the blank & the postage.”

    I believe that would be illegal and morally questionable and I’ll have no part of it.

    (psst…hit me off-line…)

  31. Of course, I just assumed it was out of print & under public domain. I would NEVER accept an illegally copied piece of music. Why, that would just be wrong.

    (hey…i’ll get back to you…)

  32. O.K. I went to the stacks (of vinyl) for this one. All of you young dudes discussing Sam Phillips recording career: I’ve gone through my 3 Bear Family Sun Records Boxed Sets, The Blues Box, The Country Box, & The Rockin’ Years Box, and NOWHERE is there a song on any of them that Sam PERFORMED. He recorded most of them, but no credits as a performer! Where do you guys come up with this stuff? Learn your history, people! I mean, really, how do you expect to be taken seriously if you just keep making stuff up?

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