Music

I Just Figured Out How To Tumblr. Possibly How to Blog.

So I mentioned that I was re-vamping my Tumblr from having a no real purpose to having a purpose. In the past 2 days I’ve gained nearly 500 followers.

Granted, it’s Tumblr, so following is easy and doesn’t necessarily lead to connection or interaction with contact. It’s like Twitter that way. Of all those followers, there are only a handful of likes, and I think one reblog. But I only have 654 Twitter followers, and I’ve been tweeting for years.

To what do I owe this success, such as it is? I think the following:

  1. People get what my Tumblr’s about, and are interested. People like talking about music, and my posts are short and to the point.
  2. Bro, Do You Even Tag? In doing music reviews, it always helps to tag the band name, the song name, the album name. Then people who check the tags see the content, and decide to follow if they like what they see.
  3. YouTube is the New MTV. After (which is to say, above) every review, I do a separate video post which has either a favored deep track or a live version or something else that I think noteworthy. YouTube is great at giving you options, and people like to hear music when they’re done reading about music.

So, Focus, Reach Out, and Consistent Content. Hopefully this continues.

Check out the noise at Every. Damn. CD.

Giving My Tumblr a Purpose

loureed

Lou Reed in 1977, for no good reason.

I have a Tumblr for reasons that I never understood. It was just a thing to get, and a direct violation of my actual purpose in having a single blog with my name on it. But there’s a problem that’s never quite been satisfied.

I had, at one of my old dead blogs, a music writing project that I tried to import here and never fully did. I never fully did because my life got twist-turned upside down when I became a dad, and summoning the eloquence to write about R.E.M. and the Rolling Stones felt like work. And when you’re a blogger, work doesn’t feel right.

So I’m going to re-charge the project. I’m going to rate and review all of my CD’s. In the following order:

  1. By Genre
  2. Within Genre, alphabetically by Artist Name
  3. Within Artist, chronologically by release date.

It’s called Every.Damn. CD. and what’s going to make it change is I’m not going to try for eloquence or knock myself out for insight. Every disc gets a paragraph, a grade, and a youtube link if I happen to feel like it. I’ll go for knocking them out once or twice a week or so.

I’ve got a diverse music collection and I used to care about it. Let’s see if anything interesting falls therefrom.

 

Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu is Awesome

This interviewer kept trying to get him to embrace the orthodox, bien-pensant progressive viewpoint on the music industry, and he kept refusing to. And it’s not like he didn’t have fair warning:

Is your sense of the music industry these days fairly apocalyptic, or is it mellowing, or…? You seemed fairly skeptical/ cynical about it a few years ago, for instance, quoting Hunter S. Thompson on the music business [actually a misquote, apparentlyon the Ubu Projex website and saying you were going to give up singing and become a DJ, to beat an absurd tax that was being levied in Europe…

My attitude to the music biz is no different now than it has ever been. It’s a business. It’s up to each musician to decide on how he/she is going to deal with it. Record companies are not philanthropic organizations. They mean to sell records. That said, many, maybe most, people in the business have some sort of passion for music. It’s perfectly possible to navigate a course that gets you what you want. Depends on what you want – if it’s pop stardom and lots of money then don’t blame the record company if it all gets nasty and cheap.

Ideas have consequences. If they don’t, then they’re merely feelings.

Rating My CD’s: Exile on Main Street

exileonmainstreet58. The Rolling Stones — Let it Bleed

Recently I issued a half-formed opinion on double-albums. A prejudice, really, arising as much from ADHD as any learned assessment of music criticism. At best, an observation:

I don’t usually like double-albums. I find them generally undisciplined, self-absorbed affairs. Sometimes, as with The White Album, or Exile on Main Street, that lack of rigid focus is a pleasant suprise. But here, it just reflects the band’s inability to control themselves.

That album was Physical Graffiti, which people may like, but no one considers disciplined. But what about the others? Was the White Album really a departure of form for the Beatles, or just the next logical progression in a band-dissolution that had been going on, according to some, since Rubber Soul?

I ask because Exile on Main Street has long been considered the Stones’ greatest achievement, their artistic and critical pinnacle before what’s become a forty-year victory lap. Recent nostalgia has but added to its lustre, with alt.country and garage-punk luminaries willingly giving talking-face time to the obligatory documentary. You can hardly blame them: the most famous band in the world, forced into exile by the confiscatory tax code, living it up in the South of France, recording a double-album in their mobile studio whenever they good get the gang together and sober? Who doesn’t want to comment on that?

The tendency of pop culture is to dramatize the unremarkable, and the further back in time an event lies, the need to “print the legend” starts to assert itself. So I could very easily riff for a few paragraphs off say, Lester Bangs’ assessment: “Exile is about casualties, and partying in the face of them.” and go to bed.

But for all of that, is there really anything going on here that’s not present on Beggar’s Banquet? Gutbucket hard rock? Check. Smashed, bluesy country? Check. Stoned gospel? Checkcheckcheckitycheck.

If Exile stands up better than Beggar’s, it’s because there’s more music to go around, and a smaller gap between the earworms and the filler. The first six tracks on this album outpunch any six contiguous tracks on any Stones album, ever. They left nothing on the field this time, assigned nothing to the cutting room floor. Maybe this is everyone’s favorite Stones album because it’s the last time they sound like they gave a damn.

For me, it’s been a long time figuring all this out. I’ve owned this forever, as long as any of my Stones discs, and the first few times I heard it, I did not get what was happeneing. It sounded all over the place and off-center, without any of the obvious hits to carry me through. The only tune I connected with was “Sweet Virginia,” but boy, did I connect with that. It was a perfect, an invitation to dirty yourself and clean yourself at the same time, made full of worldly knowledge that I was too young to have thend didn’t know until that point that I wanted. Now I dig the whole messy thing, and don’t feel quite comfortable unless I can spare the time to listen to the whole thing. Unlike Let it Bleed, which felt comfortable as an old jacket the first time I heard it, Exile has new revelations every listen.

Grade: LL

Further Rolling Stones CD Reviews:

Rating My CD’s: Sticky Fingers


stickyfingers57. The Rolling Stones — Sticky Fingers

You could probably make an argument, if you really wanted, about the relative decline of Andy Warhol album covers by an exegesis of the “iconic” Velvet Underground & Nico cover as against the Sticky Fingers cover. For the Velvets, the genitalia was suggestion, conveyed via the kind of joke that middle schoolers could get. Five years later, as the Sixties Insurrection became the Seventies Satyricon, the need to feign interest in anything besides genitalia diminished, so we were treated to this.

That’s why I never even bought this album until last year, despite owning every other one of the “Holy Quadrilogy”. The joke in the album name was just too dumb. And the only songs I knew from it “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses”, were the ones from that era I cared least about — “Sugar” always seemed like a bastard offspring of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Wild Horses” was the kind of song that got covered by mid-90’s womyn-rawkers to accompany dramatic moments on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

But they don’t call it completism for nothing, and some recent readings convinced me that some of the country-folk-rock of the early 70’s deserved a listen. So I plunked down for the most recent remastering of Fingers (complaints of fans of the previous version on Amazon notwithstanding). And I’m glad I did.

This record has an understated beauty that none of the other Stones albums of this era can boast. Stuff like “Sway,” “Moonlight Mile,” and “Sister Morphine” sound like nothing at all the first run-through, only to get better and better with each listen. But the biggest surprise for me was “Dead Flowers,” which I did not know was a Stones song, being familiar only with the Townes Van Zandt version that closes out The Big Lebowski. And while there’s nothing wrong with that version, It’s hard not to prefer the peppier original (covering the Stones is harder than most people think, because Keith plays his guitar with a very specific tuning).

And yes, it’s impossible to hear “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” without images of Joe Pesci in Casino dancing about in your head. That’s all right; the song overcomes it’s cinematic baggage, combining with “You Gotta Move” to create some of the stinkiest blues the band ever laid down. So, like Let it Bleed, this album evenly balances between hard-rock punch and country-rock melody. That was what the Stones were best at, and they never quite did it better than this.

Grade: LL