Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

19 March, 2006

Musical notes

How about a Sunday posting on what's interesting me musically these days? Why? Why not?
  • Early 80s Dead - It must've been about a year ago when ez mentioned his preference for Dead shows of this era. I was sceptical. I'm not a big Brent fan, and I mostly associate this period of shows with Jerry nodding off on stage. However, I've come across quite a few shows that kick just about every other era's ass in terms of intensity and improvisational genius. I have a phenomenal '83 Halloween show from Marin County (although, really, are there any bad Bay Area Dead shows?), and a surprisingly good '85 show from Richmond, VA. I suppose my biggest complaint from this era is a lack of consistency - the highs were oh-so-high, but when the Boys were off, my god, it was awful (and no catty comments from you, Dave) [btw, ez, we should get together and compare bootleg collections]
  • David Bowie's "Life on Mars" - Probably the most eloquent statement of banality this side of Dark Side of the Moon. I can listen to this song over and over again.
  • Meat Puppets - ever since PattyJoe brought them up a few weeks back, I've had a powerful hankerin' to immerse myself in their bizarro mix of psychedelic-country-punk. Unfortunately, all that has survived of my collection is a hissy cassette of Huevos and a CD of the exceedingly lackluster Forbidden Places. Help a brother out?
  • Country Blues - I've mined the UO library, which has a phenomenal collection of Depression-era country blues music on CD. There's something incredibly haunting about these bluesmen, usually only accompanied by an acoustic guitar, that was lost when the blues went 'lectric. Also, these bluesmen have the best names - although it's staggering how many were "Blind something-or-other." My favorite name? Barbecue Bob from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Beach Boys - I've been grooving on them for a few months now. I regret thinking that I was too cool for them, and that all of their music was "California Girls" style surf-pop (which isn't to say that "California Girls" isn't a great song - it is!). Pet Sounds is one of the most brilliant albums, ever. And after hearing Brian Wilson's release of SMiLE, it's impossible to argue that he doesn't belong in the pantheon of songwriting and production geniuses.
  • Sufi prayer chants from North Africa - I dunno, I just find them to be ethereal.
  • Music City Swing - Another find from the UO library, Nashville has always been known as the citadel of country music, but from the mid-40s to the early 70s, it had a lively Black swing scene that combined the down-and-dirty Delta blues with country swing in a sound that anticipates the R&B explosion of the mid-1970s. Good stuff.
  • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - I'd put this album away for awhile. When it was released about four years ago, I was blown away by it. In the past few weeks, I wondered if my amazement at the time had more to do with the dearth of innovative music in the fin de siècle era. Nope, it truly is a masterpiece.
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but that's for another blog-post.

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