Friday, April 27, 2007

Concert preview at the bottom of this page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Latest column is here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Jarvis Cocker, Webster Hall, New York City, 4/22/07

The opening band was deeply mediocre, and the main event was further delayed when the roadies spent 15 minutes puzzling over a malfunctioning piece of equipment near the drum kit. But all such concerns evaporated once the man hit the stage.

He wore a grey blazer, flannel shirt, black jeans and sported a truly awesome belt buckle (some pictures here and here) and his now-trademark big glasses. Yes, nowadays, Jarvis has the look of a perpetually startled college professor, but it seems totally appropriate, since the album Jarvis posits a worldview that’s both endlessly befuddled and deeply perturbed.

He just may possibly have the most natural and idiosyncratic stage presence I’ve ever seen. At 43, Jarvis still commands a crowd like he did in his prime. With his jutting hip and wild hand gestures, it sometimes looks as if he’s executing a highly elaborate dance routine that he hasn’t bothered to teach anyone else. (Sort of the opposite of the video for Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” which I’ve always loved since it features a large crowd suddenly executing a perfect, elaborate dance routine.) In between songs, his stage banter was charmingly rambling, and he seems genuinely interested in making an actual connection with an audience

The backing band consisted of a crew of stone-faced road warriors (including Pulp bassist Steve Mackey). Like the stone-faced thrift-store chic that the members of Pulp specialized in, their aesthetic wisely abdicates the spotlight to the frontman. Besides, if anyone else attempted any elaborate routines of showmanship, it would just be too much.

The best songs of the night were “Big Julie,” “Running the World” and “Big Stuff.” (The latter was one of two stellar b-sides performed. Like many Pulp b-sides, these songs were perfectly worthy of making it onto an album.) Those three songs had in common the rising swells of drama that have always brought the best in Jarvis as both a performer and writer. (“My Legendary Girlfriend,” “Common People,” “This is Hardcore,” “Sunrise” and on and on…)

I will continue to maintain that he should pencil more time for lengthier American tours and, yes, he should play a show here in Philly. In my own crazy way, I believe this album – full of guitar hooks and warm arrangements and generous melodies – has more potential in the U.S. than any Pulp album. Hope springs eternal: He’ll be on Letterman this Friday, for the first time since Pulp played “Common People” on the show in 1996.

4/22/07 Set List
(Thanks to PulpWiki for helping jog my memory)

Fat Children
Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time
Heavy Weather
One Man Show
I Will Kill Again
From A to I
Big Julie
Disney Time
Big Stuff
Running the World

Heaven (Talking Heads cover)
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Plenty of Pulp goodies on YouTube (see here), but the greatest find is most definitely the hour-long BBC documentary The Story of Pulp's "Common People," helpfully split up into six parts. Here's part one.

And here are parts two, three, four, five, and six.

Lots of good stuff here: The other members of Pulp get more interview time than usual, and Jarvis' mother makes an appearance as well!

All things being equal, the next entry on this blog will be my review of Sunday's show.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Scroll down for a CD review here.
Jarvis/Pulp Links of Note

Acrylic Afternoons: Currently, the best of the Pulp fan pages. Has a great archive of transcribed interviews, among other fun stuff.

PulpWiki: In particular, I recommend this.

Pulp People: The web home for the official fan page. It's been inactive since the band went on hiatus in 2002, but still has a lot of good info you can't find elsewhere.

Truth and Beauty: Mark Sturdy's website for his fantastic, enormous Pulp bio of the same name.

Bar Italia: Once a complete listing of every song the band ever recorded (with lyrics, reviews and other useful stuff), it's been mothballed for a while in preparation for an impending redesign. For now, there's a message board worth reading. (For now, PulpWiki has the most information on songs released, rumored and otherwise.)

Last but not least, Jarvis' MySpace.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Following up on the previous post...

So let's talk about release dates. My favorite album of '04, Art Brut's Bang Bang Rock and Roll, did not get released in America till '05. I took the hard line that the album could not reappear on my '05 list. However, recently I remembered that in 2001 I listed Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in my best-of list, despite that it was only available at the time as an online stream and/or leak. And when it was bona fide released in 2002, I put it at number one.

Now I find myself in a similar situation. Jarvis received a '06 release in the Europe and elsewhere and an '07 release here in the States. I have no intention still of listing it on the '07 list. Am I wrong? If there are any critics or listmakers who wish to comment, please tell me: Where do you stand on the nature of imports, delayed release dates in the U.S. and the like?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Originally uploaded by poppywhore.
Times are tough, but let's focus on the positives. On Sunday, April 22, I will finally be seeing Jarvis Cocker in concert, at Webster Hall in New York City. To commemorate, and to countdown, I'll be posting various Cocker/Pulp related things. Firstly, here is an excellent Flickr page of Jarvis photos, mostly from his current solo tour. Thanks to Flickr users poppywhore and mandy-may (see previous post) for the use of their photos here.
Originally uploaded by