Sunday, July 01, 2007

Notes From Underground

I have taken a kind of leave from writing about music. I was working on a bit of personal history that I have wisely put away for a while. I have also fancied myself a story writer, and maybe one day it will be in my cards, but today—no. Also, I have been recording music, but that has proven to be a depressing enterprise. I have been reading. I quickly dispatched with Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, but then failed to get through Arthur Schlesinger’s Age of Jackson-attempted in anticipation of an 1820-1860 U.S. History Seminar I will be taking. Summer though, is a bad time to ponder Andrew Jackson and his hostility for paper money.

Music has been slowly coming back to me. I have been listening constantly to Hallelujah in the original Cohen, which is lyrically a perfect song. Unfortunately, it suffers from the overblown production of its time. The Cohen version though does not succumb to the forced mawkishness of Rufus Wainright’s piano version or Jeff Buckley’s overdrawn guitar rendition, both of which people seem to love.

Speaking of the Wainright-McGarrigle brood, I have also been listening to Loudon Wainright who has emerged as Judd Apatow’s stock father-like fool, first on the sitcom Undeclared—which I have been watching—and then as the gynecologist in absentia in the film Knocked Up. My favorite of his has been The Swimming Song from his 1973 album Attempted Moustache. The Swimming Song is a kind of beautiful and innocent, half-funny and unguarded metaphor of a song, the likes of which you don’t see these days.

Listening to Jarvis Cocker on eternally baffled Terry Gross’ show Fresh Air was funny and a bit uncomfortable—it was a bit like listening to your mom flail about trying an interview. I realize that I was grumpy about his show, but I think his album is quite good. If I hadn’t been so damn drunk, I might have enjoyed him more at the Fillmore—but probably not, because of all those douche bags. Black Magic though is the high water mark on his album, a song that sounds explicitly like Crimson and Clover, but has entered into my mind with more than a whiff of Tommy James’ dumbly biblical Sweet Cherry Wine.

I also have flashed back to high school and sought out a Material Issue song called Valerie’s Dancing from when I was about fifteen. They are not the most interesting band in the world, but they came from the great power pop burg of Chicago, and though they will never rank among Illinois greats like Cheap Trick or the Shoes, they represent a nice chart moment for the genre in the awkward and rebellious early nineties.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Music Blogs - Blog Top Sites Directory of Music Blogs
Music Blogs
Music Blogs