Twangville.com offers up the first review of my Best of the 20th Century CD!
I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not accustomed to receiving “Best Of” CDs from artists I’ve never heard of. But hey, when someone’s been recording albums for around 15 years there’s got to be something good in the catalog right? Thankfully, on this album, there are a number of gems. According to the press release, The Best of Jonathan Rundman “draws from Rundman’s first four albums which have been long out-of-print. Essential album versions, remixes, alternate takes, and various previously unreleased recordings are included.”
The album opens with the track “Tape,” a rocking tune with splendid sounding acoustic guitars and vocals reminding me of Matthew Sweet circa 100% Fun. Rundman’s vocals stay pretty much in this vein throughout, although on songs such as “Ask Me in Nebraska” and “Nothing Old, Nothing New” he sounds a bit like Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie while on “The Sound of The Cicadas” it’s almost as if he’s channeling Weird Al Yankovic. All four of the aforementioned are some of the standouts from the collection along with “Meeting Nixon” which speaks of the “great white house in the sky.” Rundman has a knack for throwing out memorable lines and hooks and I’m sure I’ll be singing “Ask Me in Nebraska” for weeks on end.
The only problems I have with the album are the sometimes stale drum sounds. These seem to be more prevalent on the “rocking” tracks such as “Meeting Nixon” and “Armyman” but they don’t detract enough as to not give the album high praise. Loops and samples are used on many of the slower tracks and this seems to work well for these tunes.
If you’re like me, and had never heard of Rundman, he’s a Minneapolis-based songwriter and seems to keep pretty busy with his label, Salt Lady Records and his touring schedule. He’s had some nice reviews in Performing Songwriter and Paste along with countless accolades from local and regional publications over the years. On the other hand, if you have heard of Jonathan, I bet you’ve been jamming out to this disc since it was released in May. A 2nd CD, Myopia: Cassette 4-Track Recordings, 1991-1998, is also included with this release.Wow! I still get totally excited whenever I get a record review, especially when it's a nice one like this. Never gets old.
So, you've been wondering why I haven't been blogging? Well, mostly 'cause there's not much interesting going on at this point. I'm almost back to normal now, two weeks after my tonsils came out. It's been a painful journey. I'm struggling with insomnia. Bought a Burley bike trailer for Paavo and Svea to ride in, hooked it up behind my bike, and have been cruising Edina with the kiddos in tow, having a great time. Had lunch today with my great pal David Scherer and we talked seminary and showbiz. I've been washing lots of dishes, cleaning lots of floors. Discovered a great pizza place near my house a couple weeks ago, and I've already been back again....Michelangelo's Masterpizzas....mmmmm.
AND, I've never really been a fan of the band Genesis, but after reading a band profile in the magazine Blender I jumped on the iTunes store and downloaded some Genesis hits, and MAN are they great! "Turn it on again," "Abacab," "Throwing it all Away," "Paperlate" (those awesome horns!), and the incredibly synthey "Man on the Corner!!" Holy cow, these songs sound SO GOOD to me right now, I can't believe it. Phil is singing the crap out of these songs, the keyboards are hooky and amazing, and the grooves are undeniable. I can't believe I'm having my mind blown by Genesis.