Tom Verlaine
around Thrill Jockey http://www.tinymixtapes.comsites/default/files/arton5442_0.jpg

[Thrill Jockey; 2006]

Rating: 2.5/5 2.5 / 5 (0)

Styles: post-punk, post-rock, new wave
Others: Television, Thurston Moore, David Byrne


http://media.tinymixtapes.com/

Released in tandem with the superior songs and other things, around is what one might call the self-indulgent side of Tom Verlaine, and Thrill Jockey's reissue of his largely maligned 1992 solo outing Warm and Cool makes much more sense in the context of this release. Both offer a collection of instrumental pieces constructed in the studio environment by Verlaine and a small selection of collaborators, in this case just two: drummer Billy Ficca and bassist/engineer Patrick A. Derivaz. On the one hand, the optimist (e.g., the obsessive fan) will say this type of release is an excellent way to really focus in on Verlaine's seminal approach to playing and, in particular, his carefully-sculpted guitar sound. On the other, the pessimist (e.g., most folks) will find the album far too scattershot and meandering to warrant a purchase. It sounds like music made for the players themselves rather than any outside audience.

I find myself in the middle here. My love for Verlaine has me conceding that his past accomplishments and his still intact abilities should grant him the leeway to release something like this – a mellower, more somber, and ultimately experimental project. However, my love also breeds a possessiveness where I feel that I know what I like of his (what he does on songs and other things), and I want that. After all, it's been at least 16 years since the last real album of songs (1990's less-than-spectacular The Wonder), so should an interested listener really be blamed for wanting a little taste of what I fell in love with originally? Regardless, this album is an improvement over Warm and Cool. Some of the tracks, particularly "eighty eights" and "rings," are very tightly crafted and consequently very pleasing. Still, most will find this album unnecessary, even if it's not entirely inconsequential. For all but the most dedicated Verlainians, this will be a footnote to his real new album of 2006.

I find myself in the middle here. My love for Verlaine has me conceding that his past accomplishments and his still intact abilities should grant him the leeway to release something like this – a mellower, more somber, and ultimately experimental project. However, my love also breeds a possessiveness where I feel that I know what I like of his (what he does on songs and other things), and I want that. After all, it's been at least 16 years since the last real album of songs (1990's less-than-spectacular The Wonder), so should an interested listener really be blamed for wanting a little taste of what I fell in love with originally? Regardless, this album is an improvement over Warm and Cool. Some of the tracks, particularly "eighty eights" and "rings," are very tightly crafted and consequently very pleasing. Still, most will find this album unnecessary, even if it's not entirely inconsequential. For all but the most dedicated Verlainians, this will be a footnote to his real new
album of 2006.

1. the o of adore
2. brief description
3. rain, sidewalk
4. shadow walks away
5. meteor beach
6. mountain
7. candle
8. balcony
9. flame
10. curtains open
11. eighty eights
12. a burned letter
13. wheel broke
14. the suns gliding!
15. new
16. rings