Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cover of the Week 72

I remember distinctly, in my first year of living in Massachusetts, the autumn of 1982, and going to Newbury Comics on Newbury Street in Boston and buying the New Order "tape," Power, Corruption, and Lies, which I was burning to have ever since I had heard "Age of Consent" and "Blue Monday" on the radio. I had never latched on to much synth-based stuff. But if it was a good meld of guitars and keys, like even the Cars, I could dig it. But this brought "short on the back and sides, long in the front" melancholy to a whole new level. This was a huge record in my life. It reminded me of later-'70s Bowie but stripped of the overt irony and posing found in some of his work of that period. This was more like "Ashes to Ashes." But it was also more dance-y in an odd way. And I never danced. Back then, that is. You should see me on the floor now.

Yes, a tape: a black cassette with gray writing on it. And a cool fold-out J-card. I was getting in the habit, briefly of going straight to cassette for Walkman ease, I guess. But I later bought the beautiful LP, with that stunning and austere artwork that Factory Records was known for, the sort that hammered home the melancholy post-punk-art-rock vibe. And of course, I later delved onto N.O.'s previous incarnation as Joy Division, had the huge-ass Closer poster on my dorm room wall, and had the aforementioned haircut. I even had my ear pierced by my drunken buddy, the late Joe C. Then I came home in the wee small hours of the morning to my parents' house in Medfield only to find it locked. I passed out and woke up on the stoop. It was maybe one of thee times, max, that I have slept outside. I have never camped -- intentionally, anyway.

My parents found me there, newly pierced ear and were not psyched. Neither was I, truth be told. My ears stick out like Obama's. So I didn't put up much of a fight when they kindly suggested I remove it. I was hardly in a state to argue anyway. But man, a pierced ear? That was what I got for being first born. And that's what they got, as well. Two of my brothers look like the Illustrated Man. I'm gonna call them that from now on. They are on notice, the Illustrated Men.

Age Of Consent MP3

I'm afraid I have done a half-dozen D-G songs for the CoTW project, but so be it. You can't go wrong with those chords. I am finding out a common denominator in my taste, as if I did not already know....

New Shows added

Some shows coming up: Buffalo Tom just added to the 5/20 NY John Wesley Harding Cabinet of Wonders w/eugenemirman, robbie fulks, janeane garofolo, paul muldoon, lenny kaye and Le Poisson Rouge 158 Bleecker Street,NYC. We may also add another show or two in the Tri-State area that same weekend.

BT has a date on hold late spring/early summer in Boston, TBC.

And BillBillyEdandPhilly (Crown Victoria of sorts) will be doing some of those Toad-like sets the first three Thursday nights in April at Precinct, Somerville, alternating sets with the fabulous Jenny Dee & the Delinquents.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

(non) Cover of the Week 70

An older fella like me gets excited about stuff like this: I
recorded, trimmed, an uploaded
this video to my blog all from the iPhone.

Someone requested this one. Make a donation to a charity. Please.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Norwegian Black Metal

The closest I have ever gotten to liking anything that might be construed as heavy metal was the hard rock of the 1970s like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and maybe the first or second outer rings into the 1980s like Motorhead. These were bands still rooted in the blues somewhat. And even Lemmy provides some semblance of melody and swing.

I started to lose interest in most of the stuff that came after around 1980. There was all the hair metal that meant nothing to me. I even include Halen in this category. Am I supposed to differentiate between Def Leopard, Rush, Iron Maiden, and such? I mean, I know Rush is more prog, DL is more pop, Maiden more hard rock. I don't know. But mostly, I just never cared much either way.

And then there was all the thrash of the late '80s/'90s, which sounded like very suburban kids taking the worst aspects of hardcore and metal and putting them together. But like Dylan sang, "don't criticize what you can't understand..." OK. I am just talking here. No critique. Just not for me. I remember being at one show at the Ritz in NY around 1986, with Celtic Frost and the Cro Mags playing together. I liked the energy of the latter and thought the former were unintentionally (apparently) hilarious. But neither was my cup of tea per se.

Later on, when we started playing festivals, we would witness such bands as Sepultura. That was some scary shit. I found it interesting. This Brazilian... I dunno, death metal band? It was all slow and low and guttural, like monsters in my nightmares. It was just so different and fresh sounding to my ears -- and eyes; what a sight! But after a couple of songs, it was time for the beer tent.

But in the past few months, I have seen a few very interesting documentaries about three very different metal bands. Anvil! The Story of Anvil was just a beautiful film about being in a band, struggling to make it, dedication, and personal relationships. The fact that I cared nothing for their music, and still don't, but still loved the film is testament to what a great piece of storytelling it is.

Then Tom Maginnis recommended seeing Iron Maiden Flight 666 Again, I care nothing about the music, though with this film, I really developed an appreciation for the musicianship and talent of the individuals. But again, the music was the least interesting part of the movie for me. Here is a story 180 degrees different than the Anvil movie. Iron Maiden are huuuuuuuge worldwide. This in and of itself was not a revelation. But it was the scope of worldwide adoration and the cult of their fans that was astounding. And the joy of the band members, their good fortune and modesty, their acceptance of each other, and the family aspect of the band makes for compelling stuff. The spine of the story is that they decide to pack everything -- crew, band, equipment -- into one 757 jet and hit all the more remote places that they rarely, if ever, got to play due to financial reasons. And the lead singer pilots the plane.

I've also been hearing a bit of noise about Norwegian Black Metal and today an article about a new documentary appeared in the Boston Sunday Globe. Trailer, here. So I went to Youtube and found this really interesting documentary about one figure of this genre. It makes for an intriguing and compelling film. I watched all five parts in succession and recommend the same for you and would be interested in reading some comments:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cover of the Week 69

As I touched on in this post way back when, music is about the closest I get to religion. But when its hits me, it gets me deep and brings me to church.

There might not be a more perfect distillation of this feeling than Van Morrison's "In The Garden," this week's CoTW.

In the Garden mp3

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some Buffalo Stuff

Mark has posted some songs from the Nick Flynn/Buff Tom set a couple of weeks ago:

Also, we have contributed a live track to this cause:
Buffalo Tom "Thrown"live from the last Somerville Theater show, download for Target Cancer benefit.