It’s Halloween and I am a half hour away from playing a gig. We listened to Black Sabbath, Danzig, and The Misfits on the way over to the venue to get in the spirit. A black cat literally crossed my path when we stopped for gas. Here are ten great Halloween albums off the top of my head:
1. The Misfits – Walk Amongst Us
2. Black Sabbath – Masters of Reality
3. The Cure – Pornography
4. Danzig – Danzig
5. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Voodoo Jive: The Best Of
6. Neko Case – Blacklisted
7. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
8. Slayer – Reign in Blood
9. BXI (Boris and Ian Asthbury) – BXI ep
10. Julee Cruise – Floating into the Night
Morrissey as Existential Hero
Anyone that has read this blog over any amount of time will know that Morrissey is one of my musical heroes. Here is a really interesting article by Kevin Michael Klipfel about Morrissey and existentialism. Although anyone that is a fan of Morrissey will like this article, I think music fans in general and those that are also interested in existentialism will find something to take away here.
I read the following quote by bassist Jah Wobble today:
To be honest I am turned on more by the renaissance that has taken place in USA TV and the TV of some European countries over the last few years. Great narratives , great writing multi layered meanings and fantastic social commentary. It’s almost reinventing the wheel; fiction that documents better than documentaries. Against all odds TV has become the medium that makes most sense in and of this crazy post modern, late stage capitalist, samsaric world that we live in. Music, and its intelligent use is obviously a part of that renaissance, but it isn’t the main thing any more. Right now, like the novel, ‘the album’ format seems a bit moribund. I still hear the odd tune that I like. It’s just that ‘the muse’ seems to be hovering over the likes of HBO script writers rather than musicians right now. That’s where innovative stuff seems to be happening.
You can read the full interview here:
Jah Wobble Interview
While I would argue that there are still great albums being made, and that there is obviously plenty of bad TV, it does seem that at its best, television is right now where some of the best entertainment is being made. There are many reasons for this. I think that special effects on TV have caught up with films. TV doesn’t face the kind of censoring it once did. Television no longer has a stigma for big name actors. There are many different things in our culture at this place and time which are allowing TV to tell stories better than ever before. However, I would also bet that economics play a large role in this. The television industry has done a much better job of protecting their products than the music industry has. While one certainly shouldn’t need large-scale fame and fortune to commit themselves to an art form, it does help if people can at least make a living at what they are doing. Also, making really good sounding records is not cheap. Even a self financed low-fi record can end up costing a couple grand. I can’t say this enough: If like me you love music, and you wish that more great records were being made, it is important that you buy records from the artists that you like. In a capitalist system we vote with our dollars. If enough of you invest in the artists that you love, you will see those artists make more records and many of those artists will also be given more freedom to create in the studio.
Although I am a giant fan of great pop song craft, lately I have been listening to more dissonant fair like Public Image Ltd. and Rollins Band. Lately I have been listening to some jams that Rollins Band did with free jazz saxophonist Charles Gayle. Here is one called Miles Jam #2:
Now I completely understand that there are some people that will just not like this kind of stuff due to the dissonant nature of the music. I’m sure that there are even some of you out there that will think I can’t possibly enjoy this stuff, that I’m just claiming I like it to be different. But honestly, I find this kind of stuff beautiful. (And some of the insane language that Henry Rollins uses I find quite funny in the way that certain parts of Apocalypse Now are funny.) I feel like when musicians play, that they are creating small films. Music is really visual to me.
When you go to a movie theater I sometimes want to see different kinds of films. Sometimes you want to see something that tells a great story. Sometimes you want to see something that is more surreal and visual. Sometimes you want to see a comedy and sometimes a horror movie. Sometimes you want to hear a great three minute pop song and sometimes you want to hear almost thirteen minutes of dissonant metal jazz! Each kind of music creates different imagery in the imagination.
The only kind of music I don’t like is stuff that just creates vanilla imagery. There are a lot of modern country songs that are so bland I feel like my brain is being sucked out of my ears by a vacuum. There is a lot of pop that has been autotuned to where the singers voice has been drained of all personality. Those kinds of things leave my mind empty.
But really if you try to think of music as being visual, so much more of it will open up to you. Some people are painting beautiful landscapes with sound and some people are using dark surrealism. Imagine walking through an art gallery and each kind of music is a different period. Give it a try.
This will be my last post on John Lydon for awhile, but since I have been posting about him, and I included a post about Russell Brand yesterday, I thought that this would be a good video to put up. I can’t agree more with Lydon about voting. I also completely agree with his advice on reading.
I apologize. I originally linked to the wrong video. The correct video is now above.
This is a truly beautiful performance of the song Confessions On a Barstool by singer Annie Ross. It is from the Robert Altman movie Short Cuts. I’ve heard the Marianne Faithfull version, which is also wonderful. It is the kind of song you could get lost in for hours. This is the original version. It has left me spellbound and makes me want to check out more of Ross’s singing.
Yesterday I reviewed the newest Public Image Ltd. album, This is Pil (2012). This is Public Image Ltd. performing Deeper Water, from that album, live. Other than that little sequenced part in the background, which is on record as well, the four of them are able to duplicate their studio recording completely live. I have read that they will be working on a brand new album starting this year. Lets hope that the rumor holds true. I love Lu Edmonds guitar playing. John Lydon is still in fine voice at almost 60. Public Image Ltd. isn’t for everyone, but for those of you willing to take the journey, they are one of the true originals.
If you scroll down you will see the very first PIL single, Public Image, down below. It came out a little over 36 years ago!