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Red Apple Falls Import


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Music

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Biography

An under-recognized pioneer of the lo-fi revolution, Smog was essentially the alias of one Bill Callahan, an enigmatic singer/songwriter whose odd, fractured music neatly epitomized the tenets and excesses of the home-recording boom. Melancholy, poignant, and self-obsessed, Callahan's four-track output offered a peepshow view into an insular world of alienation and inner turmoil, his ... Read more in Amazon's Smog Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Domino Records
  • ASIN: B000024RQ3
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,172 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

To his closest fans, it probably came as nothing less than outright heresy, but Red Apple Falls--the seventh album from the motherlode-of-miserycore Smog--ended sombre-faced indie pioneer Bill Callahan's nine-year flirtation with the ethics of lo-fi forever. That it was Smog's strongest work to date was in no small part down to the influence of producer Jim O'Rourke; coupling pianos, horns, pedal steel, and all manner of light alt-country flourishes to Callahan's desperate tales of withered love, all-consuming misanthropy, and doom-laden death imagery, O'Rourke skilfully twitches aside the curtains to let shafts of light into a monumentally twisted psyche. And while the record's first words--"The morning paper is on its way / It's all bad news on every page"--might be thoroughly bleak, this is undoubtedly a work of painful humanity; like the voice of, say, Leonard Cohen, Callahan's remarkably emotive, expressive semi-spoken vocal is capable of expressing anything from lump-in-throat empathy to startlingly inhuman callousness. Red Apple Falls would, in turn, be superceded by Smog's next record--2000's glorious Knock Knock--but this is Callahan's cold new dawn, and it sounds satisfyingly, peerlessly mordant. -- Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Newton on 19 Feb 2008
Format: Audio CD
Smog's `Red Apple Falls' is arguably alt-country in the truest sense of the definition; traditional country instruments such as pedal steel guitar, Hammond and piano are employed with Bill Callahan's unconventional musical vision to create something new and wonderful.

The album throughout is spare, unsettling and haunting. The mournful horn refrain and pessimistic lyric of `The Morning Paper' sets the tone for the record. `Red Apples' is so skeletal with its piano accompaniment; the lyrics to this song and several others evoke weirdly nightmarish imagery with repeating motifs.

The two real upbeat songs, `I Was a Stranger' and `Ex Con', both tell tales from the outsider's perspective. The former impresses particularly with its narrator's self-justifying excuses for socially unacceptable behaviour: "Why do you women in this town/Let me look at you so bold/When you should have seen what I was" ending with the killer couplet: "I was worse than a stranger/I was well known".

`Red Apple Falls' is undeniably depressing in places but it delivers an enormous emotional impact and is suffused with beauty and brilliance. It will get under your skin and stay with you like Lou Reed's `Berlin' or Slint's `Spiderland'. The only disappointing track is the closer `Finer Days', which is a bit aimless after the superb preceding ragged call-to-arms of `Inspirational', but I can only give it five stars. Wonderful stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Newton on 19 Feb 2008
Format: Audio CD
Smog's `Red Apple Falls' is arguably alt-country in the truest sense of the definition; traditional country instruments such as pedal steel guitar, Hammond and piano are employed with Bill Callahan's unconventional musical vision to create something new and wonderful.

The album throughout is spare, unsettling and haunting. The mournful horn refrain and pessimistic lyric of `The Morning Paper' sets the tone for the record. `Red Apples' is so skeletal with its piano accompaniment; the lyrics to this song and several others evoke weirdly nightmarish imagery with repeating motifs.

The two real upbeat songs, `I Was a Stranger' and `Ex Con', both tell tales from the outsider's perspective. The former impresses particularly with its narrator's self-justifying excuses for socially unacceptable behaviour: "Why do you women in this town/Let me look at you so bold/When you should have seen what I was" ending with the killer couplet: "I was worse than a stranger/I was well known".

`Red Apple Falls' is undeniably depressing in places but it delivers an enormous emotional impact and is suffused with beauty and brilliance. It will get under your skin and stay with you like Lou Reed's `Berlin' or Slint's `Spiderland'. The only disappointing track is the closer `Finer Days', which is a bit aimless after the superb preceding ragged call-to-arms of `Inspirational', but I can only give it five stars. Wonderful stuff.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The songs on this album are quite accessible without being obvious. You still might have to listen several times before they hook you, but a great album. One star off cause it won't be for everyone and don't want you to think its a must have album.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Damnably on 4 Feb 2011
Format: Audio CD
album and one of his best without a doubt. Funny, poppy, lofi, crazy and sexy-he's the best sex music maker aside from the flight of the conchords.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By klaher on 27 April 2010
Format: Audio CD
Smog's 1997 album saw mainman Bill Callahan team up with producer/multi-instrumentalist Jim O'Rourke to flesh out the sound with French horns, trumpets, piano and steel guitar featuring prominently in a bid to shrug off the `lo-fi' tag. Whatever lo-fi means.

Callahan still had his rickety buzzing guitar at this point, and a fair degree of vulnerability (gone in his most recent work) remained in his vocals. This combination, along with generous helpings of horns and piano is how the album kicks off with the track The Morning Paper. The music mirrors the subject matter, sounding a bit like dawn breaking, the piano in particular here is quite lovely. Callahan's vocals on this one sound a little `generic singer-songwriter'. Things get a little darker with Blood Red Bird, where Callahan retreats to his electric guitar and his lower register for a somewhat brooding number.

Red Apples is a pretty sparse gothic dirge featuring mainly piano as he sings about going "down to the river to meet the widow" and sleeping "in her black arms for a century". I Was a Stranger picks up the tempo and the country influence with prominent steel guitar. To Be of Use is as vulnerable as Callahan gets as he sings in a high register for him over gently plucked guitar, with some borderline disturbing lyrics: "most of my fantasies are of to be of use." Red Apple Falls, the title track continues with the `red' theme in the song titles, and combines some warm countrified music, again led by steel guitar, with harrowing subject matter ("when I think about my brother dying and my parents trying to slowly do themselves in"). You almost feel like you're intruding, eavesdropping on a private catharsis.
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