Tuesday, June 15, 2004

So Ray Charles died. A couple of years ago, I took my sister to see him at Artscape, this big outdoor festival that the city of Baltimore puts on every summer. It was really, really hot and crowded that day. My sister was (and is) in a wheelchair, and the handicapped-access place was a long way from the stage. Brother Ray came out with a huge wack orchestra singing "It's Not Easy Being Green." It was sort of lame. We left after a couple of songs. That's my Ray Charles story.

I rag on indie rock for being stagnant and redundant and just not changing at all ever, but I sort of like the new Sonic Youth album for exactly those reasons. It's the same album I've heard a million times, but there's something comforting and reassuring about it. It won't be making my end-of-year list or anything, but right now it's pushing the right buttons. It's all warm and glowy. The new PJ Harvey is sort of the same way, but I always liked PJ Harvey a lot better than Sonic Youth, so it's sort of disappointing. I expect her to shatter my universe, but she made a pretty decent alt-rock album with two great songs ("Pocket Knife" and "The desperate Kingdom of Love") instead. She can do way better. This is probably unfair.