Looking Out a Rainy Window with Tindersticks

My favorite new find.

I am very lucky to have a great, safe space to be in during the pandemic isolation. One of my favorite places to sit is an enclosed porch. Today, I was sitting out there, and it started to storm something fierce, and then, as I have mentioned we call it in the South, the devil started beatin’ his wife.

No matter. We’ve had a few beautiful days here in Chicago, and the rain came in to wash it away for bit. But I hope it will also calm the many moods. My own. And others.

Last week, I stumbled upon a really great band through an unexpected source, the 2009-2013 HBO series “Eastbound & Down”. I love the series, but that opinion aside, the soundtrack is seriously good. The Tindersticks song “The Organist Entertains” was the song that stood out to me most:

I fell down a rabbit hole and have found Tindersticks to be even better than the taste above. Tindersticks in an English band that has been around since 1991. I think if you like Nick Cave, you will very much be into Tindersticks. It was very difficult to pick only a are a few of my favorites because they are all damn good:

“What Are You Fighting For?”

There is a future coming up behind,
And I can feel it but I don’t know where it’s coming from,
And I can hold it but I; I cannot see its face,
And time is out of my hand.

 

“Show Me Everything”

Bound together, separate,
Take these stones, build something,
Define the walls, decorate,
Our mouths on the glass, we believe we taste,
Everything we could have had.

“Mistakes”

I went flying around,
And I had my strings cut,
I wasn’t coming down.

I am not sure if Tindersticks is new to you, but whether they are or not, I hope you enjoy some of their songs. They have certainly touched my heart.

Vinyl Day 1: Huey Lewis and the News “Sports”, Jimmy Buffet “Volcano”, & Donna Summer “Live and More”

I’m starting a new short run series leading up to Record Store Day 2020 (April 18).

In 2013, I acquired my parent’s record collection. “Stole” might be a better term, but mom, if you read this, I am happy to give them back at any time. Since acquiring and combining records, my household has quite the eclectic record collection. I haven’t even listened to many of them. I am going to be sharing photos of all of the records and a small amount of research on them for the next few weeks.

This cat judged me throughout this entire process, and honestly, I don’t need that in my life.

IMG_20200314_110544671

Let’s begin.


Artist: Jimmy Buffet
Album: Volcano
Year: 1979
Genre: Rock, I guess?
Record Origins: My parents. Smh.

IMG_20200314_110852899

I’m gonna be real with you: I really don’t like Jimmy Buffet. I’m putting this one first because I never want to talk about this album again. It’s nothing against any of you who like him. It’s me. This is the only song I can take, and I am currently evaluating that statement now that I have typed it.


Artist: Huey Lewis and the News
Album: SPORTS
Year: 1979
Genre: Rock
Record Origins: Sam found this at Goodwill on the Westbank (greater New Orleans area) or the “Wank”, if you please.

IMG_20200314_110842896

This is a solid album. If there ever was a white people culture, certainly this would be in it. I’ve definitely heard it in Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s. My dad used to jam this on the way to our piano practice when we were growing up. It was already legendary status in my mind, but American Pyscho ensured this album would be permanently seared into our consciousness.


Artist: Donna Summer
Album: Live and More
Year: 1978
Genre: Disco, Soul, Adult Contemporary
Record Origins: My parents

IMG_20200314_110906545

This is a smoking album. Do you want to feel sexy? This album will make you feel sexy as it has tracks like “I Feel Love” and “Love to Love You, Baby”. 🤤



Thanks for reading Day 1 of ?.

Desert Sessions: Songs for Personal and Public Apocalypse Survival

A soundtrack for end times (kidding!).

While the Bitchfork readership is measly in quantity, it is international (or all of you use VPNs or a combo of both). Usually it is the music that brings us together, but today, please join me as we socially distance ourselves.

Before the virus, I’ve contemplated a self-imposed social distancing. The idea came from a plane ride and some fungi. For a long-enough-to-be-annoying-frame-of-time, I have felt like I was standing at the edge of the world. The Earth and all its contents at my back, looking out at infinite– overwhelmingly lonely and in awe of the how, despite being filled with stars and planets, space is so stark.

The fact a virus that requires distancing ourselves from humans is an ironic and somewhat cathartic event to (maybe?) wrap up these last few weeks. However, just as I am in awe of the starkness of the universe, I am equally thankful for the solitude.

The Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12 is the perfect soundtrack for everything I am seeing and feeling at this time. It offers an apocalyptic feel without much of the seriousness but much of the absurdness and loneliness mixed with elements of survival.

Desert-Sessions-Vol-11

From Wiki:

The Desert Sessions are a musical collective series, founded by Josh Homme in 1997. Artists such as Brant BjorkPJ HarveyJeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez)Dave CatchingNick OliveriMark LaneganJohn McBainBen ShepherdJosh FreeseChris GossAlain JohannesTroy Van LeeuwenDean Ween, and many others from the Palm Desert Scene have contributed as songwriters and musicians.

I am a big/huge/large/massive/fluffy fan of Josh Homme’s talents, work, and collaborative efforts. Like members of The Mars Volta as well as Mike Patton, I don’t know how the dude sleeps: Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal, KYUSS, Iggy Pop; and extensive work with Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys.

Example 1:

It’s not often you see a very large, ginger man with such moves. Also, please never tell me masculinity and flamboyance are an oxymoron or mutually exclusive (and have you seen him roller skate?).

Josh Homme has been doing wonderful things for decades. He began the Desert Sessions in 1997. Since that time, he has produced 12 volumes, the latest being Vol. 11: Arriverderci Despair and  Volume 12: Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels. These volumes features greats like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Les Claypool of Primus, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, Jakes Shears of Scissor Sisters, Matt Berry of everything, Matt Sweeney, Carla Azar of Autolux and Jack White, and Mike Kerr of Royal Blood (all seen in the featured photo of this post).

Here are some of my favorites from the latest volumes.

Continue reading “Desert Sessions: Songs for Personal and Public Apocalypse Survival”

2020: The Year of Live Music

Livin’ live in 2020.

Calling it now: 2020 is The Year of Live Music in my small corner of the world.

I ended 2019 by seeing a pretty transcendent performance by BADBADNOTGOOD (a bucket list show for me).

This is what is on deck for 2020 so far:

Continue reading “2020: The Year of Live Music”

The “L’Via L’Viaquez”/Mars Volta Appreciation Post That Became A John Frusciante Appreciation Post Too

I was going to write a long post about one of my favorite songs “L’Via L’Viaquez” by The Mars Volta (it’s off the Frances the Mute album, which my then fetal archnemesis-that-doesn’t-know-I-exist Pitchfork gave only a 2 out of 10 [this is really criminal, PF]).

I don’t have a vast knowledge of The Mars Volta catalog and was doing some digging. They have been on my mind lately because of Juan Alderete’s TBI and the beautiful Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s run in with Scientologists. I revisited the song after needing a taste of something different, and when that guitar hits, it makes the hairs on my arms and neck stand up.

I’ve posted the short version with awkward mid-aughts video above, but the entire version can be found here.

My post came to a screeching halt when I found out, for the first time in the 14 years I have been listening to this song, that John Frusciante performed the guitar solo in the song. I find myself constantly circling John Frusciante’s solo work. It’s annoying because at some point years ago, I heard he was a huge asshole (though as I write this now, I cannot remember why). I went out of my way to avoid his works, but I am kind of an asshole magnet anyway. Here we are now.

On the same day I had a taste for “L’via”, I heard a John Frusciante song I had never heard before that gave my heart a little tug.

Maybe he’s an asshole (this is not confirmed), but I appreciate the tenderness of this song.

Anyway, there will be a Pt. 2 (or retroactive Pt. 1) to this post dedicated solely to The Mars Volta and parent/sibling bands and members. Stay tuned.

“Never Is A Promise” by Fiona Apple

The nice thing about writing as a hobby is that the strangers you inevitably connect with online have similar interests. So when a writer follows you and vice versa, it’s a bit of a cosmic head nod.

When William posted a Fiona Apple song over on A Thousand Mistakes, I felt inspired to share one of my favorite Fiona Apple songs, “Never Is a Promise”.

It’s an incredible song about finding self-worth and courage underneath an element of control and self-absorption. It’s even more incredible she wrote this when she was only 16 or 17. And there is a whole album (Tidal) ready to break your heart.

You’ll never see the courage I know,
Its colors’ richness won’t appear within your view,
I’ll never glow – the way that you glow,
Your presence dominates the judgments made on you.

Southbound to The Big House: The Allman Brothers Band

An impromptu celebration of The Allman Brothers Band’s 50th anniversary in Macon

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit some of my family in Macon, Georgia. My great aunt turned 90, and I got to see my grandma who is spry as ever at 91. Both sides of my family have a storied history in Georgia (ca. 1700s). So I have quite a few opportunities like these to visit. Side note- I’m glad I didn’t grow up in Georgia because I’m pretty sure that I’m related to a large portion of the state which would have made dating a nightmare.

On my way into Macon from Atlanta, I saw a billboard for The Allman Brothers Museum at The Big House. The Allman Brothers, per my mother’s oral history, are both a rich staple of Macon and, at one time, a “black eye on Macon”.

allman

My mom grew up around the area, and she was able to go watch them practice at the time. She also mentioned that they played in a festival somewhere down there that was akin to Woodstock. However, Mom also mentioned that a lot of people didn’t care for The Allman Brothers at the time because “they were hippies.” At one point, my mom turned to her own mom (my Grandmama), who was listening in on the conversation, and said “Ya’ll wouldn’t have cared for them.”

Maybe Grandmama wouldn’t have cared for them, but many people definitely care for The Allman Brothers Band. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.

Luckily, my mom grew up right down the road from the Allman HQ, and she passed on her love of them to my siblings and I. And even luckier, many of my school friends had a great appreciation for the Allmans. So, the Allmans are very much a family affair for me.

I decided to take a little pilgrimage to pay tribute to the storied Southern Rock/Jam Band Gods during my day in Macon.

Continue reading “Southbound to The Big House: The Allman Brothers Band”

A Brief, Strange, and Semi-Erotic History of David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”

The original horror movie about cat people that’s not the CATS remake.

EDIT: Happy 73rd Birthday, David Bowie!

In 1942, French director Jacques Tourneur directed a film using by DeWitt Boden with the eponymous name Cat People.

Would you believe me if I told you that a movie made in 1942 called Cat People had some deleterious portrayals of women and human sexuality?: “The plot focuses on a Serbian fashion illustrator in New York City who believes herself to be descended from a race of people who shape shift into panthers when sexually aroused or angered.” Oh dear.

Nonetheless, the film is considered pioneer of the horror genre and cinematography.

40 years later, legendary American film writer and director Paul Schrader directed an early 80s update of Cat People with some huge 70s and 80s players: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, and John Heard. The 1982 version of Cat People is described as an “erotic horror” on Wikipedia (if the appearance of Malcolm McDowell didn’t tip you off to the kind of party this is).
Continue reading “A Brief, Strange, and Semi-Erotic History of David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)””

Are You There?: Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files

Nick Cave soothes the masses with a cosmic wisdom and tenderness in The Red Hand Files.

“It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal.” -Nick Cave

Grief is an isolating experience. Even if one has experienced grief, it is a state that is challenging to wholly fathom unless you are in the midst of it. The pull of grief is hypnotic and suffocating. So much that even when experience grief collectively, we are like an archipelago: we see each other and share a similar existence, but we are, until the passage of time and acceptance, our own island.

felix_gonzales_torres_untitled_empy_bed
Felix Gonzales-Torres, Untitled. 1991. Source: https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/art/exhibitions/1576

While grief and isolation are a part of the human experience at times, we are not meant to live in isolation or permanent grief.  This is one reason why John Donne’s “No Man is an Island” is still so relevant over 400 years later:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

As we continue our hurtle towards singularity and secularism, it can be difficult to remain anchored, let alone find an anchor that supports us in our grief or times of isolation. No wonder we are, at times, so hungry for some type of opiate.

We seek out anchors in our family, friends, community, religion, activities, and idols. Myself, I find great solace in physical activity and sage wisdom (a la Mr. Roger’s “helpers” but for adults). I find much respite from isolation and grief in someone who has publicly wrestled with their own grief: Nick Cave.

Continue reading “Are You There?: Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files”

Death Was Here

Before there was punk, there were three black brothers in Detroit making noise in a band called Death.

It’s a tenuous time for white privilege in the United States. Black people in the U.S., quite frankly, busted ass over the course of hundreds of years to go from being literal property to owning property and being able to (kind of?) vote and use the same public and private buildings, services, and- Lord have mercy- water fountains as white people (among a host of other things that will take up roughly 30 posts if not more; don’t get me going on environmental justice and food deserts). In 2014, bleeding heart liberal white people like myself were reminded by the police perpetrated murder of black teenager Michel Brown of just how far we hadn’t and haven’t come. Two years  after the murder of Michael Brown, white liberals and many, if not most, people of color and poor people were all delivered another swift kick to the balls when reality star and really shit businessman Donald Trump was elected “democratically” to lead the U.S.

Continue reading “Death Was Here”