His hawkish good looks have never been tantalizing enough, and his songs have never had enough of a pulse to really lure me in. That is, until Nick Cave's new double album: With this one, he's got his vampire finger pointed at me, and I'm on my knees shouting hallelujah.
Cave and his Bad Seeds do something different with this one, throwing something a little more light-hearted at you than their usual marches of death and doldrums. The first half of Abattoir Blues feels a bit like your virgin Rocky Horror Picture Show experience -- it's full of brassy regalia, rolling guitars and heralding gospel singers. There's still a lot of Cave here for his regular fans, with plenty of murky backwoods sounds and lots of dark imagery.
The Lyre of Orpheus is a different story. It's experimental and emotional and leans on Cave's dark, heavy lyrics. As a whole, Abattoir and Lyre compliment each other -- nodding to his Birthday Party days, but acknowledging the future experimentation of the Bad Seeds. --Leah Sottile
Garden State soundtrack FOUR STARS
If a mixed CD is a constant reminder of a friend's good taste in music, then Zach Braff is my new best friend. You know him as that doofy doc on Scrubs, but he broke out of the mold earlier this summer with his own film, Garden State. Picking out the songs for the soundtrack is usually something "the committee" back at the studio decides on, which is why most soundtracks are awful. Not this time; this is all Braff -- "the music that was scoring my late 20s," he says.
It's a melancholy, moody bunch of songs, but there isn't a weak link among them. Braff has picked some gems from the likes of Coldplay, Nick Drake, Iron and Wine and even a forgotten classic from Simon & amp; Garfunkel. The high points are Zero 7's "In the Waiting Line," a hypnotically mellow tune, and "Lebanese Blonde" by Thievery Corporation, which is a cool blend of Middle Eastern and Western sounds.
If you're looking for a soundtrack to help you survive election-year angst, my buddy Zach can hook you up. -- Ted S. McGregor Jr.