all together now

by pieces of moments

Back in my days as a Cantabrigian* my friend Margaret and I had once per month soul food dinners. We always went to the same place, my beloved Coast Cafe (seriously, when you find yourself in Boston/Cambridge – go there). There’s a reason it’s called soul food, you know, especially when you go to Coast Cafe, where the food has so much love in it you cannot (cannot) leave there and continue to carry the cares of your day. Walk in, enjoy the smiles and the hugs (if you happen to be regulars, like we were), and then dig in.

But anyway, back to business. So one on of these evenings, while Margaret and I sat perched on the bar stools enjoying our chicken and black eyed peas, our conversation turned to music (duh). We started to talk about how the concept of an album might be all too quickly disappearing with the popularity of itunes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I use itunes as much as the next person, and I, too, frequently purchase only the tracks I’m needing (especially for my research). But, having confessed that, I do feel there is a kind of artistic sacredness to an album. It’s a whole work of art. Each song relies upon the last in some way to give it context. The flow is either good, bad, or just pure genius. No one takes much notice of the importance of order unless an album is so perfectly sewn together that it becomes impossible to hit the skip button (like, with OK Computer, for a quick example). Excellence is something everyone can recognize even if they cannot spell out in detail what makes it so. It just is.

So, in light of that conversation, I was really happy to learn about the All Tomorrow’s Parties (the concert peeps, not the novel) concert series called Don’t Look Back. At DLB concerts bands are invited to come perform an entire album live, with songs in album order. How amazing is that!? There’s a lot of buzz right now as Spiritualized is going to be up for a DLB concert (conveniently paired with the re-issue of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space). The bad news, especially if you happen to really like Spiritualized (as many albums of theirs as I have, I can’t seem to get past a solid “meh”), is all the full LAGWAFIS album concerts are in the UK. But, keep checking the DLB USA website for any stateside shows of full albums by other artists.

*As defined (brilliantly, correctly, and hilariously) by the Urban Dictionary:

1. People’s Republic of Cambridge

An independent state just north of Boston, with two universities and one way of waging war: writing nasty notes and putting them on people’s windshields. Has enough organic grocery stores, indie bookshops, and other college-town fripperies to satisfy an army of Sartre-reading undergrads.
Newbie: Why do they call this place the People’s Republic of Cambridge?
Native: Because more people voted for Nader than Bush in 2000.
Cambridgeite 1: You wanna go down to Bread & Circus and pick up some pine nuts and kale?
Cambridgeite 2: But that’s really out of my way, I was planning to head down to Harvard Books. If only we had public transportation we could solve this problem.
Cambridgeite 1: What do you think this is, New York? I am so sticking a note on your car for your thought crimes.