Saturday, September 29, 2007

my mind comes apart reviewing "in the aeroplane over the sea"

i've been trying to write a piece on this album since i started this site...jesus christ i love's difficult.

there are few albums like it. there is nothing like it. i heard it described as a "psychedelic" album once. i guess that's right. but in the best sense of the word. it's an album that takes you to another place, another reality...where every movement is pure grace...where every graceful moment is countered by brute force...when you were young you were the king of carrot flowers...what did you think of? i thought of myself in third grade instantly. i don't know why...

i've noticed that every song is in the same key. most of them use them same chords, just configured differently. these are the insights i have that others find useless. it's fascinating. did he do it on purpose? was it his master plan? how the notes all bend, unreachable...

sometimes his voice intertwines with a trumpet line and it's hard to tell what's what. his voice...i don't know how tape can hold it...can never see him sing live, my heart would strange it is to be anything at all...

two headed boy. the album is populated with freaks. i hear it's a concept album based on anne frank but i only hear that in holland, 1945. oh my god. holland, 1945. the world looks better from the star that's right above from where you are. can i let you in on a secret? i can't listen to that line without crying. don't tell the cool kids. it kills me. can you imagine writing that? i've wanted to but never could. i'm so jealous. that's how i know i love an album. i find myself totally jealous of it's creator. they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine...

is it rock? it is, kind of. it's kind of like folk art. like music played by people who don't really know what they're doing. they're doing it to feel better. and that's why it's so beautiful.

when i was a kid there was a song they played in church that my grandmother really loves. this album makes me think of my grandmother and that song. i love my grandmother and that song and i miss them both.

what is it about a trumpet?

and can we take a minute to look at the cover? isn't it something?

there are ghosts. alive and well. reincarnated as little boys in spain. communist daughters. semen staining mountaintops. saws and feedback. acoustic guitars bursting microphones.

when i think of "psychedelic" it think of hippie bullshit. and delay pedals. there is none of that hear. here. some terrible scene that was doing her thing on your chest. oh comely. a song with a full orchestra. a man and his guitar. standing next to me. only my enemy. i'll crush him with everything i own.

robert schneider produced this. he's a genius. i think it's done on a 8-track. like sgt. pepper. except that this album stands the test of time. i can't compare it to anything. it's got familiar element...a guitar...bass...drums...keyboard...saw?....saw, like a violin. but i think it would all work acapella...da da da...the way the da lingers...will she remember me? 50 years later? know all your enemies. we know who are enemies are. ok, i'm starting to get the anne frank thing. than it's like an opera with voice and trumpet.

and saw.

and the ghost makes another appearance.

oh comely was a really long song, but it's like time travel.

vaudeville is an influence.

the distorted guitar is like an alarm clock. an alarm clock of wind chimes. it's all an album lenght...wait...she was born in a bottle rocket...what? 1929?

greatest drummer ever. strong and subtle. and god damn! that trumpet!

dee dee deee dee dee dee dee...a saw sounds a little like a ghost. or what i imagine a ghost sounds like. sometimes i don't believe in people, only ghosts..


there are sounds i can't identify. a bagpipe run through a fuzzbox? a bigmuffpipe? but i think it's playing words. something about the folly of existence. about not putting to much meaning into anything you do. about...about... i lost it.

the two headed boy is back. world weary now. escaped from his jar and heartbroken. but don't hate her when she gets up to leave.

that's the only line you need to remember from this album.
god is a place where some holy spectacle lies.
that to.

Friday, September 28, 2007

by this river-brian eno

i got into brian eno a few years ago, when i was heavy into my "genius producer" phase. i expected to hear some strange, cold electronic stuff. what i found was some of the most beautiful, moving music i've ever heard. his voice is the real treasure. steady and sad.
this is from the album "before and after science". you should also buy "here come the warm jets", "taking tiger mountain by strategy", and "another green world". you'll thank me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keith Richards - Hickory Wind

great version of a gram parsons classic. yea, keef is a bit of a cliche now, but this reminded me of why i love the stones. you know, the pre-80's stones.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Pogues on German TV 1985 (Part 2)

i thought about a pair of brown eyes that waited once for me...

Streams of Whiskey - the Pogues (Old Grey Whistle Test)

when the world is too dark/and i need the light inside of me/i walk into a bar/and drink 15 pints of beer
that line is so good. a great mix of vulnerability and bravado. best drinking song of all time? any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Paul Westerberg - Mr. Rabbit

for joseph.

Monday, September 24, 2007

6 months ago today was a shit day. this is for jimmy b. and family.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Elvis Costello- Couldn't Call It Unexpected

my favorite costello song. not the best sound quality but it'll do. if you don't know the words, look them up, print them and hang them on the fridge. a daily reminder of all this useless beauty.
"i can't believe, i'll never believe, in anything again".
mike, play this song at my funeral.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash

"girl from the north country".

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bruce Springsteen - Dream Baby Dream

this is springsteen doing a suicide song. an example of how patience with a song can be so rewarding. close your eyes and let it overtake you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mercury Rev Live Diamonds

a stunning song of love from mercury rev. i love this version because on album there is alot more singing. here, it's almost as if the music takes over and leaves no space for the words. as if the words would obscure the true meaning of the song. beautiful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Joan Jett - Fake Friends

i just wanted to hear this today. one of the great melodies of all time. and joans vocal is fantastic. mike? remember what i said about women and rock? i may have been wrong.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lesson # 5: a unified theory of everything

i go through phases in my music listening. if you're a regular reader you can see that. sometimes i'm into the mellow stuff, sometimes the more cerebral. lately i've been into the basic, rootsier, more emotionally direct stuff. that's the way she goes.

1."what makes you think you're the one"-fleetwood mac. off of TUSK. i'm not a huge mac fan. i am, however, a lindsey buckingham fan. maybe it's 'cuz he's such a dick and doesn't mind sharing it with the world. i got this album for a buck the other day and have been listening to it non-stop. while i could always do without christine mcvies tripe, buckingham and nicks shine. this song was recorded at home and sounds like it. drums so loud they distort, buried vocals, muddied all around. and he's pissed. probly at stevie. he sounds like jeff mangum on this one, too.

2. "lonesome highway"-shanee macgowan and the popes. great song on the crock of gold album . in the tradition of "pair of brown eyes". a real tear jerker.
and if you know
don't let me go
if those words don't move you here, just listen to him sing it.

3. "laminated cat"- loose fur from their half successful first album. fall is here and this is a song for the season. "candy left over on halloween". why is that line so sad? it just is.

4. "$1000 wedding"-gram parsons. the perfect country song. tears, drinking, and the groom left at the altar. and when gram croaks out the last line, "there's supposed to be a funeral/it's been a bad, bad day", there's not a dry eye in the room. in my room at least. i go back and forth on parsons. sometimes i think he is as great as people say, and sometimes not so much. today i think he's as great as they say.

5. "she's a jar"- wilco off of summer teeth. i had a whole piece written about tweedy the other day and how i had a man crush on him, and how he has restored my faith in music. instead i'll just print a lyric from this song and let you decide.
are there really ones like these
the ones i dream
float like leaves
and freeze to spread skeleton wings
i passed through
before i knew you...

a unified theory of everything.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Elliott Smith - Needle In The Hay (Rock Version)

sorry, two in one day. i stumbled on this on youtube. staggering.

Matthew Sweet - Someone to pull the trigger

keeping with a theme. great opening line, "i'm loaded and ready". an unbelievable songwriter. "everything i'll ever be i've been". some people say it better than i ever could!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Elvis Costello - Shot With His Own Gun

"playing house seems so melancholy".

Saturday, September 15, 2007

well said pt.3

"The world is filled with people who are no longer needed-And who try to make slaves of all of us- And they have their music and we have ours-Theirs, the wasted songs of a superstitious nightmare-And without their musical and ideological miscarriages to compare our songs of freedom to, we'd not have any opposite to compare music with-And like the drifting wind, hitting against no obstacle, we'd never know it's speed, it's power." -Woody Guthrie

Friday, September 14, 2007

nirvana _ sliver

i know it's easy to dismiss nirvana now but they were a great band. and he was a great singer and songwriter. this song is impossibly lovely. "grandma take me home" is the best chorus of all time. it emcompasses so much. and that scream he ends "woke up in my arms" with is heart wrenching, free of the butch vig/andy wallace double tracked sheen that stripped "nevermind" of some of it's emotion. great stuff.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

why i love the electric guitar pt.3

it's true. and maybe it's no.1. i remember watching this scene and thinking "oh my god! that is so cool!". the nervous chump transformed into hero. art defeating sports. that's an important lesson. i remember also being really affected by the way he loses himself in the solo and completely tunes out the audience. the music is king.
i don't know if the filmmakers intended me to get these things out of that scene, but i did. and i'm grateful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wilco - How To Fight Loneliness

i've been reading a book about tweedy lately. complex guy. probably not the easiest guy to work with. but his love and belief in music is inspiring.
and jay bennett is great, no matter how much shit is talked about him.
i like the mood of this song, and i really like the performance in the round.
just smile all the time!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See A Darkness, Cph 2007-03-23

unbelievable. unbearable. this is my song for 2007, a year i hope i never see the likes of again.

Monday, September 10, 2007

well said pt.2

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain- Bob Marley

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Leonard Cohen-God Could've Used Him

i want to make a formal apology. for years i thought leonard cohen was an overrated hack. i was wrong.

it's been a hectic weekend. i went out last night. i don't do that much. i barely slept. i feel ragged and worn and dingy.

i came back to the apartment and napped on the couch. i took a shower. i couldn't clear the fog.

i put on "recent songs" by leonard cohen. i shaved. i laid down again. i let the low, monotonous voice of leonard cohen wash over me. he sounds like a string instrument, like a cello.

he writes the greatest prayers. god could've used him.

i told my mother, mother i must leave you

preserve my room, but do not shed a tear

should rumors of a shabby ending reach you

it was half my fault and half the atmosphere.

that's not bad for a pop song.

MC5 The American Ruse

check out who follows the 5!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Heatmiser - Plainclothes man

my first exposure to elliott smith. happened to catch it on 120 minutes. as much as i loathe mtv it actually turned me on to alot of good music in the late '80's early '90's. whigs, nirvana, janes'addiction,etc.
always really liked this song. on the surface about an undercover cop, it's alot less "miami vice" than the subject matter suggests.
he was a fantastic songwriter. great guitar player. "i remember why i dream in black and white". what a great line!
his is a sad story.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Paul Westerberg

Paul Westerberg - If Only You Were Lonely

yeah, i know i've been heavy with the westerberg lately. hope you don't mind, mike!
this song is so great. theres loneliness and alonesness to paraphrase townes van zandt. this is about lonelisness. the humor in this song makes it so much sadder. singer/songwriters should study this song. it sounds like a simple barroom jingle but it's so layered. "another day is here, oh well" "somewhere there's a smile with my name on it.
i'm gonna keep shoving westerberg on you bastards til you realize he IS the greatest american songwriter. he's the musical bukowski.
fuck it. somewhere there's a drink with MY name on it. cheers!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

why i love the electric guitar pt.2

the stray cats were the first band i was ever obsessed with. i thought everything about them was cool. their look, their sound, their attitude. i bought all their singles and imports. they started me on my way to becoming a rock nerd.
but that guitar. i still haven't heard anything that sounds like it. so full and twangy. so cool and laid back. a tiny guy with a big guitar. and it holds up better than anything recorded in the 80's.

p.s. i used to work with a guy who worked in a deli in massapequa. he said setzer used to shop there when he was a teenager and he dressed the same way. they used to make fun of him. that made me more of a fan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

everything is the worst

music millenium on 23rd closed on august 31st. this probably doesn't mean much to you, and that particular store closing doesn't affect my life all that much. it was a good record store though. big and well stocked. a place where you could lose yourself for a few hours. i saw lou barlow play there. i missed paul westerberg playing there. what're you gonna do?

what bothers me is the slow death of record stores. i could go into a whole spiel about how downloading music is awful, and how all you motherfuckers with ipods are missing one of the vital aspects of the music buying experience, but, shit, i've downloaded a few things in my day. of course, if i really liked it i would buy it anyway so i could have the book. but c'mon ipoders, do you really get a thrill scrolling through lists trying to find that song you heard on the radio? y'know, the one you don't really know the name of but it's got an acoustic guitar and sung by some californian faking an english accent? don't you miss the record racks? the thousands of skinny cardboared sleeves that you have to physically dig through to find that gem? that one?

but people are stupid. they'd rather go to happy hours with co-workers. or go to work. or go to a ballgame. or mow the lawn. or lay down on the fucking couch and watch law and order. or go to their fucking computer and download their shitty music onto there shitty computer and listen to it on shitty speakers while they do their online banking.

i'm old. i know. but i want to hold my records. album art (remember that) is important. it's beautiful. "in the court of the crimson king"? that's my favorite painting!

it's important to know who produced the album you're listening to. phil spector produced the one i'm listening to.

it's important to know who engineered the album you're listening to. ed stasium engineered the one i'm listening to.

you should know who played bass in your favorite band. or if they have a piano player or if it's a guest musician.

good music is important. every part of it. i wish liner notes included who cleaned the toilets in the studio. i would like to know.

so go buy a fucking record. music is physical. otherwise it's just a ghost.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Baba O'Riley

this song, and this video, changed my life. pete townsend, along with brian setzer and michael j. fox (i'll explain later) made me fall in love with rock and the guitar.
people talk about the freedom of music and for the most part it's bullshit. but look at townsend while daltrey is singing. doesn't he look like he's in heaven? all macho swagger and fuck off attitude. so cool. and he's such a geek! which is, of course, why he's so cool.

god, just watched it again. if i can keep this song, and these pictures, in my head forever, i'll be ok. thank you for being my friend, pete.
and roger daltrey is robert pollards wettest dream.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Paul Westerberg - Lush and Green

i'm feeling pretty shitty today. so listen to this.
"i drink up with these flowers and trees/above you all is lush and green"
"i only sleep when spoken to"
get it?got it?good.

Everly Brothers - All I have to do is dream + Cathy's Clown

people wrote better songs in the '60's. two guys, two guitars, two voices. everything that's good about pop music is in these two songs. there's an honesty and beauty in these songs (and this performance) that's missing from todays music. even the good stuff.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Replacements Live 1-18-86

see? and bob stinson knew how to end a song.

Paul Westerberg - It's a Wonderful Lie

i love westerberg because, as a teenage loser, i felt like he was writing songs for me.
now, as a middle aged loser, i still feel he's writing them for me.