Monthly Archives: February 2009

Harmonica Favorites: Part 2

kinks-000

The Kinks:  “The Contenders” from Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One [1970]

This is a killer harp riff.  Just killer.

Wes Anderson mined this album for his latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, which has been mentioned on this blog more than once.  The Kinks are one of the most-cited bands on this blog, as a matter of fact, and this post continues our tradition of, um, Kinkiness?

Find out what the Kink Kontroversy is all about, K?

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Filed under 1970s, Rock

Drum Set Favorites: Part 1

Wolf Parade – “You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son” from Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)

One of the best straight-up rock records of the past 5 years opens with one of the bitchin’-est drum parts around. A simple pattern of bass, snare, and half-open hi-hat (far as I can reckon) lends this song urgency and an off-kilter drive. Just try not to air-drum along.

See also: the killer guitar meltdown at 1:52. You think it’s all going to explode, but it goes into distant staticky surf guitar, and this song melts into the next.

Hungry Like The Wolf (Parade)?

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 2000s, Rock

Harmonica Favorites: Part 1

bobdylan

Bob Dylan – “Early Mornin’ Rain” from Self Portrait [1970]

In his famous review of this album, Greil Marcus asked “What is this shit?”  Mostly, he was correct.  But, as I mentioned some time ago on this blog, I actually like a few of the songs on Self Portrait. “Early Mornin’ Rain” is perhaps my favorite.  It is a Gordon Lightfoot cover, and as you can probably see by the title of this post, has a very nice harmonica part.

I’ve been especially aware of harmonica in music lately because I’m currently learning to play the blues harp.  I chose to post this song first because it was one of the songs that made me want to learn.  Over the next little while, I’ll be posting songs which contain some of my favorite harmonica parts.   Stay tuned.

Buy this shit

Posted by Adam

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Filed under 1970s, Acoustic, Singer-Songwriter

Relaxin’

miles_davis_2

The Miles Davis Quintet – “If I Were a Bell” from Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet [1956]

Thanks to Presidents’ Day, I had today off work.   I think three days is the perfect length for a weekend; they should all be this long.  At any rate, after a long day, sometimes there is nothing better than cracking open a cold one and putting this record on the old hi-fi.   Miles’ trumpet is muted throughout the album, which gives it an especially relaxing tone.  There is also some studio banter between the tracks, which adds to the album’s informal feel.  The last sound on the album is John Coltrane asking “Where’s the beer opener?”  Classic.

This is one of four albums produced from two 1956 sessions.  The others are entitled Steamin’, Workin’ and Cookin’.

Buy Miles

Posted by Adam

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Filed under 1950s, Instrumental, Jazz

Humble Acceptance

Moaned and groaned and rolled my bones

Moaned and groaned and rolled my bones

Marquis de Tren and Bonny Billy – “81” from Get on Jolly [2000]

Many apologies for my lack of input on the old blogosphere. I’ve been in the middle of an intra-city move and a job switch, so the last month or two have been pretty stupid busy. But I have been listening to some good musics and found a bunch of represses in Chicago (Sam Cooke at the Harlem! Can you believe it?).

In any case, it’s February and I’m sort of sad and I can’t stop listening to this song. I picked up this cd in Indianapolis at Luna Music maybe a year ago and just started listening to it in November. It’s everything a great collaboration should be in that it highlights the strengths of each participant and allows both players to push the other creatively. Since I’m a stupid fan of Mick Turner (the Marquis de Tren, for this album) and I quite enjoy Will Oldham‘s stuff, it makes perfect sense for me to get into this collaboration.

Regardless, Oldham does some amazing things with these words and melodies, dovetailing them into Turner’s heartbreaking acceptance of Oldham’s offering. This song wrecks me. And I’m completely okay with it.

Hope you enjoy this one.

Posted by Phil

Buy it here

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Filed under 2000s, Experimental, Folk

Shame

Bob Dylan – “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” from John Wesley Harding [1968]

This is Dylan at his very best.  Three verses, no chorus (this seems the preferred format on the whole of JWH).

In the first-person, he describes witnessing the piety, passion, and wisdom of St. Augustine during a dream.  In the third and final verse, in all candor, he admits with horror that he, the dreamer, was complicit in condemning the saint to death.  Upon waking, he cannot escape the shame of the dream and breaks down.

I have sold out good people before.  I have ignored the suffering of others.  Shame is a constant reminder of how far we are from perfection.

This album (buy it here) is so beautifully crafted and performed (one of the best bands of all time, no lie).

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1960s, Country, Rock

Dejection

I dont know what these dudes have to be dejected about. Theyre in the freaking Himalayas!

I don't know what these dudes have to be dejected about. They're in the freaking Himalayas!

Okkervil River – “On Tour With Zykos” from The Stand Ins [2008]

“I go home, take off clothes, smoke a bowl, watch a whole TV movie. I was supposed to be writing the most beautiful poems.”

Those lines do it for me. Here is a song that I actually listen to when I’m feeling down on my luck — and it rarely fails to lift my spirits. As Jordy put it, music (and all art) is all about empathy, and I think this song promotes empathy — not least because it features a male singer singing from a woman’s perspective. I feel the speaker’s sorrow and know that my own isn’t quite so bad. Empathy is a two-way street, to use a hoary old cliche. Plus this song calls forth the exact feeling of arriving home after a bad night at a bar, stinking of smoke, ears ringing, too drunk but somehow not drunk enough.

In fact, all the Okkervil River songs I know are full of feeling and commitment, and I don’t hesitate to recommend the band to all y’all.

Can’t say that you’re feeling all that much at all? Buy Okkervil River

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 2000s, Rock