Nothing heavy tonight, but more of a placeholder to remind me to take some time on Sunday or Monday to rave about how wonderful the new Grant-Lee Phillips CD is (it hits stores on Tuesday). As disappointing as nineteeneighties was, this is a remarkable return to form, and might–after a half-dozen spins–be my favorite Grant album. It certainly is the best of his solo work.
In the meantime, here’s a wonderfully-edited montage of GLP as the Troubador on Gilmore Girls. Most of the songs are originals, but note for instance the tribute to the recently-slain Bryan Harvey towards the end when Grant takes on “Forty Years”, from season 6.
Best album cover too…
I can’t even tell you why I stumbled across this band or this album, but when I saw this album art, I knew I had to have this disc:
The band is called Stone Foundation, and this disc is an awfully expensive UK-only indie/import release. Thankfully, most of the tracks here are very good. And then there’s the title track, and it might be the best slab of rock and soul (and rockin’ soul) I’ve heard this year. It’s the title track of the album, and yeah, you can hear it at the band’s Myspace page:
The song to dial up is the first one, “In Our Time”. It starts out with a killer guitar/keyboard thing and a nifty melody line and the first time in I’m thinking “well, that’s nice; a good band would take that framework and really do something with it. Of course, Stone Foundation do just that–at the 1:52 mark, they blow off an incredible bridge that sounds lifted right from Moseley Shoals-era Ocean Colour Scene, and swing into the third verse of the song…and now I’m thinking “hey, this is pretty great”.
And then comes transcendence. At the 2:48 mark, the keyboard comes in like vintage Ian McLagan, and then drummer Phillip K. Ford does his best to channel Pistol Allen on the snare and the horns come up and ye gods, but this becomes a great, great song. Stone Foundation have a long-player and ep available on ITunes; here’s hoping this disc gets some sort of stateside distribution soon.
…and rock and roll heaven is a little drunker.
March of 2006, shortly after playing a show in front of maybe a dozen folks at The Knitting Factory in NYC, Nikki Sudden died in his sleep of complications related to a congenital heart defect (certainly not helped by the fact that Sudden was maybe last sober sometime in 1980).
Nikki was the real folk blues. He and partner in crime Dave Kusworth were Jack Sparrow before there was Jack Sparrow, richly re-imagining the legends of Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, only substituting mammoth amounts of cheap wine and liquor for the heroin. Nikki was also about as beloved a musician among fellow musicians and club owners and promo wonks as you’d find. Everyone in the industry of a certain age has a fairly hilarious “yeah, I got falling-down drunk with Nikki Sudden” story.
I doubt Nick Godfrey would want anyone mourning him much–he was much more of the binge-drinking wake sort. In that spirit, here’s a rare video of Nikki and Dave and the Jacobites (Kusworth, decked out in furs and leather pants with an electric yellow guitar basically is the embodiment of rock and roll badass here). Enjoy, but be careful about catching a contact buzz!
And just for fun, another video from the same period of The Jacobites, with Kusworth taking vocals (if you can find a used copy of The Bounty Hunters–Kusworth’s post-Jacobites band–cd called Threads: A Tear-Stained Scar buy it and thank me later.)
You know, a lot of my favorite bands, the more I hear about them or read about them, the more affection I have for ‘em. You read about the boys in Sloan, and you can’t help but be on their side. You hear a story like Joe Thebeau’s from Finn’s Motel, and how can you not want him to succeed? You read about old warhorses like Steve Wynn or Peter Holsapple…and yeah, there’s just no faking having a good heart.
And then there’s The Decemberists. When I first ran across them back in 2003, it was because I stumbled onto the reissue of their “5 Songs” ep, and then their debut cd all in the span of a week or so. I thought it was great, interesting music, and the Colin Meloy story as presented was terrific: guy with a degree in Creative Writing heads to Portland and wins people over with his weird little songs, apparently unaware of how good they are.
Thing is, people have been telling Colin how brilliant he is for nearly 4 years straight now, and I think it’s gone to his head. It isn’t enough that Meloy has never approached even a whisper of the brilliance of that first ep and cd–it’s the fact that over the years it’s become apparent that Colin Meloy has come ’round to thinking that Colin Meloy is pretty damn awesome.
So yeah, now when you see the band, Meloy is wearing that smarmy leer of his with everyone onstage decked out like a bunch of turbogeeking LARPer’s on a bender. All that’s missing is some jackass yelling “Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!” in the background. Hate to say it, but I’m not on their side any more. I’m sure Colin & Co. are crying all the way to the bank, too…