Friday, October 31, 2008

So Few Words

Back during my first stint in graduate school, right before I dropped out and wandered into my "lost" years, I used to visit a friend down in Galveston, Texas. It was a messy time for both of us, probably best forgotten, but there was something about her insistence that we go to to the beach to swim in the Gulf that sticks with me. The sky was dark, the winds were cool, the beach was dirty, and we were totally and utterly lost. I still hear the weird sounds of the beach: the odd percussive 'whoosh' of waves, the reverse echo of seagull voices, the silence between us. So anyway, many years later, thinking about all these chasms, I wrote a song and recorded it immediately. Although I say "Sheraton Bay" in the song, I actually mean "Galveston Bay." I recorded the electric guitar in my bathroom to get a natural echo. The song is called "So Few Words."

Joy - So Few Words [mp3]

Another song I recorded, more recently entitled "1989 Or so." I was trying to do a power pop song, and play around with bars and meters. This is one of the few songs I'd had in my mind as a complete work and just tried to record it exactly the way it was in my mind. I was trying to get that feeling I used to get while flying a kite in a Dallas suburb on a spring day.

Joy - 1989 Or So [mp3]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Man Of The World

I discovered the late '60s version of Fleetwood Mac from the better known late '70s version of Fleetwood Mac. One of my favorite albums as a kid (well, I guess 10th grade or so) was Fleetwood Mac's Live, which, a gajillion years later, still stands up as a pretty good classic rock live album. I have a soft spot for the Lindsey Buckingham-Stevie Nicks era Fleetwood Mac that is not rational at all, and best left explained in another posting, but the point is that on Live, they did a riproaring song called "Oh Well" which I later discovered was actually originally done by the late '60s version of the band, the one with Peter Green, variously described as insane and a genius and both. Anyway, all of this led me back over the years to rediscover the blues-based music of Peter Green's old Fleetwood Mac, particularly their stellar album Then Play On, a title apparently a paraphrase from Shakespeare's "if music be the food of love, play on." The thing that really stands about this album (and the others from that period) is the utter sophistication of the guitar playing. These guys had a triple guitar playing field (Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan) but boy, they knew when to pull back and when to hit the notes. Basically, these guys were ten times better than that other absurdly overrated and mediocre guitarist Eric Clapton (who also played recycled but amped up blues). Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, all three of them actually went insane. Then in 1975 or so, the rhythm section took on Buckingham and Nicks, and the rest, is history.

Anyway, all this for a coupla songs which I wanted to post. Neither of these songs were originally featured in any original Fleetwood Mac and seem to be notoriously hard to track down as they were released on CD on only a few places. Both are soft mellow songs, and actually not at all blues-based like most of the band's other stuff from the period. Both, written by Peter Green, are deceptively simple but incredibly beautiful pieces of music. The first is Fleetwood Mac's first single, released in 1967, "Albatross."

The second is even better, "Man of the World," a single released in 1969. The lyrics are so ridiculously simple but these sentiments could not have been better put in another way. I totally 100% understand what he's talking about. And check out the totally understated triple guitar play during the bridge. Lovely.

And just to show that they could indeed rock out. Here's the original version of "Oh Well."

I'm posting mp3s of both songs for a short while. They are supposedly remastered versions from the rare (and expensive) The Chain 4-CD set put out by Fleetwood Mac in 1992.

Fleetwood Mac -- Albatross [mp3]
Fleetwood Mac -- Man Of The World [mp3]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Young Man Blues / TV On The Radio

I would pretty much give up my real job to play in a band. I say "pretty much" because in actual real life, I haven't and I won't. But you know that's kinda what I really want to do. Everything else is just bullshit that I do to get by. I have a job at a university and it's OK, I suppose. I get health insurance and I have an office with a computer. I work with more or less nice people. Although some of them are rather weird in the socially-awkward-kind-of way. But nothing that would drive me crazy or anything. The university runs like it's the movie Brazil in that things work very slowly and you have to fill out everything in triplicate. One of the drawbacks of my job is that I have to deal with a lot of people all the time. For someone who has determinedly tried to avoid people his entire life, this is obviously rather ironic that I ended up in a job where I'm constantly bombarded by people who have some need to speak to me. (Just to be clear, they need to talk to me not because they enjoy conversing with me but because they actually really need to do so to do their work).

I've been thinking that I'd really like to go to the TV On The Radio show next week in Brooklyn (actually, they are playing three nights in a row) but as usual, because this is a show in New York, all the shows are sold out. I enjoyed watching the clip of them performing on David Letterman. See / watch / look:

The other day, I was walking by a bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I randomly ran into a person I had not seen in at least ten years. She used to be this cool chick who (along with her husband) were the landlords of the house where I lived in Amherst. I'm not sure what she used to do, but it had something to do with the film industry. She would always go to the Sundance film festival or Cannes or something. We had some crazy ass party times in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was at a completely insane phase of my life and our little house, which we used to call the "White House," singlehandedly kept afloat the alcohol industry in America. (Thanks Dave!) Anyway, so I run into this chick and she was smoking outside a bar and we exchanged pleasantries and I got her number. I had no intention of calling her back but accidentally a couple of days ago hit her number on my cell phone. Fuck! So I had to talk to her. But strangely it turned out to be a good conversation. She has like two kids now. That is some weird shit. I cannot imagine her being a mom and everything. We is getting old old old.

Anyway, one of my favorite songs from that period in Amherst was the Who's "Young Man Blues." This was some badass rock and roll shit. It's worth it to watch this video (from 1970), especially because this is the Who, firing on all cylinders. Check out the one minute stretch from 3:45 to 4:45 in the video. That's exactly how I feel sometimes.

Everytime I played this song at the "White House," I would turn up my stereo and wanna smash the whole fucking house down. I'm sure she didn't appreciate the volume. But I needed volume. Did I mention that I would rather play in an ass-kicking rock'n'roll band than do anything else?


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

shows 2008 so far

- the verve / april 29, 2008 / new york / good
- swell season / may 19, 2008 / new york / good
- m.i.a. / june 6, 2008 / brooklyn / good
- mogwai / september 18, 2008 / new york / awesome
- my bloody valentine / september 22, 2008 / new york / fucking awesome

tuesdays = old

listening to the new M83 album

it's very eighties
but it's really good
so different from the last album

happy but sad
old but young
eighties but now
songs but music

my life sucks
have no friends / want no friends / have no friends / want no friends
the new m83 album is called "saturdays = youth