The new Shinyribs album, Okra Candy, is now available digitally at online retailers. (Above is the Amazon link.) I’m extremely proud to be a part of this record. It’s my favorite one yet. Looking forward to hearing what y’all think of it.
The following lyrics are from a song in Brendan Behan’s play Richard’s Cork Leg:
You’d think ’twas a crime to be human
To sometimes get scared in the park,
When a copper sneaks up there behind you,
And flashes his light in the dark.
To regard savage dogs with suspicion,
In case that the bastards would bite,
To be hauled off to jail on suspicion,
And scared of a scream in the night.
You’d think ’twas a crime to be human,
With sex education in bed,
And postpone your thoughts of hereafter,
‘Till after you are twenty years dead.
To work overtime with young Nancy,
And give her a coffee and roll,
And likewise whatever she’d fancy
By weight or the lump or the whole.
You’d think ’twas come to be human,
And go for a swim in the sea,
And dance with no clothes in the sunshine,
And drink foreign lager for tea.
To regard co-existence with favor,
And nuclear weapons with fear,
To want more return for less labour,
Fatter fish, cheaper chips, better beer.
Let the heroes all die for the people,
If that is what they want to do,
And we’ll struggle on here without them,
I’ve concluded, now, frolics to you.
If you need your spirits lifted, the music of Boozoo Chavis is one remedy. This is zydeco music at its best. Zydeco music is regional music that originally came out of Louisiana. The song Dog Hill has always been one of my favorites that Boozoo recorded. I first heard of Boozoo from Kevin Russell, who grew up on the Texas/Louisiana border. I’ve always been interested in groove oriented music that is still really melodic. For whatever reason, it just seems to speak to me. A lot of South African music is like this, music that has a groove with a deep pocket, but is structured around major chords melodically. Anyway, if you like what you hear above, the history of Zydeco is worth reading about, as it gives you another look into the endlessly fascinating complexity of our culture here in the United States.
If you are a Westerberg or Replacements fan the above article is worth the read. If you don’t know of either, Westerberg is one of the best rock n roll songwriters America has produced. I’ve always been a really big fan of his. The above article covers the solo stuff he put out since 2008. It begins with the music collage 49:00 and goes on from there.
All of the material they mention is worth checking out. 49:00 is especially interesting. One song bleeds into the next. Certain songs even play at the same time. In lesser hands this could be a disaster, but it is extremely listenable and inspiring. It really is a sound collage. Not only are almost all the pieces great in their own right, but the WAY they interact with each other provides a whole other level of meaning. At one point there is a song about Westerberg’s dad dying. Another song keeps trying to break into that one, resembling someone’s mental state under duress, like they are trying to block something out, but can’t completely. The whole record seems to tell the story of his life, though it is impressionistic and interpretive as well. (Though you might have to be a fan to put that interpretation together. The song Something in My Life is Missing features a bit about each of The Replacements, but not by name.) Westerberg’s love of Faces inspired rock n roll, knack for AM pop radio hooks, beautiful melodic sensibilities, and post-punk roots all come and go at different times. I’ve long thought it to be a work of genius, but the fact that he put several snippets of covers, that he performs, got it taken down shortly after it was released. I don’t believe you can still buy it, but you can listen up above on YouTube.
The above New York Times article is the best review I’ve seen yet of Brian Wilson’s new album, No Pier Pressure, based on what I have heard of the record so far. All of the other reviews I have read have been either completely shallow, or seem to not be interpreting it correctly given his discography. I am still forming my thoughts about the record and will write about it more at some point. In the meantime I think that this is a good place to start reading about the album if you are interested in it.
A great friend and guitar player emailed me today, which reminded me of our mutual appreciation for Dinosaur Jr. I was a little late to the game, not really being aware of Dinosaur Jr. until their album Where You Been came out. (Though I love earlier songs like Freak Scene very much now.) My brother reminds me of when I used to play the song Start Choppin on repeat, so many times and at such a loud volume I used to drive my family nuts. (I was 15 at the time.) In music, I have always loved the combination of a great melody with primal guitar playing. This song has a great melody from which singer and guitar player J Mascis continually takes a break from to choke the fuck out of his guitar. I love that duality, that combination of beauty and sonic insanity.
Years later, in Austin, I got the chance to see the reunited Dinosaur Jr. live. J Mascis had long flowing white Gandolf hair by this point, taking his guitar into outer space, just like you would want him to.
Above is the official video for Morrissey’s song Kiss Me A Lot, which in my opinion is from the best album from the last few years, World Peace is None of Your Business. This is easily the most straightforward pop song on the album. I like the fact that even in a straightforward pop song he can get a term in like, “Bastille mausoleum.”
This video has created a lot of controversy in the world of Morrissey. He has strongly supported feminism throughout his career. The fact that this video features scantily clad models, which are so normal in most pop music, has caused disbelief amongst fans. I admit that I was surprised to see them.
However, I love the song and the man. Even if you count the above video as a stumble in his career, his life’s work still towers above most of modern pop music.