Christmas from the Embryo

I’m finally writing CD reviews again, and they’re short ones for the Albuquerque Alibi (Albuquerque Weekly). Alibi is a great paper run by smart, friendly people I’m excited to work more closely with once I make the physical move from Colorado to New Mexico later this month. Anyway, here are my first two shorties for Alibi:

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
Release Date: Oct. 13, 2009

A keystone in the wall of weirdness the Flaming Lips have built over the past 25 years has been the Oklahoma band’s unique ability to juxtapose bizarre music and lyrics with cathartic optimism in songs like “Do You Realize??” However, the band’s 13th album, last month’s Embryonic, stunningly takes their notorious weirdness to hell and leaves listeners there, surrounded by dark and versatile psychedelic rock. Embryonic – somewhere between early Floyd and Miles Davis’ Get Up With It – turns ecstatic and eccentric frontman Wayne Coyne’s usual oddball tales of love saving the world upside down with lines like “I believe in nothing” and “love is powerful, but not as powerful as evil.”

Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart
Release Date: Oct. 13, 2009

To the surprise of virtually everyone, Bob Dylan recently took time from his “Never-Ending Tour” to record a collection of holiday standards called Christmas in the Heart. The album’s proceeds are going to charity, and as he approaches 70, it’s nice to know that Dylan is apparently still having fun. Just learning about this album’s impending release was enough to brighten curious smiles and raise the eyebrows of fans who probably thought “the dark prince of folk-rock, the former protest singer and reluctant voice of a generation recorded ‘Silver Bells’ and ‘Here Comes Santa Claus?’” But between Dylan’s gravel-gargling voice and his cheesy backup singers, Christmas in the Heart is mostly just terrifying. Please hide this album from children.

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