This weekend I found myself at a hot rod show which evolved that night into a rockabilly concert at a rough & tumble bar, with a pinup girl contest as the finale. It felt like this bizarre glitch in the matrix, whereby I suddenly stumbled back 50 years and was hangin’ out with the bad crowd from, like, Rydell High. It was awesomely entertaining – fishnets, pompadours, and pincurls. Oh, and lots of tattoos (guys & gals). To hear a pretty authentic live band crank out songs like “Get Rhythm” (Johnny Cash), “Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly), and “That’s All Right” (Elvis) made me yearn even more than usual that I had been born in the ’40s.
Yeah, it was like that.
Okay, onto the music for this week — which I just noticed has a largely nostalgic feel to it as well.
Thunder On The Mountain
You know how you’ve been itchin to hear the first track from Bob Dylan‘s new album Modern Times? Well in addition to hearing him mumble his way through lyrics like “I want some real good woman to do just what I say” up against a rollicking folksy backing melody here, you can sign up via the old email to attend a listening party in many U.S. cities to hear the rest of the collection (which sounds like a pretty cool fÃªte to me). See the always-informative Stereogum for details.
I Don’t Exist
It’s about gol-dang time that someone wrote a song about IKEA. I just got my 2007 catalog in the mail and it made me ridiculously happy, letting me slip for a few minutes into the well-organized and spacious Swedish lifestyle of my dreams where I hang funky textiles on the walls and everything has a basket to put it in. British punk granddaddies the Buzzcocks are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a new album called Flat-Pack Philosophy (on Cooking Vinyl). Although it does not explicitly mention the Scandinavian slice of domestic bliss, you and I both know that that’s what they are talkin’ about on the title track. Trading some of their more angry & aggressive crunchy sound of days past for an overall more melodic & even poppy feel (oh, but their edge is still there) this disc is an enjoyably fast-paced romp (14 tracks in 36 minutes?). This particular track reminds me, actually, of early R.E.M. if you can believe that.
Let Me Know
Northern California-born/New Orleans-adopted Eric Lindell makes some rough & lovely blue-eyed soul that reminds me of all kinds of goodness from Van Morrison (listen: “See Me Through”) to BB King and, very notably on this track, The Black Crowes. His newest release, Change In The Weather (Alligator Records), is diverse and solid. There’s a nice old-school vibe to this song combined with a fresh & almost lighthearted guitar riff. Looks like he is stopping through the scenic hamlet of Manitou Springs in a few weeks (our hippie neighbors to the west) and since I have also heard absolute raves about his live show, I do believe I will stop by and take a listen.
This song absolutely makes me break into a big smile everytime I hear it and I think it will do the same for you from the opening notes. Mental image for me is waltzing around in my socks on a hardwood floor in an old crumbling San Francisco apartment with the rain falling hard against the windows. Madeleine Peyroux is amazing to me — the fact that she is a modern lady who sounds exactly like Ella Fitzgerald and is clearly steeped in a love for all those great sounds of the past. This is from Half The Perfect World (out 9/12 on Rounder Records), her sophomore effort following 2004′s Careless Love. It is a nostalgic foray into the past, but with some serious nods to the present with songs written by folks like Tom Waits & Leonard Cohen and a guest appearance by k.d. lang on the cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” Perfect for a lazy weekend.
Brooklyn-based quartet The Mugs have quite a fine little self-produced debut album with Paper Scissors Rock (on SkinnyFat Records), which draws comparisons to the intelligent moodiness of The Smiths or the humble jangle of The Shins. A steady buzz is growing behind these guys, who were just named one of 7 must-see bands of NYC and get some serious love from the respectable KEXP in Seattle (and even a little blog love). Their first EP Daisy Cutter (2004) is available in full on their website, so you have no excuse not to get into the groove yourself (although the EP carries the caveat: “This recording hasn’t been ruthlessly compressed, nor has it been mastered, so it sounds best loud”). They’ve got a ton of shows coming up, and apparently they are best at converting fans in-person, so check them out.