by Dan Gibson
As I mentioned yesterday, we're going to try splitting our What to Listen to Wednesday feature into slightly more manageable pieces. So, today, we have six selections from our music writers, including the post for Linda Ray that will likely lead to her receiving a restraining order from the Depedro guy.
However, first, you should enter our drawing for a pair of tickets to see Young Galaxy open for Junior Boys at Plush on Sunday. We're drawing a name tomorrow, so click the button before you forget.
And now, the music:
Elbow, "The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver"
If you've known me for more than five minutes, the band Elbow will undoubtedly come up. Though my tastes in music have shifted dramatically over the years, the one constant over the past decade has been this melodic-rocking Manchester group. They just can't seem to write a bad song. Their 2008 album, The Seldom Seen Kid, earned them the esteemed Mercury Prize across the pond, and they ended up re-recording it in its entirety backed by the BBC Orchestra as a result of its overwhelming success. They are currently on tour in the US and I wanted to share this clip, one of my favorite moments in their career, in celebration of their visit. Be warned: The magic that happens at 3:39 is goosebump-inducing.
I will totally cop to a DePedro hangover. In case you haven't been paying attention, Depedro is Jairo Zavala, who sat in with nearly every band at HoCo Fest, and who recorded both his 2009 and 2010 studio releases at Wavelab with Calexico. Zavala played his own set at Plush, Sunday last, after Sergio Mendoza and Calexico opened. You might think those would be tough to follow, but no. For the record, although we swooned over his photos all last week, it was not my co-worker Mari Herreras and I who were undulating within inches of his microphone. No, we sat attractively remote like Spanish ladies in our dresses, with front-row seats on the patio, stage left. Nos faltemos solo los abanicos. Hanging in the jukebox-o'-the-mind all week have been the Luftballoon-like Euro-pop charmer "La Memoria" that Mari blogged last week, and the rockin' live version of this fun little number, "Comanche." The crowd went wild.
Cave, "This is the Best" (Live)
On their latest Drag City release, Neverendless, this track by Chicago's Cave slowly gains momentum, revealing their love of early Neu and Can-style Krautrock, before hitting a rollicking stride. Live, they waste no time hitting that stride. And staying there. Enjoy.
The Pretenders, "Back on the Chain Gang"
As a kind of Platonic ideal for the jangly pop ballad, the buoyancy of this song almost veils its lachrymose message. Over jangly guitars—thanks in no small part to Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner—peppy drums, and Chrissie Hynde’s mellifluous voice it is easy to get lost in the service of melody. Yet, do not ignore those pivotal phrases, like “hijacked my world,” “a pigeon from hell,” and “the wretched life of a lonely heart,” which suggest the darker substances (death; heartbreak; addiction) underwriting this pop masterpiece.
Adriano Celentano, "Prisencolinensinainciusol"
[Note: if you watched this before this note appeared, the wrong video was attached. Watch again and Carl's note will make far more sense. Apologies. - Dan Gibson]
Adriano Celentano's "Prisencolinensinainciusol" comes winging in from so far out in left field that it's seems like the only song ever written for whatever genre it happens to be. So, here we have a genre of one. But also one that got get wide airplay on European radio and TV back in 1972.
Once you get past the choreographed insanity of the dance piece and the leering in the school room piece, what you have is one astoundingly catchy groove. Have you ever heard anything like this? A totally swinging tribal drum beat, punchy horn lines, a wickedly grinding guitar in the background, a harmonica solo, huge back-up vocals and Celentano talk/singing in Italian jabberwocky...it's just priceless. And it moves.
Adriano Celentano was a huge star of Italian music, TV and film for several decades, and "Prisencolinensinainciusol" is one of many exclamation points in a long and varied career. No doubt this will give someone cause to pause on it's rediscovery in 2111, and beg the question: what they hell were they doing back in 1972?
Bob Mould, "Sinners And Their Repentances"
It doesn't matter what you think; it's already been decided: Hüsker Dü was the best alt-rock band of the '80s. Without Zen Arcade, there'd be no punk concept albums like American Idiot, The Chemistry of Common Life, or The Black Parade. Still, the Dü had a weakness: Singer/guitarist Bob Mould was always hemmed in by the power-trio format, which didn't allow for sonic variety. That changed when the band broke up in 1988 and Mould went solo. His 1989 debut Workbook introduced a whole new palette of cellos and acoustic guitars, and would ultimately spearhead the unplugged trend of the '90s and influence R.E.M.'s efforts (Out of Time, Automatic for the People) during that decade. Here's a live version of my favorite song from Mould's Workbook, "Sinners and Their Repentances," done for a Minneapolis TV show. (In interviews from that time, Mould admitted to listening to a lot of Richard Thompson. You can hear the influence in this tune, for sure.)