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posted by Anon. 9:28 AM
Run for the hills
The all-new Palmermix is coming... and coming soon.
posted by Anon. 5:00 AM
Weekend listening. There was a good amount of it, both in the car and at home as I finished the final touches on my pilot before it goes out this week. At home, I listened to Joni Mitchell's Blue -- I know, it's a cliche, but it's just one of Those Albums that is great despite the enormous weight of its reputation. Like Blood on the Tracks. Like Astral Weeks. My favorite song's either "Carey" or "A Case of You" -- the latter being one of my all-time favorite love songs.
posted by Anon. 11:13 AM
This one's for LS and JA
In that same issue of the Oxford American, one of the other featured artists is Marshall Chapman, a longstanding Nashville singer/songwriter. Her music has never done an enormous amount for me, but... it turns out, when you look at her website, she's written a book.
What becomes more interesting, as you scroll down the website, is exactly who Marshall got to submit blurbs for the back of the book.
Now, if you know anything about the publishing business, you'll know that the majority of blurbs on the back of books come from other writers who already had some relationship, somehow, with the author. Rare are the cases where an established writer gets sent a book by the publisher, reads it, and is so taken with it he allows his name and blurb to be put on the back of the book.
Now, this doesn't mean that if you know or are friends with an author, that author is going to then slap a blurb on your book. Most authors are choosy, and probably won't put their blurb on the back of the book unless they do dig it. That whole credibility thing. Still, it helps to know people.
When my mother wrote her first novel, most of the enthusiastic blurbs came from people she already had some relationship with, whether it was Dominick Dunne, Judith Krantz, or Ted Kennedy. But my favorite blurb on the back of her novel did come from someone she had never met: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote that the novel was "a weird and visceral experience which gave me the creeps, which I liked."
Now check out the blurbs for Marshall Chapman's novel on her site. There's one of my favorite Southern writers, Larry Brown. Humorist Roy Blount, Jr. Emmylou Harris (well, all right). Former U.S. Senator and failed presidential hopeful Bill Bradley (!).
And there's also this blurb:
"Marshall Chapman deserves an honorary doctorate in verve and attitude. Anyone who thinks that this little rock and roller is saying goodbye has another thing coming."
Yes, disgraced former Brown University President Gordon Gee weighs in! This might be the weirdest collection of book blurbs of all time!
-- E. Gordon Gee
Chancellor, Vanderbilt University
posted by Anon. 10:28 AM
A yearly treat for the music fan might still be on the newsstands, and I bought my copy yesterday at the B&N by the Santa Monica Promenade: the Oxford American's annual Music Issue. The American, "the Southern magazine of good writing," as its billed, the magazine founded by John Grisham and a ton of his money, was saved from the brink last year and relocated from Oxford, Mississippi to Little Rock. Their annual music issue includes, within the cellophane wrap, an annual compilation CD of songs by all the musicians written about it in the issue.
Which isn't just new music, at all. The articles range from being about Willie Nelson to classic scat singer King Pleasure to the Del McCoury Band to contemporary rockers the Gourds and My Morning Jacket. The result is an intriguing, wide-ranging mix CD, which, though at times sounding like one of those Hear Music compilations you can buy at Starbucks, is often as deep as it is wide.
I had to buy it, because it featured the Del McCoury Band covering one of my all-time top 10 favorite songs: Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." Very strange to hear a very British folk song transmuted into a southern bluegrass number. But very wonderful, too.
(Actually, weirdly, the Music Issue probably won't be on your newsstands, as the OA has had two issues since then. But worth checking out and trying to track down. Here, at any rate, is the cover of this year's Music Issue.)
Update: You might not be able to find the 2003 Music issue on newsstands. But you will be able to find a playlist -- complete with liner notes -- of the compilation CD here.
posted by Anon. 9:27 AM
New Lester Bangs!
Well, kinda. While finding the link to Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung -- the sole previous Bangs anthology, edited by Greil Marcus and published about fifteen years ago -- for the previous post, I discovered on Amazon that there's a new Bangs anthology, designed as a second volume of sorts, coming out in early August.
Entitled Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader, it's edited by John Morthland, a writer from the Texas Monthly -- long one of the better magazines in America, IMO. Published in paperback. You can buy it here.
posted by Anon. 9:25 AM
Let us now praise big men
So Barry White has died. (Here is the NY Times obituary.) White, like other corpulent celebrities (John Candy, for example), is one where we don't say, "he died too soon," but instead, "well, had he taken better care of himself all these years..."
But of course, Barry White did take care of himself. Great care of himself. He generally wore silkish pajamas almost all the time, and he had a lot of sex with a lot of women, and didn't have to pull Luther Vandross diets to do it.
And his profile had re-emerged in recent years, thanks to a recurring shtick with the Peter McNichol character on Ally McBeal.
But the music? Yes, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby" and "My First, My Last, My Everything" actually somehow to stand up as great singles of the 70s soul era. (And I do like that Afghan Whigs cover of the former, from the Beautiful Girls soundtrack.)
But let's face facts: Barry White was kind of a lightweight performer, whose stature mostly came from the fact that many people chose him as their hump music, rather than people choosing him as quality material. Put him alongside Al Green, who had both the chops and skills and was appropriate for boudoir madness, and Barry floats away.
If you own Lester Bangs' Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung, thumb through it this week to the hilarious piece he wrote about Barry White live. One of my favorite Bangs' pieces ever. If you don't own the book -- well, for god's sakes, man, buy it. Now.
posted by Anon. 9:20 AM
Apparently everyone wants to get in the act of compiling favorite songs of summer. This from LS, who is himself still resisting posting his own favorite summer songs.
Then again, so are we.
A little bit of overwriting on this list, but I do like his inclusion of REM's "Nightswimming." Too often, in thinking of summer songs, we only think of the springy, happy, go-go tunes. Forgetting that there's some melancholia to be found amidst the humidity and dank evenings, too.
posted by Anon. 5:03 PM
Happy Fourth of July.
Palmermix's favorite Fourth of July songs:
1) "Fourth of July" -- Dave Alvin. (A terrific song! There are also versions by the Blasters and X, two Alvin-related bands, but the best version can be found off Dave Alvin's King of California record.)
2) "Independence Day" -- Bruce Springsteen. (True, the independence day of this cheerless fathers-and-sons song from The River is a metaphorical one. Still, it counts!)
3) "Justice and Independence" -- John Cougar Mellencamp. (A completely ridiculous song -- it practically breaks under the strain of its pretentiousness -- yet with a great guitar riff.)
4) "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" -- Bruce Springsteen. (There's also a nice cover of this on Richard Shindell's live record, Courier.)
5) "One Headlight" -- The Wallflowers. (Okay, so I'm stretching here, but there is that song, "She said it's cold, it feels like Independence Day.")
6) "Saturday in the Park" -- Chicago. Admittedly, Chicago is awful. But you try to come up with more than four good songs that mention the Fourth of July.
7) "I'm So Bored with the USA" -- the Clash. Tee hee.
posted by Anon. 8:15 AM
Those were the reasons
Fun trivia coming to us from Michael in Gothenburg, Sweden:
Trivia: The Cohen song Chelsea Hotel is actually about Janis Joplin and LC having some hoochy coochy. Note the line: “giving me head on the unmade bed”.
Thanks, Michael. I like this email for three reasons:
1) It's from Sweden.
2) I like emails that use the euphemism "hoochy coochy."
3) The fact that it makes special effort to note the most infamous lyric in the song.
As Dana Carvey used to say as Johnny Carson: "I did not know that!"
posted by Anon. 7:57 AM
There goes the fear
Doves are a band for which I came a little late to the party. That makes sense; except in the case of Belle and Sebastian, I tend to not be the first among my pals to discover a British band. I never even picked up their first full-length album, 2000's Lost Souls. But after it was recommended to me a few times, I picked up last year's The Last Broadcast.
I spun it once or twice, finding one song I thought was incredible -- "Pounding" -- and finding the rest pleasant enough, but not grabbing. This past week, I pulled it from my shelf and slipped it into my iBook. Every time my little iBook crashed, which is with some frequency, Doves would be playing when I rebooted. This is a swell way to get to know a record quickly, and I've enjoyed it this past week.
How to describe the sound? It has a little bit of the ethereal quality of OK Computer-era Radiohead, but a much happier, soaring sound. Also, with some driving percussion and rhythms. The only downside is that the lead singer Jimi Goodwin's vocals can sometimes be a little too laidback and monotonous.
Still, check it out. And for the Apple Music Store, see if they have "Pounding" -- a great song, which merited a spot on my 2002 YIR discs.
posted by Anon. 7:52 AM
LS passes this along: favorite songs of NYC bloggers. Sadly, Lockhart himself does not contribute. Perhaps he will post something on his blog to that effect. We'll try to post today's version of our favorite songs later on today.
posted by Anon. 9:46 AM
I don't think of you that often
"She didn't understand him, so she thought he was deep."
Elvis Costello? No, that barbed wit is from the pen of Lloyd Cole, and today I was listening a bit in the car to his '91 effort, Don't Get Weird On Me Babe.
With an album title stolen from a Raymond Carver short story, and melodies stolen from the Beatles via Imperial Bedroom, it's not the best effort of the witty singer/songwriter who now, evidentally, lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. But it's got some swell songs. Particularly "Weeping Wine" -- which reminds me of XTC -- and "She's a Girl and I'm a Man," which almost has the crispness of Pete Townshend circa Empty Glass mixed with Johnny Marr. (In fact, I always felt that LC was a much more interesting version of Morrissey -- more of a moper for graduate student women, with Morrissey better suited for their high school little sisters.)
I've always felt that Lloyd Cole was underrated -- a British singer/songwriter who unfortunately produced his best work at a time when the intelligentsia wasn't favoring British singer/songwriters. His best record was his first one without his backing band, the Commotions -- his self-titled album -- and it is full of wonderful crisp Robert Quine guitar, with Matthew Sweet playing bass on much of it. It was produced by Fred Maher, whom I know I've talked about on here and who also produced my favorite Lou Reed record, New York. (A great guitar record, by the way.)
Lloyd Cole has its share of melancholy, but also a lot of sharp wit, such as in "No Blue Skies" with its chorus:
Baby you're too well read
There's also "Ice Cream Girl" and "Undressed," both with their wonderful melodies and chimey guitars. Everything in the production is crisp and clear, even though the emotions and states of mind in the songs are often very muddled.
Baby you're too well spoken
Baby you're far too clear
When I cry, do you hear anything?
LC still records, occasionally, though I stopped buying his records at one point; nothing was as good as that self-titled album. But he did record the best thing on that inconsistent Leonard Cohen tribute of a decade ago, I'm Your Fan -- a terrific version of perhaps my favorite song by that other LC: "Chelsea Hotel."
When Leonard sang it, it was plaintive and sad. But when Lloyd sings,
Those were the reasons, and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh;
And that was called love for the workers in song,
probably still is for those of them left.
it all feels like a hazy, bright summer memory, yellowed like yesterday's Polaroids. It's everything a cover should be.
posted by Anon. 10:23 PM
Some articles and emails to catch up on...
First, Josh sends us the link to this interview with the inimitable Tom Waits, from Onion's AV Club. Waits interviews never disappoint.
Josh also beat his old entrepreneurial partner and current co-author Lockhart in directing our Angeleno eyes to the New York Observer last week, for this Ron Rosenbaum piece. Yes, it starts off as a catty piece about Jenna Bush's summer in NYC, but then evolves into... a piece about NYC Summer Songs. (An oddball list. Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" Not exactly a good beat that you can dance to.) The piece improves when Rosenbaum turns it into a memory piece, of his summer of 1965 and the soundtrack that accompanied it.
PMix reader Jason Lemons also writes in response to our recent Paul Young post. I mentioned in the post that Paul Young was kind of a British Daryl Hall. Turns out that Daryl Hall wrote and recorded the original version of Young's "Everytime You Go Away!" Jason writes:
It's interesting that you mention Daryl Hall as Paul Young's American
Frightening amount of Hall and Oates knowledge there, Jason. Yet, I confess, I find them a guilty pleasure. Less so for Maneater and Private Eyes, more for "She's Gone" and Daryl Hall's underrated solo "Dreamtime."
counterpart, because Hall & Oates wrote and originally performed "Everytime
You Go Away." It's on their "Voices" album from the early 80s, if I
remember correctly. They also performed it on their Live at the Apollo
album with Kendricks and Ruffin (which is worth picking up, if you can find
it used). I think Daryl prefaces the song on that album, defensively
mentioning that it was covered by a British artist but they performed it
originally. I always thought it funny that he never mentioned Paul Young by
name... you'd think he'd be appreciative of the royalties he earned thanks
to that version, but he sounds almost resentful.
Anyway, I generally like both versions of the song. Paul's version was the
first I ever heard, and I remember dedicating it to a girl I had a crush on
at summer camp (it worked... for that summer, at least). Hall and Oates'
version has a Righteous Brothers sound and it works for them. Still, I'd
love to hear someone like Sam Moore or Ben E. King give it a little more
Incidentally, the only other PY song I remember is a cover of the Chi-Lites'
"Oh Girl" he did in the early 90s. He sings it pretty well, but it suffers
from lite-rock production. I love the Chi-Lites' version, but we can thank
Paul for making the song safe for suburban housewives everywhere.
posted by Anon. 7:41 PM
One more cup of coffee (or Dylan post)
Just had to post this. Forgive the copyright violation.
Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin' up, we struggle and we scrape
We're all boxed in, nowhere to escape
City's just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin' in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down
Got nothing for you, I had nothing before
Don't even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin' down
Nothing you can sell me, I'll see you around
All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long
Well, the devil's in the alley, mule's in the stall
Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all
I was thinkin' about the things that Rosie said
I was dreaming I was sleeping in Rosie's bed
Walking through the leaves, falling from the trees
Feeling like a stranger nobody sees
So many things that we never will undo
I know you're sorry, I'm sorry too
Some people will offer you their hand and some won't
Last night I knew you, tonight I don't
I need somethin' strong to distract my mind
I'm gonna look at you 'til my eyes go blind
Well I got here following the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long
Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drownin' in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothin' but affection for all those who've sailed with me
Everybody movin' if they ain't already there
Everybody got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now
My clothes are wet, tight on my skin
Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in
I know that fortune is waitin' to be kind
So give me your hand and say you'll be mine
Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long
When I read lyrics like that, I can't help but think of what George Harrison once said about Dylan: "Dylan is so brilliant. To me, he makes Shakespeare seem like Billy Joel."
posted by Anon. 12:31 PM