Another week, another surprising amount of intriging stuff . . .
Nels Cline - New Monastery: Some may only know guitarist Cline as the newest addition to the Wilco lineup, but fans of skronky jazz guitar will undoubtedly know him as one of the leaders of the avant garde and improv scenes. Here, Cline reportedly plays slightly more restrained in tribute to one of his favorite artists and composers, Andrew Hill, from whose repertoire all the music is drawn. From the bits I have heard, if one was looking for a way into Cline's sometimes difficult work, this might be the most welcoming avenue.
Depeche Mode - Touring The Angel (CD and DVD): As I've pointed out in the past couple of weeks, Christmas is approaching and the labels are going to be preparing things that are perfect for gift-giving. Here is one such item - Depeche Mode caught on tour for last year's fantastic return to form, Playing the Angel. Includes a short 8-track CD of audio (come on, why not a full CD?) from the full-length DVD as well as another DVD of additional material.
Isis - Clearing The Eye (DVD): There's not a whole lot of information out there on what this is, but what I gather is that it's a pretty simple gathering of live footage - several different cuts and one full show from Sydney, Australia, and then a video for "In Fiction." I don't picture Isis being a particularly exciting band to watch live - their music is very intense, but slow, dark, and it requires a particular mood for me to really get into. I'd complain about them not releasing live CDs, but they actually do that - in extremely limited numbers through their website and at their shows. How limited are they? Ask me how many of the 4 that they've released so far that I own. ZERO - and I keep tabs on this stuff. So I'll get the DVD and rip the audio to listen to instead. It's not as elegant, but it works in the end.
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood - Out Louder: Maybe I was the only one, but I found guitarist John Scofield's 1997 album with Medeski, Martin, & Wood, A Go Go, to be extremely disappointing. It seemed to compromise at every turn - it wasn't either "Scofieldy" enough to work as his album nor was it "MMWy" enough to work as their album. It just felt flat, felt too much like the group didn't know who was supposed to be the primary leader (Scofield or MMW) and it resulted in boring me on all fronts.