You know how you know I'm a nerd? I get emotional about Douglas Adams.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was the first—like the first non-Marvel comic, non-Choose Your Own Adventure—recreational reading that I ever did (big shouts to that kid who recommended it to me at the time). (Shouts also to Google, who are paying tribute to him today with their Doodle.) The saga of Arthur Dent, a hapless human adrift in a hostile, chaotic universe, resonated mightily with my pre-teen alienation. I thought So Long and Thanks For All the Fish was a beautiful love story. His detective hero Dirk Gently and his holistic approach to finding answers helped me understand the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.
Adams' work was also interconnected with his love of music—he was an an avid guitarist with a collection of 30+ left-handed writer's block-busters. He claimed to have written The Restaraunt at the End of the Universe while listening to Paul Simon's One Trick Pony on repeat. During a love scene in So Long he said this about Dire Straits' "Tunnel of Love":
Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer.
(Man, this is nerdy, but I love this guy.) He partied with the dudes from Pink Floyd (Adams named their 1994 album The Division Bell) and Procul Harum. Pink Floyd even invited him to play with them on the event of his 42nd birthday—Guide fans will recognize the considerable significance of that number. David Gilmour and Gary Brooker both played at a "virtual 60th birthday" for Adams last year, doing Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale." Plenty of other musicians of paid tribute to Adams as well, such as Radiohead, whose "Paranoid Android" was inspired by the morose Marvin.
Now, I've never dedicated an Eagles song to anybody, and for good reason, but this one is apropos. The Don Henley-less, mystical banjo epic "Journey of the Sorcerer" from 1975's One Of These Nights was, in some form or another, the theme song to the Hitchhiker's Guide's radio, TV, and (sad, sad) movie incarnations. So I send this one to my favorite tall and deceased British sci-fi comic genius. May your packet of biscuits be everlasting.
Usually I start off my show reviews by testing your patience with an anecdotal story about my personal connection with the artist I'm seeing. Then I place the musician in some larger genre and/or historical context, and wax poetic about what makes them extraordinary among countless other bands.
For the entire duration of Kristeen Young's opening set I stood in line for a t-shirt. To be fair, it's now one of the most ridiculous shirts I own, and Moz IS my shepherd.
It's utterly pointless for me to try to do this for Steven Patrick Morrissey. For longer than I have been alive, music journalists have chipped away at the man, dissected his lyrics, and sought to explain his appeal. All in all, like so many other people, I spend a lot of time with Morrissey's music. I don't think I'll ever come up with a way to artfully explicate it, but he makes me feel less alone, and he will probably always mean a great deal to me.
Walking up to the Moore Theatre in the pouring rain, I first heard a pat-down security guard barking "No flowers! No iPads!" which might be one of the strangest introductions I've had to a show. Inside the mood was dizzying; this being my first Morrissey show, I didn't know if there was always this much excitement in the air for one of his concerts, or if it was a lot of pent up anticipation. (The concert was originally scheduled for November before being pushed back so Moz could attend to his ill mother. He's also had a bout of health scares that led to some cancellations on this US tour.)
1981 was a great year for the American underground. The hardcore formula had just been distilled and punk was still an outlaw with no rules; everything was on the table and the Big Boys were there, angry and knowing, considered and clever. Their songs were smart, not just short fast and loud. As I remember it, this record played part of the lexicon of what came after; where it landed it counted. Now I ain't sayin' it was "ahead" of anything; I hate when records are described as somehow ahead of their time, 'cause all records are made in a SPECIFIC time under the then contemporary circumstances. DUH! Also, it sucks how history is simplified, so now the Big Boys are remembered as "skate rock." I dunno who invented the term, but I've ALWAYS hated it. I know it was a "thing," I was there, but I always thought that term was silly. No one needed goddamn Thrasher to tell them what to listen to!! C'mon, a track like "Complete Control" from Where's My Towel/Industry Standard, did NOT fit into "skate" cliché. The kids then would'a called it "college rock."
Anyway, so this is a fucking great reissue. The LP comes as a gatefold with a stack of inserts and is pressed on one of four different colors. FANCY! It's on cassette too, if you dare. AndLITA backed the hard copy with cool internet action like a Tim Kerr interview via the Light In The Attic blog AND a fantastic LITA-produced Big Boys documentary (also included in Mr. Erdman's earlier post, BTW). HELL FUCKING YES, y'all!
Well, I continue to love every fucking thing Laura Stevenson does. SHOCKING, I KNOW. Today she released another new single, "L-DOPA," from her upcoming album, Wheel (out on Don Giovanni April 23), and now I'll spend the rest of the day listening to it. You should, too:
The song is gorgeous (and filling my heart with feelings), but if you need something with a faster, brighter pace for this sunny day, check out "Runner" here. Its chorus reminds me of the Go-Go's in a very great way.
Two veterans of the fertile East Village Art Scene of the 1980's, Joey Arias and Kristian Hoffman, share the stage for the first time since they both appeared at seminal New York venues like Club 57, Mudd Club and CBGBs.
Borrowed from the title of a Klaus Nomi song, "Lightning Strikes" marks the first collaboration between Arias and Hoffman - both of whom were close friends and collaborators of the late German counter-tenor. Nomi and Arias famously backed up David Bowie on Saturday Night Live in 1979 and the two were close friends up until the time of Nomi's death.
Andy Samberg and Joanna Newsom a few days ago. She's wearin' a ring!!!
I had somehow not noticed that they were even dating. They've been dating for five years! (Also, I just heard about Joanna Newsom last week, so sue me.) But aw, crap, how adorable! Says Us Weekly:
Samberg was smitten with the 31-year-old musician even before they met through mutual friends. "He liked her music and would go to her shows," a pal told Us last year. "He had the biggest crush on her."
Click to see a blown-up picture of that ring! I asked the friend who told me about it if he found out about this by googling "Joanna Newsom proposal ideas" but he vehemently denies it. Meanwhile, Pitchfork wonders if he used the ol' dick-in-a-box for the proposal. Maybe! Champagne all around!
I've been listening to some things. It's what I do. For instance, this band from Pennsylvania called Gay Republicans and their new EP Raw Doggerel. These guys have crunchy riffs and airtight drums, swimming thick against the current and coming-up champion. You may wanna punch someone while/after listening, but please don't. I understand the feeling though. (Hat tip to Styofoam Drone on finding these guys.)
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM
Guitarist/vocalist/sitarist George Harrison—who was born 70 years ago on this day in Liverpool, England—wrote a lot of beautiful, timeless songs for the Beatles*, of course, and his 1970 solo LP All Things Must Pass is worth the considerable shelf space it takes up. But when you want to get down to the core of Harrison's real greatness, you need to break out Wonderwall Music, his daring 1968 soundtrack to the film Wonderwall (which I still haven't seen for some reason).
Wonderwall gave Harrison free rein to flaunt his Anglo take on Indian music and to indulge in some of his stranger, more psychedelic proclivities. There's not much cohesiveness, but there are plenty of brilliant, concise passages of exotic allure and scattered instances of a multimillionaire's engaging follies. Unbelievably, Wonderwall Music reached #49 in the US charts in 1969, according to Wiki.
Happy birthday, George. (I know you can read this.)
* A partial list would include "Don't Bother Me," "Think for Yourself," "Taxman," "Blue Jay Way," "The Inner Light," "Within You Without You," "It's All Too Much," and "Only a Northern Song."
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man, the soul-stirring depiction of the life of once-overlooked Detroit troubadour Sixto Rodriguez, won an Oscar last night for best documentary. In light of this achievement, it seems like a good time to link to an interview I conducted with the director and his charming subject back in August 2012.
Kudos to Rodriguez, Bendjelloul, and Light in the Attic Records, the Seattle label whose reissues did much to raise Rodriguez's profile in the '00s.
Finally the time has come when the awaited documentary about Silkworm is available in its entirety. It's simply $5, which is beyond affordable. Or you could spend a few extra dollars & score a bonus (details below!)
According to the Touch & Go website:
"...for only 5 bucks at the film's official website HERE. Or splurge a little - for 10 bucks you can also get Live Worm, 22 tracks of live recordings from Silkworm and members of Silkworm. Still need more Silkworm? You can add in deleted scenes and other special features to your purchase for 20 bucks!"
My folks said they was in love when they had me/ I take they love they made me wit to make rhymes and beats...
Out of all the clichéd-ass, maudlin "hiphop, you the love of my life" type songs, this one be the realest since kumbaya. We're all embarassed of our backpacker pasts (or the analogous designation of your chosen musical subset)—particularly that thorny, troubling Rawkus era—but I will always love Black On Both Sides, and the former Mos' gift with words.