Somebody's still drinking the Chris Holmes Kool-Aid | Bleader

Somebody's still drinking the Chris Holmes Kool-Aid


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Chris Holmes
  • Chris Holmes
Few musicians in recent Chicago history could work a room like Chris Holmes, though it sometimes seemed like he could turn any conversation into an exegesis on his own brilliance. I'm obviously not a fan, but I've got to hand it to the guy—he knows how to keep himself in the conversation. Holmes now lives in Los Angeles—a city much better suited than unglamorous Chicago to his brand of style without substance—and he's just released another album by his long-running project Ashtar Command. I'm certain it will be quickly forgotten, like every other record he's made, but he plays writer Matt Diehl like a violin in a feature published last week in the Los Angeles Times.

There are so many stretched truths and wild spins going on hard it's hard to know which to mention. One of my favorite lines is this one: "Holmes' next band, Yum-Yum, signed to Atlantic Records, but its sweet orchestral pop confused post-grunge audiences," which is a charitable way of saying that the record was so dull that nobody gave a rat's ass about it. The only thing confusing about it was how it got released on a major label. We're supposed to be impressed when record producer Nigel Godrich says Holmes has never opportunistically foisted his music on him, as though Holmes is actually modest and loathe to promote himself—a suggestion that'd stick a lot better if Holmes hadn't admitted earlier in the piece that he's only "famous to famous people." I feel something welling up in my stomach, so I'll step back and let you marvel at the piece yourself.

Below you can watch the video for the single "Mark IV" featuring guest singer Josh Radin, who seems to have become a success mostly by getting his tedious music placed on TV shows and commercials.

Today's playlist:

Alan Jackson, Freight Train (Arista)
Martial Solal, Gary Peacock, and Paul Motian, Just Friends (Dreyfus)
Red Krayola with Art & Language, Five American Portraits (Drag City)
Astor Piazzolla, Nuestro Tiempo (Sony/BMG, Argentina)
Uwe Oberg & Evan Parker, Full Bloom (Jazzwerkstatt)