Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Random Music Post

This week I have been listening to some Leonard Cohen records. Mostly, New Skin for the Old Ceremony and the first 2 songs from The Future. It’s nice to hear how his voice changed over the years, like a couple of snapshots juxtaposed in a photo album. The same can be done with almost anyone whose career has spanned such a length of time (Dylan, Tom Waits to a certain extent).

Back in the days of 2141 N. Southport, Cohen was part of the regular soundtrack along with Dylan and Waits. All three seemed to share similar qualities, mainly untrained voices and poetic lyrics. A debate was staged between the members of the household as to who was the superior artist. I chose Waits, Mike picked Dylan and Rollo opted for Leonard Cohen. We agreed to disagree and tried not to let one of the three singers monopolize the stereo, although Dylan seemed to find the heaviest rotation (fuckin’ Mike Smith…).

So this week I have been thinking about Leonard Cohen’s work a bit more than usual. Maybe it has to do with the recent release of a new recording—which I hear is pretty mediocre. It stands to reason; his last few recordings were hit-or-miss efforts. The Future has two incredible songs and a lot of crap. But “Waiting for the Miracle” is good enough to justify picking it up (used if you can find it).

Giving New Skin a fresh listen, I remember first hearing “Is This What You Wanted” and thinking it was a great song. Now, I can barely stand it. The shift in tone from verse to chorus used to impress me but for some reason it has become tiresome. On the other hand, “Chelsea Hotel” used to bore me but I now find it to be a wonderful little gem. “Field Commander Cohen” is still the standout track and “There is a War” remains brilliant. “Who By Fire” sends chills through these here bones.

Hell, I might go grab Songs of Leonard Cohen. Why not? What else do I have to do? I wouldn’t mind hearing, “That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” right about now. It’ll surely beat “Jingle Bells” and that god-awful Paul McCartney Xmas song.


Yesterday saw me spinning The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and the classic radio hit, “Fire”. It’s been some time since I heard this and I mostly associate it with childhood memories of screaming aunts and dancing uncles. And my brother laughing at the frightening declaration, “I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU… FIRE!” And the eerie chromatic organ. The rest of the CD is equally screwy. Psychedelic and goofy but I am loving it. An odd little record, right up my alley. Thanks to my stepmother for the Xmas gift, and for the Mrs. Dalloway Reader. Bonus thanks for the memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which may be the best titled Xmas gift I will get this year.

The old man came through with The Cramps and their classic, A Date With Elvis, which has been in heavy rotation as well. Nothing like driving around Chicago, doing the last minute shopping and singing along with “Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?” I love finding the perfect music to play around the holidays. Last year’s Xmas soundtrack was Reign in Blood by Slayer. This year it’ll be The Cramps and Bad Boy Butch Batson. Merry fucking Xmas.


Oh, but there are so many other CDs I wish to own. I think all the Xmas gift music has hit these shores, so I’ll have to plop down my own cash and secure some tunes. A brief list of what I want, in case a long lost friend or relative is reading this (ha) and feeling generous:

Colossus of Destiny – Melvins
Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time – Kaada
Black Earth – Bohren & Der Club of Gore
Sounds of Disaster – End
Inner Scratch Demons – Eddie Def
Great Phone Calls – Neil Hamburger
Magik – John Zorn
Eucademix – Yuka Honda
Hemophiliac: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 6 – Hemophiliac
Nani Nani 2- Zorn/Eye
Baila! Gitano Baila! – Roberto Juan Rodriguez
People – Mike Pathos
Tonic – Rovo
Steady Diet of Nothing – Fugazi
Songs in the Key of Z – Various Artists
Complete Recordings – Minor Threat
Never Breathe What You Can’t See – Jello Biafra and the Melvins
Endangered Species – eX Girl
As Statues Fell – Fear of God
Cop – Swans
Seasons in the Abyss – Slayer
Point Blank – Nailbomb
40 More Reason to Hate Us – A.C.
Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton
All Men Are Pigs – Fe-Mail
Absolutely Free – Mothers of Invention
Prick – Melvins
Litanies of Satan – Diamanda Galás
Merzbeat – Merzbow