Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Give a man gin, give a man cards. Give him an inch, he takes a yard.

Rob just challenged folks to describe their current pop-culture universe. He did it in one long post; I’ll do it in a series of posts I’ll never get around to finishing. His approach is better, but, as Thurston Howell III was known to exclaim, “Say, Lovee…”

I’ll start with music. I’ve been listening to the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump–especially “Effect & Cause,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn.” I probably haven’t even heard the whole album more than once; my mp3 player doesn’t hold a lot of music, and I like some variety, so I rarely put more than a few songs by any artist at one time. It’s not a bad system – it gives me a foothold into new albums by making a couple of the songs “singles,” no matter what the radio is playing.

I’m also still really enjoying Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, although I realize that makes me some horrible yuppie stereotype. But anyone who opens a song singing “What kind of fuckery is this?” certainly know show to get my attention, and more than that, Winehouse manages to keep it.

I’ve been slowly working my way through Tom Waits’ Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards three disc-set. It’s a daunting collection of new music, but my personal singles strategy is has served me well throughout the year, making favorites of “Lucinda,” “Fannin Street,” and “Fish in the Jailhouse,” about an improbable prison escape based on what they’re serving in the cafeteria: “The bars areiron, the walls are stone/ All I need me is an old fishbone.” Everyone's MacGuyver in the jug.

Also, I’m enjoying two Anders Osborne albums: Living Room and Ash Wednesday Blues. I used to have a legal bootleg of one of his concerts in Philly (Osborne allows taping, or did at the time), with a great performance of a song called “Trippin’in Montana.” Somewhere along the line, I mistakenly recorded over a secondor two of the song; why I didn’t pull those little tabs out of the cassette, I’ll never know. But now that I’ve gotten hold of the studio recording, I’m listening to the song like mad – once or twice a day, it seems. It’s not quite as driven as the live performance, which was propelled by a relentless tuba backbeat, but it has the same Waco-apocalyptic feel to it. Here’s a couple verses to give you an idea:

He was trippin’ in Montana
On a cold, dark path
He was looking for salvation
And a hot clean bath
He left a bloody situation,
But he was not to blame
Like that run-in with the agent
Who promised gold and instant fame

He had a way to look important
That fooled everyone around
Like how he held his shoulders
And always stood his ground
They used to say he looked like Jesus
And that really frightened him
Changed his face in Amarillo
Just to clear his name from sin

A fugitive cult leader. All I need is a fishbone shiv and I’m set.

Of course, in two weeks I’m going to Fest, which is an annual meteor crashing into my music landscape. By August 25, I’ll be listening to a lot of new stuff.


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