on 4 March 2003
I first encountered the Red House Painters on a CD given away with a music magazine.
The song was 'Grace Cathedral Park'. It seems strange now but I was immediately taken aback with the languid style of the song. It was and is a great pop song, albeit a slow one. But it is beautifully understated and grabs your attention by seemingly not trying to do so.
Then I bought Retrospective and I heard Katy Song, which is one of my favourite songs.
Katy Song, Grace Cathedral Park, Summer Dress and Michael are all excellent songs and definitely encourage you to buy the rest of their back catalogue.
CD 2is not as good but will be appreciated by hardcore fans
I now own all of their work and they are, I think, my favourite band.
I have spent alot of time and money since buying this trying to find bands similar to RHP (Dakota Suite, Low, American Music Club), and as far as I can see, there aren't any that do this kind of music as well as these guys do.
on 22 July 2001
The Red House Painters are a group that have been lauded by many and unheard of by most. It's a shame because, as with artists such as Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, they have a way of making everyone feel exactly what they were feeling when the songs were recorded. The first disc is compiled as an "introduction" to the world of the Red House Painters, and it does just that, covering everything from their cover of Ace Frehley's "Shock Me" to the sublime meloncholy of "Grace Cathedral Park". It is a worthy sampler, and a must have for anyone contemplating the further world of RHP. The Second disc is an array of demos, unreleased songs and live tracks. While under normal circumstances this is usually a put off to listeners not familiar with the band's ouvre, in RHP's case, it is another great taster of the different styles of their music. Also, since a few of the songs (Shock Me, Mistress)appear on the first CD in completed form, it is an interesting way to hear and understand the original idea of the songs. Retrospective is the perfect introduction to the world of Red House Painters, once the sheer volume of material is overlooked.
This compilation captures the 4AD years of Red House Painters- disc One is a basic best of, stemming from albums such as Down Colourful Hill, Red House Painters (two diff eponymous albums) & Ocean Beach. Plenty of fine songs: Grace Cathedral Park, Drop, Rollercoaster, Evil & the band version of New Jersey. The highlight is the epic Katy Song.
Disc 2 is one for the fans- a collection of various demos, outtakes & live versions- Dragonflies, Funhouse, Helicopter & Summer Dress are all delivered in alternate forms.
My only quibble with this, is that Down Colourful Hill is under-represented & my fave RHP-track Down Through is not here. I still think the 14 track eponymous LP from 1993 & the recent Old Ramon (on Sub Pop) are vital purchases. Listening to this excellent collection, with typically brilliant 4AD cover, you have to concede it's mood music- Mark Kozelek's downer songs at odd's with his cheery rendition of Elton John's Tiny Dancer in Almost Famous. A good intro & reminder of the first decade of Red House Painters, one of the great US bands of recent years & easily up there with American Music Club/Mark Eitzel, Jeff Buckley & The Grifters.