Monday, August 31, 2015
"Going To California" performed by Led Zeppelin
"Santa Barbara" performed by World Party
"Desert Trip" performed by Jonathan Wilson
"See The Sun" performed by James Iha
"Friends" performed by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
"Revolverlution" performed by Public Enemy
"Poor Johnny" (live in Ithaca, New York March 13, 2015) performed by Robert Cray
"He's Gone" performed by Grateful Dead
"This And That" performed by Michael Penn
"Armageddon It" performed by Def Leppard
"Fantastic Voyage" performed by Coolio
August 2, 2015
"Slow Blues" performed by Oscar Peterson and Count Basie
"Jeep's Blues" performed by Duke Ellington
"Sonnymoon For Two" performed by Sonny Rollins
"Wild Man Dance" performed by Charles Lloyd-WSPC PREMIERE
"Let's Cool One" performed by Thelonious Monk
August 3, 2015
"Another Day" performed by Paul and Linda McCartney
"Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" performed by The Isley Brothers
"Cold Morning Light" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Other People's Hearts" performed by Kirsty MacColl
"At Seventeen" (live 1976) performed by Janis Ian
"I'm One" performed by The Who
"Seasons" performed by The Steve Miller Band
"A Boy Who Can't Talk Part 1" performed by Planet P. Project
"Ripples" performed by Genesis
"#9 Dream" performed by John Lennon
"Don't Lie To Me" performed by Big Star
"Big Eyes" performed by Cheap Trick
"Change Your Mind" performed by Post Social
"Your Gold Dress" performed by The Dukes Of Stratosphear
"Hello Kitty Kat" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
August 4, 2015
"Kim" performed by Ryan Adams
"Porcelain" performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Razor" performed by Foo Fighters
"Mellow" performed by Eton John
"Last Lovers" (acoustic version) performed by The Chamber Strings
"I've Been Waiting" performed by Matthew Sweet
"When The Sky Comes Falling Down" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
"Ill Placed Trust" performed by Sloan
"I Will Dare" performed by The Replacements
August 5, 2015
"Black Again" performed by Stone Temple Pilots
"Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?" performed by The Monkees
"Bluebird" performed by Buffalo Springfield
"Everybody's World" performed by The Grays
"I'm Only Sleeping" performed by The Beatles
August 6, 2015
SIXTH ANNUAL TRIBUTE TO JOHN HUGHES
"If You Leave" performed by Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark
"Turn To The Sky" performed by The March Violets
"Fire In The Twilight" performed by Wang Chung
"Beat City" performed by The Flowerpot Men
"The Circle" performed by Max Carl
"Tenderness" performed by General Public
"Happy Families" performed by XTC
"Dreams Of Being King" performed by Dianogah
"The Birds" performed by Telefon Tel Aviv
"The Reggae" performed by Keith Forsey with Jesse Johnson
"Hang Up The Phone" performed by Annie Golden
"Do Wot You Do" performed by INXS
"Catch My Fall" performed by Billy Idol
"I'm Afraid" performed by Blue Room
"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" performed by The Smiths
"Power To Believe" (instrumental) performed by The Dream Academy
"Crazy Love" performed by Bryan Ferry
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" performed by Simple Minds
August 7, 2015
"Castles Made Of Sand" performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Amelia" performed by Joni Mitchell
"Set Me Free" performed by Utopia
"Rubberband Girl" performed by Kate Bush
"Fantasia's Confidential Ghetto:1999/Once In A Lifetime/Coconut" performed by P.M. Dawn
August 8, 2015
"You Never Give Me Your Money" performed by The Beatles
"Dancing Barefoot" performed by U2
"Where's Summer B?" performed by Ben Folds Five
"My Girl" performed by Madness
"How Ya Like Me Now" performed by Kool Moe Dee
"I Don't Want To Get Over You" performed by The Magnetic Fields
"Multi-Love" performed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
"Lady" performed by Chromatics
"All Over The World" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
August 9, 2015
"Picture You" performed by The Amazing-WSPC PREMIERE
"Panda" performed by Dungun
"Earth (Still Our Only Home)" performed by Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman
"Pamukkale" performed by The Jean Luc Ponty Experience with The George Duke Trio
"Onward" performed by Yes
August 10, 2015
"Sandman" performed by America
"Blue" performed by The Thorns
"Can't Get Up" performed by Supergrass
"Move With The Season" performed by Temples
"Fat Old Sun" (live) performed by David Gilmour
"Wonderland" performed by XTC
"Lightning White" performed by The Church
"These City Streets" performed by Paul Weller-WSPC PREMIERE
"New Person, Same Old Mistakes" performed by Tame Impala
"This Side Of Paradise" performed by Ric Ocasek
August 11, 2015
"Peacekeeper" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"Sail Away Sweet Sister" performed by Queen
"No Time To Lose" performed by The Tarney-Spencer Band
"Find Your Way Back" performed by Jefferson Starship
"Twenty-Three" performed by Stephen Duffy
August 12, 2015
"Once Upon A Time In The West" performed by Dire Straits
"How The West Was Won And Where It Gt Us" performed by R.E.M.
"The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One" performed by Tortoise
"Season's Trees" performed by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi with Norah Jones
"The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" performed by Ennio Morricone
"Not Guilty" performed by The Beatles
"Walking Through Walls" performed by Jon Brion
"No One In The World" performed by The Apples In Stereo
"Haven't Got A Clue" performed by The Flaming Lips
"Desert Raven" performed by Jonathan Wilson
Jonathan Wilson live at the Oyafestivalen 2014-FULL SET
August 13, 2015
"Happy Days" performed by Squeeze-WSPC PREMIERE
"Allison" performed by Pixies
"People Say" performed by Papas Fritas
"Does He Love You" performed by Rilo Kiley
"The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" performed by The Anniversary
"The Other Side Of Summer" performed by Elvis Costello
"Fast Forward" performed by Joe Jackson-WSPC PREMIERE
August 14, 2015
"Basquiat Ghostwriter" performed by Yaslin Bey-WSPC PREMIERE
"True Affection" performed by Father John Misty-WSPC PREMIERE
"Kamera" performed by Wilco
"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" performed by Arcade Fire
"We Suck Young Blood (Your Time Is Up)" performed by Radiohead
"Friday Night, August 14th" performed by Funkadelic
August 15, 2015
"This Is Love" performed by Tony Banks
"Sugar" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"Minnie" performed by Miles Davis
"Walk It Down" performed by Talking Heads
"Rasta Girl" performed by Sister Carol
"Supervixen" performed by Garbage
"Fix It" performed by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
"A Trick Of The Tail" performed by Genesis
"The Waiting Game" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Someone's Missing" performed by MGMT
"The World Is Crowded" performed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra-WSPC PREMIERE
"Destination" performed by The Church
"Things Left Unsaid/It's What We Do/Ebb And Flow" performed by Pink Floyd
August 16, 2015
"Born Rich" from the television movie "Cotton Candy"
"Orange Crate Art" performed by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks
"The Door Into Summer" performed by The Monkees
"No Sympathy From The Devil" performed by Public Enemy-WSPC PREMIERE
"No Vaseline" performed by Ice Cube
"My Philosophy" performed by Boogie Down Productions
"California Love" performed by 2Pac and Dr. Dre
August 17, 2015
"I'm Mad" (live) performed by The Dead Weather
"The Collector" (live at rehearsal) performed by Nine Inch Nails
"The ConstucKtion Of Light" (live) performed by King Crimson
"Salt The Skies" (live) performed by Tortoise
"If I Had A Tail" (live) performed by Queens Of The Stone Age
August 18, 2015
"I'll Be Your Mirror" performed by The Velvet Underground with Nico
"Mirror Man" performed by The Human League
"Mirror People" performed by Love And Rockets
"My Mirror Speaks" performed by Death Cab For Cutie
"Go To The Mirror" performed by The Who
"Express Yourself" performed by M.W.A. (The Muppets as N.W.A.)
"Keep On Trippin'" performed by Curtis Mayfield
"You Got Me Floatin'" performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"World Turning" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"Rise" (live) performed by Eddie Vedder
"Go Ahead In The Rain" performed by A Tribe Called Quest
August 19, 2015
"The Rhythm Changes" performed by Kamasi Washington-WSPC PREMIERE
"I'm Alive" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Stone Cold Crazy" performed by Queen
"Mary Long" performed by Deep Purple
"Ariwo" performed by Ginger Baker
August 20, 2015
HAPPY 67TH BIRTHDAY TO ROBERT PLANT
"Embrace Another Fall" performed with The Sensational Shapeshifters
"Please Read The Letter" performed with Alison Krauss
"Sixes And Sevens"
"Like I've Never Been Gone"
"Tie Dye On The Highway"
August 21, 2015
"Raspberry Breaks/Master Cylinder" performed by Bearcubbin'
"I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)" performed by The Dead Weather-WSPC PREMIERE
"Jane" performed by Ben Folds Five
"In The Clear" performed by Foo Fighters
"Straight To Hell" (live) performed by The Clash
"The Passenger" performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees
"Summertime" performed by Charlie Barnet and Count Basie
"Maybe I Could Change" (live 1983) performed by Todd Rundgren
August 22, 2015
"Real Man" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Hang Up Your Hang Ups" performed by Herbie Hancock
"Freshwater Coconut" performed by Vernon Reid
"Power" performed by Tears For Fears
"Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll's Revolution)" performed by The Bangles
"Real Men" performed by Tori Amos
"Wonderful" performed by Stone Temple Pilots
"Without You" performed by Badfinger
"I Am The Cosmos" performed by Chris Bell
"When You Are Smiling And Astride Me" performed by Father John Misty-WSPC PREMIERE
"A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre (Incomplete)" performed by OutKast
"Star 69" performed by Common
"Star/Pointro" performed by The Roots
"Gone Baby, Don't Be Long" performed by Erykah Badu
"You Don't Know" performed by Jill Scott-WSPC PREMIERE
"Daily Nightly" performed by The Monkees
August 23, 2015
"With One Look (The Wildest Dream)" performed by Rupert Hine with Cy Curnin
"Shine" performed by Martin Ansell
"Dancing In Isolation" performed by Terri Nunn
"Arrested By You" performed by Rupert Hine
"Race The K-12" performed by Rupert Hine
"Silver String" performed by James Iha
"It's No Wonder" performed by The Chamber Strings
"Kid" performed by The Pretenders
"Walk A Thin Line" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"Saving Grace" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Controversy" (live 1/30/82 Capitol Theater) performed by Prince
August 24, 2015
"Circles" performed by The Amazing-WSPC PREMIERE
"Basically" performed by World Party
"Letters Don't Count" performed by Nazz
"Here, There And Everywhere" performed by David Gilmour-WSPC PREMIERE
"Echoes" (live at Pompeii) performed by Pink Floyd
August 25, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!
"So What" performed by Miles Davis
"One For Daddy-O" performed by Cannonball Adderley
"Blues March" performed by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
"Song For My Father" performed by Horace Silver 5tet
"Take Five" performed by Dave Brubeck
August 26, 2015
"Maybe The Last Time" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Josie" performed by Steely Dan
"Queenie Eye" performed by Paul McCartney
"Take It Off" performed by The Donnas
"Automatic Systematic Habit" performed by Garbage
"So Long, Farewell" from "The Sound Of Music"
August 28, 2015
"Stone In Love" performed by Journey
"Sensei On The Block" performed by Mos Def-WSPC PREMIERE
"Contusion" performed by Stevie Wonder
"Waste Not Want Not" performed by The Pretenders
"Tin Pan Alley" (live) performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
"I Need You Tonight" performed by Peter Wolf
August 29, 2015
"Turn Blue" performed by The Black Keys
"Fryshusfunk" performed by The Amazing-WSPC PREMIERE
"Island Of Souls" performed by Sting
"The Main Monkey Business" (live in Rotterdam) performed by Rush
"Again, Again, Again" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Save It For Later" (live) performed by Pete Townshend
"Dead End" (live at KCRW) performed by Meshell Ndegeocello
"Pitch The Baby" performed by Cocteau Twins
"Butterflies" performed by Michael Jackson
"Ornithology' performed by Charlie Parker
August 30, 2015
"One More Day (No Word)" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Take Off" performed by Bob and Doug McKenzie with Geddy Lee
"New Language" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
"The Rest Of My Life" performed by Sloan
"Enough Is Enough " performed by April Wine
"Freewill" performed by Rush
August 31, 2015
"Let's Do It Again" performed by The Staple Singers
"Forever Lost" performed by The Magic Numbers
"Runaway" (live) performed by The Cold And Lovely-WSPC PREMIERE
"So You Think You're In Love" performed by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
"The Ugly Underneath" performed by XTC
"Changes" performed by Yes
"Vodka" performed by Moe Berg
Friday, August 28, 2015
Released October 15, 2013
HALL & OATES
Released October 19, 1974
Released February 1972
Released October 5, 2012
PAUL AND LINDA McCARTNEY
Released May 17, 1971
Released November 9, 1973
Released November 19, 1982
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Released May 13, 1997
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
Released June 19, 2001
Released September 1977
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
Released May 26, 2015
NEW 2015 MUSIC: Truthfully, Tame Impala brought me here...(sort of). For whatever reasons, Unknown Mortal Orchestra has seemingly been musically linked to Tame Impala within the music press, and all of the positive notices for this album, which includes the disco/funk tinged single "Can't Keep Checking My Phone," eventually guided me to purchasing a copy. Well, at least to my ears, any musical connections the two bands may share sound fleeting to me and in fact UMO sounds even more esoteric and downright oddball--kind of like if MGMT and Air somehow met in the middle--a middle they created themselves. It certainly has its charms but I think this one will have to grow on me.
Released May 5, 2015
NEW 2015 MUSIC: Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus and Thundercat brought me here, as Kamasi Washington, who has collaborated with all of those aforementioned artists, boldly steps out into his own musical universe with the 3 disc/3 hour jazz (mostly instrumental) album, appropriately entitled "The Epic."
I am still making my way through the album (I'm into the second disc), but I have already been enormously impressed not just with the instrumental virtuosity and Washington's vision as he has composed, produced and arranged the entire behemoth (from the actual musical to the large cast of musicians) himself but by how he has bridged a certain gap with being uncompromising and fully accessible. So far, songs have ranged and stretched to very lengthy running times of 12 to 14 minutes long but I don't believe that one would ever find themselves lost within the music, unable to grasp onto any ideas.
The melodicism is paramount, making for music to grab along to as Washington and his exemplary team of musicians craft one soundscape after another and fill your ears with tremendously exploratory solos throughout. So far, I have felt that I have heard the musical influences of John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, and Charles Mingus as the music itself flows so freely and dramatically from fusion to soul to opera and even pop. I have been seriously impressed so far...I wonder if this will end up on my list for being one of the best albums of 2015? We'll see...
Released March 26, 2012
Released February 17, 2015
NEW 2015 MUSIC: Curse you, Steve from B-Side!!!!!Once again, on another innocent visit to my favorite record store, I was greeted with the sounds of another album that instantly captured my attention and inspired yet another purchase. This time, it's The Amazing, a neo-psychedelic band from Sweden whose current album (their fourth), kind of sounds like Temples merged with a dash of Nick Drake and a healthy dollop of "Meddle" era Pink Floyd. This is a band unafraid of taking their time and crafting lengthy songs that reveal autumnal landscapes and those bittersweet feelings that arrive with seasonal changes. Except for one sequence of heavy feedback, the entire album sounds almost like one long sunset.
Released January 1984
Released September 13, 2011
Released October 27, 1982
ROBERT PLANT AND THE SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS
Released September 8, 2014
Released (physical version) August 21, 2015
NEW 2015 MUSIC: Now this really was a surprise!!!! For their first studio effort in four years, and a surprise release to boot, Wilco returns with an album that is brisk, sharp, rough and ready for action, weaving "White Album" starkness with some Television punch. Nice to hear that the band still has some scrappiness to themselves.
THE BLACK KEYS
Released May 12, 2014
Released July 17, 2015
Still in HEAVY rotation!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, August 24, 2015
FATHER JOHN MISTY
All Music and Lyrics by Josh Tillman
Produced by Jonathan Wilson and Josh Tillman
Released February 10, 2015
Dedicated to Alivia Kleinfeldt and Karly Deno for knowing long before me and pointing me in the right direction
"I don't write songs about girls anymore
I have to write songs about women
No more boy meets girl, boy loses girl
More like, man tries to figure out what the hell went wrong"
-"I'm An Adult Now"
Music and Lyrics by Moe Berg
Performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
Music chooses you.
I have written those words over and again on this site and I mean it emphatically every single time. But even for all of the times music does happen to choose you, sometimes that very same music needs a little push.
For as much music as I have discovered by myself, there has been just as much music that I have been guided towards by others, but even so, the music itself still chooses you just the same. I am thinking of a time, for instance, when one friend felt that I would really love The Flaming Lips. In doing so, she loaned me her copy of "The Soft Bulletin" (released June 22, 1999) and as I listened to the album that very first time, and despite all of the elements about the music that I knew that I would enjoy, the album was indeed quite lost on me. It wasn't until the release of their then subsequent album "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" (released July 16, 2002) where The Flaming Lips' specialized musical vision took hold of me, then inviting me to return to "The Soft Bulletin" which on those listens, the music connected powerfully and I loved it so much that I really questioned why I didn't fall for it initially.
Another example was the music of Jeff Buckley, an artist many people kept pointing me towards but for whatever reasons, his music never took hold of me initially no matter how many tries I happened to give to him. And then, inexplicably, one day while driving around, something ephemeral entered my consciousness and instructed me to head to my local library (which is directly on my way home) and see if Buckley's album "Grace" (released August 23, 1994) was available for check out. So, I stopped at the library only to find "Grace" sitting within all of the CDs as if specially waiting for me. And on that listen, I was ready and finally, finally understood.
At this time, dear readers and listeners, my attention is squarely focused upon Father John Misty, the pseudonym of singer/songwriter/musician Josh Tillman, former drummer for Fleet Foxes, By now, it would be of no surprise to any of you out there that "I Love You, Honeybear," Tillman's second album under the Father John Misty moniker, is easily one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2015. I have seen the highly impressionistic and pink hued cover artwork plus the heaping praise for this album throughout the year and while I was curious as to what the fuss was all about, clips that I heard via You Tube did not capture me to the level where my curiosity would be piqued enough to get me to head to the record store and purchase a copy. But soon, friends and acquaintances began to speak to me about the wonder and beauty of Father John Misty's album and I found myself beginning to wonder.
The first person of note to speak s highly of the album happened to be Alivia Kleinfeldt, bassist for the local Madison band Modern Mod. In conversations with her, she asked me if I had happened to like Fleet Foxes, to which I explained that I really hadn't heard their albums and when I did happen to hear their songs, I always thought that they were possibly another band altogether. In essence, I had not made the connection between the songs I had heard with the group itself. From this point, she began to ask me if I had heard of Father John Misty and she then further expressed, in a flow of words that practically gushed, about how much she had loved the album. Push #1...
Push #2 occurred when I met Karly Deno, a lovely 21 year old who joined the summer staff of my preschool this year. She and I forged an immediate connection simply and solely over a Beatles T-shirt that she happened to be wearing during her interview and we soon began sharing quick music picks with each other, hoping to point the other person towards new musical horizons. Weeks after our first meeting, the name Father John Misty was invoked and entered my atmosphere again as she (also in a tone that essentially gushed) expressed to me about how much I needed to hear his new album for how gorgeous it happened to be. Strange forces at work indeed...
Push #3 arrived on the day of the 3rd Annual WLHA Resurrection/Reunion Weekend, where after a five hour stint on the local radio airwaves and subsequent victory lunch at Ian's Pizza on State Street, I found myself looking upwards, as my friends Kelly and Sue and I trudged back up the street on the way to the parking ramp, and having my eyes rest upon the marquee of the legendary Orpheum theater and seeing the name...you guessed it...Father John Misty splashed all across. The third time was he charm as I traveled to B-Side Records a few days later and armed with the intent of solely purchasing the latest Tame Impala album. But once I arrived, I added Father John Misty to my purchases.
Finally, I listened and on that very first listen, I was floored.
Father John Misty's "I Love You, Honeybear" is an emotional hurricane of a concept album, one that depicts the real life love story between himself and Emma, the woman who would become his wife. Yet, this album is by no means a sugary sweet affair. While the album is undeniably romantic and deliriously so, any romanticism arrives with all of the internal baggage and trauma firmly intact making for a listening experience that charts what love actually is instead of what exists in wish fulfillment fantasies. As with the epigraph that opened this posting from The Pursuit Of Happiness, Father John Misty does not craft his musical love story in simplistic or remotely cliched platitudes. He sifts, burrows and delves so deeply into dangerous and depressive emotional terrains that by album's end, not only is the wind knocked clean out of you, you d realize what a miracle the gift of love actually is.
With a sonic palate that suggests Pasty Cline as arranged and produced by "Pet Sounds" era Brian Wilson, "I Love You, Honeybear" opens with the sweeping title track, which serves as an overture of sorts. As Misty's lead vocals possess a soaring quality, the backing vocals surround with a certain melancholy, solidifying the bittersweet tone (with a bit of emphasis on the "bitter") that encompasses the album in its entirety. Additionally, don't let the facile nature of the song's title fool you either. This track introduces us to both Misty and Emma, both of ravenous sexual appetites, as described by the opening images of "Mascara, blood, ash and cum/On the Rorschach sheets where we make love," and individually armed and/or burdened with his "Mother's depression" and her "Father's scorn and a wayward aunt's schizophrenia," as they thumb their collective noses at the world's impending demise. It is a song of "you and me against the world at the end of the world," a romantic whirlwind where their love is able to withstand all manner of apocalyptic tragedies from global market crashes and death piling up in the streets for as Misty declares to Emma, "My love, you're the one I want to watch the ship go down with...Don't give into despair/'Cause I love you, honeybear."
The romanticism explodes into a South of the Border styled cinematic widescreen musical (complete with Mariachi brass band) with the album's second track, "Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)," obviously a nod to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's infamous "Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins" (released November 11, 1968). Here, Misty and Emma, travelling around Los Angeles, enveloped completely within each other, find romantic and sexual bliss. He envisions making love with her in the kitchen as she wears her "wedding dress someone was probably murdered in." Yet, falling into nostalgia, he remembers their beginnings...
"First time, you let me stay the night despite your own rules
You took off early to go cheat your way through film school
You left a note in your perfect script: 'Stay as long as you want!'
I haven't left your bed since"
The album's first real pangs of anxiety arrive in the electronically tinged "True Affection," the only song on the album that contains a musically stylistic difference from the remainder of the album as Misty's troubled communication with Emma via cell phones and text messages provide barriers instead of additional avenues to the intense intimacy he craves.
"The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt." is one of the album highest points as this anti-ballad either describes Misty's feelings upon first meeting Emma or better yet, perhaps the song is a flashback to a time long before Misty ever even met Emma, a time when Misty's personal associations and relationships with women were decidedly more dubious. In this song, Misty unleashes a eloquently and viciously laugh out loud litany of insults towards some young female whom he finds wholly insufferable. Misty hates the way she speaks ("She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes/And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream"), the way she sings ("I hate that soulful affectation White girls put on/Why don't you move to the Delta?"), and her pseudo-superior attitude ("Someone's been told too many times they're beyond their years") yet he finds himself indulging in nasty sex with her anyway, as the song ends abruptly as if Misty himself cannot bear to acknowledge his own dalliances.
For me, here is where the overall emotionally messy nature of "I Love You, Honeybear" begins to come into focus. Yes, for the first four songs, I think it will be apparent that Misty has utilized an undeniably sharp sense of lyricism to compliment and even contrast with the musical surroundings that are blatantly lush throughout the album. In many ways, each songs feels like it could exist as a separate short story, thus making the album as a whole function as a full length non-linear novel detailing this love affair. Even so, what remains especially brilliant to me about the album's presentation is how Father John Misty continuously upended any expectations I may have been holding about each song from song to song. Once I felt that I had my bearings, Misty would pull the rug out from under me with another turn of a phrase, an unrepentant vulgarity, an ever increasingly disturbing dive into self-loathing, as if daring the listener, as well as Emma, to remain with him during his arduous inner journey.
"When You're Smiling And Astride Me," continues the album's romantically devotional mood complete with sexually hungry thematics and a confessional spirit that is filled with the grace if having been fully accepted by Emma. But by the album's next track and the fullness of the album's second half, Father John Misty plunges us into emotional darkness.
In "Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow," Misty wrestles with mounting loneliness and jealousy with real and/or imagined suitors pursuing Emma while he is away on a Fleet Foxes tour. The mournful sounding "Strange Encounter" details the aftermath of another empty sexual dalliance. And the striking, almost hymnal "Bored In The U.S.A.," itself a play off of Bruce Springsteen's classic, is a swan dive into Misty's existential crisis.
What does exist as a song of middle American malaise, a decreasing slice of life under the eyes of "President Jesus," this song actually functions stronger as an exploration of Misty's deepest fears of once being the love of Emma's life and now becoming her greatest mistake, and even her to himself. "Now, I've got a lifetime to consider all the ways/I've grown more disappointing to you," he begins. "As my beauty warps and fades/I suspect you feel the same." Then, in a disturbingly effective usage of studio wizardry, Misty then begins to gather a list of his self-perceived mounting failures, all punctuated by a harrowing laugh track after each line.
"Oh, they gave me a useless education
And a subprime loan
On a Craftsman home
Keep my prescriptions filled
And now I can't get off
But I can kind of deal
Oh, with being bored in the U.S.A...
...How did it happen?"
Misty reaches a personal crossroads within the raw, hard rock howl of "The Ideal Husband" as he confronts himself for all of his mistakes and failures from the following:
"Every woman that I've slept with
Every friendship I've neglected
Didn't call when Grandma died
I spend my money getting drunk and high
I've done things unprotected
Proceeded to drive home wasted
Bought things to win over siblings
I've said awful things, such awful things"
And then, in a moment that for me (believe it or not) recalled the redemptive plea from Writer/Producer/Director Spike Lee's "Mo' Better Blues" (1990) where the philanderous trumpeter Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington) begs for forgiveness, love and marriage from schoolteacher Indigo Downes (Joie Lee), Misty presumably arrives at Emma's at 7 a.m., announces in a flurry...
"I said, 'Baby, I'm succumbing."
Said something dumb like 'I'm tired of running
Tired of running, tired of running
Let's put a baby in the oven
Wouldn't I make the ideal husband"
From here, Father John Misty continues and expands upon the themes contained in "Bored In The U.S.A." and the album's title track with the acoustic based "Holy Shit." Reportedly written on Misty's wedding day to Emma, the song is another litany of apocalyptic references of life in the 21st century, a litany that the twosome will share yet are somehow meaningless in regards to their love...even if that very love is a societal construct (something else Misty wrestles with philosophically and emotionally).
And finally, we reach the album's heart tugger if there ever was one, "I Went To The Store One Day," during which Misty recounts his first meeting with Emma, their present and then, their future as they part ways only in death. "Don't let me die in a hospital/I'll save the big one for the last time we make love/Insert here a sentiment re: our golden years/All 'cause I went to the store one day."
Father John Misty's "I Love You, Honeybear" is a labyrinthine exploration of love as it truly exists within its many facets, may of which are unpleasant a beast and anguishing at worst. In some ways, the album feels like a corridor of rooms in Misty's personal heartbreak hotel, a description that does indeed find itself superbly augmented by the wide canvas of the music, the agile depths of the lyrics and most certainly, Misty's always emotive vocals.
What amazes me most about the album is the fact that here is Josh Tillman, utilizing a pseudonym, is heavily adorned with a mane of black hair and a face nearly engulfed with a dark beard, has released an album of music so heavily produced that it is quite reminiscent of the "Wall Of Sound" tapestry Producer Phil Spector weaved on George Harrison's epic "All Things Must Pass" (released November 27, 1970). It is almost as if he is trying to hide himself within the music but in actuality, he is revealing to the point of public self-laceration. Just regard the presentation of the album artwork itself, from the fold out poster sized lyric sheet, the additional booklet which provides extensively written listening instructions for each song, and then the cover artwork itself, which features a collective of people all wearing masks, except for Misty himself--which does seem appropriate as he is laying himself completely bare across the entire listening experience.
"I Love You, Honeybear" is powerfully naked and one where the truth and heart of the matter is found completely within the artifice. And in doing so, Father John Misty has created an album that not only speaks of his relationship but of all relationships as we, especially in the 21st century as we live so much of our lives through social media, are always fashioning some level of a persona to attract others towards us, fearing that our very flawed real selves would drive everyone away, leaving us devastated and forever lonely. For all of the pain, confusion, torment, and turmoil, what spoke to me in addition to the aforementioned emotional messiness, what the assertion that true love occurs when someone accepts you regardless of your supposed flaws or sees the real you completely through the very artifice that you have created...and just loves you anyway.
As Misty sings at one point, "You see me as I am, it's true/ Aimless, fake drifter,and the horny manchild momma's boy to boot/That's how you live free/Truly see and be seen." For Father John Misty's "I Love You Honeybear," Mr. Tillman, you have been seen, heard and felt...outstandingly so.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
We all know how the season of the year can affect a person's mood but do the seasons ever affect the music that you listen to?
Maybe it just has to do with living life and now having built up an arsenal of music that is tied to memories, but for me, the seasons do tend to affect the music I choose to listen to. Right now, and being so surprised with August's seemingly rapid arrival, which of course signals the impending conclusion to the summer season, the start of the new school year and the onset of autumn (my favorite season), I find myself in a more reflective state of mind.
Last year, in the July 2014 section of this blogsite, I wrote extensively about some of the music I found myself draw to during some of the summer months of my adolescence. At this time, I would like to share a few more summertime music memories. I'm reaching back even further, dear readers and listeners, and it feels s wonderful to me to still be able to access these times so easily and at will Like the mighty Questlove has expressed, and I keep repeating upon this site, "When you live your life through records, the record are a record of your life."
There are many albums by Paul McCartney (with and without Wings), for instance, that I first heard during the summer months as a child and also during my Middle School years.
The strangeness did not deter me however, because this was Paul, of course. I would follow him anywhere. "Tug Of War" (released April 26, 1982), also purchased for me by my Dad, inaugurated my very first Walkman and I marveled at the fullness of sound that emerged from those small headphones. I remember one day when, for whatever reason, my Dad got it into his head that we should try playing tennis together. Not an easy feat when wearing Walkman headphones. But anyhow, every time I hear those opening drum beats to "Take It Away," I instantly gather a vision of my Dad, tennis racquet in hand, bouncing a ball and walking towards me. Our tennis excursions didn't' last much longer than that day but this memory is forever.
"Red Rose Speedway" was maybe the first album that I bought without my parents being present with me, therefore making it my first real journey into the world and culture of record stores, and also, just how one was to actually ask for help in order to find music. In those days, the cassettes were all behind the cashier counter so you had to ask the clerk to search for the title and artist. So, I remember asking the clerk for "Red Rose Speedway," which of course he could not find because I never had the good sense to tell him who the artist was. Eventually it clicked in my mind that I hadn't said "Paul McCartney and Wings" first so when I did, the frustrated glare I received in return was truly a lesson learned and a mistake I never made again.
That album plus "Band On The Run" were albums I found myself listening to on that very same boom box during languid, seemingly endless summer days at my Grandparents' home, listening and dreaming away, hearing how McCartney away from The Beatles was familiar and yet, extremely different. The songs from McCartney's excursions with Wings and/or solo selections didn't always connect as instantly as the music of The Beatles and I was often left scratching my head as to whatever he happened to be going on about. These albums showed me how Paul McCartney clearly was not The Beatles all by himself.
On that very same boom box that cassette played over and again during the summer months when I was maybe 11 or 12 years old. My Mom, who was determined to ensure that my three month vacation away from school was not a three month vacation away from education itself, made me endure daily Math exercises in workbooks she purchased. She indulged my music habits but she would often instruct me to get straight to those workbooks once my cassette concluded. With the striking, unorthodox nature of "Back To The Egg," I really felt that if I covertly rewound the tape and re-listened to sections, I could possibly fool my Mom and trick her into thinking the album wasn't finished yet, thus prolonging the delay of my Math studies. And of course, my Mom was much savvier than I ever gave her credit for. She COULD NOT be fooled for anything and of course, it was straight to the workbooks with the music swimming through my brain, calling me to return to it as soon as I was finished with my work to my Mom's formidable satisfaction.
Those are just a few memories from the musical summers of my past. What are some of yours? I'd love to hear about the records of your lives? Phone lines are open...
...And with whatever you find the seasons directing your ears towards, remember to always...