Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, March 18, 2006 ]



I've been listening to Townes Van Zandt a lot recently. Probably due to the DVD release of an astonishing documentary about him, BE HERE TO LOVE ME, that anyone who's interested in the (sometimes dark) life of a musician and songwriter should check out.

I've always liked Van Zandt a lot, and have long considered a few of his songs ("Rex's Blues," "Tecumseh Valley," "To Life Is To Fly") to be on the list of just-about-perfect compositions. Still in the past few days, I've gotten way deep into his stuff; I almost feel like I'm trying to unlock his songs' deep mystery, if only to see if there's some of that mystery I can use for myself.

I would've uploaded the songs I mentioned before, but - since I believe in comin' from where I'm at right now as opposed to where I've been before - I decided instead to post the three tracks that are bouncing around my head right now.

-The first is Townes in his tender-love mode, an underappreciated side to his genius. "Snowin' On Raton" also includes some of his trademark weather/place imagery; he was one of the best that I'm aware of at using his surroundings in evocative and interesting ways. This is a perfect dawn, or dusk, song.

Townes Van Zandt - "Snowin' On Raton"

-Next is "At My Window," a song that should've joined "Pancho And Lefty" and "If I Needed You" in the list of hit songs written by Van Zandt. The song comes from his unreleased Nashville album in 1976 that should've made him a big star. Unlike so much of Townes' work, especially the later stuff, here his voice sounds sweet enough for pop radio.

Townes Van Zandt - "At My Window"

-Last is Lyle Lovett's beautiful cover of "Flyin' Shoes," maybe - push come to shove - my favorite Townes Van Zandt song. As much as I like Townes' original, I think Lyle captures the epic beauty of the song in a way that Van Zandt (a frankly inferior vocalist) simply couldn't. So much of Van Zandt's work is about what isn't explained, and I defy anybody to come up with what precisely this song is about. Love lost? Love gone bad? Youth? Death? Outlaws? Disaffection? At any rate, it's a motherfucker.

Lyle Lovett - "Flyin' Shoes"

By the way, one administrative note: I'll keep the mp3s available as long as the entries they're a part of show up on the main page (before they're archived). After that, if anybody really wants to hear something, e-mail me.

On the box right now: Various Artists, DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY. Not as good as the film, of course, but not a bad complement.


Dove With Claws [9:12 AM]

[ Thursday, March 16, 2006 ]


Let the music play

Here we go, y' first (and perhaps unsuccessful) attempt to link to mp3 files of some of the tracks on wax I'm digging at any particular time.

-First, here's a hot little bit of revolution that's making its way around the web. Proof that, more or less, our side still makes better records:

DJ_Green_Lantern (feat. Dead Prez, Saigon, Immortal Technique and Just Blaze - "Impeach The President"

-Second, a great British Invasion cover of a traditional American classic.

Spencer Davis Group - "The Hammer Song"

-Finally, the best track from the (still overhyped) Neko Case's new album. This oughta be a hit...but it won't be, of course.

Neko Case - "Hold On, Hold On"

On the box right now: Why...these, of course!


Dove With Claws [9:41 AM]

[ Tuesday, March 14, 2006 ]


Believe the hype, or not

Hype to believe:
-New season of THE SOPRANOS. First episode was fantastic, from the bizarre, William S. Burroughs-scored opening montage to the finale, which was as shocking as advertised. I also noticed that, for what I believe is the first time, HBO did not include scenes from next week's episode, most likely to leave the will-Tony-live-or-not question hanging for at least a bit. Brilliant.

-Ray Davies' tour. Saw his first U.S. show of the tour last night, and it was fierce. New songs sound better than on the album, and he played a nice mixture of Kinks stuff, both classics and more obscure choices. "All Day And All Of The Night" still sounds like one of the greatest, horniest rock and roll songs of all time.

-Russ Feingold's motion to censure President Bush. It won't go anywhere, of course, but this can't help but make things even stickier for El Presidente in the next few days. And that, my friends, is definitely a solid.

Hype not to believe:
-The Arctic Monkeys. Okay, the single's a kick, and there's a couple good songs on the 19-track debut album, but there's no way that this band is anything more than the latest overhyped Brit-guitar band, in the (fine?) recent tradition of The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, etc.

-Hillary Clinton's supposed bid for president. If she runs, we lose again. Plain and simple.

-The World Baseball Classic's elimination criteria. So let me get this straight: the U.S. loses to Canada in the first round, but they end up advancing, while Canada doesn't? All because of the second-game run-differential or something? Goofy.

On the box right now: Hank Williams III, STRAIGHT TO HELL. I'm warming to this more and more. I'm still not a fan of the Nashville-sucks-I-rule posturing (at least most of it), but there are some cracking good songs on this. ("Pills I Took" and "Low Down" are particular favorites.) And the damn thing sounds fantastic.


Dove With Claws [6:57 AM]

[ Sunday, March 12, 2006 ]


Ring them bells

Congratulations to our friends (and fellow bloggers) Danny Alexander ("Take 'Em As They Come") and Lauren Ingraham ("Get Down Girl Go Head Get Down"), who tied the knot yesterday. Best wishes.

On the box right now: Everly Brothers, ROCK AND SOUL/BEAT AND SOUL. A fascinating two-fer of 1960s albums from the Everlys, containing mostly covers of popular rock and R&B songs. Surprisingly great stuff; you haven't lived until you've heard their cover of "Walkin' The Dog."


Dove With Claws [8:32 AM]