So I finally, finally saw No Country For Old Men this weekend (I know, right?!) and thought it was a near flawless film. As I’ve mentioned before, Cormac McCarthy has been one of my favorite authors from the first time I read All The Pretty Horses in high school. I’ve been mesmerized by his austere, profound, unadorned writing ever since.
The Coen Brothers did something extremely rare by accurately capturing the mood and tone of the book in addition to just re-telling the story. If you’re even more behind than I am in this one, I won’t ruin the ending — but will say that it was one of the most perfect, piercing closing seconds to a film that I’ve seen in years.
This week is a busy one for me, holding 5 shows by my count. And I’ll be moving into a new place downtown in a few weeks. Wish me luck — heck, just wish that I survive. Here’s what I’ll be listening to amidst the madness:
The ’59 Sound
The Gaslight Anthem
This song is about death come too soon, but Gaslight Anthem‘s sound wraps up these themes of youth and death with a defiance that burns through in their music with resistant lines like “ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night.” Some say that these New Jersey fellows evoke a contemporary America in a Born to Run way, loose and raw [via]. Their song “High Lonesome” pays subtle tribute to a fantastic line from Counting Crows’ first album, and I hear the urgency I love about Roger Clyne in the vocals as well. So yeah, they’ve got my attention. Gaslight Anthem is out on tour with Against Me, which I don’t know much about but now see that they have an exclamation mark in their name – Against Me! So that might be too much excitement for me and I’ll wait to check these guys out when they circle back through on the club circuit. What a show that would be — I’d predict catharsis and the purity of rock n roll.
Brightblack Morning Light
New Mexico freakfolk collective Brightblack Morning Light is fun to read interviews with. Why? How about this gem: Singer Naybob Shineywater used to sing shows with an arrowhead in his mouth. Why? “To let his own sung words & breathe touch this stone before European ears could hear them.” Naybob says, “I was not singing for war, but to engage the spirit of the maker of the arrowhead itself, to offer up Peace, that his warrior effort find a new respect, and to help my own warrior spirit sing in Peace.” See? That’s crazy fun right there. But no seriously — if you’re not all hippy dippy you still absolutely can and should enjoy this extraordinary song off their new album Motion to Rejoin (out tomorrow on Matador Records). It’s incredible — all thickly woven with retro sounds that sound like they are coming through a steamy bathroom, down the hall, and through a layer of feathers to your head under the pillow on a Saturday morning.
Get Yourself Home (In Search Of The Mistress Whose Kisses Are Famous)
These United States
The most recent Colorado show that Washington D.C.’s These United States played was a few weeks ago at a farm party for Labor Day out near Nimbus Road and Diagonal Highway in Niwot. I hear the two things that existed in some abundance were farmland and alcohol. This sounds like the kind of band that you could have a lot of fun with in those doses. After getting positive reviews all over the place from folks like NPR, KEXP and Morning Becomes Eclectic, These United States are releasing their sophomore album Crimes tomorrow on United Interests. There’s a rustic folk charm here with a feisty and jittery thread weaving through this that would make M Ward proud.
There’s a simple aura of palatable psychedelica that vibrates through this song from San Diego’s The Donkeys, along with a very basic rhyming scheme that reminds me in an odd way of “Girls” by the Beastie Boys. Don’t believe me? Listen to the “how/wow/cow” sequence and tell me it doesn’t echo “way/MCA/play/you may” bit. Or maybe it’s just me. It’s a unique blending of ’60s rock with modern day heroes, and I think they also might reveal a possible love of folks like Pavement. Living On The Other Side was out a few weeks ago on Dead Oceans (Bishop Allen, Bowerbirds).
Hold It In
Jukebox The Ghost
Despite the heartfelt personal invitation from these endearing fellows who were passing out hand-drawn flyers on Saturday at Monolith to encourage people to get there early Sunday to hear their set, I failed. I wanted to, especially after listening to the ebullient pop of their album Live And Let Ghosts, and especially because they stand out from the indie crowd with that fun dash of Freddie Mercury vocal drama. Aquarium Drunkard rubs salt in the wound of my tardiness by writing that Jukebox The Ghost “set a high bar for the rest of the festival, cruising as they did through an infectious set of grandiose piano-driven pop — for a 1:00 crowd, it was a packed and energetic room.” They are on tour now across the country, ending in SF on October 18th.