Reviews by C and D (Arthur No. 11/July 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 11 (July 2004)


Fiery Furnaces
Blueberry Boat
(Rough Trade)
D: [extremely puzzled] Is this the Residents?!?
C: It’s Fiery Furnaces. Second album in one year. Usually when you say “difficult second album,” you mean it was hard for the artist. But this is actually hard on the audience!
D: [grimacing] I am not sure if I like this much.
C: It’s… it’s… it’s completely nuts. But: interesting nuts.
D: I remember them now! They were interviewed in Arthur. Brother and sister. But I thought they were blues-rocking New York people? What is all this synthesizer-ragtime stuff?!?
C: It’s like low-key prog. [looking at CD player] We’re in the ninth minute of the first song here… 13 songs, 75 minutes… The whole thing is a wigged-out concept album, man. I dig it.
D: [irritated] I do not have time for concepts! I am a ramblin’ man, that’s what I am.
C: Don’t spill your Dr. Pepper, Popeye. There’s a lot of good stuff on here, it’s just sorta tucked away in pockets within pockets in a large spangled coat of many prog colors.
D: This is too wacky and too wordy. [Brightens, listening to riff midway through second song] I like that, though. I think these guys may be too smart for their own good.
C: A singles-only edit of this album would be nice for the Short Attention Spanners out there…

Comets On Fire
Blue Cathedral
(Sub Pop)
C: The new one from Comets On Fire, full-on super-rock five-piece from the Bay Area. They keep the demons at bay.
D: Yes! Big super-blaster balls-nailed-to-the-wall heavy power rock from a space cannon!
C: Amazing, visionary wizardstuff. And they give you a break in the middle of songs—there’s these lighter sections, they’re even choogling here and there, mellowing the crunchy harsh.
D: [listening to keyboard-heavy “Pussy Footin’ the Duke.”] There is a taste of the prog here, too! But I don’t mind because the riffs are deep canyons and the singer is a yowler and the drums are mighty!
C: It’s like the best of Japanese power-rock plus Quicksilver Messenger Serivce or Meddle-era Pink Floyd plus Kiss. Album-of-the-year contender.
D: I am going to make a pilgrimage to this Blue Cathedral.
C: Which is right next door to the Acid Mothers Temple, no doubt.

The Reigning Sound
Too Much Guitar!
(In the Red)
D: The Reigning Sound! Mister Greg Cartwright! Long may he reign. I doff my beer in his general direction. Heartfelt thrashing songs with a zest for life!
C: [nodding head] The is one of those records that gives garage rock a good name. Which is pretty hard, considering there’s like 45,000 bands out there who are trying to do the same thing over the last three decades.
D: I am getting old. But I will get out my leather jacket for these guys. And stitch their name on it, as is my duty.
C: They’ve got actual songs, it’s not just the two-chord mono-grind smear. And listen to this ballad [“Funny Thing”]. If you’re not a connoiseur of this sort of stuff, it sound like something between the Stones and the Hives. And the Hives are taking them on the tour, so there you go.
D: Giving them that big Swedish stamp of approval!

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Great Grandma’s Macaroni — a recipe and a story from The Reigning Sound’s Greg Cartwright (Arthur, 2004)

Come On In My Kitchen
by Greg Cartwright of the Reigning Sound

originally published in Arthur No. 11 (July 2004)

Greg Cartwright is one of American rock ‘n’ roll’s great undersung heroes, a veteran of legendary Memphis grease-rock outfits the Oblivians and the Compulsive Gamblers. Too Much Guitar!, the career-highlight new album by his latest band, The Reigning Sound, is reviewed by C & D in this issue; the band will be touring with the Hives across North America later this summer.

About nine years ago, while I was touring in Spain, I met an American girl who happened to be there on vacation. Conversation led to the fact that we were both looking for The Revlons’ “The Way You Touch My Hand” single. The stars were lining up but the van was leaving. Almost a year later I met her again in New York and I wound up staying at her apartment for three days. On the third day we decided to stay in because we knew it was our last night together. I said, “Let’s cook something.” She said, “I only know how to cook one thing.” She called it “Great Grandma’s Macaroni.” Was it good? I married her, didn’t I? Here goes:

1. Boil 1 package of macaroni noodles.
2. Put them in a casserole dish and mix in one small can of tomato sauce.
3. Chop up half a sweet vidalia (yellow) onion and mix it in too.
4. Add a pinch of thyme, a little oregano and salt & pepper to your taste.
5. Mix it all up good and spread a nice thick layer of shredded cheddar across the top.
6. Bake at 375 degrees about 20 minutes, or until the cheese starts to turn golden brown.

My only addition to this recipe over the last seven years has been to add a pound of seasoned ground beef in place of step 4. Thanks to Esther’s great grandma for the recipe!