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The Friday Morning Listen: Elvis Costello and the Imposters – Momofuku

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That Jenny Lewis is a powerful woman. As much as I was hooked by Rilo Kiley's More Adventurous, and then the weird but wonderful transition to Under The Blacklight, it was the interim solo record Rabbit Fur Coat that just slayed me. There had been a lot of interesting writing about the album, but I had this idea that it was a folkie sort of thing. Weird, because I'm normally all about the folkie sort of thing. It was just a passing mood, I guess.

But then I saw Jenny and the Watson Twins perform that title track on Letterman.

Oh…my…gawd. I was transfixed. Mesmerized. Jaw aslack. A pop music deer caught in Lewis's headlights. It's just one of those things.

All of which brings me to Momofuku. Well, not quite. First we have to go through Jenny Lewis's new record, Acid Tongue. I'll write a review of that one as soon as I can listen without drool falling onto my writing pad. There's one pertinent bit of information to relate though, and that is the absolutely stunning performance that Lewis and Elvis Costello deliver on "Carpetbaggers." I let an Internet friend know about the song and yesterday she related the fact that Lewis appears on Costello's latest.

Off to the record store I go, maybe ten minutes after receiving that email.

It turns out that for Mofofuku, Elvis also worked with Johnathan Rice and David Higaldo. It's a spontaneous affair, recorded in a very short period of time, and that's a good thing. The album manages to feel spontaneous, rambling, and yet cohesive all at the same time. There are bits of the Elvis of old (especially the organ on "American Gangster Time") as well as Spike-by-way-of-Tom Waits with such chunks of fun as "Harry Worth" and "Mr. Feathers." Costello spends time visiting the land of soul ("Flutter And Wow") and balladry (the gorgeous "My Three Sons"), while not forgetting how to rock out: "Turpentine," "No Hiding Place," and the stomping closing track "Go Away."

Of course, my ears like this record just a little bit more due to Jenny Lewis's backing vocals. It's really nice to see this side of Costello reinvigorated by the likes of Lewis and Rice. Like I said, she is a powerful woman, and this record feels like far more than just a passing mood.

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About Mark Saleski

  • http://blogcritics.org/video Lisa McKay

    See, sometimes it pays to listen to your “Internet friends”…

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    obso-freakin-lutely!

  • http://www.knownjohnson.com Tom Johnson

    I don’t know. I don’t particularly like this album all that much. The songs off of this one were fantastic when I saw him open for the Police (and he friggin’ kicked ass, by the way,) and I thought maybe that would help give me the proper perspective to enjoy the album, but as soon as I heard the album again, I thought it lacked everything I needed to really enjoy Elvis at his best. I want to like it – I know there are sparks of greatness here, but it just doesn’t work for me. It’s actually one of my bigger disappointments for the year. But, man, live, these songs really took off. Maybe the album will kick in at a much later time. Weird things like that happen with me.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    with your newfound love of Coldplay and Oasis, i’m beginning to have my doubts about you mr. johnson.

    ;-)

  • http://donaldgibson.blogspot.com/ Donald Gibson

    I saw Jenny Lewis on her solo tour for Rabbit Fur Coat and, while her performance was fine, she seemed timid, essentially standing in one spot for most of the night playing an acoustic guitar (in the theme of that album).

    Subsequently, I saw Rilo Kiley at the House of Blues and, to coin your phrase, “Oh…my…gawd.” Lewis looked like a ’60s go-go dancer, she strutted around the stage, and generally drove the crowd bonkers.

    She’s a beguiling and incredibly talented artist. And did I mention she’s cute?

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    And did I mention she’s cute?

    huh…i never noticed that.

    ;-)

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