Shinyribs New Album Release

Shinyribs Album Cover

The new Shinyribs album Okra Candy is now officially coming out April 14th.  I played bass on 7 of the 10 tracks and cowrote one of them.  I think this is the best Shinyribs album yet, due to Kev’s writing, great performances, and production that makes the most out of each track.  Stay tuned!

Looking Back On Random Access Memories

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Daft Punk Random Access Memories Article

One of the few popular records that I think truly merited the acclaim directed at it in recent years was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.  It’s a record that I never tire of.  The above article is a long form article from Pitchfork at the time of that album’s release.  It’s hard to believe it is already almost two years since it came out.  An interesting read if you are curious about the group at all. A sample:

Just as their costumes put up a physical boundary between themselves and their audience, Daft Punk enjoy a “total separation” between their private and public lives, which is precisely what they want. “We don’t talk about our private lives because they’re private,” says Bangalter with a laugh. “Plus, the public image is more fun and entertaining anyway.” Instead of desiring traditional fame and worldwide recognition, Bangalter says they’re more interested in “changing the world without anybody knowing who we are, which is a very different ego fantasy, and it seems to be the premise for much more exciting developments.”

“Usually, the 24-hour, high-maintenance celebrity lifestyle can disconnect people from reality,” he continues. “And after a band has been making records for 20 years, they’re not doing the most interesting shit because they fall into this bourgeois, successful, settled existence.”

The The – This is the Day

I’m a big The The fan, especially of the album Mind Bomb.  Anyone that is interested in extremely intelligent pop music should get that album.  (Being a huge Johnny Marr fan doesn’t hurt as he plays on that album and the following album Dusk.  Don’t be mistaken though, The The is Matt Johnson’s show and his lyrics distinct ear for arrangements are really what separates The The from other musical acts.)  However, the song This is the Day, from their album Soul Mining, is a musical masterpiece.  I love the use of accordion over melodic British pop music.  It’s a unique combination.

The Cribs – For All My Sisters

Looking forward to hearing The Cribs new album For All My Sisters.  Their album Ignore the Ignorant was one of my favorite guitar rock records of recent years.  All their work is solid.  This time out they worked with producer Ric Ocasek.  Above is the single Burning for No One.  Here is the album artwork:

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Sad Song, When Tragedy Becomes Comedy

Today I was talking to my Dad on the phone about Dante’s Inferno.  Surprisingly we both found it funny.  This is a book where people’s souls are tortured in the most horrible ways imaginable for all eternity, often for no more than religious thought crimes or moments of passion.  The religious medieval mind was sure a strange one!  When things go that dark they, at some point, go through the looking glass and pass into the realm of absurdity, and then turn into comedy.

Lou Reed often makes me laugh in the same way, though I’m almost positive that he was in on the joke.  When he was asked about his album Berlin, which many deem the most depressing album of all time, he said he was just, “having fun.”  Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I can put that album on, or any number of his albums, and find myself instantly cheered up.  The final song on it, Sad Song, is the cosmic punchline to the album.  I was going to describe it, but I found this description on YouTube by Adam Pendleton, the first comment at the time of writing, and I really enjoyed it:

So this poem is about an abusive husband, than his wife kills herself. Even so, he doesn’t really care. He half-heartedly chants “sad song.” than shrugs and moves on. Even after she’s gone he thinks of her as “wasting my time.” and that he was wrong for thinking she ever looked beautiful. He justifies his abuse, “somebody else would have broke both her arms.” At least that’s what I got out of it.

As Mark Twain once said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.”

Thomas Mapfumo’s Shumba

I apologize to those of you that come here a lot for not having written more in the last few days.  This constant cold damp weather in central Texas has finally gotten the best of me.  My head feels like a baloon.  In the meantime I thought I’d post some more music that is worth checking out.  When I’ve been home I have been listening to music from various parts of Africa lately.  Thomas Mapfumo, from Zimbabwe, is one of my favorites.  His album Gwindingwi Rine Shumba is particularly unique, especially in the guitar playing.  The album is a front to back winner, with songs that sound more traditionally like what we often perceive as African pop, and also strange jagged guitar duels like the song above.

Ceremony by New Order

I have always loved New Order.  And, however much he seems like a hard person to work with, I have always loved Peter Hook’s bass playing.  He plays the instrument almost more like a guitar at times.  He often takes leads, plays with effects on it (especially chorus), and creates the kind of highly melodic hooks that are reserved for guitar and keyboards in other bands.  However, despite all this he seems like someone that always plays for the song, that always adds that perfect emotion that the song needs.  Even if he is playing a lead or taking a main hook, it seems to be complimentary and not showy.  There are many people that played like him since, but he is a true original.  Ceremony is a great example of his playing and also simply a great piece of music.  It does the happy/sad thing that New Order are so great at.  It is joy and sorror, it is that unexplainable thing, the thing words often fail, that we call emotion, created in sound.