Category Archives: Rock

Celebrating Absence: A Smattering of Nick Cave + Warren Ellis + The Bad Seeds

As the months go on, I mentally tick off the shows I was supposed to see. I marked them off my calendar long ago, but you know, the little scratched out writing is still there. In the scheme of things, it is a small loss, but occasionally, I indulge in a light depression about it.

This evening, I was supposed to see Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds perform live for the second time. The first time was in Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. This time, I had a bit more special trip planned. I was going to see him in Detroit, one of my other favorite U.S. cities, at the Masonic Temple Theatre. My brother recommended the room as it is smaller, and he mentioned it would be one of the more intimate ways to catch a show. My brother was also planning to see Nick Cave on a special trip. Double bummer for us.

Instead of a pity party, I’ve been trying to go through some live performances (minus the recording of “All the Beautiful Things”, which I threw because it’s beautiful), and even though I am not there, it’s not live, the band still sounds, looks, and feels damn good.

“Miserable” by Lit

I am going to cross my music writing and sports writing worlds.
This evening, my homie and one time guest writer Tommy B., has the honor of serving as press at a Chicago White Sox game for the outlet we both write at. When the game wasn’t going so well, He tweeted the following:

And I must admit “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit is a guilty pleasure, but one of my favorite songs of Lit and one of my favorite music videos of all time is “Miserable” by Lit.

There is some very late 90s/early aughts-ness going on in this video, but I believe Pam Anderson and everything about her in this video stands the test of time. The swimsuit. The stripper heels. The hair and makeup. Maneater theme. It is a classic.

I actually really like this song too. The lead singer and songwriter, A. Jay Popoff, said it could be about addiction. To me it kind of reminds me of the failure of a relationship where one party is a nightmare or maybe a natural degradation over time– a running of course– where resent me boils.

A good video for a now 20-22 year old jam.

“A Song From Under The Floorboards” by Magazine [Peel Session Version]

The great thing about living in Chicago (and I imagine other major cities) is that there are still some indie/alt FM radio listening options. In Chicago, we have the legendary XRT from which I have learned about so many songs (primarily songs before my time on Earth).

One day they played “A Song From Under the Floorboards” by Magazine. I loved it immediately, and I found an even better version, posted below, from famed BBC 1 DJ John Peel’s “Peel sessions”.

I added both versions to my rotation and have been listening to it a lot lately. Lots of people think this song is a reference to Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”, but much like the meaning of the book itself, that is open to some interpretation. And others say this song is a reference to Dostoevsky’s Notes from [the] Underground, which sounds a bit more accurate. And to me, the track’s namesake and chorus only makes me think of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Regardless, this song is definitely about self-loathing, but it BUMPS.

My friend Vinny, who recently swapped playlist with me and will be getting his own post soon, was very quick to share his opinion about this version.

I’m not even going to link the Morrissey version here because quite frankly, I don’t want to be associated with it. 🙂

The Complete John Peel Sessions by Magazine can be heard on Spotify (or whatever you use!).

Unrequited, Rejected, + Disillusioned: “Painter In Your Pocket” by Destroyer

I have been listening to a lot of Destroyer lately, but their most famous song “Painter In Your Pocket” from the album Destroyer’s Rubies in particular.

You may not know Destroyer. You may not know Dan Bejar (if not you should because he is very talented and handsome!). You might know the musical collective kinda supergroup The New Pornographers. If the latter is true, you have heard Dan Bejar sing– he’s the gender ambiguous voice in “Myriad Harbor“.

Anyway, slowly dying Hero of the Masses SongMeanings.com lists the lyrics for “Painter In Your Pocket” and honorable human beings have shared there thoughts about what the song means. There was one interpretation that struck a cord with other listeners (myself being one of them):

the painter in her (or his?) pocket seems to refer to the person she’s with now, who is responsible for all of her new thoughts and mannerisms, artsy and ‘high minded’ ones given the ‘painter’ part. lovers turn into each other. i don’t know if dan is suggesting that her new self is affected, but i get that vibe.

schopenhauerpower on SongMeanings.com interpretation of “Painter In Your Pocket”

This interpretation makes the most sense to me, but I think saying it is one thing. Listening to the song, you can fill in your own experiences with unrequited romance or rejection. Lyrically, the song takes us on that journey as well as the journey of becoming disillusioned or unfamiliar with a lover or object of your affection.

The Wounded Deer, 1946 by Frida Kahlo

And while the lyrics are great, I like this song mainly because of the vocals and the insturmentals. Dan Bejar’s voice is unique, and it is perfect for taking listeners on a journey– he can take you way high or way low, and he’s great at delivering a song with the snark that comes along with the bitterness of being rejected and/or disillusioned.

Instrumentally, this song is also a journey for me. It starts with a bit of a prologue in the form of an acoustic guitar as Dan seems to talk about watching someone they love be their own person despite maybe missing this person. The song then shifts to a more mellow but somber sound with heavy bass drum. There are a few guitar breaks that allow for some introspection before the song ultimately picks up with more steady guitar, and you’re blasted by full on feelings with Dan sounding straight up exasperated at how much his lover has changed and what a stranger they have become.

Without the lyrics, the song might be able to pass for some hip ambient hotel music or elevator/waiting room music. However, the music combined with the lyrics take me on some sort of journey that give me a chance to navigate almost the entire grief process. Who are you? Do I even know you? Maybe I don’t. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe even for the best, but I wish you nothing but the best.

You can listen to the entire Destroyer’s Rubies album many places, but as you know, I prefer Spotify.

NEW: “Something in My Eye” by Matt Berry

Wizard of acting, comedy, and music, Matt Berry (who earlier helped me step off into what would be one of the most challenging years in a relatively brief existence [a common theme for all this year!]) has released a new single called “Something in My Eye”.

Matt Berry is someone who I don’t worry about delivering a consistently good vibe. The dude just seems to enjoy everything he does, and he takes me to the emotional highs and lows and all the in betweens.

So “Something in My Eye”is a bit of a different tune than “Take My Hand”, which is great because mid-2020 is definitely a different vibe than the last day of 2019. And yet, I am feeling stronger every day now.

Looking Out a Rainy Window with Tindersticks

I am very lucky to have a great, safe space to be in during the pandemic isolation. One of my favorite places to sit is an enclosed porch. Today, I was sitting out there, and it started to storm something fierce, and then, as I have mentioned we call it in the South, the devil started beatin’ his wife.

No matter. We’ve had a few beautiful days here in Chicago, and the rain came in to wash it away for bit. But I hope it will also calm the many moods. My own. And others.

Last week, I stumbled upon a really great band through an unexpected source, the 2009-2013 HBO series “Eastbound & Down”. I love the series, but that opinion aside, the soundtrack is seriously good. The Tindersticks song “The Organist Entertains” was the song that stood out to me most:

I fell down a rabbit hole and have found Tindersticks to be even better than the taste above. Tindersticks in an English band that has been around since 1991. I think if you like Nick Cave, you will very much be into Tindersticks. It was very difficult to pick only a are a few of my favorites because they are all damn good:

“What Are You Fighting For?”

There is a future coming up behind,
And I can feel it but I don’t know where it’s coming from,
And I can hold it but I; I cannot see its face,
And time is out of my hand.

 

“Show Me Everything”

Bound together, separate,
Take these stones, build something,
Define the walls, decorate,
Our mouths on the glass, we believe we taste,
Everything we could have had.

“Mistakes”

I went flying around,
And I had my strings cut,
I wasn’t coming down.

I am not sure if Tindersticks is new to you, but whether they are or not, I hope you enjoy some of their songs. They have certainly touched my heart.

Vinyl Day 1: Huey Lewis and the News “Sports”, Jimmy Buffet “Volcano”, & Donna Summer “Live and More”

I’m starting a new short run series leading up to Record Store Day 2020 (April 18).

In 2013, I acquired my parent’s record collection. “Stole” might be a better term, but mom, if you read this, I am happy to give them back at any time. Since acquiring and combining records, my household has quite the eclectic record collection. I haven’t even listened to many of them. I am going to be sharing photos of all of the records and a small amount of research on them for the next few weeks.

This cat judged me throughout this entire process, and honestly, I don’t need that in my life.

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Let’s begin.


Artist: Jimmy Buffet
Album: Volcano
Year: 1979
Genre: Rock, I guess?
Record Origins: My parents. Smh.

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I’m gonna be real with you: I really don’t like Jimmy Buffet. I’m putting this one first because I never want to talk about this album again. It’s nothing against any of you who like him. It’s me. This is the only song I can take, and I am currently evaluating that statement now that I have typed it.


Artist: Huey Lewis and the News
Album: SPORTS
Year: 1979
Genre: Rock
Record Origins: Sam found this at Goodwill on the Westbank (greater New Orleans area) or the “Wank”, if you please.

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This is a solid album. If there ever was a white people culture, certainly this would be in it. I’ve definitely heard it in Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s. My dad used to jam this on the way to our piano practice when we were growing up. It was already legendary status in my mind, but American Pyscho ensured this album would be permanently seared into our consciousness.


Artist: Donna Summer
Album: Live and More
Year: 1978
Genre: Disco, Soul, Adult Contemporary
Record Origins: My parents

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This is a smoking album. Do you want to feel sexy? This album will make you feel sexy as it has tracks like “I Feel Love” and “Love to Love You, Baby”. 🤤



Thanks for reading Day 1 of ?.

Desert Sessions: Songs for Personal and Public Apocalypse Survival

While the Bitchfork readership is measly in quantity, it is international (or all of you use VPNs or a combo of both). Usually it is the music that brings us together, but today, please join me as we socially distance ourselves.

Before the virus, I’ve contemplated a self-imposed social distancing. The idea came from a plane ride and some fungi. For a long-enough-to-be-annoying-frame-of-time, I have felt like I was standing at the edge of the world. The Earth and all its contents at my back, looking out at infinite– overwhelmingly lonely and in awe of the how, despite being filled with stars and planets, space is so stark.

The fact a virus that requires distancing ourselves from humans is an ironic and somewhat cathartic event to (maybe?) wrap up these last few weeks. However, just as I am in awe of the starkness of the universe, I am equally thankful for the solitude.

The Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12 is the perfect soundtrack for everything I am seeing and feeling at this time. It offers an apocalyptic feel without much of the seriousness but much of the absurdness and loneliness mixed with elements of survival.

Desert-Sessions-Vol-11

From Wiki:

The Desert Sessions are a musical collective series, founded by Josh Homme in 1997. Artists such as Brant BjorkPJ HarveyJeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez)Dave CatchingNick OliveriMark LaneganJohn McBainBen ShepherdJosh FreeseChris GossAlain JohannesTroy Van LeeuwenDean Ween, and many others from the Palm Desert Scene have contributed as songwriters and musicians.

I am a big/huge/large/massive/fluffy fan of Josh Homme’s talents, work, and collaborative efforts. Like members of The Mars Volta as well as Mike Patton, I don’t know how the dude sleeps: Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal, KYUSS, Iggy Pop; and extensive work with Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys.

Example 1:

It’s not often you see a very large, ginger man with such moves. Also, please never tell me masculinity and flamboyance are an oxymoron or mutually exclusive (and have you seen him roller skate?).

Josh Homme has been doing wonderful things for decades. He began the Desert Sessions in 1997. Since that time, he has produced 12 volumes, the latest being Vol. 11: Arriverderci Despair and  Volume 12: Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels. These volumes features greats like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Les Claypool of Primus, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, Jakes Shears of Scissor Sisters, Matt Berry of everything, Matt Sweeney, Carla Azar of Autolux and Jack White, and Mike Kerr of Royal Blood (all seen in the featured photo of this post).

Here are some of my favorites from the latest volumes.

Continue reading Desert Sessions: Songs for Personal and Public Apocalypse Survival

2020: The Year of Live Music

Calling it now: 2020 is The Year of Live Music in my small corner of the world.

I ended 2019 by seeing a pretty transcendent performance by BADBADNOTGOOD (a bucket list show for me).

This is what is on deck for 2020 so far:

Continue reading 2020: The Year of Live Music