This month's "On The Platter" and "On The Floor" selections might as well be filed under "The Usual Suspects" 'cos there aren't any surprises to be had. So far as the books are concerned, there is an element in my seasonal moodiness that keeps me from getting completely engaged in any of them, even the Pelecanos and Burke titles. If I were to analyze what's going on, I'd probably proffer a variation on Woody Allen's feeble mea culpa, "The heart wants what it wants." Right now my heart wants something other than what my favorite authors are prone to deliver.
As for the music, I can say this time that I am pleased by the lack of surprises. Los Lobos' Tin Can Trust has already been spun more frequently in our house than The Town & The City was. TCT sits closer in tradition to Good Morning, Aztlan, which to my ears is a good thing.
Devo returned to the studio after two or three decades of different members' side projects, generally to good effect. As I and their ouevre grew older, I typically found myself gravitating to their earliest incarnation as a guitar-centered band. Even so, this latest synthesizer-oriented outing has its infectious moments ("Human Rocket" and "What We Do" stand out), very much benefiting from the latest techno production trends which bring out that, "What was in that drink?" feeling. And it's more than a little comforting to see that the band can re-tailor their industrial rubber jumpsuits in a way that doesn't just accommodate late-in-life girth, but actually re-emphasizes the pertinence of de-evolutionary theory.
And I'm enjoying the new Robert Plant disc, as well, as much for its attitude as for its polish. It's gratifying that he eschewed the expected (and, I'm sure, vigorously encouraged) Raising Even More Sand project. It's also gratifying to hear him pick up from the "less is more" approach that he had to take with Ms. Krause. Band Of Joy doesn't have quite the oomph that Raising Sand had from beginning to end, but it certainly has moments of astonishing flash. But for whatever reason, Plant has, after several decades of solo projects that I couldn't be bothered with, completely recaptured my attention.
Finally, I apologize for the brevity-bordering-on-terseness, but I'm packing for a weekend in Montreal. Notes to follow upon my return.