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Best of the 00s: Devin the Dude, The Delgados & The Fruit Bats

Posted by May 16th, 2011 No Comments »

Best of the 00s: Gabe Joins the 21st Century
Part 19:  Devin the Dude, The Delgados & The Fruit Bats

Nada Co-founders Matt and Gabe are listening to 197 of the music press’s picks for “best albums of the 00s” for a series called Gabe Joins the 21st Century.

Devin the Dude Waitin’ to Inhale 
A.V. Club #44

Gabe: After spending some time with Waitin’ to Inhale, I can picture a day in the life of Devin the Dude. Wake up and try to scrape up enough money for gas and beer (“Almighty Dollar”) and rolling papers (“Nothin’ to Roll With.”) Ingest marijuana (“Til It’s all Gone”). Get solicited by a prostitute (“She Want That Money”), a married woman (“Somebody Else’s Wife”), and/or a high school classmate who let herself go (“She Useta Be”). Fantasize about jailbait (“Cutcha’ Up”) and/or various ways of killing his unfaithful girlfriend (“Just Because”). Then end the day in the recording studio with Snoop Dogg, Andre 3000 and the gang (“What a Job”). Devin the Dude is a natural born storyteller, and even his most explicit/offensive rhymes sound good-natured when delivered by his charming drawl. I’d love this more but for the fact that, like most funny albums, the jokes wear thin after a few listens. Grade: LIKE

Matt: By far my favorite discovery of this project so far, Waitin’ to Inhale is a hip-hop classic. Devin’s got the pace, diction and storytelling ability of Slick Rick and the humor of a Bring the Pain-era Chris Rock. He’s also got completely realized songs with great refrains and choruses and memorable snaps. One minute he’s lamenting the state of the global economy on “Almighty Dollar” (“I’m gonna head up to French’s and smell me some chicken”) and the next he’s gettin’ with a girl from high school who’s put on some weight (“She Useta Be”). Another he’s laying down an eerie Wu-Tang vibe on “Hope I Don’t Get Sick-A-This” or offering to serve his dick up with some Lima beans  (“Broccoli & Cheese”). Then there’s “No Longer Needed Here,” an instant addition to my running list of Best Break-Up Songs: “Whatever I did it was never enough / I helped you raise some badass kids and bought ya stuff.” Even the recurring skit about the hick producer calling from the studio looking for “that boom” works. Devin’s funny, weird and talented, and I dig this album almost the mostest. Grade: LOVE

We can't think of anything interesting to say about this imageThe Delgados – The Great Eastern
NME  # 46   

Matt: Though I’m just now hearing The Delgados’ 2000 album The Great Eastern, it has a familiar feel, perhaps because the Glasgow band’s sound is so similar to a few of my favorite bands from that time period. The subtle, dreamy indie pop Luna displayed on earlier records like Lunapark (1992) comes to mind, as do K Records acts Marine Research and the Crabs, both of whom put out great albums just before the turn of the century. This kind of understated approach is magical when paired with great songs and catchy melodies, but mediocre songs fall even flatter without any visceral appeal. The Great Eastern illustrates both ends of this spectrum with snoozers like “No Danger” and “Witness” alongside a few gems, including the single “American Trilogy.” The second track, “Accused of Stealing,” is the highlight; it’s a stately song that’s likely to be in my daily rotation for the indefinite future. Grade: LIKE

Gabe: The Great Eastern is a case of the whole being less than the sum of its parts. Pretty dueling male/female vocals are a good thing. Offbeat pop songs with unusual instrumentation are good things. Resemblances to Yankee Foxtrot Hotel-style Wilco and/or Challengers-style New Pornographers are a good thing. Music is a good thing. Unfortunately, I don’t like any of the songs on this album and would prefer not to hear it again. Grade: DNL

PrettyThe Fruit Bats – Mouthfuls   
Nada’s #20

GB: Mouthfuls is a worthy bit of modern folk, albeit pretty darn lethargic. The album starts with at an amble and eventually slows to a crawl. Country-tinged tracks like “Bit of Wind” and “Little Acorn” kept me from completely nodding off in the middle, but the band doesn’t seem to really wake up until the spirited closer “When U Love Somebody.” “When U Love Somebody” is a spirited gallop that tangentially resembles Simon & Garfunkle’s “Cecilia”, which is a good thing in my book. Grade: LIKE

MA: I love how music can create powerful signposts for the events in one’s life. Mouthfuls was the first full album I played for my daughter Iris, and I have fond memories of rocking and gently bouncing her to sleep to its gentle, precious melodies. Four years later, after the birth of our second daughter, Eloise, we had our friend Chris Klepac perform “When U Love Somebody” as the celebratory march as we walked down the aisle after our wedding ceremony. This is a gorgeous record and one of the most powerful musical documents in my life. Grade: LOVE

Chris Klepac’s band Stereo Sons open for the Greenhornes tonight, May 16. Devin the Dude performs in Sattle May 18 with Coughee Brothaz, Sonny Bonoho & Hi Life Sound System. Both shows are at the Crocodile.

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