Brenton Wood -- Oogum BoogumBrenton Wood -- Oogum Boogum
I don't know about the weather where you are, Dear Reader, but here, today, it's been perfect: warm, sun out, high feathery clouds, cool breeze. And here's a song to match, all cotton candy and carefree ebullience.
[Brenton Wood's 18 Best]
Sun Kil Moon -- Carry Me OhioSun Kil Moon -- Carry Me Ohio
This song is a tricksy time machine. You start it up and the melody and the harmony take you back to the nearest time when everything was okay: for some it was last night, everything accomplished, stretching out, drifting to sleep smiling; for others it's decades, unraveling the years, the conflicts and disappointments, the heartbreaks which will not be silent, to arrive at 6 minutes 21 seconds of bliss. And then the present returns.
It's a salve, a temporary fix, requiring inattention to the lyrics expressing that same loss the listener had hoped to escape. In a Philip K. Dick world some might hack the song into a permanent fix, programming it to repeat ad infinitum, increasing exponentially in volume and intensity in a doomed hope of shortcircuiting all conflicting thoughts, of rattling the skull so hard the words don't make sense, just the lullaby.
Christopher Porter/Suburbs Are Killing Us posted this track in mid-April 2004, and I'm only just now catching up to the CD: it had been half-forgotten (not the melody; no, that stays) until I recently stumbled onto it again, used and in great shape.
Ghosts of the Great Highway has been re-released recently with six bonus tracks, and allmusic.com considers the alternate version of "Carry Me Ohio" better than this one. Have any of you heard it? Thoughts on how they compare?
Ruby Isle -- Atom BombRuby Isle -- Atom Bomb
The Machine of Death is an upcoming collection of fiction about a rather terse machine predicting how people will die. Ruby Isle have got their entry in early.
As the Machine of Death site says:
The realization that we could now know how we were going to die had changed the world: people became at once less fearful and more afraid. There's no reason not to go skydiving if you know your sliver of paper says "BURIED ALIVE". The realization that these predictions seemed to revel in turnabout and surprise put a damper on things. It made the predictions more sinister -- yes, if you were going to be buried alive you weren't going to be electrocuted in the bathtub, but what if in skydiving you landed in a gravel pit? What if you were buried alive not in dirt but in something else? And would being caught in a collapsing building count as being buried alive? For every possibility the machine closed, it seemed to open several more, with varying degrees of plausibility.Or, as Ruby Isle would have it,
"I called my baby, said 'baby, the end is coming'; she said
'Na na na na na, na na na na na, naa naa naa naa, na na na na na.
'Na na na na na, na na na na na, naa naa naa naa, na na na na na.'"
Ruby Isle's narrator is distraught (this is a horrible time to die). Ruby Isle are not (this is a great time to party).
[Ruby Isle's MySpace page and Fanatic Promotion page]
Odawas -- Alleluia
Odawas -- Alleluia
Titles are treacherous things, conjuring up images of what they will, regardless of what songs they're affixed to. I suspect this one slipped away in the night and found itself a home more to its liking.
If it's a song of praise, I have either never properly heard praise or never recognized it. It's a song of spare beauty, of echoing in a cave, of "this is all I have, stop it, this is all I have." Perhaps it's a song of resignation, of guilty relief, of a friend's death after protracted and painful illness.
Odawas have a website and a myspace page and an album due out March 6.
A fascinating discussion on the general American acceptance of rape in prison and what it says about the psychology of people accepting it.
I've recently noticed people accessing the site through proxies skirting censorship. It's useful to remember that there are always more than one; and in some cases there seem to be networks of them. In any case, here are some additional tips on how to access banned sites (like blogspot.com and typepad.com) from within India, Pakistan, and China, (and presumably also Iran and many other countries) and some more tips on circumventing censorship.
Frederick Knight -- Trouble
Frederick Knight -- Trouble
Here's a rare unreleased Cee-Lo track.
Erm, no, it's Frederick Knight, best known for writing "Ring My Bell." He should be better known for being an all-around funky soulster with a hip sense of style (dig the coat) or, barring that, for having a damn good ear. "I've Been Lonely for So Long" and "Your Love's All Over Me" are top-notch R&B; and "Trouble" is no slouch either.
The album as a whole is a long revelation, like repeatedly turning the corner and running into an old friend, even if it's someone you've never seen before.
[I've Been Lonely for So Long @ amazon or @ emusic]
Nancy Wilson and John FaheyNancy Wilson -- A Brand New Me
A Sunday drive, holding hands. Maybe you'll stop somewhere for a leisurely brunch, maybe you'll trade friendly in-jokes, wink at each other behind the waitress's back, maybe you'll drive home with a pleasant anticipation.
[Can't Take My Eyes Off You, out of print]
John Fahey -- Summertime
Summertime, yes: early morning before it's hot, sunrise through a screen door, golden light crosshatched over floorboards. An owl in the woods hooting still, the crows not yet awake.
[Red Cross @ amazon.com or @ emusic]
Demis Roussos -- L.O.V.E. Got a Hold of MeDemis Roussos -- L.O.V.E. Got a Hold of Me
At the end of a slow sappy LP leading me to think I'd misspent my $1, there was this disco track, which is quite enjoyable provided you don't have a Pavlovian aversion to disco. Apparently there's a 10-minute version of it which is expensive and highly regarded among DJs. Alas, all I have is the LP version, clocking in at just under 6 minutes.
I don't know much about Roussos, except that if you rearrange the letters in his name you can spell "Soused Morris" and that I doubt I'll be buying anything more by him.
[out of print]
IODA: Wailin' JennysThe Wailin' Jennys -- Long Time Traveller
[Jericho Beach Music @ iTunes Music Store, and @ eMusic]
Bataan and Darondo, cake and ice creamDarondo -- Let My People Go
I love the DIY attitude behind Darondo's music; the audio's a bit muddy; his singing is not highly trained; this song finds a groove and rides it for all it's worth. Still, there's something refreshing about gritty soul, or any music that's not overproduced and autotuned.
"Let My People Go" is a simmering political funk which I'd thought of posting on MLK day but decided not to (perhaps in a bit of unChristian judgment which would shame the reverend's memory--Darondo was a pimp. No, not metaphorically).
I first encountered Darondo on Soul Sides, then got a reminder on Said the Gramophone, both in posting "Didn't I," a plaintive lovelorn song with sour guitar. It's a fascinating song, but for me the star of the show is "Let My People Go."
[Let My People Go @ amazon or at emusic.com.]
Joe Bataan -- It's a Good Feeling (Riot)
Allmusic slams this song in its review of the Riot! and looks on it with a puzzled affection in its review of Mr. New York, but I'm not puzzled or ambivalent about it. It evokes a street party rather than a riot, yes, but I don't think that's any great failing. It makes more sense musically, and unless you're smashing things, riots aren't any great fun anyway.
I first encountered Joe Bataan with the terrific track "Subway Joe" posted on Tofu Hut; Soul Sides followed suit a year later.
[Riot! @ amazon or at emusic.com.]
I've been catching up on CD purchases for tracks I heard on mp3blogs. Some exceedingly brief reviews:
Abner Jay: Rev. Frost posted the three best tracks, but damn is "I'm So Depressed" a great song, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of blues tunes (the Mr. Olympia Arnold, not the post-heart-surgery Arnold).
Mirah: posted at StG. Very nice, with some unexpected (and welcome) experimentation offsetting the sweetness of it.
Gomez: wow. This one's cheating, maybe, since Sean gave me their first two CDs directly, but Bring It On is just amazing work and Liquid Skin is good too. Their latest (How We Operate) is occasionally very good but is saddled with a couple of radio-pop wankfest emo tracks.
Bruce Springsteen (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions): Rosswords posted the best track, and there's another knockout, but all the rest are solid and have grown on me with time.
Feist: Let It Die. Finally bought this one after loving the track posted at StG and at fluxblog for, oh, the last three years. Very very mellow, pleasant.
John Fahey: more on him later.
There are a lot of other albums I've bought because of various mp3blog postings, but these are the recent ones I can think of that I've bought that I didn't first hear somewhere else.