Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Amazon returns to its senses

A while back in this space, I noted that Amazon had lowered the price of The Sandinista Project from $14.99 to $13.99 and I didn't know why. Apparently, Amazon didn't know why either and this morning it bumped up the price back to $14.99. I hope you saved a buck while you could, but 37 tracks and a magnificent package are still a bargain at $14.99. Buy it. (May 30 update: it's $13.99 again. No, I don't know why.)

And while you're on Amazon, there are two other records I recommend. I'm in California now for a conference, and these two new collections kept me good company during the flight west.

The Future Is Unwritten is the sort-of soundtrack to Julien Temple's new film about self-proclaimed "punk rock warlord" Joe Strummer. It's an appropriately weird collection of songs Joe championed or played on.

And, if you adored Ethan Lipton's "Corner Soul" on The Sandinista Project, you'll want to hear a full record by him. Fortunately for you, he happens to have a new one. I played his Mr. Softy twice during my travels yesterday. I love its humor, the hard truths lurking behind its humor, its diversity (of mood, of genre). I even love the costumes (which you won't see unless you buy the physical product). My favorite favorite song (that is, my favorite of many favorites) is "Pirates of the Heart." I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a great new song live only to find it ruined when the performer got around to cutting it in the studio. But the revelation live is even sturdier, nastier, funnier, and more vulnerable on disc. Congratulations to Ethan and His Orchestra! Now go visit his website.

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