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01 December 2005



"The Bad Plus are infamous for their wry covers of "Heart of Glass," "Chariots of Fire," etc, but their real strength is in their brilliantly constructed originals."

Exactly, I've felt this to be the case ever since I first listened to "These Are The Vistas" and was always surprised that all the nay-saying jazz establishment could comment about was "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I also have the FSNT debut, but no others. "Suspicious Activity" is getting a lot of interesting press, have you heard it?


Hey Mwanji,

I haven't picked up Suspicious Activity yet (is the malware-free version in stores yet?) but I've heard most of the tunes played live several times now (most recently last Saturday when they opened for Ornette Coleman), and the tunes are notably more cohesive, subtle, melodic, and heartfelt than on previous records. It feels like now that they've established what they're all about, they have less to prove and have more freedom to stretch. I think "Anthem for the Earnest," "Rhinoceros is my Profession," "Let Our Garden Grown," and "Knows The Difference" are some of the strongest tunes in the Bad Plus book.

On the other hand, I can't say I felt a burning desire for a "Chariots of Fire" cover from this (or any) band, but oh well, it's just one track.

Anyway, I've been meaning to write a "Why are the Bad Plus so controversial?" post for a while -- this not a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely baffled. And I'm not talking about the Stanley Crouch crowd or the people who have only heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Lots of musicians and listeners whose taste I respect and who are sympathetic to the idea of reaching out to the indie rock crowd absolutely hate The Bad Plus -- have walked out of their shows, seem genuinely traumatized by their "Street Woman" cover, etc, but never seem to be able to adequately explain the intensity of their antipathy.

Maggie Osterberg

I think I need to check those guys out, as I'm firmly in the Yo La/Nels Cline camp.

Thanks for the pointers, DJ!


Thanks for the TBP appreciation. I don't know if the XCP version has reached shelves (here in Belgium or elsewhere), but I'll probably be buying it at some point. Is there a way to tell which version contains the software and which does not?


Hey Mwanji,

I don't think the XCP discs were ever released in Europe. Also, as far as I know, the affected CDs were all marked with the XCP Logo.

Sucks that this was inflicted on Sony bands without their consent or knowledge. Apparently nobody had any idea what was going on until the shit hit the fan.

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