Sounds in the Absence of Laughter

Tomorrow’s cartoon is a stinker. To make your visit to the site this week not entirely useless, I thought I’d dabble in the pretentious act of recommending music. I have the ears of an 85-year-old man, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt.

I apologize for loading the links with my Amazon referrer tag, but I am a greedy asshole. If any of this stuff strikes your fancy, pick it up wherever you can find it on the cheap and don’t worry about me getting my crumbs from Amazon.


I’m horrible at describing music, but I’ll try. To me at least, Nic Armstrong sounds like a mix of the Kinks’ early rocking stuff and their dalliances with the blues in the seventies. He’s got a better voice than Davies and he uses that harmonica holder thing that hangs around your neck. That apparatus is so awesome, that it’s the only thing keeping Neil Young from becoming the most insufferable man in the universe.

Thankfully, you don’t have to rely on my rambling exposition to get an idea of what Nic sounds like. The site for his US label, New West, offers some full length mp3s and streaming stuff from the album, The Greatest White Liar.

There are a couple of dates where Nic Armstrong and the Thieves will be playing here in the States. He’s opening for Louis XIV, who are OK, but I don’t care for their ridiculous hipster affectations. They’ll be playing at the Middle East in Cambridge Monday, April 25th.


Things have gotten so bad with radio and music television that the majority of new music I hear comes from the musical guests on Conan O’Brien. It was during some random December show that I caught wind of Nellie McKay, several months after every critic praised her as the next big thing.

Her album, Get Away From Me, is a mix of fun songs and others that could’ve been popular during WWII.

Before she hit the big time, she attempted to break into the world of stand-up comedy. I have no idea if she was any good, but she comes across as having a good sense of humor in this AV Club interview from last year.


I just recently picked up The Kills‘ latest album No Wow. They’ve been compared to the White Stripes a lot, but I think they have more in common with The Jesus and Mary Chain.

I don’t have anything else to add about them, but don’t want to give them the short shrift. Here’s a lengthy Pitchfork review of the album.


I have far too much music for someone who’d rather lick an elephant’s balls than dance, but these are the three albums that are currently getting the most play on my mp3 player. If it turns out that my opinions were worthwhile to anyone, I might do this every couple of months, at least until the radio starts playing something other than whiny bullshit.

Yes, I entered the 21st century and picked up a Rio Carbon, a handy 5 Gig mp3 player. Note how I didn’t get an iPod. As a contrarian misanthrope, it is my duty to not buy trendy overpriced products that look like they were designed by Lisa Frank.