Review : Various Artists - Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox
PitchforkFor decades Chris Knox has loomed over New Zealand's music scene. While Knox occasionally ventured outside his native land, the charismatic/confrontational Enemy/Toy Love/Tall Dwarfs frontman and solo act spent most of his life home supporting New Zealand's productive arts scene, paving the way for such acts as the Clean, the Chills, and the Verlaines. Along the way Knox amassed more than his share of fans around the world, too, and when news spread that he suffered a stroke last summer, support and sympathy arrived in equal measure to his stature.
Still, that doesn't quite prepare you for the quantity and quality of A-list acts that appear on Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox, a 2xCD tribute to the man and his music whose proceeds will go toward his recovery (Knox, 57, currently has limited speech and mobility). The sheer breadth and diversity of this recorded response almost begs disbelief, considering how quickly it came together, and really shows how far Knox's influence has reached, from several of his Kiwi peers to kindred spirits. The already much missed Jay Reatard starts off the set well-paired with the Toy Love nugget "Pull Down the Shades", "recorded in the bathroom of a hotel in Denmark on a 4-track," and the just plain missing Jeff Mangum, whose cover of the Tall Dwarfs' "Sign the Dotted Line" marks a rare recorded reappearance of the Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind, whose own lo-fi inclinations lined up well with Knox's....full text
XpressmagOne of the most important voices in the New Zealand music scene found his life altered significantly last June at the hands of a stroke. Knox most notably fronted the Tall Dwarfs and had numerous solo records, but he played a part in many other outfits. Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox gathers well over 30 artists who pay tribute to Knox by reinterpreting his songs.
This double-CD collects a bucket load of heavy hitters to show the sphere of Knox’s influence. Fellow lo-fi luminaries The Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow and Bill Callahan put in typically understated efforts while AC Newman holds nothing back to bring out the melody in I Don’t Know Much About Life But I Know How To Breathe....full text
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