Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Some Pixies for you this morning

A mothafuckin jam to wake you up this brisk October morning: "Velouria" by the Pixies, performed live in 1991. Frank Black, looking like a bit character from Home Improvement, complements Kim Deal's functionally shitty backing vocals as the band rips through one of its finest tunes.

And for shits and giggles, a cover by Weezer:

Incidentally, did you see the cover for Rivers' new demos collection?

Nice look, douchemonger! Looks like he'd be Screech's deviant gay lover on early seasons of Saved by the Bell. But, hey, stylistic mistakes make for great retrospective album covers, do they not?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fond Farewell, Five Years Later

Five years ago today, Elliott took his own life. Elliott embodied the tortured songwriter, which is a label that's used so often in the pejorative sense. Knit-browed wankfactories like Chris Carraba (who I despise) and Connor Oberst (who I enjoy greatly) create their music with such pretense, such hackneyed personal turmoil, that it's not difficult to scoff at their whole shtick.

But Elliott did the sad songwriter thing so seamlessly. His words could scathe or soothe, and his voice was such a fragile coo, even at it's loudest and most boisterous. He was believable. Not to mention he was a brilliant musician, adept at a wide array of instruments. He played every instrument on at least two of his albums if I'm not mistaken. He was also a master arranger, layering harmonies with such a masterstroke. Need ye proof, listen to "I Didn't Understand", the closer to X/O.

My favorite Elliott album is the aforementioned X/O, but I think From a Basement Under the Hill is what I'll spend today with. Although Basement is somewhat tinged due to Elliott passing before he could complete production or decide on a track order, the songs resonate so palpably knowing that their creation coincided with his last months. "Fond Farewell to a Friend" is perhaps the most forthright example. But I still think there isn't a better Elliott song than "Twilight," ostensibly about attraction that can't be consumated, as both parties are involved with other people. And, tragically, the fear of a disappointment is a greater hindrance than anything.

The song is Elliott at his best: Tragic, sweet, pained, subtle, graceful. Everything that makes his loss, to this day, a bitter pill to swallow; and everything that makes you wonder if it was inevitable.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chronic Lyricosis: 2+2=5 by Radiohead

I believe it was George Carlin who came up with the concept of chronic lyricosis...that is, hearing a song's lyrics incorrectly. We've heard the classic examples: "Hold me closer, Tony Danza" and "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy."

We here at HSW like to delve a bit deeper into our respective back catalogs, and go beyond classic rock staples. So let's think of some of our own more esoteric examples, those that fall within our area of expertise. Not that Stairway and Freebird aren't worth of being misinterpreted.

While I am no stranger to the symptoms of CL, he first lyric that stands out as oft-misinterpreted comes from Radiohead's "2+2=5", the fantastic Hail to the Thief album opener:
Actual Lyric:
"You have not been
Paying attention
Paying attention
Paying attention"...etc.

As I heard it:
"You have now been
Go figure. The only song I can think of that actually uses the word penetrate is "Dig a Pony" by the Beatles, which is one of their best songs but, man, whenever I hear Lennon say 'penetrate' with such gusto, I chuckle a bit.

Your examples?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Steve Earle is Diese

It's rare that a piece fits two blogs so well. But hey, sharing is caring! So, in the interest of even more self-promotion, the following is adapated from THE DIESE BLOG.


In the movie "High Fidelity," Jack Black's character asks of John Cusack's, "Is it unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins? Is it better to burn out or fade away?"

Steve Earle is a country songwriter who was once lauded as the "next Bruce Springsteen." Earle's mid-80's albums Guitar Town and Copperhead Road have since become country/rock touchstones, but his recent works have found his prolific output reduced to a pile of rocks.

While the admittedly partisan The Revolution Starts Now provided a vitriolic kick, his latest, Washington Square Serenade was a pussy affair of love songs about his adopted home of New York.

Moving to Manhattan is diese if you do business. And only if you do big things. Moving to Manhattan in general is not diese, especially if you're a country musician.

We saw Steve Earle about this time last year in San Francisco at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. In addition to the varying quality of his recent work, Earle is a notorious liberal windbag. Half in the bag on Two Buck Chuck, we admonished Earle to, "Shut up and play Copperhead Road!" The crunchies didn't like that very much.

Despite these facts, we at Diese Blog must take these cases on an individual basis. We will call them as we see them.

As such, Steve Earle is diese, primarily on the basis of how ungodly awesome his biography, Hardcore Troubadour is.

This book should be on the Official Diese Reading List. It reads like this: Steve shoots smack, fires guns, rides horses, goes through gallons of booze and crashes cars into buildings. Sometimes all within a single page. In terms of pure unadulterated debauchery, it ranks right up there with the Zeppelin bio, Hammer of the Gods.

The following clip finds Earle at arguably his most diese, right before his 3-year "vacation in the ghetto." Dude was so shit-cocked on cocaine and heroin, he probably doesn't even remember it. And he totally burns Letterman on just what the hell a mandolin is.


Monday, October 13, 2008

More Takes on Ryan Adams and Being Diese

As I've probably mentioned, I've been fine-combing the Whiskeytown back catalogue a bit lately. And over on THE DIESE BLOG, we declared that Ryan Adams is cool but not diese. We stand by this. Respectively, Hank Williams, Jr. is diese but not cool.

I've met the guy and while I can attest that his antics are indicative of colossal colostomy-baggery, he has said some really funny shit while wasted.

Apparently, while touring to support John Fogerty, he was expected to honor his selection by playing solid country sets.

Instead, his band played a full punk set that ended with Adams declaring, "Yeah, Fogerty was born on the bayou....of Southern California."

I think everybody's got a little bit of diese in them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I love diese music.

As a celebration of Drew's new and exciting venture, The Diese Blog, I think it's fitting that HSW holds an open forum on the subject of diese musicians. My intention here is not to steal TDB's thunder, just to spread the good, good word as best I can. In the future I'll be relegating diese-talk to redicrections to the official site, for we'd be doing a disservice to the concept by discussing it here, as it lies outside HSW's core competencies.

But for now, I'd like to submit a few; feel free to contest, support, etc.--

First of all, The Drive-By Truckers are undeniably diese, and the Diese Blog itself has identified the rockers as such, and thus it shall not be contested.

I'd submit a few other bands who'd wave that banner proudly:

  • Uncle Tupelo
  • Lucero
  • Johnny Cash
  • Son Volt
  • Neko Case (le femme diese)
  • And as a dark horse... I'll throw out Patty Hurst Shifter (whose drummer is Skillet Gilmore, former Whiskeytown timekeeper and owner of one of the more diese names in alt-country.)

Let's hear your suggestions in the comments section. And please, go be a part of something big over at the Diese Blog.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Shot at Musical Lookalikes

As a result of recent blog posts, I have been toying with my own version of Musical Lookalikes. Here we go:




<-wtf is up with this dude?

The Winner?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ashes of Americana Sigs

A nice little find today...

After two days of hellish film-work, I wanted to do nothing less than purge my old room of...everything, actually. My boxed-up collegiate life, i.e. that which isn't currently furnishing, decorating or cluttering my apartment, is stored comfortably in the room where I spent my pizza-faced adolescence. But the hammer finally dropped, and the Captain's orders are for a complete and utter overhaul, leaving the room a blank canvas for he and moms to do what the might with it.

I was well into it, having sectioned everything into two piles (trash, Goodwill), when I came across a relic that I thought was long trashed. A print-at-home concert ticket, signed by every current member of Wilco aside from John Stirratt, who was a no-show when about 8 dedicated fans (myself included) managed to coax the members out for a brief meet-and-greet after the Charleston show in March of 06. But it wasn't 2 days later that I'd lost the damn ticket. I long blamed my mother, who I was sure had chucked the ticket, which, to the untrained eye, might have appeared to be little more than a scribbled piece of scrap paper. But, gahblesser, she'd stashed it in my room, albeit in a rather indiscriminate nook.

Anyhoo, here she is in all her glory:

A bit of amateur graphology:

1. Tweedy - J is quite discernable; seems to have errantly begun last name with a "P".
2. Pat Sansone - Crisp, readable, worthy of a Spalding mitt
3. Glen Kotche - Ornate like drumming style; Hancockian.
4. Mikael Jorgensen - ALL CAPS; Last name abbreviated; must fight urge to add "Fox"
5. Nels Cline - What a gay.

Off to Wal-mart for an 8x11 frame!

Totally Meta

I'm going to go ahead and call it. If McCain surges in the polls yet again, all the cheeky music/political bloggers will revive this song:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Inspirational Music from Political Zealots

Following George's theme of embeds; I am glad that this song is relevant once again.

Every four years, Puff Daddy's imaginative and inspirational lyrics spur a mass of brain-dead youth to the polls. For where there is not a vote, there is death...followed by post-mortem defecation.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let's all mellow out to Skinny Love

So yes, I'm getting lazy, and this is another embed post. BUT, again I validate it by saying it's a clip worth watching and it's just what I need right now.

Just finished a 7:30 am-7 pm day, filming a marketing summit my company is hosting. No, that's not my job. I was actually volunteered by my merciless CEO to work as an assistant to the videographer he contracted. Extra pay? Why, no! That's why I'm doing it in the first place, you fool. Mr. CEO wanted to save on hiring another cameraman, so enter the only staff member with film experience--yours truly.

Rest assured, it's more than the long hours... I had no seat, so standing through 4 speakers, each taking up roughly a quarter of the day, took a toll on my lower back, knees, calves, and feet. Furthermore, I was tasked with tight and medium shots...meaning, I had to pay full attention at all times, following the very dynamic speakers as they strode back and forth 'cross the stage.

And I'm doing it again tomorrow.

But, MUSIC! That's why we're here... So, I figured a relaxing youtube might do the trick. And although the song of interest--Bon Iver's "Skinny Love"--does have it's flares of tumult, the solo acoustic performance you'll see here is staggering, the kind of display that silences every onlooker and stuns skeptics. The song is well written, played in some pretty open tuning, and Justin Vernon's vocals range from delicate to powerful, and his high howls tear apart at the coda of "Who will love you? Who will fight? Who will fall far behind?"

The song is just as riveting in it's full-band, harmony-laden form. More on that in a later post.

Enjoy and pray for Mojo tomorrow.

(Starts at about 0:45 after British jibber-jabber)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Like ripples on a shore

Nothing like logging posts that are really nothing more than an embed...but I thought this one was worthy. The official video for Radiohead's "Reckoner," my personal favorite from the brilliant In Rainbows. The video you see is the cream of a contest's worth of fan-created crop. Although the creator is clearly not without advanced training in animation, it's yet another innovative idea by Radiohead, and I dare say the video is fantastic.

Earlier this week, for the first time in a year or two, I listened to Radiohead's debut, Pablo Honey. Sort of remarkable considering I listen to each of the other albums on what seems like a weekly basis. But I'd sort of forgotten about what a rocking affair Pablo was, and I was caught off guard by how much I enjoyed it. So racous and boisterous compared to In Rainbows, but they always sound like they know exactly what they're trying to do with every note they play.

Radiohead - Reckoner - by Clement Picon

And just for the hell of it, some Pablo Honey goodness.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More musical lookalikes...

Today's comparison pits two individuals who may as well be the same person anyway:

1. Both musicians
2. Both frontmen
3. Both in highly successful indie bands
4. Both hail from the Pacific Northwest

Colin Meloy of the Decemeberists

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie

I guess the only difference is that I listen to and enjoy the Decemberists. Had to be something!