Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Isolation Party

Tommy Keene's second Matador album Isolation Party has always sounded to me like a triple-A followup to Ten Years After. Listening to these albums in order shows that Tommy's career has been fairly consistent over the years, without many peaks or troughs, but there are certain albums I come back to and others that I don't. And Isolation Party is one of the ones that I don't.

The opening track, "Long Time Missing" starts things off with one of the best guitar riffs ever, and the cover of Mission of Burma's "Einstein's Day" may be better than the original (heresy!) but the second half of the album runs out of steam. It was recorded in Arizona with a cast of many (Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett from Wilco, Jeff Murphy from Shoes, Jesse Valenzuela from the Gin Blossoms) which makes things sound mainstream, and not in a good way. Not my least favorite Tommy Keene album, but not in the top five either.

Here's a live version of another song from Ten Years After.

I saw Tommy Keene live for the second time on Isolation Party tour, at the Peacock Lounge in SF, a tiny little bar in the Lower Haight were I've never seen any other shows. He put out a live album from the 1998 tour that sounded like the same show he put on that night, but was probably a different show on the same tour, with the same setlist. Good setlist though. If you encore with "Back To Zero Now" and "Places That Are Gone", everyone is guaranteed to go home happy!

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