J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Monday, June 25, 2007

extra mayhem - 24th june 2007

[a fantastic show tonight. i'm not sure if this is going to be my last extra mayhem for a few weeks or not. the information i was supposed to receive did not arrive. so we'll see. obviously i'll keep you posted right here on the blog.

tonight's wholesale album is one that i'm honestly surprised i didn't examine earlier, but it's by an artist whose 'artistic' credibility has been hampered for no good reason by serious commercial success over the past decade. we'll get to that in a little bit. for now, onward.]

J's Extra Mayhem Podcast: 24th June 2007 Show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
Me and the Sea - "Orchard" [a repeat from the band from midlothian, virginia. i like this song and their work in general is pretty interesting. how they would recreate it in a live setting is interesting also, as i've read they haven't performed live at all yet. in the meantime, check out their myspace for more music.]
Fairport Convention - "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" [my introduction to fairport convention and what an amazing one at that. from the 1969 album unhalfbricking. (see? i said i'd fix it here on the blog.) fairport convention records (at least, the earlier ones with sandy denny and richard thompson still on board) are somewhat hard to come by in brick and mortar stores. so because it doesn't occur to me to just order some, i've yet to own any of their albums.]
George S. Irving - "The Big Toe" [this was the first of two stories from scary stories to tell in the dark, a caedmon record recording of george irving reading stories from the classic childrens scary folklore collection by alvin schwartz. these books frightened me severely as a child and my well-worn paperback copies are a treasured item on my bookshelf. the pen and ink illustrations were the eeriest part - stephen gammell's work has sent a whole generation of children to bed with the worst images ever in their mind. you can see some of the illustrations by clicking here, but the worst ones aren't even there. "the big toe" is second from the left on the top row.]
the Clash - "Safe European Home" [from give 'em enough rope. an inebriated caller wanted to hear some punk rock. fair enough.]
the Late Virginia Summers - "Very Heaven" [from the excellent sundowning. i may retire these guys after this week, but they won't be leaving my personal playlist anytime soon. great atmospheric, image heavy music.]
Silver Apples - "Seagreen Serenades" [from their self-titled 1968 debut album. way ahead and out of its time, the only way to experience this record is to hear it. electronic, dronining, hypnotic music that forsaw all sorts of followers in its wake. there's really nothing quite like this album.]
George S. Irving - "Wait 'Til Martin Comes" [another story from the scary stories to tell in the dark recording.]
Tricky - "Ponderosa" [from maxinquaye. clattering, propulsive and hypnotic as well. this was tricky's debut away from massive attack and he came out swinging. a potential for a future wholesale album? you bet.]
Jason Isbell - "Dress Blues" [from the forthcoming sirens of the ditch, due out july 10th. i can't say enough about this song. it's note for note just a harrowing, beautiful, perfect song.]
the Melvins - "Eye Flys" [from 1987's gluey porch treatment. the lead track - a dirge of a song. slow, pounding drums and bass lead to an eventual catharsis of caterwauling that never gets above a turgid crawl. this is sludge at its finest.]
Scott Walker - "Buzzers" [from the drift. a percussive drinking-glass clink propels this song along a great deal of its length. it's that or stressed, neurotic string swells that underscore walker's emotive wails. one of the most unique records i've heard in ages.]
Tim Buckley - "Buzzin' Fly" [from 1969's happy sad. gah! i was off by a year! still, a compelling record that weaves its way into your ears slowly but surely. if you've never visited jeff's dad, this isn't a bad place to start.]

[tonight's wholesale album comes from 1974. it's an examination of the South - one that doesn't pull punches or rely on stereotypes. it's as honest as it can be and searches out its truths through the familiar, the universal through the personal. as i said tonight, i chose not to edit the opening track, "rednecks," even with its mutiple uses of a certain racial epitet. my reasons were simple: the context of the song, with newman's characters and their perspectives, was integral to an understanding of the album. to edit the character's voice in the song was to soften and limit our ability to judge for ourselves. so i left the song the way it was written - despite its use of words that i personally don't use. i think listeners are better off for it.

at the end, i also included some tracks from the expanded edition of this album and its predecessor demos, johnny cutler's birthday. here, newman elaborates on his ideas behind the songs, his intentions for their stories, his meanings and his fears. it's here, in a section that i did not air, that newman airs his fears about being perceived as stereotyping - something he wants to avoid. these tracks are an unmatched look into the writing process for newman and for those of us already familiar with the album, a great tool to dissect newman's intentions and ideas. i hope you enjoy them. tonights' wholesale album of the week is...]

Track Listing

1. Rednecks [click to listen.]
2. Birmingham
3. Marie [click to listen.]
4. Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man) [click to listen.]
5. Guilty
6. Louisiana 1927 [click to listen.]
7. Every Man a King
8. Kingfish
9. Naked Man
10. A Wedding in Cherokee County
11. Back on My Feet Again
12. Rollin'

Randy Newman - "The Joke" [here is the first of four tracks i played from the expanded edition of good old boys. here, newman expounds a little bit on the concept of johnny cutler's birthday and where he was going exactly. this is one of eight songs that didn't make it onto the eventual album, but were being demoed for possible inclusion at this point.]
Randy Newman - "My Daddy Knew Dixie Howell" [another of the songs demoed but ultimately left on the cutting room floor.]
Randy Newman - "Shining" [if there is any song that it's a shame didn't make the final cut, it's this one. written from the point of view of marie (the 'marie' being sung to in the song "marie"), it's a devastating song that is full of extreme empathy. it and the also demoed "good morning" serve to give a very different look to the character of johnny cutler, the one who sang "marie." without them, the context of the song shifts, giving johnny a flawed, but helplessly-in-love look to his character. with them, he becomes more dispicable and unlikeable. i'm not sure which i prefer. but it speaks to newman's strength as a songwriter that even without the support of those songs, "marie" stands on its own as an amazing piece. click here to listen to "shining."]
Randy Newman - "Marie" [here is newman demoing "marie." the melody between verses is slightly different and i almost wish he had saved that approach. the song is even more gorgeous minus the heavy strings the album version has (also see the "demo" version included at the end of the first disc of the expanded edition). all in all a wonderful look at a wonderful album.]

That'll do it for today. Look for my review of the new 49 Admiral album tomorrow and also an update on my status for this week's shows. Until then, take care.



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