Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Rufus Says He’s an Asshole, but…

August 5, 2008

I’ve had a bunch of Loudon Wainwright III vinyl for about 10 years.  Maybe listened to one album one time.  I’m a big fan of the rest of the family – Rufus, his famous son, Rufus’ sister, Martha, and the McGarrigle Sisters, one of whom is Loudon’s ex-wife and Rufus’ mother.  I’ve always heard how great he is.  I loved him on M*A*S*H when I was a teenager – he made occasional cameos as a folk singin’ doctor who stayed with Hawkeye and B.J. in “the swamp.”  On those episodes, scenes would be framed with the funny-sad songs he wrote for the show.  But later in life, I just never quite got over the hump with him.  He is an artist I respect and admire, but really dont’ want to listen to –  like Lou Reed after Transformer.

I know his song “Motel Blues” from hearing Alex Chilton do it on one of those mid-90’s Big Star rereleased live and rarity albums, of which, there were too many.  And I love Big Star, but I digress.  I liked the song fine, but  I didn’t “get it.”  I recently found a version of Loudon doing it while looking for Rufus Wainwright stuff, and was truly moved.  Chilton missed the self-loathing and desperation in his version.  The audience thinks it’s supposed to funny, and then has no idea what to think.  And that’s what they call “Art.”  

He may very well be an asshole, but he is a talented asshole.


Young Drummer into Obtuse Time Signatures Cums in Pants!

July 24, 2008

It was a heady week for Rush fans everywhere.  They made their first American television appearance in some 30 years on, of all places, The Colbert Report.  This matters not one bit to most, but I was staying up all night listening to A Farewell to Kings with a death grip on the lyric sleeve when you were still shitting yourself.  Joking aside, I have a permanent soft spot for those Canadian lads no matter how cool I think I get.  Also, I’m glad I’m not alone in sucking at Rockband.  Enjoy.

A Shot in the Arm

July 22, 2008

I keep reading how Wilco is becoming the band to see, thought at times I find them a bit overhyped and overrated.  This, however, is an amazing, desperate, and dynamic performance of one of my favorite Wilco songs.  Maybe I need to catch up.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (Or is it Absynthe?)

July 21, 2008

This is supposed to be about getting married, going to France, moving to a new town, etc., but I lack the time and patience to explore that at this juncture.  Instead, here’s my usual (though sometimes useful and entertaining) bullshit about music I like.

Exploring YouTube today, I found two things I wasn’t looking for, which is always the best way to find anything.  

The first is a J Masic song that I, against all logic and credibility, prefer to most of the classic Dinosaur Jr. canon.  I love the slow-loose-Crazy Horse feel.  There’s some quiet backing vocals by Robert Pollard, not to mention an inspired video.

The second is a song by Bettie Serveert that I’d forgotten how much I liked.  Carol Van Dyk has a lot of Chrissie Hynde in her, and that’s a good thing.

The Sadly Beautiful World of Willy Vlautin

April 23, 2008

I picked up Willy Vlautin’s 2006 debut novel, The Motel Life, on a whim in a cool little bookstore in, I think, Northhampton, Mass., for no other reason than I liked the cover. It made me feel something, a mixture of curiousity and sadness. I read it in hotels in strange cold beds, and in stolen moments in cars, which is probably how a book of its kind should be read.

It follows the tragic arc of two hard-luck brothers from Reno, Nevada as they run both from a tragic accident and themselves. There’s not a simile, metaphor, or compound sentence to be found anywhere. The language reflects the desolation of the desert landscapes and the lives of the characters. There’s no artifice whatsoever for the truth to hide behind.

If you like Bukowski, Denis Johnson, Jim Thompson, the films of the Coen Brothers, or the songs of Tom Waits, you will find poetry in the work of Willy Vlautin.

Vlautin is also the songwriter and vocalist for the respected Portland, OR country band Richmond Fontaine.

Here’s a reading, with beautiful video, from his new novel, Northline, which I should say I have not read. Yet. The latter is a video from Richmond Fontaine.

Mercury Risen

April 23, 2008

This is something of a companion piece to a prior post called “Roth Reconsidered.” My friend and world’s best unknown drummer, Phil N., sent me these youtube discoveries. These are isolated vocal tracks of Freddie Mercury from various Queen classics. And they are muthafuckin strong. Ready, Freddie!

Chills Guaranteed

April 6, 2008

I’m something of a newcomer to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. My friend Phil burnt Time(The Revelator) for me three or four months ago. I was aware of her and her reputation, but I had no idea what I was missing.

A coworker of mine asked me if I’d heard their cover of Radiohead’s “Black Star” from The Bends. I hadn’t. It’s truly spellbinding. David Rawlings is some sort of strange, tasteful guitar hero in waiting.

Here it is. Plus Radiohead’s version.

Something off my Chest

April 5, 2008

I found the Yngwie Malmsteen video while watching and searching for live Kansas videos. There. Are you fucking satisfied? Now you know. I had forgotten how much I loved the singer. That dude is something. He’s like a forgotten fourth or fifth .38 Special guitarist.

Bonus Post: Malmsteen

March 28, 2008

I’d prefer not to admit how I stumbled across this. Yngwie, how could you? The orginal version is already over-the-top, man.

Supernatural Superserious from REM

March 28, 2008

In fairness, here’s the new REM single and video from their album Accelerate due out April 1. (I wish I’d have been there to talk them out of that shitty album title.)

There’s no doubt that it’s better than any post-1995 REM, but I’m not sure yet. My heart rebels against distorted power chords in REM songs. That’s just not REM to me. It is a cool song in a Cheap Trick/Flamin’ Groovies kind of way. Judge for yourself.