Song of the Week, 10/13/2018

Posted in Song of the week on October 13th, 2018 by bill

While driving back from the Bay Area this week, I heard the following and had a real WTF moment. If you want to do the same, listen before reading any further:

This turns out to be the work of one Bruce Haack, an electronic music pioneer who built his own synthesizers and put out lots of records, including one called Electric Lucifer that was fairly notorious in the 70s. Upon repeated listening “When Mothers of Salem,” culled from a recent compilation of his previously unreleased music, is maybe not quite as mind-blowing as I first thought; but I like the groove, and I’m always a sucker for weird songs about Jesus.

Through a strange series of circumstances, Haack appeared on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood back in 1968. Fred was super-into it:

As were the kids:

I think that last clip has been somewhat manipulated after the fact; the original seems to have been blocked by PBS, which now has Mr. Rogers behind a paywall. My instinct is to say “Screw you, PBS”; but I know Fred would want me to be nice.

Song of the Week, 9/30/2018

Posted in Song of the week on September 30th, 2018 by bill

Word arrived today of the demise of Otis Rush, one of the more underrated bluesmen. Though less than a household name, he was a guitarist and singer of raw, simmering power. Don’t take my word for it; here’s no less an authority than Lester Bangs, in Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung:

His singing is as fierce as any of the other Big Boys in the neighborhood, but it’s that guitar work you’ll keep coming back for. It’s beyond blues, beyond rock, certainly into atonal propositions too lewd for a family publication such as this. It sounds like giant bloody icebergs shuddering up to crunch together in the deepest, longest night of typically endless midwestern winter, and if you don’t think there’s icebergs in the Midwest you’ve never been here. This album is a masterpiece. It has nothing to do with anything but pain and hate and exorcism and impossibility, and if I were you I’d buy it.

I honestly had no idea that Otis was still alive, so it would disingenuous of me to feign great sorrow at his passing. But he was the man in his day. Check out, for instance, this oddly jaunty little number called “Violent Love” — blues guitar and cognitive dissonance at their finest.

Song of the Week

Posted in Song of the week on August 19th, 2018 by bill

Since Aretha passed away this week the encomiums have been coming hard and heavy, as well they should. I don’t know what I can add; in the end it always comes back to the music, doesn’t it? I mean, check this shit out.

Song of the Week, 8/11/2018

Posted in Song of the week on August 11th, 2018 by bill

I’ve been in an apocalyptic mood this week after reading the brilliant, illuminating, and horribly depressing special issue of the New York Times magazine about the brief period in the 70s and 80s when it looked like we were actually going to do something about climate change.

Spoiler alert: We didn’t, and this summer half of California is on fire. Some might say that you can’t draw a direct line between carbon emissions and wildfires. Maybe so. I’d love to think that all the climate change skeptics are right, because if they’re not, we’re fucked.

We’re probably fucked.

Well, at least we can have an entertaining soundtrack for the end times, as long as the electricity holds out. This demented scorcher from Bauhaus’s 2008 reunion album is a good place to start.

Song of the Week, 7/15/2018

Posted in Because he's David Bowie, that's why, Song of the week on July 15th, 2018 by bill

Saw this on the big screen in the chill-out room at the David Bowie Is exhibit on Friday, and Had a Moment:

Song of the Week, 7/1/2018

Posted in Song of the week on July 1st, 2018 by bill

Song of the Week, 6/10/2018

Posted in Song of the week on June 10th, 2018 by bill

Just got back from a week in Kansas City, where we had a good old time hanging out with the Old Man and his lovely wife. As it happened — well, as I planned it — both David Byrne and Ween were in town at the same time as us, and so we had a couple of full-on rock’n’roll experiences with the folks in tow.

Byrne was touring in support of his new album American Utopia, but he was kind enough to favor us with a half-dozen Talking Heads songs, including “Once in a Lifetime,” “I Zimbra,” “Naive Melody,” and “Burning Down the House.” Some of his new material was quite good too, but there is simply no matching the power of those classics. A full-on Heads reunion seems to be out of the question, so I guess that’s as close as we’ll get.

The Ween show was a bit disappointing; both the acoustics and the selection of material left something to be desired. Though we did get great renditions of “Ocean Man,” “Big Jilm,” and “Piss Up the Rope.” Thanks to the latter, I can now say that I’ve heard 2,000 Midwesterners enthusiastically singing “On your knees you big booty bitch, start sucking.” Which is nice.

We ended up leaving during the first encore, and so not until I looked at the set list later did I learn that they had closed with one of my very favorites, “Buenos Tardes Amigo.” So it goes. On the whole, I can’t complain.

Song of the Week, 5/26/2018

Posted in Song of the week on May 26th, 2018 by bill

This week’s song is actually two — the first two songs on Bad Company’s 1979 album Desolation Angels. These are guilty pleasures to be sure, weighted down with a heavy load of the hoariest rock’n’roll cliches. But I feel happy every time I hear them, so fuck that noise. Rock’n’roll!

Song of the Week, 5/13/2018

Posted in Song of the week on May 13th, 2018 by bill

This song by Air wins hands down the prize for best combination of electronics and banjo — not that there’s much competition. Four minutes and forty-two seconds of pure aural pleasure. But be sure to listen to it in stereo, and as loud as possible; on tinny computer speakers the whole point is lost.

Song of the Week, 4/21/2018

Posted in Somebody's birthday, Song of the week on April 21st, 2018 by bill

James Newell Osterberg Jr., a/k/a Iggy Pop, turns 71 today. Who would have guessed that, of these three guys,

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he would be the last man standing? How does he keep on going, when by all rights he should have been dead decades ago? Must be that… lust for life.