Friday, May 23, 2008

Feel good Grab Bag

Some old stuff, some new, some famous names, some relatively unknown... Friday night´s Grab Bag is here again to let you enjoy a taste of what I´ve been listening to at the For The Sake Of The Song headquarters over the past week. Got an advance track from the new Silver Jews album for you, some blues by the legendary Reverend Gary Davis and funky stuff from New Orleans finest the Meters. Bob ´Pulitzer´ Dylan is on the road again, and we celebrate this with a live song from his first show of the tour. There´s a spotlight on the poppy side of the English first generation punk band Wire, and I think it´s high time you discovered folkie Alela Diane. Enjoy. I´m going to Lie Down In The Light now with the new Bonnie Prince Billy album. Expect a review here soon.

After a three year hiatus, the Silver Jews are back. A new album, titled Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea will be released in the near future, and thanks to these generous people at Drag City records here´s a taster already. Another great song. I guess Joos´ mastermind David Berman has been listening to a lot of Lou Reed lately though... By the way, I once spent a night drinking with the bearded one after doing an interview and he´s one of the coolest guys I´ve ever met. As a bonus I give you what´s probably my fave Silver Jews song ever: The Wild Kindness from American Water (Drag City ´98).
Silver Jews - Strange Victory, Strange Defeat MP3
Silver Jews - The Wild Kindness MP3

If you want to hear promising new indie bands strutting their stuff live in the studio, look no further than the Daytrotter website. They organise sessions in the Futureappletree Studio (great name) in downtown Rock Island, Illinois on a regular basis for musicians who happen to pass by and the results are often breathtaking. A great way to discover new bands - like I did with Blitzen Trapper, David Karsten Daniels and Grizzly Bear for instance. Alela Diane, a folky from Nevada City, is the latest Daytrotter sessionist that caught my fancy.
Alela Diane - The Rifle MP3

It´s blues time now, with the mighty Reverend Gary Davis. Davis made his first recordings back in ´35. An amazing guitar player and powerful singer, he became a minister soon after and swore off the blues as a result. Davis was rediscovered playing the streets of New York City in the fifties and started a whole new recording career, influencing many aspiring folkies in the process. You can find Twelve Gates To The City on The Prestige/Folklore Years Volume Three (Fantasy ´95), which is part of a much recommended series of sixties folk and blues.
Rev. Gary Davis - Twelve Gates To The City MP3

Let´s move to New Orleans now for the irresistable funk of the Meters. If you haven´t heard the Meters, Jack, you haven´t lived. Fire on the bayou! That´s Art Neville on piano and vocals, but it´s the great drumming of Joseph ´Zig´ Modeliste that really steals the show here. Find Hey Pocky A-Way and many more goodies on The Very Best Of The Meters (Rhino ´97). "Feel good music, I´ve been told, is good for the body, and good for the soul..." Yup.
The Meters - Hey Pocky A-Way MP3

Bob Dylan has recently started the umpteenth leg of his Never Ending Tour, which takes him from a couple of dates in the States and Canada all the way down to Europe. There he will play quite exotic places like Iceland, Russia (St. Petersburg), Estonia, Lithuania and Croatia amongst others, ending with a run of 17 shows in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. For all the dates of the current tour, check Bob Links. Lots of variation in the setlists so far, hurrah! Here´s a taster for you: Tryin´ To Get To Heaven in a somewhat new arrangement, recorded live at the first show of this tour in Worcester, Massachusetts. The wolfman rides again!
Bob Dylan - Tryin´ To Get To Heaven (live Worcester 16 May ´08) MP3

Wire has always been of my favourite first generation punk bands. They were an original, arty combo that could play short and furious songs with the best of them, but lots of their material had a distinctive poppy side to it as well. Ex Lion Tamer (from their ´77 debut Pink Flag) with its great stop-start rhythm has a great refrain to sing along with for instance. "Stay glued to your tv set". And Outdoor Miner (from ´78 follow-up Chairs Missing) really is a bona fide pop song, with great lyrics that make no sense whatshowever. How about "No blind spots in the leopard´s eyes, can only help to jeopardise, the lives of lambs, the shepherd cries..."? Or "An afterlife for a silverfish, eternal dust, less ticklish, than the clean room, a houseguest's wish..."? Wonderful stuff.
Wire - Outdoor Miner MP3
Wire - Ex Lion Tamer MP3

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Man, those Wire songs are GREAT! I've been addicted to Wire these past few weeks--something about the weather down here in NC, I think.