Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taken for a Ride

Some music stories are destined to be tragedies from the start.

"Pop" is a dirty word in most critic's circles. It evokes disdain and instant poor reviews. But what do you do with a band like The Cardigans? I mean, it's obviously Pop, but when you take in the fact that they're writing their own Pop, their own way, you can see why the jury is still out.

What I mean is Pop is usually written by a "machine"; expensive writers, producers, and guest vocalists/musicians all come together to force an artist on the general public. We are supposed to see just how amazingly "pop"ular that artist is. OMG, "insert Favourite Hip Hop/R&B star here" is on this track? Holla!

But the Cardigans have no guest stars, no guest writers, and no shame; They set out to write a hopelessly catchy and sweet album in "Life", and they prove they understand what real irony is. (Note to Hipsters: claiming to like something random from the 80's is not ironic, it's just annoying. Go back to playing with your iPhone. Now THAT's the ironic part).

Just one year before "Lovefool" would make the Corduroy Boys dance at the same time as the Crop Top Girls, "Carnival" came out. We didn't really embrace it in Canada, but we should have. And so should you.

"Carnival" by The Cardigans

Friday, July 16, 2010

Trapped. And I Like It.

Myself and Dave rarely disagree so sharply as we do about Blitzen Trapper. He can't believe I listen to this trash. Well, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

I found myself drawn back to the 90's when I heard them; You know, when "alternative" actually meant something. To me, it stood for(and still should stand for) artists that don't give a rat's bum about what might sell. It meant (and still means, and should mean) complete artistic freedom.

Blitzen Trapper runs the gambit; They don't care what's in, what's cool, or hell, they sometimes seem to not care about what sounds pleasing. They (in the immortal words of Big Audio Dynamite) just play music.

In "Wild Mountain Nation", we are treated to a journey down a southern gravel road. Smoking a joint on top of a hay bail in the back of a '68 F-100. Could we start a fire?

I don't give a truck. Just play music.

"Wild Mountain Nation" by Blitzen Trapper

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What I Really Want

When the name "Muddy Waters" comes up, about 3 or 4 blues songs come to mind, and it seems that's the only thing the casual fan knows.

Well listen to this.

First, the scene opens on a poorly-lit, smoky jazz club in Chicago. That's right, Jazz. This is quite possibly the smoothest Blues you'll ever hear... The spotlight snaps on the trio of Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, and Fred Below. Little Walter's playing from the backroom, harmonica hauntingly echoing from down the hall.

The lights come up slowly on Muddy Waters, seated, with his guitar, at the front. This is a perfect moment for anyone who digs the history of blues, and it's all caught on a 10" 78.

"I Just Want to Make Love to You" - Muddy Waters