Monthly Archives: May 2008

“The color of the dream I had”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “One Rainy Wish” from Axis: Bold As Love [1968]

Jordy and I were Google-chatting yesterday and he revealed that he had never “gotten” Jimi Hendrix. I was pretty sick of Hendrix after playing awful covers of “Fire,” “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” and “Voodoo Child” in the basement with my middle school pals, but I’ve recently re-discovered the man. Check out a less famous Hendrix track and experience some defamilarization: hear Jimi with new ears. Maybe “One Rainy Wish” will convince you, Jord-man.

Amazon: Bold as Love

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1960s, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock

“I’ll climb the hill in my own way”

Pink Floyd – “Fearless” from Meddle (1971)

This song is motivated by one of the coolest guitar rhythms in the Pink Floyd canon. Its insistence is a terrific counterpoint to the drifting of the preceding track, “A Pillow of Winds.” And these touching vocals are some of the last vestiges of the psychedelic Floyd before they broke (fabulously) into the mainstream with Dark Side of the Moon in 1973.

I could do without the King and I singalong at the end and, indeed, the following two tracks on Meddle (“San Tropez” and “Seamus”) are throwaways. But that makes the majestic “Echoes” all the more redeeming.

Buy it here

UPDATE: Years ago, I bought a VHS tape of “Live at Pompeii” (now available on DVD) that had some pretty cool performances of Meddle songs.  You can watch a lot of it on YouTube.  The music is terrific and the overwrought shots of bubbling mud, frescoes, and a shirtless David Gilmore are pretty funny.

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Psychedelic, Rock

“e.g. self-satisfied, smug”

The Kinks – “Plastic Man” from The Great Lost Kinks Album (1973)

The Fall – “How I Wrote Elastic Man” from 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong comp (2004) [originally released in 1980]

Another Kinks/Fall pairing. Are these songs related at all? If so, Mark E. Smith must be a huge Kinks fan.

Those who haven’t heard the terrific Great Lost Kinks can get it here while it lasts. It’s a tough one to find otherwise.

Buy more Kinks
or the Fall

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, 1980s, Punk, Rock

“If I’m buried ‘neath the sod/but the angels won’t receive me”

The Pogues – “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” from If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1987)

Irish folk-punk is a pretty perplexing genre. Bands like the Dropkick Murphys or the Tossers are incredible for two songs, sort of funny for the next five or six, and then incredibly irritating after that. (Case in point: listen to that “Shipping Out to Boston” song from The Departed ten times in a row, like I have, and you will understand the shift from all-out love to sheer annoyance that comes part and parcel of this genre.)

But the Pogues ain’t like that. They write complicated melodies that have an emotional power that’s kind of unexpected, and their ensemble playing is loose in the best way. Shane MacGowan’s evocative lyrics and tooth-free delivery doesn’t hurt either. In short, the Pogues rule.

I’m putting the country tag on this post, because, well…it sounds like country. Replace MacGowan with a dude with a drawl/twang and you’d have a great country song. Steve Earle knew that; that’s why he played (and continues to, I believe) with the Pogues.

Plus: look at that blind Irish guy, fourth from left. Betcha didn’t know he was a Pogue. The ineluctable modality of the visible, indeed!


Fall from grace here

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1980s, Acoustic, Country, Folk, Punk

“If you had a room/he’d paint it white”

Wire – “106 Beats That” from Pink Flag (1977) and “Marooned” from Chairs Missing (1978 )

Wire are minimalist geniuses. Check out “106 Beats That,” which goes from a fast punk rant (the likes of which inspired the best American hardcore band) to some kind of mellow melodic, droney thing. All in about 73 seconds. Its sequel, in my mind, is 1978’s “Marooned,” another drone piece, and one the best things to come from the UK punk movement. And those guitar tones! Sheesh.

Buy Punk Floyd(I recommend starting w/Chairs Missing, then going back to Pink Flag – the achievement of the earlier album makes more sense that way)

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Punk, Rock

“And I would rather be anywhere else”

Elvis Costello – “Oliver’s Army” from Armed Forces (1979)

Since Elvis Costello, there has not been another artist who could incorporate such bile into such delicious pop songs.

This tune, for instance, positively shimmers with brilliance.

Check out the slightly perplexing music video

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Pop, Rock

“Listen while I talk to you”

No, not that Shake. But “Shake,” the decent Sam Cooke composition made first great and then absolutely fucking brilliant by the Big O, Otis Redding.

Sam Cooke – “Shake” (1964)

Sam’s original version of today’s featured tune is a passable dance number in the blues vein. Here is a quote from the excellent Sam Cooke comp, Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964:

“Cut at Sam’s last session in November 1964, less than a month before his death, it marked a real departure for his music, indicating his belief that r&b (and popular music in general) was heading in a direction that more and more was ‘almost all sound. It used to be that sound brought attention to the lyric,’ he explained – but what you needed to do now was to find sounds that could ’emotionally move’ and audience, ‘inject [the kind of] fervor that makes people want to dance.'”

It’s interesting that Sam came to some of the same conclusions that Miles and Coltrane and many of the mainstream jazz cats were coming to around the same time: that the next evolution of music was harmonic and melodic simplicity focused on the overall sound of the group, not the specific things the players were playing. Nevertheless, since Sam Cooke shone best when singing highly melodic songs, this song (played altogether too slowly) falls flat to my ears.

Otis Redding – “Shake” from Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (1966)

The song was perfect, however, for Otis Redding, the king of Southern soul. He lends his throat-tearing tendencies to the tune, imbuing it with the bluesy feel underneath the original version. This is one of the key tracks on the recently re-released classic and essential Otis Redding album. Thanks, Rhino.

Otis Redding – “Shake (live)” from Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (2008 double-disc reissue)

But this. Jesus. Just try to not crack into a wide-open smile listening to this. This is the sound of pure joy (Boon/Watt notwithstanding). Seriously. Come on. This is it. Can you imagine hearing this come over the radio in 1967? It would make everything else on the dial wither away in lameness.

Incidentally, the new reissue of Otis Blue (have I mentioned it enough?) is absolutely essential. It will change your life. Your listening habits, at the very least.

Buy Sam Cooke

Buy Otis Redding

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1960s, Pop, Soul

John Fahey – “Beverly” from Return of the Repressed: Anthology (1994)

Here’s one of my favorite Fahey tunes (c. 1971) from the excellent Anthology. This genius melody has a real melancholy positivity about it. I hope it starts your week right.

More Fahey at SWR

Buy it here

Item: I just ordered a USB turntable and hope to have some good vinyl transfers on the site within the next month or so.

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Acoustic, Americana, Folk

“When my boots hit the boards, I’m a brand new man”

Steve Earle – “Guitar Town” from Guitar Town (1986)

If you sped this song up, it would sound just like punk rock. Add solid guitar work and witty lyrics and you’ve got one of the most vigorous and respectable country musicians of the last 25 years (pictured above with sometime-mentor Townes Van Zandt).

Steve Earle kicks off his US tour right here in Tucson on June 27.

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1980s, Country, Rock

“You are my center when I spin away”

Liars – “A Visit From Drum” from Drum’s Not Dead [2006]
Radiohead – “Videotape” from In Rainbows [2008]

Jordy once closed an email with the salutation, “well, i’m going to see radiohead in like five minutes, so bye.” What a jerk. Now I get to be that jerk.

I saw Radiohead in Charlotte, NC, on Friday night. It blows my mind to learn that there were as many people at that show as there were living IN MY ENTIRE HOMETOWN. It’s both awesome and depressing in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

The Audio/Visual Heads played a pretty damn good set–the kind of music you get lost in. The Liars were also phenomenal–they sound really good in an outdoor arena. Kind of surprising. I recommend this tour to any and all, if you have the means.

N.B. The photo above does not represent what the stage looks like on this tour. The only photo I took was with my cell phone and it just looks like a blue square.

Buy the Lyres

Buy Audioslave

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 2000s, Rock

Tom Waits to tour US this Summer

Tom Waits – “Long Way Home” from Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, & Bastards (2006)

My main man Tom Waits has recently announced a Summer tour and I’ll be damned if his bus isn’t rolling down my stretch of I-10. Sorry to all you chumps in LA and NYC. Maybe next time.

I just hope those jag-offs at TicketMaster don’t charge me an arm and a leg.

Get behind the mule

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 2000s, Americana

“If you’re ever feeling blue/then write another song…”

Belle & Sebastian – “Judy and the Dream of Horses” from If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996)

Enjoy the drunkest two minutes in sports with this classic from the Scottish pop masterminds. I think that Jordy hates this song.

Mint juleps not included

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1990s, Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Rock

“Looking back in time”

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – “How Near How Far” from Source Tags and Codes (2002)

When this album came out, it was much-needed assurance to me that the purity and brilliance of guitar rock was alive and vigorous and not something that had flourished and died in the 1970s.

While Trail of Dead have by no means sustained this triumph, Source Tags & Codes will always be considered one of the most muscular and potent albums of the last decade.

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 2000s, Rock