Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Love Goes On

well it's been more than a year and a half since Grant McLennan died, and it still saddens of course, thinking about it. i recorded a song ("Bye Bye Pride" with Annie Hayden singing as well) for the Grant tribute album Love Goes On, which is out now on Rare Victory and getting some kind reviews. Liners include a funny story from David Kilgour about playing golf with Grant and Robert...i would liked to have joined that foursome! the album was put together by David James and his wife Sherry at Rare Victory Records, they created a page for the album HERE so check it out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wintry Mix

for being in a drought, it seems that once a week we have this crappy freezing rain kind of day. the stereo still works:

Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin' Simon
18th Dye - Tribute to a Bus
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles
XTC - English Settlement (i love the dbl-LP version of this with the textured sleeve)
John Cage - Complete String Quartets Vol 2
Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams

meanwhile in hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes should be limping along after losing what seems like most of the team to injury and the flu recently, including Justin Williams and captain Rod Brind'Amour for the SEASON, but with a bunch of young guys steppping up they seem to be pulling it together just in time. They beat the Thrashers 5-3 in what could have been much more lopsided a win if Lehtonen hadn't made some ridiculous saves in the 1st. tomorrow is a huge game vs Washington, let's hope the will holds with this team!

also on the hockey tip, 'Canes blog Red and Black Hockey points out that today is the anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, which remains one of my most powerful sports memories, watching that game on a little TV in my parents kitchen in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Amazing.

have a great weekend...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday Listening

Cat Power - Jukebox this is better than The Greatest or the first Covers record, even though i enjoy both of those, i'm really loving this. and while some of the covers are especially powerful -- Aretha Sing One For Me stands out -- Chan's own songs Song to Bobby and Metal Heart are my favorites on the album.
Steve Reich - Drumming i can't believe i never owned this before, it's so good, especially when the people start singing like the marimbas they're playing!
Nina Simone - Wild Is the Wind / High Priestess of Soul
Verlaines - Bird Dog the rare band that's never made a bad or embarassing record, and in fact the albums are all stellar. great painting on the cover too, look it up. supposedly coming out with a new record somewhere in the world soon...i sincerely hope so.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Indentions in the Sheets

lots of talk on the internets about the fact that In The Aeroplane Over the Sea is celebrating it's 10th anniversary. after reading the 3rd blog post about it, i had to hear the record. most records you've heard as often as i've heard Aeroplane don't need to be played again as you kind of have all the information in your brain already, and if you do hear those records you enjoy them but the impact they once had may be muted by repetition or age or lots of things that are different since when you first loved the record. this record doesn't lose its impact with me. someone gave me a cassette of the record when superchunk was on tour -- i can't figure out where we would have crossed paths with anyone in the band when we were on tour unless it was Athens (we didn't tour WITH Neutral Milk Hotel until after the album was out) but for some reason i picture putting the unmarked cassette into our van's player somewhere dusty and sunny -- in TX or the Midwest... Lawrence? we played in Denver once when they were working on it nearby with Robert Schneider but i think Jeff couldn't get away from the studio that time. i don't know. but i know it kind of freaked me out the first time i heard it. some very raw and emotional things happening lyrically. i think by the time "I love you jesus christ" came calling Jim and Jon were verbally ridiculing Laura and I for our A&R tastes. as much as i loved On Avery Island, this record was much heavier on first listen and still is. it would be a classic even if it ended after track 6 ("Holland 1945") but it keeps growing after that and really sounds like nothing else.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Listening Stack

John Coltrane - Live Trane the European Tours
Battles - Mirrored
Fred Hirsch - In Amsterdam Live at the Bimhuis
Nigeria Special - Modern High-Life, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues
Cat Power - Covers Pt II
Hot Chip - Made In the Dark

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

King Solomon Burke

i love me some Solomon Burke and Andrea and i got plenty of him on Monday night -- he performed at Duke and it was one of the craziest, strangest shows i've ever seen. it ran the gamut from truly powerful, emotional soul music to cheesy (but often hilarious) showman shtick, and at various points in the concert elements i had taken for artifice became real and vice versa.

burke is a huge man -- 4 bills i would say -- to the point where they wheel him out in darkness, get him (and his giant red sequined suit -- there's a sequin shortage somewhere!) in his throne, where the lights reveal him to be, flanked by two urns packed with hundreds of what i assumed were fake roses (they were real).

one of the first odd things was that before the first song even began he waved over his backup singer and had her adjust a monitor at the front of the stage ("Up!...Now back!"). kind of a jarring way to start the show, pointing out that the singer will be getting his information from a screen at his feet. but the first song was the best one from the recent Nashville album -- "That's How I Got To Memphis" by Tom T Hall. it makes me want to get a Tom T Hall album except Solomon Burke doesn't sing on any of those. His voice sounded amazing and got better as the show went on despite a small patch of hoarseness that Solomon pointed out and said "we're going to bust outta this" and he did. the next song was the Tom Waits number "Always Keep a Diamond In Your Mind" and after that it was off to soulville...

he announced that they were going to do "a little medley" and try to get in all the requests...from who? people on his myspace page? it seems so, though he also seemed to have many personal friends in the audience. anyway he did the bulk of most of the songs he started though he would bring the band down by saying "easy, easy" and then start singing another timeless classic, and there are quite a few! i don't know if he ever had to look at the monitor actually -- i think it was mainly so he'd remember his shout-outs. speaking of which, one great moment was when he called out "where are my Van Dykes?" and a nerdy white guy in his late 40's jumped onstage. Solomon gave him the mic and he told a story about how Solomon came to Baltimore in 1962, but his band didn't show. The Van Dykes (this guy's band) were the openers and agreed to back him up "so i wouldn't lose the $150!" But they knew none of his songs, so he WROTE them a song on the spot called "Stupidity" which apparently the Van Dykes perform to this day, and to which Solomon still remembers all the words because he sang it with the guy...just when the show threatened to get bogged down with an unnecessary tribute to Ben E King or God or someone, some oddball thing like this would happen.

by the end of the show, the stage was full of people dancing to an extended version of Proud Mary, all the (real) roses had been handed out, random audience members had commandeered the mic (at Solomon's command) and a 72-year-old woman was mopping Solomon's bald head with a towel while her husband tried to pull her offstage. those last two people may have been plants actually, since at one point the "husband" took the mic and sang a credible verse of "I Can't Stop Loving You"...we never figured it out...

lots of parallels with the Al Green show of last year -- the backup singer turns out to be his daughter, some churchy-ness, a medley of hits, roses for the ladies, etc...but this was a bit more off the hook. and i'm not even getting into his imploring the ladies to "text me now!", his imploring of everyone to vote for Obama (awesome), or his extemporaneous discussions of his weight ("Durham is my place! i got to lose a few pounds but i'm not going to have the operation! i'm not going to get cut!") and how much he loves biscuits and gravy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

37 Degrees and Raining


LCD Soundsystem - 45:33
Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal (numero group)
Michael Nesmith - And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' / Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash
Bill Evans & Jim Hall - Undercurrent
Sir Douglas Quinet - Mendocino (one of my favorite albums of all time)

hey, now the sun's out...