Archive for Tag ‘Rock and Roll‘
Listening to music really loud is funny. Seriously, try it. Listen to the Clear Plastic Masks’s new record loudly, however, and this funny thing begins to happen. A swirl is the only way I know how to describe it. All types of swirls: the kind the toilet bowl makes, all crisp and in tune with the moon; the swirls you experience in the grips of some substance or the more elliptical kind that comes from the funnel water ride at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.
I can only speculate as to why this happens, but it does. No…that’s not true, I’m being self-effacing. I know exactly why this happens. It happens because you as a listener are experiencing in a spacial, tangential way all the forces that made this record come into being, and seeing as it’s entitled “Being There” it seems apropos. This record – and this is my reading here – attempts to overcome the ego or the desire to be “original” as such. To have faces stand out amongst others. It’s maybe why the band choose to wear clear plastic masks as a monicker: it’ll obfuscate your view, but at least you know they’re human and not aliens. Thus, they whirled up like the Sufi Dervishes and went to work.
And similar, in a way, to the intention behind the Dervishes, this record opens up an emotional field rather than a discursive field. So much of what is happening in the world today is happening at the level of political discourse – people jockeying for rhetorical positions and trying to defend this or vilify that without really having any felt experiential, emotional understanding of the issues at play, political or otherwise. The reasons the record swirls is because of this. And I think as artists, this strange little peripatetic group are uniquely positioned by their experiences to offer meaningful contributions to society via art. Or at least a good time. And when Andrew Katz sings “there’s gonna be a shakedown” or “I’ve got some cocaine to get you back your strut” or the even more direct, “we come together/nothing could be better,” it’s true; it’s a lived experience. At least in that moment you hear him say it. Or when Matt Menold – one of the most blisteringly talented musicians you will ever meet, along with an incredible professorial knowledge of tunes – just rips into the guitar, it’s as if you’re hearing and watching the most disenchanted illegitimate child of Howlin’ Wolf overcome all his daddy issues in one session, Tokic playing analog therapist. Eddie Duquesne got so deep in his bass-mojo on this record, he augments perfectly what’s happening on each track, or – like on ‘Baby Come On’ - he leaves out or swings certain notes, turning an otherwise spurned lover ballad into a funky go-getter. And Charlie Garmendia sounds like Buddy Miles mixed with Clyde Stubblefield. You’ll get these little finger-flicked ghost notes on the drums that are so tasteful, only to have the next measure sound like he hit them with a troglodyte’s rock hammer. All deftly handled by the indefatigable Andrija Tokic, who is seriously just warming up on his production skills.
I know the Clear Plastic Masks well. I know the producer of this fine album, Andrija Tokic, as well, and count both as dear, close friends. I even know the lanky, incredibly talented Allen that wrote the track ‘Hungry Cup’ for the band he’s in, Poison Dartz. (Click that link because they are an inspiration and a very talented outfit.) I know that the band has moved beyond this record, as is evidenced by their live shows (of which I just saw 10 in a row up and down the east coast). There’s this new song, ‘Buffalo’ that is the swirl-entire. It made me want to throw up the first time I heard it. Anyway, the point of all this is that they’re releasing their album today and are playing at the High Watt and 10pm here in Nashville with Fly Golden Eagle opening at 9pm. You should come.
Stream Being There here.
To put it safely: it’s about damn time. Unafraid to take up a pace much closer to nature’s than the urban sprawl, Majestico has finally solidified an album for the people to hear.
Recorded – like so many of the delicious things in our lives – by Andrija Tokic (AKA Dreya, AKA Dre-Babe, AKA Dr. Dre, AKA The-Dre) at the Bomb Shelter here in Nashville, it does the right thing by most any standards. It’s got quite a few of the jams you’ve heard for a long time now, as well as more recently penned ones, that are more future-indicative of the tender baby-bamboo shoot finally exploding that is Graham Fitzpenn and co. who have spread their roots so deep and so far for so long now.
Here’s to not surviving the New Age Revival.
Out 2/11/14 on ATO Record Club and 3/4/14 to everyone else via ATO.
Album trailer via us?:
Directed by Graham
Shot/Edited by Schuyler
High Shots by Logan “Gotdam” Frank
Say Lady, Say: Natalie Prass, Lilly Lomein, Sarah Carter, and Odessa Jorgensen on Femininity, Music and Monistat.
You get a lot of listening and a lot of taking when you sit down with awesome women and ask them about music. I did just that the other night with some of the finest in town. (Full disclosure: all close friends, one lover, and I’ve played – currently or in the past – for all of them.)
The impetus for the conversation stemmed from a desire to hear what ladies I knew had to say about music. The in/equality, the un/fairness, and the sweet, fun aspects of it. I wanted to have a more robust understanding of it all, to get some knowledge dropped on me, which is precisely what happened. The content ranged from the wildly unpredictable to what you would expect. But it’s all fantastic. These are sharp ladies with surfeit knowledge about a razor thin subject and they do it all gracefully. In addition to what’s below, we also hit on Laurie Anderson, Janet Weiss/Sleater-Kinney, Carol Kaye, Lower Dens/Dirty Projectors, Tina Weymouth, and Madonna (they were all torn as to the opinion on her). It was a great chat, one that caused genuflection, and I’d like to share with it with you all.
These ladies are all at different points as to how they engage with music, thus the interesting fodder. You can download/listen to a track by each of them and their bands – as well as links/additional info – after the jump (click the German below).
Is art about creating the critical aesthetics necessary for a dialectic or just getting groovy?
Michelangelo Anonioni’s ‘L’Eclisse’ (detail)
Promised Land: Stoned Eagle. Sean, Joey, Ric and Evan have done good and you should be able to make it through the coming winter a bit easier now. Their music comes from an unabashed love of music, I can assure you of that. Stream/buy below.
“…Your employer is trying to put pressure on me. To blackmail me.”
“Pressure is a prettier word,” I averred.
“I don’t care much about pretty words anymore. You live with words a long time. Then all at once you are old, and there are the things and the words don’t matter anymore.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Suit yourself,” I replied, “but you get the idea.”
In Robert Penn Warren’s blisteringly, clear-eyed novel, All the King’s Men, the characters of Judge Irwin and Jack Burden convey a hint of wisdom that comes (seemingly) only with aging: the letting go. I admire George Harrison the most out of the Beatles. Quiet, unassuming, profound. Like Lennon he was political, but didn’t seem to be coming from a place of self-grandeur (and they certainly can’t market or make T-Shirts about the ideas George was talking about, yeesh).
To point to Brainwashed, Harrison’s final and actually posthumous album. The undertones spoken by Judge Iriwin is echoed in the mood of the album itself: I have no care for pretty words anymore and let me give it to you straight. The way George Harrison lived his life, the things he cared and didn’t care about, his song themes, all are loosed on Brainwashed (the album) and even culminate in Brainwashed (the song). The Folky/Rock and Roll/Eastern Indian/Spitiual leanings that permeate all of Harrison’t existence show up as pillars, not moments, on this record.
Recorded right up to his death in 2001 and left with instructions as to how it should be finished (down to the artwork), Dhani (his son) and Jeff Lynne (who is Electric Light Orchestra and played on/produced the record) were (one assumes) faithful to the note. If one needed a Master’s Class conducted by Harrison explaining his thoughts on life, this would be it. Sure, you could suss out a lot of similar themes from All Things Must Pass or even 1987′s Cloud 9, but here, Harrison – for better or worse – communicates explicitly about matters both political ans spiritual. He can’t be bothered with pretty words anymore. “If you don’t know where you’re going/any road will take you there,” he sings on the album’s opening track (which is a helluvalot better way of saying the quip, “Not all who wander are lost.” Hippie stuff rules, ya’ll.)
From critiques against the abuses that can take place from Institutionalized religion (see: P.2 Vatican Blues, which is a hilarious song) to admiring the contemplative, simple life that he ended up living post-Beatlemania (see: Pisces Fish), Harrison doesn’t mince and muddle down where he’s coming from, even if it’s not the easiest to understand or swallow: “I’m living proof/of all life’s contradictions/One half’s going where the other half’s just been.” The whole album is both celebratory and scathingly serious.
The closing track is Brainwashed and it is unrelenting. To my knowledge, the closest Harrison had ever gotten to being this critical of his time was on “Awaiting On You All” from All Things Must Pass: “And while the Pope owns 51% of General Motors/And the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us/The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see/By chanting the names of the Lord you will be free.” But even that direct of a statement doesn’t hold a Great-Easter-Vigil-Candle to the litany of things Harrison lines up on “Brainwashed.” I don’t even want to write any of the lyrics, because it would end up being the whole song. Suffice to say, he doesn’t stop and nothing seems safe, from the military to himself. And what’s the cure for all of society’s ills? God. That’s all, he says. “Won’t you lead us through this mess/From the places of concrete,” and “You are the wisdom that we seek/The lover that we miss/Your nature is eternity/You are Existence, Knowledge, Bliss.” Straight to the point.
While the political and spiritual content of the album is reaffirming/a wake-up call/dismissive (depending on where you’re coming from), what’s not to be missed and is most interesting to me is the context of the record as far as Harrison’s life is concerned. It was damn near the very end of it all (even though he had written some of the songs that would appear on Brainwashed as early as 1987) and this may be the reason for its bluntness. Returning to “Awaiting On You All,” even though it does say what it says about the Pope, GM, etc., on the original vinyl sleeve, those lyrics in particular are strangely absent, which has been an interesting conversation point with us here at Blacktooth. He was 27 at that point and was in his 50′s when he wrote Brainwashed. What was it that gave him reservation back then, but not so later on in life? Was it because – at the time of All Things… – the general conversation in the music world was around Van Morrison’s Moondance, MC5′s Back in the USA, or Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, versus in 2002, where Britney Spears, Nickleback and Nelly were dominating the general public’s talking points, thus the time for subtly had passed? The exert from All the King’s Men may have some clue for us, but wherever/if you settle on an answer, the fact remains: George Harrison is a little sage, and that’s why he is this year’s recipient of the Blacktooth Best Christian Recording Artist of All Time award. Congrats George, you did better than us.
Below is the song Any Road for experiencing, and a link for the song Brainwashed on Youtube
Someone took the winter off and made a sneaky good album, didn’t they?
Chrome Pony plays the songs that Tyler Davis writes. If you know anything about the man, you know that if there was anyone in the world who could stand the insular nature of winter and still be so infectiously happy and spirited, and then take that spirit and channel it into a record that is best served warm and with the windows down, it would be him.
Just in time, Tyler has brought us all the summer tunes we knew we needed. Hopelessly in love (both with life and the ladies), gritty and fast.
Chrome Pony is new, but not for long. Kyle, Caleb, Ben and Tyler will be playing these songs around Nashville soon. If you’ve never seen the Davis brothers play together, your missing a part of your soul.
Chrome Pony live:
3/23 at Mercy Lounge w/ Majestico and Diarrhea Planet.
3/31 at Little Hamilton w/ Look Like a Snake and Pineapple Explode
Here’s a track that should tease you and is already an instant classic. Be on the look out for more over at their bandcamp.