Monthly Archives: May 2009

A Clash Triptych

The Clash – “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” single (1978)
The Clash – “Safe European Home” from Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978)
The Clash – “Rudie Can’t Fail” from London Calling (1979)

“Safe European Home” tells the now-famous story of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones’s disappointing trip to Jamaica. Thematically, it echoes one of their best singles, “White Main In Hammersmith Palais,” a stream-of-consciousness Strummer rant set off by a dopey reggae showcase in London: “On stage they ain’t got no roots rock rebel.” Taken together, these two songs set up ideas about cultural imperialism and idolization that the Clash would explore, lyrically and musically, on London Calling, Sandinista!, and Combat Rock.

And since “Safe European Home” ends with the words “Rudie come from Jamaica, ’cause Rudie can’t fail,” I include the stone-cold classic from London Calling.

These also happen to be three of my favorite Clash songs.

Buy The Clash

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Punk, Rock, Ska

“I can stay awake all night”

I caught Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy in Alexandria, VA over the weekend and thought it a terrific show.  Will’s brother Ned opened the set in the duo Old Calf which was also very good.  Oldham’s band was really excellent: great singing and very tight.  They even played Glenn’s and my favorite selection from the Superwolf collaboration.

As a further sample, here is one of my favorite tracks for a rainy day:  Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “Raining in Darling” from I See a Darkness (1999)

If you’re in or near any of his next dates, do try to check him out.  I guarantee a good time:

Tuesday, May 26
Knoxville, TN
Bijou Theatre
(w/ Lichens)

Wednesday, May 27
Asheville, NC
Grey Eagle
(w/ Lichens)

Thursday, May 28
Carrboro, NC
The Arts Center
(w/ Lichens)

Friday, May 29
Atlanta, GA
Variety Playhouse
(w/ Lichens)

Saturday, May 30
Birmingham, AL
Bottletree
(w/ Lichens)

Tuesday, June 2
New Orleans, LA
One-Eyed Jacks
(w/ The Howling Hex)

Wednesday, June 3
Baton Rouge, LA
Spanish Moon
(w/ The Howling Hex)

Thursday, June 4
Houston, TX
Walter’s on Washington
(w/ The Howling Hex)

Friday, June 5
Austin, TX
The Mohawk
(w/ Howling Hex)

Saturday, June 6
Dallas, TX
Granada Theater
(w/ Howling Hex)

Monday, June 8
Little Rock, AR
Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack
(w/ Bachelorette)

Tuesday, June 9
Memphis, TN
Minglewood Hall
(w/ Bachelorette)

Wednesday, June 10
Nashville, TN
Belcourt Theatre
(w/ Bachelorette)

Thursday, June 11
Newport, KY
The Southgate House
(w/ Bachelorette)

Friday, June 12
Columbus, OH
Capitol Theatre
(w/ Bachelorette)

Saturday, June 13
Lexington, KY
Red Mile Round Bar
(w/ Bachelorette)

Buy all your favorite Drag City releases

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1990s, 2000s

“Give a man gin, give a man cards, give an inch he takes a yard”

If you think Tom Waits has been conspicuously absent from this space, it’s only because our reverence for his work needs no garish display.  So I offer only this track from his Orphans comp to indicate what I love about him.

Tom Waits – “Fannin Street” from Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (2006)

Who the fuck is Scarlett Johansson?

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 2000s

Fishing at 3 a.m.

Henry Thomas – “Fishing Blues” (1928) from The Anthology of American Folk Music (1952)

I know that I posted this before, but last night I was awoken at 3:30 am by a neighbor blasting this song at full volume. Infuriating, but at least the guy’s got good taste. Please enjoy at any time that won’t piss your neighbors off.

More about the AAoFM

Taj Mahal performing “Fishing Blues”:

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1920s, Acoustic, Americana, Blues, Folk, Traditional, Video

Live, live?

Live

Live – “Selling the Drama” from Throwing Copper [1994]

The band Live (ryhmes with jive) represents several firsts for me.  This album, Throwing Copper, was the first album I ever acquired on CD.  This song, “Selling the Drama,” was the first song of theirs that I heard on the radio, and subsequently made me a fan.  Also, Live was the first band I saw in concert without parental supervision, on the Secret Samadhi tour, back when I was in eighth grade.

I still listen to Throwing Copper and  Secret Samadhi every few months, and every now and then one of their songs will pop into my head for no apparent reason.  According to my last.fm page, I’ve listened to 51 tracks by the band over the past 12 months.  Not bad for a band who I have not purchased a new album by in twelve years.  I didn’t even know, for example, that they released an album in 2006 called Songs from Black Mountain, or a live album (that’s right, a live Live album) in November of last year.

I’ve always liked singer Ed Kowalczyk’s voice, and the thought-provoking lyrical content on Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi (I can’t speak for their newer albums).  Plus, Live is one of the few bands that I listened to then that I still come back to today, which adds a nice bit of nostalgia for me.  This must be what it feels like for my mom to listen to the Beatles today.

Buy Live

Posted by Adam

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Filed under 1990s, Rock

Greatest American Band

I’ve been on a steady diet of Creedence for the last three weeks or so.  This happens to me now and again, where I can’t be satisfied by but one band/artist.  And the 1969/70 CCR catalog is a good one to sustain a body. 

Their second album, Bayou Country, came out in January 1969, Green River dropped the following August, followed by Willy and the Poor Boys in November 1969.  This run culminated in Cosmo’s Factory in July 1970.  That works out to about one album every four months.  And they’re all terrific (despite a few weak moments).  I can think of no band, British or American, that had such a prodigious and respectable output in such a short period of time.

Dare I name Creedence the greatest American band of all time, keeping in mind that the Band was mostly Canadian (though I’m not sure if even that technicality could save them)?  The only real competition would be the Byrds or CSN(Y) but those groups suffered creatively from personnel problems, not to mention drug abuse and egomania.  Also, someone could make a case for the Dead but it won’t be me.

“Penthouse Pauper” from Bayou Country (1969)

Buy CCR

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1960s, 1970s, Rock

“I got wild, staring eyes – and I got a strong urge to fly”

I understand and agree with most of the criticism of Pink Foyd’s The Wall as a bloated, self-indulgent concept album.  Consequently, while it played almost constantly on my car stereo during my junior year of high school, I now can barely listen to it.  But I also know that many of you will agree that it stands alone among rock operas in its darkness and, often, its songwriting.  The Wall certainly doesn’t get a fair shake on your classic rock radio station where they only play “tasty tracks” like “Young Lust,” “Run Like Hell,” and the now very boring “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2).”

But if you strip out most of the songs with electric guitar, you’re left with some very good, very affecting tunes that seem even better when you try to forget that they were ever even on this album.  I mean songs like “Nobody Home,” one of my favorites.

Buy the Floyd

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1970s, Rock, Rock Opera