Monday, February 16, 2009

iPod Update (Now With Banjo!)

"Music Monday" continues...

For the past week or so, Fosco has been listening to these three albums:

1. Jack's Mannequin, Everything In Transit. Fosco has Oz to thank for this recommendation. Jack's Mannequin is piano-driven power-pop with some emo-tones. Both of their albums are great, but Fosco is really digging "Everything In Transit" this week. A song like "Holiday From Real" is a pure distillation of California summertime (which Fosco is missing during this rainy February)--not to mention that "holiday from real" is very much what grad school is about. You can't go wrong with a bridge like this:

Oh, California in the Summer
Ah, and my hair is growing long
Fuck yeah, we can live like this
Fuck yeah we can! (Wait, wasn't that one of Obama's slogans?)

But if you prefer raw emo-power (and what could be greener?), you should join Fosco in rocking out to "I'm Ready":

This is one of those songs that grows and grows and grows on you. I've been singing it in my sleep the last two nights. I'm ready, so don't stop.

2. Steve Martin, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. Yes, it's that Steve Martin. And no, it's not a joke. Steve Martin has written an album of banjo songs. And the stranger thing is that it's good--really good! Now Fosco is not really what you would call a "bluegrass fan"; but he does appreciate a catchy or charming song, even if it's played on a banjo. And Martin's written several good ones. There is the sweet and melodic "Pretty Flowers" which features a duet between singing thumb Vince Gill and Dolly Parton (who sounds absolutely amazing). A number of the tracks are instrumentals, including the comfortably danceable "Blue River Waltz." And Martin himself even sings (although not always that well), as on the comedic "Late For School" which provocatively rhymes the words "flamingo" and "Filipino."

3. The Gaslight Anthem, The '59 Sound. Fosco owes this one to Todd. The Gaslight Anthem is a rock/punk hybrid that one might describe as a cross between Bruce Springsteen and the Ramones. Their songs seems pretty straightforward, yet are surprisingly allusive--Springsteen lyrics, Counting Crows lyrics, and Charles Dickens are a few references that Fosco has noticed. Musically, they have two tempi: fast and faster. However, they can still write a sad and meaningful semi-punk song about death, like the title track (Fosco's favorite):
Well, I wonder which song they're gonna play when we go.
I hope it's something quiet and minor and peaceful and slow.
When we float out into the ether, into the Everlasting Arms,
I hope we don't hear Marley's chains we forged in life.
'Cause the chains I been hearing now for most of my life.

Did you hear the '59 Sound coming through on Grandmama's radio?
Did you hear the rattling chains in the hospital walls?
Did you hear the old gospel choir when they came to carry you over?
Did you hear your favorite song one last time?
As song lyrics go, these are really quite good. You can watch the video here:


Anonymous said...

ugh... crossing punk with... BRUCE?! Blasphemy!!

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