Elaine Shute is a volunteer programmer at WERU-FM, a community radio station in Downeast Maine. Her show ‘On the Wing’, a three-hour eclectic mix of music, airs on alternating Mondays, and can be streamed on demand. Here are five albums she’s loving right now…
1 – Mott the Hoople, Brain Capers: Picked up this album a couple of years ago, popped it on the stereo, and puttered about. It made no impression, so, upon noticing it on the shelf recently, I thought I might sell it. Had no memory of what it sounded like, so I cued it up. Wow! Turned my head completely around from the get go – Death May Be Your Santa Claus. Shades of Exile on Main Street in that one. (If Dylan and Mick Jagger had a baby, that child would grow up to be Ian Hunter – a poet with rock star swagger). The high point may be The Journey. A power ballad that explodes midway, like machine gun fire, into an arena rock anthem.
2 – TV On the Radio, Nine Types of Light: I hate to cook. This album got me through making dinner tonight. A total adrenaline rush that gets me moving, from the point in the opening cut, Second Song where the synthesizers really kick in. I love the sound of this band. And Tunde Adebimpe has one of those voices that can slip into a great falsetto at the drop of a hat. A quality I find irresistible. Only discovered the band with this album. I hear their others are pretty good. I’ll check them out sometime. For now, this is enough.
3 – Robyn Hitchcock, I Often Dream of Trains: I always keep an RH album near at hand. Some artists you just take to in a very fundamental way. Like they’re a member of your family. How many other rockers have a sense of humour? If Lewis Carroll wrote rock lyrics, this is what they would sound like. Not my favourite album of his. That would be…hmmm…Shadow Cat, maybe. But my son always sings along with Uncorrected Personality Traits, and this makes me laugh.
4 –Patterson Hood, Heat Lightening Rumbles in the Distance: A new, quietly compelling alt-country album by a member of the Drive By Truckers. Described in the liner notes as a sort of musical memoir about growing up in Alabama. Sweetly melancholy. The Lambchop-like (Untold Pretties) is a highlight.
5 – Patti Smith, Banga: Have been trying to dig this. I so admire Patti. However, am finding only isolated cuts to my liking. Production is too slick. Diminishes her edgy sound. April Fool sounds like a gawd-awful attempt at an adult-contemporary single. On the other hand Maria is an undeniably beautiful track. Conjured images of Robert Mapplethorpe for me, until I read she’d written it about the late actress Maria Schneider.