Cratering

A half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk.

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Cratering

a half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk
Thompson Twins - Doctor! Doctor!
(104 plays)

Doctor! Doctor! // Thompson Twins

No, really. Stay with me on this.

Last night I was watching Fallon and wondering, “who’s the white guy with the guitar, sitting in with The Roots?” Then going to or coming out of a break, he sang a song I kind of recognized, and another, then another. Dim memories; not clear “oh, yeah, that!” but clearly something that had imprinted on me somewhere in the foggy past.

Later, Jimmy said he is Tom Bailey, lead singer of Thompson Twins. I can be forgiven for not recognizing him. His look has changed a little. And, frankly, I was never a big consumer of his work. I am very much on the record as having a different view of “80s music” than what is modal in popular culture. I have my preferences, and they are not…this.

But god dammit if this guy didn’t plant hooks in my head 30 years ago that, even after zero exposure in the interim, are still rattling around up there somewhere. I have to give credit where it’s due: this is fine pop songcraft, the dude can really sing, and the warmth of those synth tones could cleave glaciers.

And if he’s good enough for the freaking Roots, he has earned another listen from me, for sure.

Al Green - How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?
(666 plays)

batteredshoes:

Al Green | How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

I had no idea Al Green covered this. Beautiful.

Concrete Blonde - God Is A Bullet
(158 plays)

God Is A Bullet // Concrete Blonde

Have mercy on us, everyone

I Heard It Through The Grapevine (isolated vocal) // Marvin Gaye

Never mind the silly 70s lip sync video. Just listen to one of the greatest voices in the history of popular music. Here’s a song I thought I was tired of hearing but this is like a sunlight and oxygen cocktail. It made me feel a little better, maybe it will you, too.

Tony Rogers (with Marisa Fiorito) - Sun Gonna Come
(160 plays)

Sun Gonna Come // Tony Rogers (with Marisa Fiorito)

Hey, guys. Hey. I made a music.

Actually, my friend Tony technically “made” it, what with the writing and producing and all, but that’s me on guitar. It’s good music for a warm, summery Friday afternoon, I think.

You can check out the rest of his stuff here. I’m on a lot of it.

Led Zeppelin - Custard Pie
(126 plays)

Custard Pie // Led Zeppelin

Riffage.

I ain’t no stranger, I been this way before.

Blind Faith - Presence Of The Lord
(84 plays)

Presence Of The Lord // Blind Faith

Friday Five:

  1. Never forget: before he got soggy in the mid-70s, Eric Patrick Clapton was a force to be reckoned with. Taut and purposeful. 
  2. Cary’s question about my musical influences the other night—surely unintentionally—triggered a long string of thought about nothing less than my own mortality and what I intend to do with my remaining time, creatively speaking. Could be an hour or could be 50 years. But statistically I’m somewhere on the back nine heading toward the clubhouse, and it feels like it’s time to make something of my own. THANKS, CARY.
  3. To follow up on that post: if I were enough of a singer to claim influences, I’d want to sing like Steve Winwood or Neil Finn. Absolutely effortless, with the sense that they could sing as magically as they do for days on end. Timeless, too. Voices like that don’t get old and burn out. And, you know, gaining about an octave above my own pathetic range would be good, as long as we’re dreaming.
  4. Since coming back from my little tumblr break I’m losing followers faster than I am my own hair. I don’t give two shits about it, but I do wonder what it was they thought they were coming for that they didn’t actually get.
  5. A horrific thing happened this week that impacted my extended family deeply. I don’t mean to vagueblog, but it’s not really my story to tell. Everyone here is fine, as are my immediate relatives, but I have cousins who are suffering the most excruciating pain imaginable right now. If you have good juju to spare, they could use it.

Ben Folds Five - The Last Polka
(79 plays)

The Last Polka // Ben Folds Five

He’s a heap of junk that pours from his top drawer
He sometimes likes to spread it out around the floor
It’s evidence of what he was like
He likes to remember when

The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
(129 plays)

Gimme Shelter // The Rolling Stones

I’m reading Keith Richards’ fascinating autobiography, Life, and as a result I’ve dug back into the Stones catalog over the last few days. I know a lot of these songs are badly overplayed by classic rock radio stations, sports events, whatever, but from 69-72 or so, these guys were making some of the best rock and roll of all time. It stands up to critical listening today. And in their day, they took on real issues in ways which some of their megastar peers didn’t dare to. I love Zeppelin but they didn’t have the balls for this.

Like Vietnam. Listening to this on the El this morning, I got chills at the refrain after the guitar solo, sung so forcefully by Merry Clayton.

Rape, murder—It’s just a shot away.

Her performance is hair-raising. She screams at the top of her lungs with no apparent regard for her own safety. Listen carefully to the third time through, when her voice cracks on “murder.” An iconic moment; historical. Turn it up: in the background, you can hear Mick go “wooo!” just after it happened. (Why he was in the vocal booth with her, I don’t know.)

Clayton was pregnant when she sang this and miscarried not long after. She’s said repeatedly that this performance had nothing to do with that, and I’m sure that’s true, but it’s entered the folklore just the same. It fits, somehow. These guys were all kinds of trouble.

Buffalo Tom - Taillights Fade
(109 plays)

Taillights Fade // Buffalo Tom

Scarified // Paul Gilbert & Friends

Via my friend Dave, who probably did not intend for me to use this as such, here is another entry in my occasional series, entitled, “Guitarists You’ve Never Heard Of Who Are Better Than John Mayer.”

Paul Gilbert was once named the fourth fastest guitarist on the planet. I wonder what the other three are like.

If the shredding doesn’t do it for you, at least stick around to see the drummer’s flawless recovery from dropping a stick.

Wilco - Passenger Side
(59 plays)

Passenger Side // Wilco

Remember when Jeff Tweedy was an awesome alt-country songwriter? Before he was reading his own reviews in Pitchfork, before he began “crafting soundscapes?”

Squeeze - Black Coffee in Bed (Full Version)
(119 plays)

Black Coffee In Bed // Squeeze

Listening to Squeeze this morning, which is of course wonderful, except for the insane jealousy of “why can’t I write and sing as easily Glenn Tilbrook apparently does?” that happens every time I do this.

Speaking of, listen for the background vocals by Elvis Costello. He makes me mad, too.

Joe Bonamassa - Driving Towards The Daylight
(49 plays)

Driving Towards The Daylight // Joe Bonamassa

You can currently download 10 free MP3’s from Joe’s website, if you’re into kick ass guitar playing. For free.

Billy Squier - In The Dark
(39 plays)

In The Dark // Billy Squier

Most people hear “80’s music” and think Boy George and Haircut 100 and Rick Astley.

I think Billy Squier.

(And Journey. And REO. Survivor, Donny Iris, Foreigner before they wimped out, Styx…)