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

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a half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk
Blind Faith - Presence Of The Lord
(79 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…)

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.