Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge
Twelve Reasons to Die
[Wax Poetics; 2013]
Rap music lends its self naturally to the narrative form, so it’s no wonder that many modern MCs have created conceptual albums focused around an overlying story. The problem is that these attempts at concept are usually failures in terms of following the traditional story arc. Tyler the Creator’s psychiatry session Goblin was a haphazard, sloppy mess; Kanye West’s mental breakdown on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was entertaining but a little bit too self-absorbed (go figure), and Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city lacked any sense of character development or maturation. Maybe they could all learn a thing or too about storytelling from the legendary raconteur Ghostface Killah with his 2013 masterpiece Twelve Reasons to Die.
Last night while I was sleeping BDWPS.com reached a milestone, attaining its 2000th follower. While it may not seem like much in comparison to music blogger powerhouses like The Needle Drops, Aquarium Drunkard, and Brooklyn Vegan, it’s quite an accomplishment considering our little blog’s meager beginnings. When we first started writing about music our readership could be counted on two pairs of hands with those said readers being comprised solely of friends and families. But somehow, over the years, this little hobby has gained some steam, making it all an even more worthwhile venture. Since 1,986 of you probably know nothing of BobDylanWrotePropagandaSongs.com’s origin, I thought I’d take a break from writing reviews and give you a quick look back at where it all began…
This month’s episode of BDWPS Podcast is chock full of choice cuts. In fact, start to finish, it may be the best playlist yet. Check it:
Wavves “Afraid of Heights”
Kaleidoscope “Dive Into Yesterday”
Youth Lagoon “Dropla”
Kurt Vile “Never Run Away”
BOAT “Inside of an Aquarium”
Slayer “Spirit in Black”
Bob Dylan “Jokerman”
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[Dead Oceans; 2013]
When Phosphorescent first broke onto the indie-folk scene in 2003, comparisons to Bob Dylan were a given with Matthew Houck’s knack for writing imagery-laced lyrics over jangly guitars, hints of Freewheelin’ Bob abound. 10-years later with his latest release Muchacho, Houck is still redefining one of Bob’s concoctions, but this time around his inspiration comes from a much different section of Dylan’s cookbook. No, it’s not country-fried Nashville Skyline nor is it the late night munchie snack of Blonde On Blonde. Instead, Muchacho takes on the essence of the seminal Infidels.
In late 1983, Infidels was heralded as Bob’s return from grace (a return from the “grace of God” in this case after two panned “religious albums”). Infidels is often considered his best album since 1975’s Blood On the Tracks. The album marked a definitive change in Bob’s approach. Rather than strumming away on his acoustic like he’d done for the better part of the past two decades, Bob stepped back and allowed the organs and synths to broaden space and time. With Mark Knophler fiddling around on his guitar, the songs often feel spacious and airy. Of all of his albums, Infidels is his most 80s album to come out in the decade of post punk and new wave.
Ores & Minerals
[Fat Possum; 2013]
In Billy Collins poetic plea “Introduction to Poetry,” he asks his students to “drop a mouse into a poem / and watch him probe his way out.” Recently while reading this poem, I found myself making a connection between the lab rat metaphor and the London band Mazes. The obvious association is in the band’s name, but my connection went much deeper than the literal.
From the first time I heard Ores & Minerals, I knew I loved the band’s sophomore album. The problem was in the fact I didn’t know why I liked it so much. Like the students in Collins poem who “…begin beating (the poem) with a hose / to find out what it means,” I wanted a clear analysis of what was at the core of my enjoyment. Few of the songs feature choruses, and if they do, they aren’t instantly memorable. There aren’t any tracks on the album that beg my attention nor do the lyrics ever delve much beyond the contents of a fortune cookie. The songs seem to ramble on for long stretches of time, never really going any place. Yet, despite all this monotony, I couldn’t quit listening to the album. Like the mouse in the maze, I was lost in the music but had no real way of figuring out the answer as to why.
In this episode I take a look back at some of the highlights and low-lights from the South By Southwest Music Festival, 2013. You’ll hear new tracks from artists like Marnie Stern, Foxygen, Flaming Lips, TV Ghost, and Pissed Jeans as well as some classics from Afghan Whigs and Songs: Ohia.
Marnie Stern “Year of the Glad”
TV Ghost “Phantasm”
Foxygen “No Destruction”
Flaming Lips “Sun Blows Up Today”
Action Bronson “Gateway to Wizardry”
Pissed Jeans “Teenage Adult”
Afghan Whigs “Going to Town”
Songs: Ohia “Just Be Simple”
Check it out here or subscribe on iTunes (keyword “BDWPS”)
Chelsea Light Moving
I was beginning to think Thurston Moore had gone soft on us. Don’t get me wrong, his softer side is nothing to scoff about. His two solo albums from the past five years have been intimate, atmospheric listens, and Sonic Youth’s two releases in the past decade have been much more stripped down in comparison to the days of Dirty and Goo. But with his recent divorce with band mate Kim Gordon (and probable break-up of Sonic Youth), it seems Thurston has reconnected with his distortion pedal, stirring up the ashes of his bratty brand of disorder on his new project, Chelsea Light Moving.