Weezer’s New Album and Cleopatra Video

Weezer have a new album out.  (It actually came out last month, but I’m only just getting around to listening to it.)  It is called Everything Will Be Alright in the End and it is the first produced by Rick Ocasek, of Cars fame, since The Green Album.  This actually may be their best record since The Green Album, and actually since Pinkerton.  I actually like most of their records, though I agree with most people that their first two records are their best.  Weezer are one of those bands that does things that I normally wouldn’t like, like making pop culture references in the lyrics, but are so good at what they do that I don’t care.  Rivers Cuomo is a melodic genius and this new album is front to back great melodies.  The production by Ocasek is also top notch.  The guitars have that same quality to them that they do on their first and third albums.  They are heavy, but they have so much texture to them that they are actually beautiful a good deal of the time.  Each guitar is like a little painting you can get lost in.  If you are a fan of Weezer you will definitely like this album.  If you are not, but like rock n roll with astounding pop melodies, then you should check them out as well.

Cross the Green Mountain

I am watching Ken Burns’s amazing Civil War series.  One of my favorite Dylan songs is his song about the Civil War, Cross the Green Mountain.  These are the lyrics:

I crossed the green mountain
I slept by the stream
Heaven blazing in my head
I dreamt a monstrous dream

Something came up
Out of the sea
Swept through the land of
The rich and the free

I look into the eyes
Of my merciful friend
And then I ask myself
Is this the end?

Memories linger
Sad yet sweet
And I think of the souls
In heaven who will meet

Alters are burning
The flames far and wide
The foe has crossed over
From the other side

They tip their caps
From the top of the hill
You can feel them come
More brave blood do spill

Along the dim
Atlantic line
The ravaged land
Lasts for miles behind

The lights coming forward
And the streets are broad
All must yield
To the avenging God

The world is old
The world is grey
Lessons of life
Can’t be learned in a day

I watch and I wait
And I listen while I stand
To the music that comes
From a far better land

Close the eyes of our captain
Peace may he know
His long night is done
The great leader is laid low

He was ready to fall
He was quick to defend
Killed outright he was
By his own men

It’s the last day’s last hour
Of the last happy year
I feel that the unknown world is so near

Pride will vanish
And glory will rot
But virtue lives
And cannot be forgot

The bells
Of evening have rung
There’s blasphemy on every tongue

Let them say that I walked
In fair nature’s light
And that I was loyal
To truth and to right

Serve God and be cheerful
Look upward beyond
Beyond the darkness that masks
The surprises of dawn

In the deep green grasses
And the blood stained woods
They never dreamed of surrendering
They fell where they stood

Stars fell over Alabama
I saw each star
You’re walking in dreams
Whoever you are

Chilled are the skies
Keen is the frost
The ground’s froze hard
And the morning is lost

A letter to mother
Came today
Gunshot wound to the breast
Is what it did say

But he’ll be better soon
He’s in a hospital bed
But he’ll never be better
He’s already dead

I’m ten miles outside the city
And I’m lifted away
In an ancient light
That is not of day

They were calm, they were blunt
We knew them all too well
We loved each other more than
We ever dared to tell

Love Will Tear Us Apart Video

Today the weather in Austin is less than ideal.  There is a “slate grey Victorian sky” as Morrissey sang.  Certain music fits different weather patterns better than others.  A place as grey and rainy as Manchester seems to produce a lot of music that works well with dismal weather.  I wonder if there has ever been a study on how weather affects music?  I need to burn off to rehearsal, but in the meantime I thought I would leave you with some Joy Division.

No Show Ponies Live Performance

I usually don’t like the way YouTube videos of shows turn out.  The lighting is usually bad, the sound worse, the way it’s filmed makes you want to crawl into a cave and die.  However, this one turned out pretty good.  This is my former band, No Show Ponies, playing at Strange Brew in Austin, Texas.  We played the small listening room in Austin earlier this year.  It is one of the best sounding rooms in Austin.  My brother Ben is on guitar and vocals.  Alex Moralez, who is also playing with me in my current solo project, is on drums.  The set is a mix of original songs and covers, but it is only part of the set.  On that day we covered Joe Strummer, Lou Reed, John Hiatt, and Jackson Browne.  The rest of the songs are ours.  Some of them our from our album A Manual for Defeat, and some are newer.  If you are bored at work today, plug in your headphones, pretend to look busy, and have a listen…

Marianne Faithfull New Album and Playlist

Marianne Faithfull’s new album, Give My Love to London, came out yesterday.  Above is the trailer for it.  One thing that the trailer doesn’t make clear, although she collaborated with a wide variety of great artists for this record, this is not a duets record.  Marianne is the center of attention for the entire record, except for a brief moment when Brian Eno takes over.  (Which makes sense when you hear the song.)  Her music has been a constant companion over the last several years.  Her bravery in song choice and subject matter is rare.  Her voice is a mountain, weathered by time.  It can be harrowing, beautiful, and true, all at the same time.  My first impression of her new album, although I definitely need more time to digest it, is that it may be one of the highlights of her career.  (And this album marks 50 years in her career!)

In honor of her new album coming out I wanted to create a playlist.  Although I absolutely treasure the album Broken English in its entirety, in general, I am someone that prefers a certain kind of Marianne Faithfull song.  I love her late period melodic work more than her early stuff, bluesy work, or her work in the vein of Kurt Weill.  That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate her entire catalogue.  It is just I find myself drawn to certain things above others.  This will mean that the playlist below will work as an album in and of itself, but it will also only provide a partial picture of her legendary career.  She has a certain kind of song that is full of both beauty and tragedy.  She is one of the few artists that can actually bring tears to my eyes.  Each song below is its own world that you can get lost in for days at a time.  (I should mention that everything I have chosen is available online and should be easy to find.  I didn’t want to include anything that was unavailable.)

1.  Trouble In Mind (The Return)A Perfect Stranger
2.  As Tears Go ByA Perfect Stranger
3.  A Perfect StrangerA Perfect Stranger
4.  Conversation On a Barstool - A Perfect Stranger
5.  Times SquareA Child’s Adventure
6.  Morning ComeA Child’s Adventure
7.  StationsHorses and High Heels
8.  Why Did We Have to PartHorses and High Heels
9.  The Crane Wife 3 - Easy Come Easy Go
10.  That’s How Every Empire FallsHorses and High Heels
11.  The Ballad of Lucy JordanBroken English
12.  The Stars Line UpA Secret Life
13.  Dreamin’ My DreamsDreamin’ My Dreams

Ramsay Midwood’s Maybelline Grease

Although I wasn’t actually recording today, I had the pleasure of going into the studio to watch one of my favorite Austin artists, Ramsay Midwood.  He was recording his song for the Ted Hawkins tribute record that everybody is working on right now.  He calls his music psychedelic country-blues.  I like to call it honkey tonk music from another dimension.  He definitely is dancing to the beat of a different drummer.  He is an acquired taste, but once you acquire it, you won’t be able to get enough.  He is one of those rare artists that has found his own voice, outlook, and even groove.  The song above, Maybelline Grease, is from my favorite album of his, Larry Buys a Lighter.  Most alt-country is just sentimental singer-songwriter stuff with a bit of twang in it.  This is roots music that is bending space, time, and light.  In some parallel universe, Patrol Boats are blasting this shit in the Mekong Delta while young soldiers twist their minds with LSD.