In which don’t listen to this

I got no useful sleep last night. There were probably a few hours of technical unconsciousness in there somewhere, but for no clear reason there was no rest of any kind, and I’ve been dragging ass all day long.

I got involved in a conversation about obscenity and sexuality in music today (not in class,) and it reminded me that Lucille Bogan exists, and I doubt many of you have heard of her. If you think that anything new is going on right now with regard to sexuality and “profanity” and music … well, you might want to give this a listen.

The 10 Album Challenge

I just finished this the other day, doing it slightly wrong (my 10 albums was 15 albums, and this post will add at least two more) and I figured I’d at least post the albums I chose here, in no particular order beyond the first one:

This is the most important one, and it should probably be its own post, as virtually no one I met beyond high school would ever have met me had I never listened to this album. This is the single most important piece of music I’ve ever listened to, period.

The soundtrack to my junior year of high school.

I really could have chosen any of Pearl Jam’s first three albums and it would have been fine.

Similarly, there are about three Public Enemy albums I could have picked.

The part of my brain that wasn’t marinating itself in hiphop during high school was marinating itself in reggae.

Speaking of marinating in hiphop, this was either the first or the second hiphop album I ever bought, and it had much more of a long-term impact than the other, which would have been the Fat Boys.

The other soundtrack to my senior year of high school, and the album that was being played at incredibly unsafe volume during all sorts of high-speed, late-night drives in the boonies in southern Indiana during college.

I got very heavily into blues music in college; there are a half-dozen BB King albums I could have picked.

One of only two Dave Matthews Band albums I really like, this one got me through my sophomore year of college. Will never forget having this on in the background about three days after it came out while a friend and I were hanging out and her remarking after a few minutes, incredulous, “You’ve memorized it already?”

Speaking of memorization: another big car album, and an album that we were listening to during an unforgettable game of euchre in high school, where the only words spoken by anyone at the table other than loudly singing along were to claim the trump suit. Whistling in the Dark was fucking epic.

I used to actually meditate to a couple of the songs on this album.

Listening to this one right now. Another case where I could have chosen any of several albums.

The other utterly unforgettable album from my blues period. Things Gonna Change is a perfect song.

The soundtrack to my senior year of high school.

And, closing in on 30 years after I first bought it, an album I still listen to on the first really warm day of every year. It’s not spring until I’ve listened to No One Can Do It Better, preferably in the car.

8:17 PM, Monday May 11: 1,346,723 confirmed cases and 80,342 deaths, which represents a remarkable slowdown over the last couple of days, and the smallest two-day total in months, which I’m afraid is going to end up having something to do with people not reporting much over Mother’s Day. We’ll see how tomorrow and Wednesday go.

Rest in peace

…knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I don’t even think I have anything to say. I’m just gonna spend an hour or so before my wife and kid get home listening to music.

On what happened to my money

music-thinkingI have purchased what seems like a considerable amount of music over the summer.  I feel like this list says something about me (other than “this sucker still pays for music,”) but I’m not exactly sure what:

  • Matisyahu, Akeda
  • Murs and ¡Mayday!, Mursday
  • Mika, The Boy Who Knew Too Much and Life in Cartoon Motion
  • YG, My Krazy Life
  • 3rd Bass, Derelicts of Dialect
  • Macy Gray, Covered
  • Phish, Fuego
  • Nappy Roots, The Pursuit of Nappyness
  • Tom Waits, Mule Variations
  • Weird Al Yankovic, Mandatory Fun
  • Lou Reed, Transformer
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye

Toss in half-a-dozen or so individual tracks, too.

In case you’re wondering, there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy review coming, but probably not today.  I need to let this one roll around in my head a bit; the review’s gonna be more mixed than I wanted it to be but the parts I liked I liked a lot.

What the hell was that?: I “review” Tom Waits

mulevariationsBe honest.  No Googling.  How many of you know who Tom Waits is, beyond a vague association with music or acting?  And if you know who he is at all, what kind of musician do you think he is?  (These are honest questions; feel free to answer in comments, even if the answer is “I’ve never heard of him” or “You’re an idiot for never having heard of him.”)

The wife and I have been marathoning Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, and for only the second time the closing musical number of a show has gotten me to spend money on music.  (The first was an episode of Defiance that closed with Civil Twilight’s amazing cover of Nirvana’s Come As You Are.  The weirdest thing that’s ever led to me spending money on music was hearing Jeffrey Gaines’ cover of In Your Eyes over the in-store sound system in a Chipotle and insisting that the manager tell me what the hell they were playing.)

Anyway.  Right.  So the seventh or eighth episode of OitNB Season Two ends with a substantial portion of Waits’ Come On Up to the House playing.  It’s an awesome freaking song, and since I was in an expansive mood (and I love new music) I downloaded the entire album it was on, on the spot.  I had heard of Waits, but mostly because he was awesome in Mystery Men, one of the most underrated movies ever.  I had a vague idea that he was a bluesman; Come On Up to the House is certainly bluesy.

Guys, I’ve listened to Mule Variations three goddamn times now.  Tom Waits is either the greatest musician of all time or an assault on the very concept of music itself.  I don’t know which.

First things first: the damn album is called Mule Variations, for fuck’s sake.  Do mules vary?  I don’t know.  I think mules are pretty much just mules.  It’s a clue, though, as to how the album is going to go; he took two words that don’t belong together and slapped them together to make a word-salad phrase that, grammatically at least, ought to make sense but doesn’t.  I listened to the first half of this album on the way home from OtherJob and I honestly don’t know how the hell I made it home because I was so confused.

You’ve seen Belushi’s impression of Joe Cocker, right?  Here, just in case the answer was no:

(Crap, it won’t embed right, and I can’t find it on YouTube.  Click.)

Okay.  Now imagine what it would be like if Joe Cocker did an impression of John Belushi doing an impression of Joe Cocker.

That’s what Tom Waits sounds like.  His voice is like nothing I’ve ever heard; he sounds like he’s just growling for half of the songs and it’s rarely immediately clear what the hell he’s saying.  You want to do a credible Tom Waits impression?  Gargle.  I’m fucking serious.  And it’s probably better if you’re gargling bourbon instead of water.  Although I feel like that has at least a chance of killing you so you probably shouldn’t do it.  It’s as if Leonard Cohen and Junior Kimbrough beat each other to death and somebody stitched a zombie singer together with the parts that still sorta worked right, soaked it in brine, and animated it, only then the zombie got cancer of the vocal cords. I’ve never heard anything like it.

Get used to that sentence.

The production on the album is the dirtiest nastiest filthiest stuff I’ve ever heard, and I think I mean that as a compliment.  There’s at least one track where the vocals and the music simply do not match at all.  Like there were two different producers completely, and they weren’t allowed to talk to each other.  Track 8 is called What’s He Building In There?. It’s a spoken-word track.  Imagine that Pink Floyd vomited on Allan Ginsberg.  Other tracks are called– I am not making this up– Eyeball Kid and Filipino Box Spring Hog, which makes absolutely no goddamned sense at all.  Filipino Box Spring Hog may actually involve a DJ.

There is a track where I’m pretty sure a string breaks on someone’s guitar partway through, and they just kept going and left it in.  On another, there’s a loud thump at one point, like someone in the studio dropped a heavy box. They left it in.

I have never heard anything like this.

I don’t know what the hell any of this shit is.

Go download it.