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

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a half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk
The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
(116 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
(106 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…)

Counting Crows - A Murder Of One
(49 plays)

A Murder Of One // Counting Crows

Listening to this album this morning while I pay bills and correspond and such. It’s really pretty good.

I didn’t know that the name of a group of crows was a “murder” until sometime after this record came out, which now, upon revisiting, makes both the title of this song and its relation to the name of the band much more clever than I’d originally thought. I like how it works two different ways.

(Nothing like being 21 years late to the joke, John.)

((21 years? Shit.))

Bob Mould - Low Season
(39 plays)

Low Season // Bob Mould

At first, I was like “NEW BOB MOULD RECORD WILL CHEER ME UP!” and then I bought it and it’s mostly about him grieving his father.

It’s brilliant, but probably not the right thing for today.

I braced my back and waited for the fall
When I slip up and spill it all
Catch the light, seems so low
Down the drain the magic goes

Amos Lee - El Camino
(99 plays)

El Camino // Amos Lee

Well, to all my friends that I’ve loved the most
You know I’m headed out to that other coast

Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas
(39 plays)

Waking Up In Vegas // Katy Perry

Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes, now

Alice In Chains - Hate To Feel
(9 plays)

Hate To Feel // Alice In Chains

After careful consideration over several full listens over the last few days, I am officially promoting Dirt to the desert island list. It takes some serious nerve to create this brutal, black tribute to heroin and isolation, essentially foreshadowing your own death. Add the venomous guitar and sinister harmony vocals, and you have the perfect distillation of the first half of the 90’s.

What the hell, gotta rest
Aching pain in my chest

Lucky me, now I’m set
Little bug for a pet
New Orleans, gotta get
Pin cushion medicine
Used to be curious
Now the shit’s sustenance

Kasey Chambers - These Pines
(69 plays)

These Pines // Kasey Chambers

It’s a morning for slow 12/8 songs about something lost, something missing, something not the same.

(39 plays)

Word Up // Korn

Sometimes you just have to shut your brain down completely. Let the stupid loll about, get good and greazy, fart, and put out its cigarettes in the upholstery of your head.

Ludo - Drunken Lament
(89 plays)

Drunken Lament // Ludo

You know what? This was a really good record. Reminds me of The Black Parade with with more pop sensibility and substantially less emo.

"Self-loathing is quaint," 
You told me, showing restraint
Now you’re gone and I’m lost
In the swells I am tossed
Bobbing and choking and losing the fight in the fog
You said, “Forever…”
Tell me, why can’t you stay?