Way back before Pegasus News was even a glint in my eye, I picked up my blogging chops as a contributor to The Scrolldown. Although we covered everything from Lindsay Lohan to alleged shoplifter weathermen to drinking with politicians to entomology, my niche was music geekery.
As we’ve been working more than blogging lately, with the office work being music-heavy; and I’m gearing up for our annual pilgrimage to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, I’ve been a little music-obsessed lately and need an outlet to pontifcate on a few things. My ramblings are mercifully in the continuation…
Recent discovery of a classic country artist that I can’t believe I’d missed: Chip Taylor.
Albums that people I really respect are giddy over, but that for the life of me I just don’t get:
- Surfjan Stevens: Illinoise
- Nickel Creek: Why Should the Fire Die?
- Salim Nourallah: Beautiful Noise
Runner-up for above category: Rolling Stones: A Bigger Bang. Sorry lads– you’re undoubtedly the greatest rock band of all time and in the great Beatles/Stones dicotomy of life, I’m as firm a Stones man as there is. But save for "Saint of Me," you haven’t done anything that makes above 3 stars in my Itunes playlist since Stripped, which we all know was pretty much a live version of Exile. I’m baffled by all those who hail this new joint as anything north of "better than Paul McCartney’s New Album."
First new act in years to blow my mind after just a casual radio listen: Marc Broussard.
Best radio show anywhere, even though it’s not on the radio: Jason Chervokas’ Down In the Flood. (Podcast link)
Act that I formerly thought of as novelty, who actually has some good stuff: Our next governor.
Top producers in my 5-star Itunes (based on total 5-star tracks):
- The Old 97’s (who finally have a live album coming out and therefore will substantially lengthen their one-song lead).
- Warren Zevon
- Van Morrison
- Lou Reed (includes Velvet Underground)
- Counting Crows
Who I thought would be at the top but wasn’t:
- Ben Folds
Most 4-stars: The Flaming Lips
Guilty-pleasure 80’s band infoming my new Long Tail theory of life:
Journey. Not Steve Perry hitmaker Journey or early Rush wannabe Journey. But the middle period where they had two lead singers: Greg Rolie and Steve Perry. Rolie was really the lead singer, and Perry came in on an extended call-and-response kinda deal, like on "Feelin’ That Way."
Face it: Steve Perry has an amazing voice, which is probably why Journey was so popular in the 80’s. But the songs that stick to my ribs are the ones where Rolie sings and you’re lulled to sleep by the blandness of it all and then — oh! What’s that! Wow! What a falsetto! Cool!
This came to me about the same time I realized that my most boring Itunes playlist was my 5-star songs. My favorite is the 3-5 stars. No crap, but some semi-OK stuff that really makes the best songs stand out. You need Greg Rolie to fully appreciate Steve Perry.
My schedule the one day I’m going to ACL this year:
- Bobby Bare, Jr
- Asleep at the Wheel
- The Gospel Stars
- Gov’t. Mule
- Robert Earl Keen, unless I’m in more of a Lucinda Williams mood at the moment.
- Grupo Fantasma
- John Prine
- Blues Traveler
- Lyle Lovett
- Second half of Black Crowes
- If I’m lucky, Alejandro Escovedo’s midnight aftershow gig.