Saturday, September 16, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017
When I wrote Brown Eyes Like His in the summer of '94, I immediately placed it in my tune-smith top tier. For the rest of '94, when I would play my tunes for people, Brown Eyes could always come up. By '95 and especially by '96, I dropped it in favor of what was then newer material. It came back for the Ardent sessions in '04 because I knew the Matt Stevenson set-up was conducive to a little Incesticide-like action (which Paul Levin and Buttons Sound in NYC had not been, with their no-drums policy). Happy to say that as of today, a paean to troubled adolescence I wrote as, as the case was, a troubled adolescent, Brown Eyes Like His, sits at # 9 on the Soundclick Indie chart, and # 25 on the Alternative Overall chart. Btw: this photo of me was taken at Main Street West in South Philly during the Ardent sessions, by Matt himself. I was going for a whole ragamuffin ensemble look, and it looks like I mostly nailed it. Peace.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
The mightiness of King Crimson, and King Crimson's first album, in 2017: it isn't just that "21st Century Schizoid Man" makes mince meat of Ornette Coleman, or that the album's essential enterprise (especially the title track) rips the Moody Blues and Jethro Tull to shreds; it's the principle of the thing. As is the case with The Yes Album and Fragile, here is a collection of songs, obviously written and performed by formally trained musicians, who can do the following big tasks in relation to music: orchestrate major crescendos and decrescendos; employ different time signatures artfully in relation to each other, so as to achieve sophisticated effects which also add solidity and the potentiality of permanence to the endeavor here; count bars from section to section of songs; and remain mindful of chiaroscuro, combinations of aural light and shade, so that repetitions of motifs, when they happen, are entirely earned. This is why I have what might be called "a case of prog": the apogee points of prog rock set up a game to determine which audiences, if any, can hear popular music, and spot a major musical game, and major musical moves, rather than the baby moves which constitute the backbone of most popular music (including my own, to be frank). The problem with the baby moves version of popular music, as I see it, is that over many decades, there's nothing in it to make it durable enough to last, or to need to be heard by anyone older than maybe 35. King Crimson takes English folk, rock, and avant-jazz, and puts together a composite of something that, musically (and, like I said, like Yes, Zeppelin, and the rest), courts serious art rather than mere craft. A thrilling ride; and a lesson, over many years, in how to contain multitudes.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
I'm in the middle of gorging myself with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath. Not light stuff, not frivolous stuff, as is commonly supposed, and all about man's inhumanity to man. In fact, listening to Black Sabbath in a recession this never-ending and steep is a stern reminder, to those of us who have spent our lives writing partly about hetero sex and relationships, that there is other essential terrain to be covered. In a human landscape incorrigibly and invariably at least partially dominated by killing and killers, who are the killers, and what happens in their brains? How are they able to rationalize what they do? Can they? The tenor of this album, thematically, is claustrophobic and dour, but honest, and honestly about taking an approach to songwriting grounded in the grimmest, most primeval levels of human reality.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Proud to say that, as of June 22, Brown Eyes Like His has climbed back onto the Soundclick charts and landed at #17, my first Soundclick placement in top 20 territory; and Brown Eyes has also reached the Top 100 in the overall Alternative Chart (#96), which weighs higher on Soundclick than the sub-generic chart. Do I feel like The Nazz? Why not. The Nazz, and/or totally anonymous. Happy summer!