Black Francis, Live in Nijmegen – A live recording of a show consisting pretty much entirely of stuff from around when Charles Thompson went back to releasing stuff as Black Francis. I won’t say this is my favorite era when it comes to his work, but it produced some cool songs. There are a lot of songs included from Bluefinger, the concept album about Dutch painter and musician Herman Brood, which Francis calls an opera. Some of the songs are given spoken introductions that tell a little more about them, like how “Dead Man’s Curve” is about Freddy Fender, and “I Sent Away” is about a sex robot. (I actually already knew the latter, but still.) I’m particular fond of the rock version of the old folk song “All Around the World.”
Belle and Sebastian, The Third Eye Centre – A compilation of B-sides from Dear Catastrophe Waitress on. B&S tend to have some really good songs that don’t make it to the albums for whatever reason, and they cover a lot of different styles in this collection. It’s not all as mellow as people often think the band is. A standout track here is the frequently changing “Your Cover’s Blown,” but there are a lot of others I quite like. There’s a mix of “I’m a Cuckoo” with some African-style music in the background (not sure why they didn’t include the Japanese version), the somewhat Latin-sounding “Mr Richard,” and the instrumental “Passion Fruit” that sounds like a television theme song. “Suicide Girl” and “Meat and Potatoes” have some amusing lyrics.