Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Big Black

I was in high school when the first Shellac album came out. My brother came home from college, handed me a tape, and said "you have to hear this." And indeed I did. After that, I realized I had to track down everything Steve Albini had done. Well, the stuff he'd performed on, anyway. So I leafed through my trusty copy of the Trouser Press Record Guide and found out that he'd been in a band called Big Black. I hesitated, though, because there was no drummer. They used a drum machine. I HATE drum machines. To me, every band with a drum machine might as well be Wham. But I digress. I figured "maybe this Albini guy" could make me overlook the whole drum machine thing, and I went to my trusty local record store (few and far between in southern Maine, I assure you) and bought a copy of what Trouser Press argued was Big Black's finest album: their delicately-titled swan song, Songs About Fucking. About two seconds into the first song, I realized that this was an album of unprecedented power, horror, and greatness. Together, my friend Zach and I spent many hours listening to Albini's nails-on-a-chalkboard guitar and hoarse shouted vocals as we tried to get through each torturous day of school.

So last night, when my toilet blew up for the sixth? seventh time?, I knew right where to turn.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Musical tag

Okay, so usually I take a pass on the whole chain letter/forward/internet tag thing, but as this one affords me the opportunity to opine about music, I figured I'd take a stab. Thanks Kim

the "rules"

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they are any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.

So here we go. In no particular order.

The Boy Wonder Jinx "Justin Estes" -- after Dan mentioned this in a blog post a couple weeks ago, I've been listening to this song pretty frequently. "a floor and a heater is like heaven / with a heater"

Drive-By Truckers "Women Without Whiskey" -- Beautiful despair. "If I make it through this year, think I'm gonna put this bottle down"

TV On The Radio "Bomb Yourself" -- I first saw Tunde in the vastly underappreciated movie Jump Tomorrow and found him a fascinating actor. Turns out he's also a great musician. I've been listening to the whole album quite a bit this week. "It's not me, mom / It's what the TV said"

Uncle Jim "Flashback" -- Alan Bishop at his weirdest and most brilliant. "My doctor said to take two percocets every four hours, but I decided to take four percocets every two hours, guys"

The Maytals "Sweet and Dandy" -- Watching The Harder They Come made me realize what I'd been missing all these years by associating reggae with the idiotic white boy stoner wannabes I saw in high school and college. Totally, totally amazing songwriting and harmonies on this Maytals classic. "It's no wonder, it's a perfect pander /While they were dancing in that bar room last night"

Elliott Smith "Riot Coming" -- One of the many "unfinished" songs leaked after Elliott's death, "Riot Coming" is amazing, dark, and moving. It also seems finished, to me. "There's a riot coming / like a drug in the water"

Chris Brokaw "Move" -- Chris's albums just get better and better. This one's amazing. "the decision always looked good to me"

okay, so seven seems like a pretty random, and far too small, number. I could have easily done twice as many. but I suppose that's all part of the "game."

So I don't know seven other bloggers, but I'm sure that of Dan, Shannon, Zach, and Taylor, somebody will come through.
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