Tag Archives: Wilco

If They Can’t Find a Way To Help Her They Can Go To Hell

So it may come as a bit of a surprise to some people, but I’m a pretty big reader. I read everything I can get my hands on: books, magazines, The Huffington Post, The L.A./N.Y. Times & other music blogs. One blog that I try to read daily is Heather Browne’s Fuel Friends Blog. I can’t tell you how many new artists I have discovered by simply reading this fantastic blog. I do, however, have to take issue with something she recently wrote & while it may seem like an innocuous statement, I found it to be quite hyperbolic & pretty much baseless.

Josh Ritter is one of the most important songwriters of our generation, consistently producing breathtaking songs that are rife with symbolism, rich with meaning, and brimming over with the kind of heart that I want to have.

Most important songwriter’s of our generation? Really? Josh Ritter is a fantastic writer who regularly puts out great music, but most important of our generation? Not even close. He’s not even that well known. I do think he’s talented, but as far as his importance to music…I can’t understand how he is remotely important. He’s not standing up for anything, speaking out against injustices or even bringing something new to the table.

Important songwriters of our generation (I guess that’s applying to Generation X) would be more like Billie Joe from Green Day, whether you like his music or not with American Idiot he said some pretty unpopular things to many people & received quite the backlash for standing on principle. Another would be Jeff Tweedy who revolutionized the alt-country genre twice with Uncle Tupelo & then Wilco. Ryan Adams has such an amazing body of talented work that he is a better example of one the most talented writers of our generation.

This is the problem with today’s over-saturation of music. It used to be that everybody knew pretty much who everybody was, but now with everybody being slotted nicely into their own little groups, labels like, “greatest songwriter of our generation” are just tossed around without so much as a thought.

I contend that Josh Ritter is not very important at all. If he stopped writing music, sure it would suck, but would the world be that much worse off? Think about how shitty music has been since Ryan Adams decided to get married & be happy. Elliot Smith, who again I’m not a huge fan of, was one of the most important songwriter’s of our generation & that is prevalent in the number of artist’s who try to emulate his sound.

I find it slightly irresponsible to be so hyperbolic & I’m pretty surprised that someone usually so spot on with her exclamations would just spout off like that. It’s not innocuous, it’s not small, this our music, this is important to many of us who believe that this is a renaissance in music much like the ’60′s was the evolution. I love Heather’s blog, she is extremely knowledgeable in regards to music, but in this case just flat out wrong.

Girl in the War (Live at the Record Exchange) – Josh Ritter

Wings – Josh Ritter

Bandit (Live at the Record Exchange) – Josh Ritter

Music News

Hey, it’s Wednesday (pronounced Wed ness day, truth, no not really, but wouldn’t it be funny if it was? Maybe I’ll write the whole article in parenthesis. I used to ignore parenthesis when I would read a book, but if you did that & I wrote the whole article in parenthesis like I said then it would consist of Hey, it’s Wednesday. Never mind, back to your regularly scheduled program.) & that means it’s time for some music news. Yay! Some decent stuff out there so let’s get to it.

  • One of my favorite sites is I Am Fuel You Are Friends (See Blogroll). It is such a brilliant site that I’m sure many of you go to on a regular basis. Today it is imperative that you head over though since she has a killer video of Bruuuuuuuce with the Gaslight Anthem at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend. It will give you goosebumps it’s that good.
  • Paste Magazine has a killer interview with Nels Cline from Wilco who I saw last week at the Wiltern & the show was absolutely amazing.
  • Beck is a busy man lately. First, he’s doing the whole Record Club/Velvet Underground thing. Second, he’s doing an album with French Actress/Singer Charlotte Gainsbourg & now he’s planning on covering Sonic Youth’s entire 1986 classic album EVOL, but only releasing it on a cassette. Yes, a cassette! Beck is literally losing his mind as I write this & I couldn’t be happier. This is the best stuff he’s put out in a few years.
  • Interesting article in the Village Voice about Black America’s ties to Michael Jackson & if there could ever be an heir apparent.
  • According to NME the Killers are planning to release an album of all cover songs & here’s what they said

“It’s something that we’ve always talked about doing and we’re still talking about,” Flowers said. “It’s difficult for each of us to pick songs that represent us as individuals. I mean, I have a lot of personalities myself! I’ve gone through everything from Neil Diamond to The Cars.”

Vanucci cited acts including “Genesis, Tom Waits, a little Cyndi Lauper, Iggy Pop” as his preferred choices for the album, adding that he’s also been “messing around with a couple of Fleet Foxes songs”

  • Finally, Blitzen Trapper is encouraging everyone to sign up for their newsletter on Twitter & if you do (And if you do, and if you do — name that movie) you get a free MP3. Here’s a copy of the one sent to me.

Blitzen Trapper w/ Stephen Malkmus – Funk ’49 (Live)

New Music Monday

I’m excited by the number of quality releases this week. Some rare recordings and the best album of the year thus far.

LEVON HELM – ELECTRIC DIRT

Levon Helm is one of my favorite artists ever since I first discovered his work with the Band. He has one of those old time folky voices, something similar to Doc Watson or Ronnie Hawkins. His new album Electric Dirt is his second solo album after his amazing first one Dirt Farmer & with covers like The Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed” this will likely be another solid Americana effort from Levon.

Electric Farm Album Streaming here

VARIOUS ARTISTS – THE WOODSTOCK EXPERIENCE

Sony Legacy has put together a two-CD package that includes the artist’s performance at Woodstock and a studio album released by the artist in 1969. Quite a few of the Woodstock performances are being released for the first time. All five packages are available in the box set, or individually. This includes Santana, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Sly & The Family Stone & Jefferson Airplane.

Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to Love – Woodstock

Johnny Winter – Mean Town Blues – Woodstock

Santana – Soul Sacrifice – Woodstock

Janis Joplin – Work Me, Lord – Woodstock

Sly & The Family Stone – Medley: Dance To The Music/Music Lover/I Want To Take You Higher – Woodstock

WILCO -  WILCO (THE ALBUM) -

Check out my review of this album here.

Wilco – I’ll Fight

Vince Guaraldi – Essential Standards

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I adore Vince Guaraldi’s music. He is one of the best jazz pianists but, perhaps because he died so young or because of the Charlie Brown theme, music he is isn’t given the credit he deserves. He is on par with Dave Brubeck, but is just not given the same accolades as Brubeck. This album should shed some light on Guaraldi’s work aside from Linus & Lucy and focus on his brilliance a little bit more.

Vince Guaraldi – Greensleeves

Wilco (The Album) – The Review

When Wilco (The Song) came on I had to double check to see if it was Wilco & not Lou Reed that I was listening to. Wilco (The Album) is a cross between Abbey Road & Sally Can’t Dance. It showcases Jeff Tweedy so much more than previous Wilco albums & in my best Martha Stewart voice, “That’s a good thing”.  The album is seemingly more melodic than Sky Blue Sky or Summerteeth.

Wilco (The Album) shows how far Wilco has come as a band since they started as the remaining members of Uncle Tupelo after Jay Farrar’s ego trip. They show their evolution, maturation & the thought that this could be a band with tremendous staying power for years to come. Lead guitarist Nels Cline plays to near hushed perfection, rarely letting loose he is nevertheless relevant among the new sounds Wilco incorporates into this album. Jeff Tweedy has proved, once again, that Wilco is one of the premier acts today & this album is a testament to that.

Wilco w/ Feist – You & I

Wilco – Wilco (The Song)

Ryan Adams

Long ago, when I patrolled the San Francisco airwaves, as a sophisticated button pusher, with my perverse sense of ideological beliefs I felt I could write and make a difference. While I still believe that I could have that affect, music has evolved into something that is a tragedy. Indie Rock, while really not all that indie, is making the biggest impact on my life right now. As is Alt-country, mostly Ryan Adams & Wilco. I drank a bit this evening and just laid down and listened to the Whiskeytown’s album Pneumonia (Pronounced Pneumonia).

Ryan Adams (lead singer of the aforementioned Whiskeytown) is my generation’s Bob Dylan lyrically speaking, though Bob Dylan could still be called such, I suppose. You grow up and your tastes evolve or devolve for that matter and you learn to know what you like. A sound, a chord, a lyric. There are songs that speak to you and you listen to them over and over again in your stupor and they fill your heart and head with visions. You begin to relate to the artist and his/her plight. Music evokes feelings that nothing else can, in me. I can be climbing the walls with a panic attack and just the right song can bring me back down to earth.

I’ve never been a drug user, sure I’ve smoked pot, but none of the hard stuff, but I’ve heard the feelings one gets while listening to music are quite nearly euphoric. That one of the things that, when I was younger, intrigued me about “experimenting” with drugs. For some reason I never did, nor will I ever. Perhaps the thought of lasting effects stopped me in a everlasting stance of cowardice. I don’t regret that decision but I know that the few times I have been “stoned” I can literally feel the music coursing through my veins. If it weren’t for music, my life would be a boring endurance test, that no one would be interested in winning. Here is my favorite Whiskeytown song, “Jacksonville Skyline”, plus a couple others from a live performance in ’98 that I particularly enjoy. I encourage you to buy it, steal it or however you get your music. It’s off the previously mentioned album Pneumonia.

Whiskeytown – Jacksonville Skyline

Whiskeytown – I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash Cover)

Whiskeytown – Dancing With The Women at the Bar