Welcome back, Built to Spill!

It was recently announced that the new Built to Spill album, Untethered Moon is due to be released on vinyl April 18 for Record Store Day, with wide release coming on April 21.

Very good to be hearing from these guys again.

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The Dixie Chicks

One of the most recent additions to my favorite 100 songs list (one of my first posts on this blog) is Not Ready to Make Nice, the incredible attack the Dixie Chicks launched against their former fans who turned on them after the main singer said un-kind words about Bush the Younger while they were on tour in Europe.  Since that time, I’ve taken more time to get into some of their music, but haven’t really posted about them at length.  Here’s a few tracks by them that stand out in my mind.

Not Ready to Make Nice

This song absolutely deserved to rocket them to Album of the Year at the 2007 Grammy awards.  It’s a brilliant screed.  Many of my friends might not not agree with me, but if this song had been written by a punk band, there’s no question it would be a punk rock anthem.

Lullaby

Early on in my girlfriend’s and my relationship, she introduced me to this song.  One day while we were instant messaging each other, I asked her “How long do you want to be loved?”.  Her not-missing-a-beat reply was “Is forever enough, is forever enough?” ❤

Goodbye Earl

This is a great anti-domestic violence song.  I’d never advocate killing somebody to stop that kind of situation, but Earl was the kind of “missing person that nobody missed at all”.  Plus there’s the fact that this song tells a story from beginning to end, which is pretty rare in hit songs now days.

Landslide

Every time I sing this song, I’m singing the Smashing Pumpkins version, if only because I can get closer to Billy Corgan’s voice than I can to Stevie NIcks’, but here’s a third option.  It was interesting to see how popular it was at the time it was released.

It was 20 Years Ago Today….February 1995

Mike Watt: Ball-Hog or Tug Boat?

Mike Watt was the lead singer of seminal punk band The Minutemen, who were a three piece band hailing from San Pedro, CA. They’re mostly remembered for their sentiment toward recording and performing songs: minimal takes, the song should not be any longer than it has to be, and tours happened with minimal fuss. They summed up this sentiment in the phrase, “We Jam Econo”.

Ball-Hog or Tug Boat is Mike Watt’s first solo album, released after his post-Minutemen band, Firehose, disbanded. Because of his place at the forefront of the nascient west coast punk scene, he was able to enlist the help from members of many famous 90s-era bands, including members of Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam, The Lemonheads, Screaming Trees, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beastie Boys, to form a different band for each song on the album.

Track number two on the album is the first single, Against the 70’s, which features Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on lead vocals. The refrain of the song, which is repeated many times throughout, is “The kids of today should defend themselves against the Seventies”. The implication being that much of what happened in that decade does not bear repeating. It’s not overtly political, nor does it point to any specifics, but acknowledges that the 70s were a rough time in the recent history of the United States.

In a direct reference to his time spent recording this song, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder threw a line into the song Habit which stated he was “speaking as a child of the 90s”.

After track three, titled Drove Up from Pedro, named after Watts’ home town, comes the other single from the album, Piss-Bottle Man featuring Evan Dando of the Lemonheads on lead vocals.

The song is oddly catchy, with the chorus of “oooh, oooh, oooh/piss bottle man”. Like many of Mike Watt’s songs through, the meaning may be deeply hidden. This one though, I think it’s nothing more than an homage to people who, rather than stopping while driving, prefer to urinate into bottles. So, there’s that…

Track six, while not entirely related, nominally references a song form Watt’s Minutemen days. The track in question is titled Intense song for Madonna to Sing, most likely a direct reference to Political song for Michael Jackson to Sing. Paradoxically, the track is instrumental.

The final standout track of the album is track eight, Sexual Military Dynamics, feauring Henry Rollins on lead vocals barking such lines as “the facts and the lies come screeching out” and “you secretly win every time that you lose/with your passive aggressive distortion blues”.

Track thirteen, Tell Em Boy, featured Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum taking lead vocal duties. The song seems to be about the idea of “selling out” only to be forgotten (or perhaps never make it anyway). However, the lyrics are murky enough that even after several years, it’s still hard for me to tell which point the song was supposed to make.

The final track, Coincidence is Either Hit or Miss, is one of only two tracks on the album where Mike Watt takes on lead vocal duties (the other being track one). The song takes a jazzy groove, complete with oboe (?) and is almost entirely instrumental, save for a breakdown about 4 minutes into the track.

This album was my first introduction to Mike Watt, sneakily using popular early 90s artists to draw in a new post Minutemen crowd. Twenty years later though, I find my self listening to Double Nickels a whole not more than this album. Watt has parlayed his notoriety into a recurring gig as the bass player for the reunited Stooges. His most recent work was with a member of The Go! Team, who released an album in 2014 under the name CUZ.

Leonard Nimoy: 1931 – 2015

Not predominantly for his contributions, nonetheless, I’d like to show my nerd for a moment and acknowledge the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

My girlfriend and I snuck a peak at him several years ago at Emerald City ComiCon. He looked old then, but it was still cool to see a man I’d loved in my childhood taking time for (paying) fans. He never really could live down playing Mr. Spock, and so decided to embrace it. Live long and prosper, Mr. Nimoy, Live long and prosper.

Sleaford Mods

I just checked out the new record by the British group Sleaford Mods.  I would describe them as an English rap duo, but Itunes thinks they’re Punk.

I report, you decide

They very much remind me of The Streets…ah, I miss Mike Skinner.

New record release day moving to Friday worldwide

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2015/02/album_release_d.html

In an instance of one blog covering another, it has been decided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) that the new worldwide release date for new music will be Friday.  Currently, it is Monday in the UK and Tuesday in the US, the world’s two largest music markets.

I’ve relied for some time on the knowledge that most new music is released on Tuesday and new movies (theater run) are released on Friday.  Now they’re going to be the same day…not a huge deal from my perspective, but it’s hard to see why they decided to move the two largest markets to a whole new day of the week for new releases…

Sometimes life just demands harassment

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/293718211.html

An Idaho lawmaker, i think, thought he had a good idea, when asking a question at an enquiry looking into whether abortion rights may be restricted in the state.  His idea had to do with pill sized cameras that are sometimes swallowed and passed through the intestines, filming the whole time, in order for doctors to get a look at somebody’s digestive tract from beginning to end.  His question, “can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy?”

The answer, which is just amazing, was ” that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.”

Idaho state lawmaker who thinks babies grow in the actual “tummy”, you sir deserve the assault of songs I’m about to post below.

Enjoy

Cover song: To Have and to Have Not

Much like the top of my pages, I have a quote as part of my IM at work.  The other day, I changed it to “Just because you’re going forward/doesn’t mean I’m going backward”.

To celebrate, I thought I’d post the Billy Bragg and Lars Fredericksen versions of the song.

Home Street Home

Fat Mike (of NOFX) and friends have recently unleashed a new musical on the world.

it’s called Home Street Home, and this is one of the tracks from the album:

and here’s the trailer:

Looking forward to connecting the music I’ve heard so far to the story.