Archive for the ‘Disc Reviews’ Category
From Pop Matters: by Stephen Haag
It’s no stretch to say that Jon Langford is one of the great populists/raconteurs of our time—friend to the common man, voice to the voiceless. And while some of his projects have possessed varying degrees of sonic “punkness” (the Mekons and the insurgent country stylings of the Waco Brothers, namely; but also the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, the Killer Shrews and various solo collabs), they’ve all been imbued with Langford’s restless, righteous lefty spirit. Old Devils, Langford’s first solo record proper since 2006’s excellent Gold Brick, may not be top-shelf Langford, but neither does it find our hero mellowing in old age. Read the rest of this entry »
No one has ever accused the Mekons of being an especially “family friendly” ensemble, but two longtime members of the Leftist Punk Band That Refuses To Die guitarist and singer Jon Langford and vocalist Sally Timms have decided to take a stab at the children’s music market, and the result is an unexpected delight. As the Wee Hairy Beasties, Langford and Timms team up with alt country chanteuse Kelly Hogan and the rollicking acoustic trio Devil in a Woodpile, and on Animal Crackers they’ve cooked up 14 tunes lively enough to please even the most fidgety youngster, and which are also witty, swinging and guaranteed to make the grownups in the room tap their toes. Most of the numbers deal with curious critters of one kind or another ants with attitude, dancing turtles, flies feasting on breakfast cereal and ducks with a taste for trad jazz and the wordplay is silly enough to make children giggle, but smart enough to still appeal to the more mature listener (especially the parade of clichés on “Animal Crackers,” the Muddy Waters lift on “I’m an A.N.T.” and the playfully ethereal “Toenail Moon”), though some parents may find themselves at a loss to explain the convoluted story of “Cyril the Karaoke Squirrel.” Read the rest of this entry »
Devilishly crafted and scarily melodic GOLD BRICK is Langford’s third solo album and finds him back with R.O.I.R. the pioneering New York label that released The Mekons classic New York album in the late 80s. Collaborating with a band that includes Pine Valley Cosmonauts John Rice (guitar, mandolin etc.) & Pat Brennan (keyboards), Waco Brother Alan Doughty (bass & vocals), Jean Cook (violin) and Dan Massey on drums, this is probably Langford’s most consistent and coherent recording to date.
While 2004’s ALL THE FAME OF LOFTY DEEDS (Bloodshot) took about a week to record and was described as Read the rest of this entry »
Miles Of Music says:
So, everything good that you could expect from the pairing of Richard Buckner with Jon Langford comes to fruition on Sir Dark Invader vs. The Fanglord. These two distinct voices, with their now familiar styles, arent so much fighting each other as they are playing nice, deflating the conflict the LPs title suggests. Yet, its easy to revel in the fusion of their dark and light personalities, Jons rocking tendencies with Richards organic roots vibe, as they harmonize and duet from song to song. The legend of how these two met is delightfully questionable. According to an inside source, the two met at “the security booth at Buck Owen`s Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA where they had been chained together for their own protection. Mouths taped shut with duct tape, they communicated via primitive Morse code messages tapped out on each other`s foreheads with fish bones.” Recorded at Sally Timms` apartment, Chicago late summer 2002, Buckner and Langford play nearly all the instruments, with John Rice (mandolin, guitar) and Lil Willy Goulding (drum kit)
So which one’s The Fanglord and which one’s Sir Dark Invader? Read the rest of this entry »
|Richard Buckner & Jon Langford Sir Dark Invader Vs The Fanglord
1. Rolling Of The Eyes (Buckner/Langford)
|Recorded at Sally Timms’ apartment, Chicago late summer 2002 and mixed with Ken Sluiter at Western Sound Lab except track 9 recorded in Brooklyn, NY and mixed by John Marshall Smith.
All instruments Buckner/Langford with John Rice – mandolin and guitar and digital Willy Goulding on some drum kit.
From an interview with Sally Timms:
From an interview with Sally Timms (via the “Doubters” mail list):
And as he’s not here, can you shed any light on what Jon’s been up to with Richard Buckner?
ST: “You don’t want to know. He and Richard came round to my house weirdly enough. They set up their home studio system in my back room and I left them to it. I came back and found two very drunken men, all red and sweaty, and I have no idea what they were doing. They said they were making a record.
“They’ve made an EP, I think, for this bloke Howard who¹s going to put it out. He works with Bertina at Thrill Jockey. They instantly bonded when they met, and they’ve been off like a pair of chubby school kids doing things ever since. I think we’re going to go on tour together. God help everyone.
“I’d go round to Jon’s and Richard would be swanning around with a hangover at about two in the afternoon. It was like having Lord Byron living in your attic. Cos he’s very romantic. He just wanders from here to there, not really living anywhere, just making music and breaking girls’ hearts.”
with Jon Langford
& the Pine Valley Cosmonauts
One Day In Chicago
1. Monkeyheart (K. Coyne)
LIVE BONUS TRACKS:
|Tracks 1-11 recorded at Western Sound Lab, Chicago, IL December 2002 by Ken Sluiter.
Tracks 12 -14 recorded live at the Old Town School Of Folk Music, Chicago, December 15th 2002.
Produced by Jon Langford
The phone rings in the mixing room at North Branch Studio in Chicago and my wife breaks the news that Kevin died this morning. We’re busy finishing off an album he started with my band the Pine Valley Cosmonauts on his last visit to the states. It’s the last day of mixing and I’d been excited to send him the final product. I talk to his wife Helmi in Nuremberg and she tells me he died at home in her arms. This is the only good news; Kevin’s been slogging around Europe with an oxygen tank and breathing tubes in tow for the last few months playing blinding shows but living in constant terror of dropping dead in some hotel room all alone. Read the rest of this entry »
from pp. 134-135
All The Fame Of Lofty Deeds
The hardest working man in show business? That’s easy: Jon
Langford. Since 1998, he’s been the key man on more than a dozen
albums with the Sadies, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Waco Brothers, Sally
Timms, and perhaps first among equals, the Mekons, the infinitely
evolving, organically changing entity that sprouted from the first
wave of British punk in Leeds in 1977.
Common to all of Langford’s prolificacy is his dart-aim with
increasing accuracy at the junction where art, intellect, politics
and fun meet. That he success so convincingly on his first two
albums of 2004 is not just reason to cheer, but reason to suggest the
singer/writer/musician/painter for a MacArthur Fellows grant.
ALL THE FAME OF LOFTY DEEDS, credited as a Langford solo album,
shares some texture with last year’s MAYORS OF THE MOON by Langford &
His Sadies. For me, MAYORS generated deeper, richer emotional
resonances than any of his previous work. LOFTY DEEDS comes close. Read the rest of this entry »
After a short stint with Canada’s favorite psychedelic country stars, The Sadies, the prolific ex-Mekon, Jon Langford is back with his Pine Valley Cosmonauts. The Executioner’s Last Songs: Volume II and III was designed as a protest project in order to bring attention to the injustice of capital punishment. Thematically the record is strong, both discs filled with songs of “murder, mob-law and cruel cruel punishment.” That said, however, despite the all-star cast of musicians from the bursting alt-country scene, the sheer length of the record can make listening to it in its entirety somewhat of a feat.
Don’t get me wrong though. There is a wealth of good stuff here. Kurt Wagner of Lambchop makes an appearance to sing Tom Waits’ “The Fall of Troy” as does David Yow of the Jesus Lizard ( ! ) to sing Roger Miller’s “One Dyin’ and A Buryin’.” The performances are solid throughout. Langford performs a rousing rendition of “Delilah” while Mark Eitzel of American Music Club offers one of the record’s finest moments with “God’s Eternal Love.” Even the tracks sung by lesser known artists are stellar as in the case of Pat Brennan’s “Death Where Is Thy Sting” and Gurf Morlix’s “Hanging Me Tonight.”
Read the rest of this entry »
BY TIM PERLICH
rarely is the outspoken jon Langford at a loss for words. But even for the prolific Mekons mouthpiece, the release of The Mayors Of The Moon (Bloodshot) disc just months after delivering critically lauded new albums from the Mekons and his boisterous Waco Brothers is an impressive feat of productivity. Of course, Langford can’t take full credit for the righteously ripping Mayors Of The Moon disc, a collaborative project with popular local twang terrors the Sadies. He came up with the lyrics he growls with that unique “r”-rolling Welsh-Chicagoan drawl of his, but it’s the quick-picking Sadies boys who provide the galloping soundtrack.
According to Langford, only the tune Strange Birds was written with the frantic fingers of the Sadies’ Dallas and Travis Good in mind. The compositional challenge was less in the process of creation than in that of excavation. Read the rest of this entry »
From Rolling Stone:
Death Songs Vs. Death Penalty
Langford, Earle, Case fight capital punishment with murder ballads
The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, who consist of Jon Langford and Steve Goulding of the Mekons/Waco Brothers and former Bottle Rocket Tom Ray, will release their third album, The Executioner’s Last Songs, on March 19th on Bloodshot Records. As with their previous tributes to Bob Wills and Johnny Cash, the Cosmonauts have enlisted a rotating roster of guest vocalists, and this time out the material is a collection of songs of murder, execution and mob justice. And it’s delivered with a wink, as partial proceeds will benefit Artists Against the Death Penalty and the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
“I’m just really horrified by it,” the Welsh-born Chicago native Langford says of the death penalty. “There was a big movement up here in Illinois, and it’s one of the first states to issue a moratorium. The inequities of the system were so glaring. I have a son, a four-year-old boy, and finally felt I should exercise my voice in American politics as much as I can. Previously, people have said to me, ‘You’re not from here. You should shut your mouth.’ I just feel like it’s quite compelling for me, because it’s not something that exists in Europe.” Read the rest of this entry »