One of the first movie soundtracks I ever loved, that wasn’t strictly pop music, was the soundtrack to Michael Mann’s Heat. Moby, U2, and Brian Eno do make appearances, but vocals are kept to a minimum. The music is mostly hauntingly beautiful, with occasional forays into tense discord. Rarely do film and music link up so well together. Mann’s film is full of shades of blue, modern and sleek. The music has the same sleekness, full of ambient soundscapes that recall a city in the wee hours of the morning. The music rarely tells you how to feel. It is instead full of wonder, opening the door to a higher emotional state. The same piece may be lonely, beautiful, or tense, depending on the mood that you listen to it in. Above is a Michael Brooks instrumental called Ultramarine. It is a good piece to listen to because it features several elements that appear elsewhere on the soundtrack. It has percussive textures like Brian Eno’s Force Marker, a beautiful theme like Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters, and an overall ambience to it like much of the soundtrack.
Paul Westerberg Interview 2004
Paul Westerberg has always been one of my favorite songwriters. One thing that often gets lost in the mainstream press, who are much more content telling Replacements drinking stories, is how great of a melody writer he is. In fact I would put him up as one of America’s greatest melody writers since the beginning of rock n roll. I mean other than someone like Brian Wilson, there aren’t many people that have written as many great melodies as he has. But unlike a lot of people that can write great melodies, his songs also often have a grittiness to them. His songs aren’t antiseptic sounding, nor overly sweet. It is that contrast that makes him stand out. You often get one or the other, but rarely both. His songs feel lived in and true, while at the same time being highly memorable. Even his more polished major label recordings have Kenny Jones (Faces) like drums on them and Westerberg’s rumpled sandpaper vocals.
I remember one time in the Shinyribs van I put the above song on, Finally Here Once, and about 10 seconds into the song the van went completely silent. Afterwards everyone remarked on what a great song it was. It’s an extremely lo-fi recording, so people weren’t getting off on some kind of sonic deal. It’s just great writing.
Anyway, I saw that his website put the above 2004 interview on it, which I had read at the time, but found interesting going back to.
Here is the Shinyribs band playing the Sir Douglas Quintet’s She’s About A Mover with Doug Sahm’s son Shawn Sahm. Cheryl Sahm posted this on Facebook earlier today and it was actually the first time I have seen the footage. It was a great night of fun. Just thought I’d share it with all of you.
Danzig Talks Covers Record
In the above Rolling Stone article Glenn Danzig announces that his long awaited covers album will be coming out in late July/early August. The album will be called Skeletons. I have been waiting for this to come out ever since I heard the above song Devil’s Angels, which sounds as much like a Misfits song as anything he has released since being in that band.
I have been breaking out the Doug Sahm lately. Anyone in Austin needs no introduction to Doug Sahm. However, if you aren’t aware of him, he is a true American original. In my mind no one sounds like Austin as much as he does. Although he is part of Austin’s musical legacy, I really feel like he represents the mythical Austin, the place where the cowboys and hippies got along, the place people imagine Austin to be even if modernity is turning it into a far more urban place. I’m not saying that Austin no longer exists, just that you have to look much harder to find it. He combines different genres in a way that is unique, that no one else has quite done in the same way. Rock, blues, country, Mexican music, and more rub up against one another. One of my favorite songs of his is the above song Hard Way. It’s from The Sir Douglas Band album Texas Tornado. Listen to the funky groove, the Tex-Mex horns, and the way the song elevates into a big chorus with a truly sweet harmony.
It’s late Sunday. Most of you probably won’t even see this until Monday morning. This will wake you up any day. This is my favorite version of the rock n roll classic Train Kept A Rollin’. It’s by Johnny Burnette, who is an early rockabilly/rock/pop star that died young. This is lightning in a bottle, fire and brimstone, a fucking jet plane taking off. When a singer lived in an era where sex couldn’t be sung about graphically, they just recorded things that sounded like this. Message received, loud and clear…
Any music fan should own Bunny Wailer’s Blackheart Man. It is an unbelievably soulful album full of conviction, passion, and truly great musicianship. I would easily put it in a list of greatest reggae albums of all time, but it deserves exposure with fans outside of its genre.
The playing and production are astounding. When I listen to the album I am constantly reminded of a beautiful mosaic. Lots of little pieces are put together to create a striking larger whole. The record is full of interesting musical textures. You almost feel like you could run your hands over it. This is recording as art form. It’s not simply trying to convey a message or song, but painting with sound. The keyboards alone are some of my favorite on any record. One song begins with acoustic guitar. The acoustic is manipulated ever so slightly, so that it becomes an interesting texture, something unique. It is like they left no detail unnoticed in creating this record.
Bunny Wailer’s voice is truly a beautiful thing. It’s mellow, but there is a real stoicism to it. You get the sense that he could weather any storm. When the record touches on the political, and it is a spiritually political record, he sounds like the peace he wants to see brought about. You have no doubt that Wailer will outlast any opressors. The lyrics are great, but it is really the way that they are delivered that gives them their magic.
This is the kind of record that could change conciousness. If you love soul music, music for the heart, soul, and intellect, than this is a must.
When I was just a kid, little children
My old man used to sing a little song
But now I’ve grown to be a man
But it still lingers deep within my soul
Oh yes it lingers deep within my soul
He say now this train it is bound to glory, this train
This train it is bound to glory this train, this train
This train it is bound to glory, This train it don’t carry no unholy
This train is bound to glory, this train