Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, June 14, 2003 ]


I think I'm in love...

I literally spent most of my free time this afternoon listening to the Dropkick Murphys, an Irish-American punk band that I can best describe as Shane McGowan fronting The Clash. Great songs, great politics (you HAVE to hear "Worker's Song"), and an energy and passion that have absolutely floored me.

Pogue mahone...

Dove With Claws [6:24 PM]


Sometimes something sneaks up on you, grabs you by the proverbial scruff and won't let go. As somebody who listens to music a LOT, I can attest to the fact that there are albums that sound okay on first listen, but open up into full bloom upon repeated spins in a way that almost seems magical, as if somebody pulled the wool over your eyes, in the best way possible. Recently, Gillian Welch's new record SOUL JOURNEY had that effect on me. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite records of the year, and yet - when I first heard it - I was not all that impressed. Welch's languid pace and dreamy, ethereal style has always been a strange mixture of, as my friend Chuck put it yesterday, "captivating and annoying," but the songs on SOUL JOURNEY may well represent the moment in which she has finally realized her full potential.

And what signals this renaissance? DRUMS, goddammit, DRUMS! The notoriously percussion-stingy Welch fills this record up with stinging backbeats, punching out accents with encouraging frequency. The tracks are still all slow-burns, with spare lyrics and spartan arrangements, but the warm richness of Welch's voice, the quality of her lyrics (including the classic line "I wanna do right but not right now"), and the previously mentioned arrangements make this a truly rewarding experience. Great for 3 A.M., or for long car rides in the dark. (If any of y'all want to sample before you buy, my fave tracks are "Look At Miss Ohio," "Wayside/Back In Time," "I Had A Real Good Mother And Father" and "Lowlands.")

By the way, speaking of Chuck, he showed me a book yesterday of Donald Rumsfeld quotes written down as "existential poetry," complete with meter and titles. Classic, hilarious, scary stuff.

I actually heard somebody on the radio last night say that now there are some in the government beginning to suggest that there is evidence which shows that there are NOT weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Interesting turn of events, no? Let's just hope the Democrats don't screw it up as usual....

On the box right now: ATLANTIC R&B 1947-1974, Disc 6.


Dove With Claws [6:42 AM]

[ Wednesday, June 11, 2003 ]


So I couldn't resist; I watched the season premiere of The Osbournes on MTV last night. I must say that it wasn't as annoying as most of last season's episodes were, which holds promise for upcoming shows. The first season's episodes were pretty much all great, and they stand up to repeated viewings surprisingly well. My favorite moment is still Ozzy hobbling over, index finger pointing down, to another expensive rug that one of their menagerie of little furry dogs has done his/her business on, and then commencing to shout "Who pissed? Who pissed on my rug?" As if the "prince of fucking darkness" expected an answer...

By the way, I love Roger Miller...just thought I'd mention that.

On the box right now: Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band, HANAPEPE DREAM.


Dove With Claws [3:34 PM]

[ Monday, June 09, 2003 ]


So it's those of us who are blessed to be in the band's acquaintance have known for some time, The Junkers are saying goodbye. Thanks for the memories, boys; you'll be missed. As guitarist Matthew Stratton and I were talking about a few weeks ago, I'm sure there'll be those hardcore partisans who'll be wearing their tattered T-shirts and speaking of the band in reverent, urgent tones for years to come; I count myself amongst those likely partisans. Bob, arguably the band's most passionate supporter, has a nice tribute in his blog.

I'm in the process of starting a research project about 1960s soul music that has already uncovered some very interesting stuff. (For example, did you know that Booker T. and the MGs first jammed together at a session they were hired to play, for which the singer - who was to record some commercials/jingles - didn't show up? The singer: Billy Lee Riley, Memphis rockabilly who's literally all over Memphis music from Sun through soul.) I had a chance to talk today with Robert Gordon, author of the fabulous books IT CAME FROM MEMPHIS and the Muddy Waters bio I CAN'T BE SATISFIED. Pick up his books at fine retailers everywhere. We had a nice chat, and he gave me some very useful info and contacts.

But enough about me...anybody besides me feel even a slight twinge of glee that Sammy Sosa - who has always been a little too smiley and good-natured for my taste - was caught cheating? Maybe nobody cares about baseball, but I enjoyed it.

That's all for now, kids. Back to reading about Soulsville, U.S.A...

On the box right now: Radiohead, OK COMPUTER. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to buy HAIL TO THE THIEF when it comes out tomorrow. I've read some really good reviews, so I'm reviewing one of the two Radiohead albums (the other being THE BENDS) that I still care any about. I've always had mixed opinions about Yorke and company, particularly since I'm likely to blanch at anything that sniffs of intellectual prog-rock. Of Brit-pop bands, my favorite is still Oasis; I know this may seem blasphemy, but they have written some great pop/rock songs, and they rock out. Neither can really be said for Radiohead, but the best of their stuff ranks with the most probing and interesting rock and roll ever made, plus it's not simply an obvious mix of influences like Oasis' material, so it all evens out.


Dove With Claws [2:43 PM]