Sunday, November 1, 2009

Writer’s Jukebox – The Sounds of Autumn

This looks like its made of cardboard. We’ve entered Week Three of the Writer’s Jukebox Project, as we continue on our quest to chronicle the current musical tastes of our writing staff.

In actuality, it’s a lot less formal than that.  I Just Enjoy Capitalizing Things. 

Gene’s been listening to some bands I’ve never heard of (except Boston) but whose names I’m in love with – The Fugs being particularly awesome.  Chris is coping with the Floridian faux-Autumn and is using music to remind him of falling leaves and brisk winds.  Boivin, to coincide with his Nights on Bald Mountain series, has been listening to a crapload of the Misfits. 

All in all, it’s another wide variety.  There should be something for everyone.  Even people who want Rod Stewart covers.  Hit the jump for more on that one.

Gene – A whiff of the Summer

It’s a terrible thing what unemployment will do to your consumption of new music.  Fearing my compulsion to buy records on impulse, I had to skip the Record Fair in NYC last weekend (which counted Robert Crumb as one of its many attendees) and avoid Jersey City’s Iris Records—only a few blocks from my apartment—at all costs since I’ve moved here.   Well, not all costs.  I bought a first pressing of The Fugs’ 1969 live album Golden Filth and Young Marble Giants’ Colossal Youth for twenty bucks and then swore off the place.  Accordingly, my usual playlist has mostly been of the free variety for the past few months.   I’ve been listening to two albums from Boston’s The Great Valley, Under Snow and Sophia’s Skull / White Gloves, both of which can be downloaded for free from here.  The band sounds a lot like some of Lou Barlow/Sebadoh’s stranger deviations into lo-fi.  They throw a lot of instruments into a concoction of loosely performed and jarring folk songs.  The silly, spooky lyrics complement the music (“I want to kiss you Sophia / I wish you weren’t a shrunken skull now”) and give the albums a cohesion that Sebadoh rejected, for better or worse.

I would really like someone to buy me Morgan Fisher’s Hybrid Kids from 1979.  It’s a collection of covers in which each track is performed in a style as opposed to the original artist’s signature as possible.  Observe Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” with a new wave inflection (link goes to a pop-up stream from WFMU).  Mr. Fisher also made a Christmas album that sort of defies description.

Even though this is my favorite time of year, I’ve been listening to Washed Out’s Life of Leisure to get a little whiff of the summer every now and then.  It’s super infectious electropop and should probably be enjoyed with some thong sandals and a boogey board.

ChrisReminding myself that it is, in fact, Autumn

This is my first year living in Florida, and it feels like I'm stuck in the late-summer version of "Groundhog Day". Every day I wake up and discover it's sunny and 85 degrees outside.  I've found myself missing seasons. As a result, I've made a playlist to remind myself that it is, in fact, autumn. The list is half classical and half popular music, with songs that remind me of fall in one way or another. The list begins with Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer", and ends with Guns 'n Roses' "November Rain" - the former representing the transition from summer to fall, and the latter from fall to winter. I think this sort of playlist symmetry is amazingly clever, myself.

Other than my autumnal songs, I've been on a big nineties kick for some reason. I've discovered that, if I hit all the lights just right driving to school, I have time to listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Soul to Squeeze", and the Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" one after the other. Both these songs are sort of stupid, but the latter especially functions as a good pick-me-up at the beginning of the day. If the red lights are bad that particular day, there's time to listen to Blind Melon's "No Rain" as well. Songs that are over as soon as you park your car are important in my book; I have trouble shutting off the engine in the middle of a song.

Finally, through the grace of my public library, I've discovered the Arcade Fire about five years after everybody else. Good stuff. It's a concept that shouldn't work (a MANDOLIN player? Really?), but somehow it meshes perfectly. Funeral and Neon Bible have been welcome additions to my late-night schoolwork soundtrack.

Boivin – On a Misfits kick around Halloween time

For most of these past few weeks, and coinciding with my epic undertaking of watching a horror movie every day though the month of October, I've been following Alkaline Trio's advice and "put Walk Among Us on and turn it up". You see I've been on a Misfits kick as I often am around Halloween time, and I don't think I've listened to anything by Danzig and co. in the past 3 days or so.

My infatuation with the Misfits began in high school when my friend made me a mixtape for my newly bought used, CD player-less Volvo which included "Skulls". When I got to college, my freshman roommate listened to Static Age at least once a day and it sort of rubbed off on me. I especially like this Misfits because they form a fusion of two or three disparate styles and make them mesh into something entirely their own. The guitars, drums etc. are all unmistakably hardcore punk, but Glenn Danzig's vocals are straight up old school rock 'n' roll with echoes of Elvis and Roy Orbison, and then there's a touch of Italian opera thrown in for good measure. Danzig probably has one of my favorite voices in rock music, his croon/growl is probably the closest thing out there that a man's voice can produce that makes me feel like makin' love. There's that and all of those references to horror movies, that always gets me in the mood too.

Favorite songs: "She", "Horror Business", "Where Eagles Dare", "Last Caress", and the post-Danzig "Saturday Night."