The Boston Globe (!) printed a tour diary by Peter Prescott about Mission of Burma's trip to England to play the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. Prescott said he cried when he saw Consonant, Clint Conley's new band, play in London. I had almost the same reaction when I saw them last December. Laura and I went to see Yo La Tengo play the second Saturday of their Hannukah festival at Maxwell's in Hoboken, and I was just absolutely floored to find out that Clint's new band was the opening act. We didn't know that when we bought the tickets, or in fact until we got to the club. Hell, they weren't even known as Consonant yet when we saw them; they were billed as The Clint Conley Band. Gawd were they wonderful, and I was so happy.
So this past weekend I found a copy of the new record by Consonant. Wow. I finally unwrapped it tonight as I was fixing dinner, and, um, I've listened to it four times in a row now. I don't remember the last time a new album grabbed me like that. You can definitely hear the Burma-ness of the music, but it's not just Burma. Conley says they named the band Consonant to underscore the difference from the dissonance that was Burma's hallmark. He always was the poppy one. There are bits that remind me of the first Feelies record, and others, believe it or not, that make me think of The Monkees. The lyrics are interesting. Conley collaborated with poet Holly Anderson for more than half the songs, and the results are impressionistic fragments rather than straightforward narratives, and simply lovely. I wasn't surprised to find out that Anderson had helped Conley write the words to Burma's Mica, one of the more lyrically jagged songs Conley did with them. About the only thing missing from the record is that throat-clutching high-bass thing that Clint used to do with Burma. He plays guitar here, so no Burma trademark bass thing.
It's funny to see everyone saying that one of the reasons Burma decided to play again was the Michael Azerrad book about early 1980s punk rock that included a chapter about Burma. All the quotes in the articles I read tonight implied that the book enshrined Burma in the pantheon or something. They were always one of the most important bands of that period as far as I was concerned, and one of the few whose music I still pull out and play. It really holds up well. Incidentally, the Azerrad book, Our Band Could Be Your Life, is a great read. I got a copy for Christmas and devoured it.
My brother saw both the shows Burma played in New York in January. I considered going, and Laura really pushed, but it was shortly after I lost my job and I was still kind of shell-shocked and didn't want to spend a dime unnecessarily, so I said no. I've also got a natural aversion to seeing reunited bands. I would have no interest in seeing the Sex Pistols, for example. But I think I made a mistake in saying no to seeing Burma. They've got three shows booked on the west coast in July. I hope they come back to New York one more time before they go quiet again.
Posted at 9:39 PM
Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.
This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi.