Tag Archives: Drive-by Truckers

You Must Bear Your Neighbor’s Burden Within Reason

Last year was a fine year for music, but only a few things really wowed me. That’s not to say it was completely bereft of anything good, but the prevailing theme, at least in my estimation, was that while 2009 was a banner year for new talent & a resurgence of older talent, 2010 had very little to offer. 2011 is shaping up to be, already, one of the better years. The Decemberists came out with a new album on Tuesday & it’s their best album yet. It hits chords in my soul that bring out such joy, that I can’t help but sway.

I suppose I should address the elephant in the blog & explain my prolonged absence. Boredom. That’s it. I was completely & utterly bored with anything that was coming out. I was searching for new & exciting things to come my way. Lissie made an album that I adore, but I couldn’t write anything that hadn’t been said. I had a whole soliloquy ready for the brilliance of Ray Lamontagne’s overnight transformation from Indie darling to bluegrass star & yet nothing came out. There was a block of sorts & much of it came from the draining effects of writing a book about my travels through Europe. A book that is finished in its infant form, but must now be raised into something I can market.

There were a few other albums that I quite enjoyed: Justin Townes Earle, Head & the Heart, Broken Bells, The Black Keys & obviously Arcade Fire which was the best album of the year, but perhaps through my own depression of  the musical offerings being put out there or indifference the ability to cognitively discuss these in terms that were worth reading was nonexistent. So here sat the blog. Relatively unchanged throughout the year as I struggled to put my thoughts into words. I feel I’ve made some sort of a turning point, even though I intended to begin writing last week. To be cliche I suppose it’s better late than never.

So I purchased two albums from Amazon the other day (yes I buy my music), where the $3.99 deals keep me coming back & spending on things I would otherwise think twice about buying. I bought Social Distortion’s new album Hard Time & Nursery Rhymes & the aforementioned Decemberists album The King is Dead. Let’s discuss Social D’s new album first. It’s been  7 years since they released an album & a few years since Mike Ness has come out with an album, himself. I’ve always been a fringe fan of Social D’s, as I do not have the dancing skeleton tattooed anywhere on my body. It has that patented loud Gibson sound & gruff Mike Ness nosy drawl, but with lyrics that seem to have more emotional impact than ever before. Take for instance “Still Alive”  where Ness pleads,

“I’m still alive, I will survive, I can handle what life brings, just give me time…I’m still alive, talking the same ol’ jive, I can handle anything that comes my way, just give me another day”

It ends with a short, but beautiful piano solo that made me really feel that this album rivals anything they’ve ever done. It is so reminiscent of early Springsteen that I haven’t stopped listening to it for 3 days. That is, except to listen to The Decemberists’ new album The King is Dead, an album which seems to have awoken them from their prog rock malaise from the past few years. It sounds so similar to early R.E.M. that it came as no surprise to see that Peter Buck contributed to three of the tracks. The opening track almost sounds Tom Pettyesque with heavy drums taking the forefront much like “You Don’t Know How it Feels”.

Colin Meloy really lets loose with his voice on The King is Dead & goes places that I haven’t heard him dare go vocally before. It shows that the risks were worth taking. Changing the sound & straying away from that boring sound have worked wonders & even though it came out in January there’s a distinct feeling that come coincidentally December we will still be talking about this album as one of the best of the year.

I can’t say I will write everyday as I do have a job that requires a good chunk of time, but I will continue to talk about things I love & look forward to talking about new releases from groups like Foxxhound, Two Guns, Cold War Kids, Amos Lee, Drive-by Truckers & Okkervill River. It will be a banner year for Indie music & soon Indie Music will become alternative & all the kids will have to jump on the bandwagon. I’m fine by that. Music should be loved by all & not thrown into some meta category to be hated once it becomes popular to the masses. If it’s good, love it. If it sucks, hate it, but don’t despise popular music for being popular. Despise it, much like I despise She Wants Revenge & Jason Mraz for being bad at music.

Machine Gun Blues – Social Distortion

Sweet & Lowdown – Social Distortion

Still Alive – Social Distortion

Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists

This is Why We Fight – The Decemberists

I Could Find Another Dream One That Keeps Me Warm & Clean

For this edition of Bootleg Thursday brought to you by the letters DBT as in Drive-By Truckers. If you’re not sure who the Drive-By Truckers are then you are in for quite the treat once you download the ditty (yeah I used ditty, wanna fight about it?) of a concert I have here for you today. One of the things that I really like about DBT is that they have what they call a “three axe attack”, meaning unlike the conventional two guitars bass & drums; they have three guitars, bass & drums. it makes for a fuller more rounded sound & with Patterson Hood’s vocals & lyrics it is unique in it’s affect.

Southern Rock & I have always had a weird relationship & this is no different. While three of the members are from Shoals, Alabama, the band is centered in Athens, Ga. Also, the location of a band that I once had a strong affection towards (R.E.M.). They’re less Allman Bros. & more the Band with a little twang. The concert is fantastic quality & maybe with the sounds of beer bottles clanking together in the background should be considered a show. There is a resonance with this band that gives me the chills & allows me to listen to a song numerous times & discover new things with every listen.

A story from Europe comes to mind about when I was in Galway, Ireland. I was staying in the Salmon Weir Hostel & an Aussie that worked there, Sam wanted some music from me that personified what I thought the South sounded like. He was planning on taking a trip through there since it was the one region he had yet to explore in America. The first band I thought of was DBT. I crack on the South a lot & mostly because the sheer number of idiots per capita is greater there than in any other region (though California & Arizona are quickly working their way up the ladder). I shared the music with him & DBT now have a new fan from a continent that is nearly void of their existence. Sometimes it starts with only one.

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Drive-By Truckers – Live at The Yard On The Strip, Tuscaloosa, AL on 2004-01-09

Lookout Mountain

Where the Devil Don’t Stay

Decoration Day

Sinkhole

(Something’s Gotta) Give Pretty Soon

Sounds Better in the Song

Richard Manuel is Dead

Margot & Herald

One of These Days

The Company You Keep

Outfit

Buford’s Stick

The Boys From Alabama

Marry Me

Zip City

Let There Be Rock

18 Wheels of Love

God Damn Lonely Love

Too Much Sex Too Little Jesus

Women Without Whiskey

Play It All Night Long

Top 250 Albums of All-Time 250-245

#250 The Dirty South – Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers are one of those bands you just can’t get out of your head & this album is the best example of their significance. Lead singer Patterson Hood’s voice in “Goddamn Lonely Love” exemplifies more than just about any other song the anguish one feels when losing someone they love. The Dirty South is a great album with a sound that is redefining the resurgent alt-country movement today.

Drive-By TruckersGoddamn Lonely Love

#249 – Frank’s Wild Years – Tom Waits

Tom Waits takes on so many different styles on Frank’s Wild Years that you’d almost think it was a compilation album. From the falsetto samba of “Temptation” to the Sinatraesque big band “Straight to the Top (Vegas)” to what would later become the theme to the gritty HBO drama “The Wire“, “Way Down in a Hole” Waits keeps you on your toes. Never one to be complacent, he does not fit any musical genre, perhaps by design.

Tom WaitsStraight to the Top (Vegas)

Tom Waits – Way Down in the Hole

#248 – Diamonds on the Inside – Ben Harper

Diamonds on the Inside shows off both the versatility of Ben Harper’s vocals & delves into questions of morality as his most gospel offering yet. Harper is truly dynamic in his rendering of “Amen Omen” with a steady crescendo towards the chorus that explodes with cymbals, piano & the heavy strum of an acoustic guitar while Harper remains calm if not pleading in his vocals.

Ben HarperAmen Omen

Ben Harper – When It’s Good

#247 – …And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid

In true punk rock fashion Tim Armstrong’s vocals are nearly unintelligible, but could you imagine any other voice singing “Ruby Soho“? The classic hooks made …And Out Come the Wolves a staple in any punk fan’s arsenal when going to see a show at Koo’s Cafe or Chain Reaction or at the now defunct Foothill where I saw Rancid play a surprise free show right after this album came out in 1995. This album was the 90s version of London Calling with raw energy that has yet to be duplicated by them since.

RancidRuby Soho

Rancid – Olympia Wa.

#246 – Duran Duran – Duran Duran

Commonly known as “The Wedding Album” this marked the return of Duran Duran after a string of disappointing albums and being written off as a 80s teeny-bopper band. With the underwater feeling that “Come Undone” emits & Simon Le Bon asking you,”Who do you need? Who do you love, when you come undone?” this album proved the critics wrong & kept Duran Duran touring throughout the 90s & made this album an instant classic.

Duran DuranCome Undone

#245 – Otis Redding in Person at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go – Otis Redding

From the beginning of the trumpets of “I Can’t Turn You Loose” to the that final thud of “Respect” you simply can’t stop listening. You can feel the soul in Otis’ voice. You can practically see the sweat dripping off him as he covers James Brown’sPapa’s Got a Brand New Bag” but the true jewels of this album are “Pain in My Heart” & his granting a fan’s screaming request for “These Arms of Mine” which he sings with absolute perfection.

Otis ReddingPain in My Heart

Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine