Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July

She's waiting for me when I get home from work
But things just ain't the same
She turns out the light and cries in the dark
Won't answer when I call her name

On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone
The Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below
Hey, baby, it's the Fourth of July
Hey, baby, it's the Fourth of July

She gives me her cheek when I want her lips
And I don't have the strength to go
On the lost side of town in a dark apartment
We gave up trying so long ago

Whatever happened, I apologize
So dry your tears and baby, walk outside
It's the Fourth of July

This magical song, penned by Dave Alvin and first recorded by X on /See
How We Are/ while he was in the band, ranks up there with some of the
greatest pop songs in history. On initial listens, not paying attention
and all, it sounds like a summer singalong. At closer inspection,
however, it is a perfect distillation of that desperate feeling when a
relationship hits a stone wall. I think we've all been there, and
hopefully got out of it. Anyway, this song, and specifically X's
version with the John Doe/Exene harmonies, a pair who likely lived the
scenario many times, is simply classic. And it has nothing to do with
what we traditionally attribute to the 4th.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

So Long Sleater-Kinney.....

I got news yesterday that the greatest all-woman rock and roll band
going, possibly the greatest any sex band going, is essentially breaking
up. Sleater-Kinney are/were simply amazing in their melodic and
rhythmic sense, far beyond what anyone else is doing in the post-punk
world nowadays, IMHO. I was introduced to them on a mix tape a very
good friend gave me many moons ago, back when they were still a bit raw
and hadn't completely gelled, but the elements of their future greatness
were there. I kind of missed them for a spell until bassist
extraordinaire Mike Watt started pimping them in the late 90's, and I
finally caught them at Higher Ground in S. Burlington VT last year.
Wicked good stuff, and a sad day in music to hear that they're moving
on. Why must good things always go away???


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Teenage Fanclub, Bandwagonesque

First of my Desert Island Disc series. My brother has always had a
finger on the new music scene, and in 1991 he brought home a little
cd with a great cover, Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque. I quickly
made a copy and played it consistently in my car. The music is
jangly pop, and is often compared to Big Star. I would back that
comparison up and add some non-contemporary similarities such as the
Posies and even the Replacements. But enough of the
comparisons. This album, released in 1991, the year that Nirvana et.
al. broke, was ranked as best album of the year by Spin magazine,
back when Spin used to matter a little bit. And for good
reason. Those hooky, melodic songs ring in your head and make for a
transcendent experience. I should also say that of the 'Class of 91' albums ("Nevermind", "Ten", "BloodSugarSexMagic", "Badmotorfinger", etc.) this is the only one that I have never pulled out of rotation, and in fact I think the only one I still own. From the love anthem "What You Do to Me" to the confused lover "I don't Know"; rock worship odes "The Concept" and "Metal Baby"; the funny spirituality and gum-sticky melodic "Star Sign", down beat "December", reflective "Alcoholiday", and the rockin/raucous and melodic/Scotch (respectively)instrumentals "Satan" and "Is This Music?", this is simply a perfect album. This needs to be in your player/on your platter. Now. These
guys still pop out amazing alt-pop, but this one stands with me as
their masterpiece. Get it