Inder's Takes — Nilsson

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Flex » 23 Jul 2011, 12:34am

Flex's takes on Inder's thread:

Spotlight on Nilsson - 9 Thumbs Up - These are kind of interesting tracks. Very lo-fi, demo-ish. Sort of throwback rock n roll (for the time), but Nilsson's vocals are strong. Particularly winning tracks include "So You Think You've Got Troubles" and a robust cover of "Sixteen Tons". The cd release release I have include John Stewart's Willard album - a folk/country release from 1970 - which is probably better.

Pandemonium Shadow Show - 29 Thumbs Up - A luxurious psych pop album which wears the year 1967 on its sleeve. Beatles comparisons of the time are obvious and probably intentional given the inclusion of two Beatles covers, including a wicked pissah version of "She's Leaving Home" which may or may not be better than the original. I was pretty blown away when I first heard this album on Master Inder's orders. I'm not sure I ever heard any of these cuts before and I was impressed by their sophistication (while keeping a sort of lighthearted and breezy feel throughout most of the record), even more so when I learned this was the fucker's debut album. Damn, son. "1941" rules hard and I love the finishing cover of "River Deep, Mountain High". Whole album is righteous.

Aerial Ballet - 23 Thumbs Up - Whereas PSS was, like, totes new I'm pretty sure I've already heard just about everything on this album before. But, hey, it's all great stuff. Similar to PSS, but a little more... I dunno... singer/songwriter-y (in a good way). Nilsson anticipates Japanese fetish videos by writing a love song to his desk and, of course, songs like "Everybody's Talkin'" are as massive as they are fun to tragi-comedically sing out loud yourself. "One" is fantastic.

Aerial Pandemonium Ballet - 10 Thumbs Up - "Very good, Louis. Short, but pointless."
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 23 Jul 2011, 1:08am

:cool:

NB: the version of River Deep on Aerial Pandemonium is fantastic. His re-recorded vox are way up front and more in line with the ballsier Schmillson-era timbre.

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 30 Jul 2011, 4:50pm

To continue my comparison, Play to Win is totally The Flying Saucer Song. Bongos and all.

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 02 Aug 2011, 1:55pm

After wading through Duit On Mon Dei and Sandman (and skipping the RCA-mandated That's the Way It Is because It Sucks) — both surprisingly rewarding, given the general consensus being that Pussy Cats was the end for Nilsson — Knnillssonn is a revelation. I'll just paste the AllMusic review:
Realizing that he had nothing left to lose when he got to the end of his RCA contract, Harry Nilsson wound up recording his best, most distinctive record since Pussy Cats, maybe, Son of Schmilsson. Abandoning the very idea of a mainstream pop album is just the beginning of his conceptual coup here with Knnillssonn. Recording almost all of the sounds with keyboards and guitars, Nilsson also decided to drive the guitars into the background. In some ways, this may make it similar to A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, but instead of being a standards record, this is all new material, written in a classical pop style and delivered in a slightly modernistic fashion. The result is an album that's out of step with its time and with the era's music in general. With its old-fashioned pop sensibility and weirdly out of sync production, plus Nilsson's trademark clever songsmithery and impish humor, Knnillssonn is a pop album like no other. It has his best set of songs in many a year, and the production is fascinating, yet at times it sounds like he's trying a little too hard. Still, there are brilliant moments, whether it's a tune as seductive as "All I Think About Is You" or the Agatha Christie murder mystery salute "Who Done It?" For all the cultists who struggled with, and at times embraced, his years of uneven records, this is their reward: an album that may only appeal to a small audience, but that satisfies their every desire about what an album from their favorite artist should be.
Wiki says this was pegged to be his big comeback album, but then Elvis kicked it and the label's promised promotional dollars were swiftly reallocated.

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 03 Aug 2011, 1:56pm

Knnillssonn's still blowing my mind. It's like if he'd done Aerial Ballet in the late-70s.

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by SteveSatch » 04 Aug 2011, 10:21pm

Inder wrote:To continue my comparison, Play to Win is totally The Flying Saucer Song. Bongos and all.
There's actually a song to be had in The Flying Saucer Song though if it had been recorded as a song. Nilsson mucks it up by turning it into a novelty track though. He puts novelty lyrical moments in a few too many of his songs.



edit for spelling mistake
Last edited by SteveSatch on 04 Aug 2011, 11:30pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 04 Aug 2011, 11:06pm

I don't know what else to post to convince people to listen to Nilsson, so I'm going to try to guilt everyone into it with effort. Here's a list (to listen to in order, not by favourites) for rookies. I'm going to list three standout tracks per album, otherwise I'd end up writing up every song he's ever done. I've organized it in a sequence that makes sense to listen to rather than in order of quality. If you had four to listen to, I'd go Pandemonium, Nilsson Schmilsson, Pussy Cats and Knnillssonn.
1) Aerial Ballet (3rd album) — where The Beatles/Kinks/Who etc had been looking to music hall around this period, this album sounds Nilsson going through a recently discovered cache of Tin Pan Alley classics. This is the one with Everybody's Talkin' and One.

Standout tracks:

Good Old Desk - a faux vaudeville/tap dance opening eases us into the first song on the LP, which itself a fantastic slice of late-60s American pop. Low-key and unassuming brass and woodwind. Aural equivalent to a pleasant breeze on an already pleasant afternoon.

Mr. Richland's Favourite Song - apparently Lennon's favourite track off the album, this really captures the essence of Aerial Ballet well — a song about a washed up performer set to a moderato foxtrot.

Bath - a sassy thing with sassy brass. sounds like something a stripper would strip to sassily.
2) Pandemonium Shadow Show (2nd album) - where the Nilsson legend really began. Beatles' publicist Derek Taylor heard one of the songs playing in a supermarket while in the States and bought a crate of albums to send to people across London.

Standout tracks:

Ten Little Indians - again, paired with an introduction "...presenting Nilsson and his Shandemanium Shadow Po!". Later covered by the Yardbirds, a fantastic military drum-driven track with the verses climbing up a step each go around until the 5th little Indian…where he returns to the home key stylishly. One of my favourite Nilsson songs.

She's Leaving Home - like Flexo, I think I prefer this to the Beats.

Without Her - think Sleepwalk meets Leopardskin Limousines: irregular, touching.
3) Harry (4th album) - a natural progression from 'Ballet, this is whole-hog vaudeville.

Standouts:

The Puppy Song - solicited by McCartney as a Mary Hopkin vehicle for Apple, Nilsson's version is brilliant. Ingenious, effortless, pop.

Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore - unabashed, amazing, Americana.

Mourning Glory Story - a song about a hooker in the vein of For No One set to sympathetic strings.
4) Nilsson Schmilsson (7th album) - Nilsson phase 2, in which Harry gets his oats. Grown up, more guitars, harder rocking, no more nostalgia.

Standouts:

Gotta Get Up - sounds like a lost Beatles single. Fantastic opener.

Without You - Rock the Casbah.

Jump into the Fire - hard rock. false intro. dirty bass.
5) Son of Schmilsson (8th album) - Nilsson Schmilsson with sax and a pissed off sounding singer.

Standouts:

Joy - takes the absolute mick out of Johnny Cash. As suggested by the demos, this started off as a semi-sincere jokey track which turned into the greatest Cash pastiche ever. And it's a great song.

The Lottery Song - a touching little piano-based track. sounds like what McCartney should've been doing instead of trying to understand disco.

Remember (Christmas) - his magnum opus? maybe. sort of anticipates his standards album (A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, his 9th album).
6) Nilsson Sings Newman (5th album) - one of the great American singer-songwriters covers a great American singer-songwriter in 1969. Nilsson does all the vocals and harmonies, while Newman does piano (providing the more or less the only instrumentation on the album). Flawless, I think.

Standouts:

Vine Street: starts with a guitar/tamb rave before settling into a sad track about a has-been Hollywood guitarist. Harmony-boner.

Beehive State: heavier treatment of one of Newman's (trademarked) sarky tracks.

So Long Dad: I don't really know what to say about any of these without lapsing into an extended fanboygasm. Just listen to them, OK?
7) Pussy Cats (10th album) - produced by Lennon, Nilsson blew out his voice entering into a screaming contest with JL (ie: who could scream loudest, longest and rockiest). Listening to this after the Newman album is a huge Wow moment.

Standouts:

Many Rivers to Cross - heavy, heavy heavy. sounds like a bullet in slow motion. amazing cover. amazing vocals.

Loop De Loop - no doubt dug out of a pile of novelty singles, he sounds like he's singing after a week's worth of non-stop scotch and cigarettes. sounds like a slow-mo rave.

Black Sails - again, heavy strings. very atmospheric. Again, just listen to the thing instead of reading me trying vainly to describe it.
8+9) Duit on Mon Dei/Sandman (11th and 12th) - voice still more or less blown out after Pussy Cats, the songwriting is slightly in decline, but, as I posted earlier, still rewarding.

Standouts:

It's a Jungle Out There - tropical vibe courtesy steel drums and flute with an irresistible chorus hook (with the drums going into a semi-disco snare-hat thing). A very fun song.

Puget Sound - a sing-song affair, almost a children's song, if the lyrics weren't so terrifying.

Flying Saucer Song - a fun number, ostensibly a barroom conversation set to music with some killer proper song bits. too bad the fun/killer ratio wasn't reversed.

(Thursday) Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today - Bacharach via Waits.
10) Knnillssonn (14th album) - sounds like a late-70s Aerial Ballet. That is to say, amazing. Unfortunately, he'd more or less vanished from the musical radar for most people, so this is criminally under-heard. This is fucking amazing.

Standouts:

All I Think About is You
I Never Thought I'd Get This Lonely
Who Done It
Goin' Down
Old Bones

Just go listen to them, you boob.
FIN

Flex
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Flex » 05 Aug 2011, 1:58am

Awesome to read the recc's and reviews, but I'll point out that I'm already listening to Nilsson. :approve:
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 05 Aug 2011, 10:15am

Flex wrote:Awesome to read the recc's and reviews, but I'll point out that I'm already listening to Nilsson. :approve:
:cool:

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Dr. Medulla » 05 Aug 2011, 10:20am

Isn't this thread about Roger Neilson?
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Wolter » 05 Aug 2011, 10:23am

Every day I feel a little guiltier, Inder. Soon you will break me.
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by SteveSatch » 05 Aug 2011, 10:24pm

One thing about Harry is there's a lot of subtle things in the production that really shine if you listen on a good system with lossless files. You might miss them if you're listening to 128 kb mp3 files on an ipod with crappy earbuds. I'm not saying anyone here have crappy audio setups, but it helps to know with certain bands there's a huge difference in what you hear based on what you listen it them on.
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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 06 Aug 2011, 12:52am

Wolter wrote:Every day I feel a little guiltier, Inder. Soon you will break me.
My pal who introduced me to HN made a good point tonight (as Limp Bizkit blared through the bar's PA...) — he's especially fantastic when you're in your mid-twenties and looking for something beyond angry guitar music. Or guitar music generally.

To me, Nilsson is a one-man Beatles-meets-Beach Boys. Fantastic, and intelligent, pop sensibility with personality to spare.

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Rat Patrol » 06 Aug 2011, 1:15am

Inder wrote:To me, Nilsson is a one-man Beatles-meets-Beach Boys. Fantastic, and intelligent, pop sensibility with personality to spare.
I can't wait for the Christmas album!

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Re: Inder's Takes — Nilsson

Post by Inder » 06 Aug 2011, 1:34am

If he'd done a Christmas album, it'dve probably been better than awesome.

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