[ Thursday, March 02, 2006 ]
-I added a link to Lone Star In Selma, my good friend (and cohort in Blixie) Tyina's blog chronicling her current stay in Selma, Alabama working at the National Voting Rights Museum. Check it out.
-The new album by James Hand, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE, is a revelation. Hand is a true-blue honky-tonk hero from Austin, and the record is as good a trad-country album as I've heard in quite some time. His voice (somewhere between Hank's growl and the high-lonesome moan of Bill Monroe) is astounding, and his self-penned material rises above any kind of easy homily or well-worn cliche. (Sample lyric: "There's shadows where the magic was/And there's darkness all around/Who knows what the devil does when he walks on haunted ground?") For anyone who digs hardcore country music (and, if you don't, you really should), I can't recommend Hand's album enough.
-I also can't recommend highly enough "Louisiana 2005," by Chicago hip-hop collective the Bass Is Loaded Coalition. I'm biased (due to the fact that I know the MC), but - after several listens to this Katrina-related, Randy Newman-sampling track - I'm confident in my judgment that it can stand up next to hurricane critiques from more famous artists (Mos, PE). Check the song, and the BLIC, out at http://www.myspace.com/bilc
On the box right now: James Hand, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.
Dove With Claws [3:26 PM]
[ Tuesday, February 28, 2006 ]
Bruce, Pete and me
Today's release of the famous Springsteen 1975 Hammersmith Odeon show got me thinking about his latest project, a Pete Seeger covers album due to be released in April. As always happens among Bruce fans (like me), the record has already provoked a lot of discussion, on both sides. Again as always, my thoughts on the matter are far from coherent, but here's a couple absurdly early responses:
-I've heard various (reliable) reports that, contrary to the solo-folkie thing that this would initially appear to be, the record will actually feature several musicians and a looser, full-band vibe. I hope this is true, not only because The Boss is always at his best with a group around him, but also because - if it's true - then this album could successfully bridge the rock-and-soul-and-gospel energy of his best recorded and live material with his heartfelt, Woody Guthrie-descended eye for matters of social justice. While I have no idea who, or what, will be on the record, I certainly hope that it's closer to THE RISING than THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD.
-I like Pete Seeger just fine, but I was kinda hoping that, when Springsteen got around to making a covers album, he might choose Curtis Mayfield, Dion, Chuck Berry, or even The Clash. (I've also long harbored a dream about Bruce and the E Street Band recording an album with a group of '60s all-stars, like Dion, Ronnie Spector, Sam Moore, Gary "U.S." Bonds, Lesley Gore, etc., but - as Bad Company so eloquently put it - that's just part of my rock and roll fantasy.)
-Regardless of how it sounds, or what songs are on it, or what the reaction is, or what the promised tour is like, I'm sure that we'll have plenty to be both happy and angry about. After all, we always do, don't we?
-Everything else aside, I can't help thinking - particularly as I spin the first disc of the 1975 show - that this is a mighty fat time to be a Springsteen fan. After years of waiting years between records, tours, etc., we've been the recipients within the last 4 years of two new albums (three counting the Seeger tribute), two big tours (three counting the VOTE FOR CHANGE tour), a vintage live album, a great BORN TO RUN reissue with accompanying documentary and concert film, a compilation featuring a disc of rare/unreleased material, and a bunch of cool appearances at awards shows, benefits and political rallies. Not bad, Boss. Keep it up.
On the box right now: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, LIVE AT THE HAMMERSMITH ODEON 1975, Disc 1. Let me see your hands
Dove With Claws [11:04 AM]
[ Sunday, February 26, 2006 ]
-Should I feel bad that the four recently-leaked tracks from Guns N Roses' CHINESE DEMOCRACY only make me want to play APPETITE again and wish Izzy hadn't left the band?
-Should I feel bad that the FIT CLUB finale, with its cockamamie system for awarding the grand prize, provoked in me the same kind of outrage that I usually only reserve for people like Ann Coulter, Bode Miller or the College Republicans?
-Should I feel bad that my friend Brian Bischel is exactly right when he (lovingly) told me that "All your songs are 'please this' or 'don't that.'"
On the box right now: Scarface, THE PRODUCT: ONE HUNID. This is really good stuff, that I needn't feel bad about at all.
Dove With Claws [7:55 PM]
-Should I feel bad that (proud native Wisconsin-ite that I am) I can't wait for the people who come to Madison for the state athletic tournaments to get the hell out of town?
-Should I feel bad that - though it's a close call - I think I like the new Teddy Thompson album more than the new Ray Davies?
-Should I feel bad that I'm excited for tonight's season finale of CELEBRITY FIT CLUB?
-Should I feel bad that, on this Sunday morning, I'm celebrating the Lord's Day by blasting the new Scarface record?
-Should I feel bad that I don't really care about the Winter Olympics?
-Should I feel bad that I haven't blogged anything in five days, and that this is all I could come up with?
-Should I feel bad that I'm clearly wasting y'all's time with this self-indulgent list?
On the box right now: Scarface, THE PRODUCT: ONE HUNID.
Dove With Claws [8:20 AM]