Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vacation Foundering

It’s that most sad of days – the Sunday at the end of vacation. Back to work tomorrow. There’s despair, moaning, gnashing of teeth, all kinds of pain in different muted runny colors. We had a brief taste of sun-kissed, whiskey-soaked joy, the bliss provided by the steady hum of the internal combustion engine. There was even a Driftwood Singers powow in the mountains of western NC (thanks DD and L). This is where we walked. This is where we swam, hunted danced and sang. And now it’s back to angst-ville. Even nature’s chipping in with a little pathetic fallaciousness, sending in the dark clouds, crazy winds and rumbling thunder. Ominous. Ominous.

The gentlemen from Fearns Brass Foundry have already covered all this. They’ve got the groaning taken care of. I got this comp: Hide & Seek: A Collection of British Blue-Eyed Soul 1964-1969 a while back, and I just didn’t pay enough attention. The first thing that comes to mind is Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe,” with its mundane details and atmospheric sadness. Then it makes me think of Dylan’s response to that hit, “Clothesline Saga.” And then it gets me thinking of our man Joe South, my one degree of separation from everything. The singer is like the male Dusty Springfield, employing all manner of artful sighs and tuneful exhalations. I’m dying to know more about Fearns Brass Foundry – the name is a tip off that the band has workmanlike, high temperature powers of expressive transformation.

“Now I Taste the Tears” - Fearns Brass Foundry

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Listen My Friend

I thought I might have reached the point in my life where Saddle Creek Records no longer meant much to me. But then I got a hold of the newest Neva Dinova record, You May Already Be Dreaming, their first on SC. It’s a good’n. Hitting all the ragged-glory sweet spots, evoking sandy buttes, high plains drifters, bug juice, tongue paint, mutations of Omaha. I saw these guys open for Ladyhawk in Northampton a while back. They were plagued by a caricature of a club-ass soundman, but they managed to rock the 6 or so folks in the crowd. Songs about death, weather systems, old cars. Saddle Creek is giving away what I consider to be the two best songs from the disc. Here they are:

“Clouds” - Neva Dinova

“Will the Ladies Send You Flowers When You Die?”- Neva Dinova

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I’m the Taxonomy Man

Hey, look, a distillation of the Driftwood aesthetic, a meditation on liner notes in the new music issues of The Believer, an essay filled with multiple hyphenations, compound adjectives, agitated prose about agitated prose about music, high praise for Joe South, Sammi Smith and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins; it’s like that Borges story where the guy re-writes Don Quixote and it takes on a totally different meaning, only not really.