Sunday, February 21, 2010

the ghosts of the Sons of the Pioneers

Frank Tenaille - Music Is the Weapon of the Future: Fifty Years of African Popular Music (Amazon)
Thurston Moore, Byron Coley, and Lydia Lunch - No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground (Amazon)
Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave
Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago
Alex Ross - Listen to This
Robert Pollard - We All Got Out of the Army
Zao - L'aguille
James Chance & the Contortions - Live Aux Bains Douches - Paris 1980 (lala)

I am both excited and fearful of the possibilities in Alex Ross's new book. The Rest is Noise is just the best as far as music writing goes, and I'm not sure I need another reminding me I have no business in this business, but the point it to share whatever insights we can pull out of the vibrations so I will take it like a man when I get my hands on it and hopefully it will at least build character.

I came across the incendiary survey of Afrobeat, Music Is the Weapon of the Future at the library and was struck how death is a plumage to many of these artists. The chapter on Fela was subtitled "The Man With Death in his Pouch" and this one about Zao was extended by the sobriquet "Mr. Corpse." Speaking of plumage, wrap yr peabrain around Mr. Corpse's headdress in the above video.

Further speaking death as plumage, yeesh, the American Recordings Johnny Cash records. Don't get me wrong, they are mostly terrific records but, man, I'm glad it's the last and we don't have to watch the old boy wither away any more. The version of "Cool Water" he intones on this final volume is magnificent. I half-expected a spectral choir of the ghosts of the Sons of the Pioneers to rise out of the speakers and carry him home. Keep a movin', Dan...

The No Wave coffee-table book is best used as a checklist of abrasive punk to check out on sunny afternoon and as a reminder that life is short and sharp and I should be listening to James Chance and the Contortions contort Michael Jackson. And get to work.

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