Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In Anticipation of my Top Ten Albums for 2006
I was the first music critic for Warner Brothers On-Line (thanks Bob!) when they first went on-line back in 1996. I had a paid weekly column called "Greetings From the Edge" for about a year, at which point, we both lost interest. It was great though, as I'd always wanted to do it and I got tons of free CDs, 45s and press-only concert tickets. I also had an office with a soda machine full of beer and the means to get from seeing Morrissey in Central Park to seeing The Grifters at Brownies the same night. I wrote about Jeff Buckley's death, and I begrudgingly went to a Paul Westerberg show where he made me weep like a 5 year-old with a scraped knee. I trumped up the Mission of Burma reissues on Ryko, while never, ever expecting to see a reunion show. I tried to go beer for beer with Robert Pollard and found out that that was a huge error ("I think I might have mentioned that before.") I saw Mark Lanegan have a junkie meltdown and stood behind Elliott Smith at a Those Bastard Souls show, until the sheer force of his festering body odor forced me to move away. I was writing free of the thought of standing in front of the World Trade Center and watching the towers crumble - hell I wrote about Spiritualized playing at the Top of the Towers! It was the last time that I actively studied current music. And I miss it. Now it's all about searching on the Internet, listening to the two radio stations to the right, and reading everything I can get my hands on while REALLY focusing on my photography. Which again, leaves me feeling like my grip is loosening...
WHERE IS MY LOCAL RECORD STORE GUY?
Like John Swain (RIP), Matt @ Schoolkids, Jack @ Poindexters and John "The Guru" Williams?
Within the next week I will post my Top Ten Albums of 2006. Now, a couple of things: I only select the stuff I like and I know that my choices are the absolute correct ones. If I don't cover your favorite genre, too bad. And no, I won't consider editing the post and including your favorite record upon your suggestion. I'll listen to it, but man, I've already moved on to 2007.
My favorite record so far 23 days into this year? "Vietnam" by Vietnam. Shaggy Brooklyn boys who know how to rock.
Here's one of my reviews from "Greetings From the Edge" October 7th, 1997, afore alluded to…
THE GRIFTERS (9/17 - NYC)
Coming down off of Morrissey and the Port-O-San's in Central Park, with just enough time to ingest and wash the Upper West Side off my face, I head back uptown to catch what I will ultimately determine is the greatest live band currently touring. I smile to myself and say, wow, you were right to make all those stupid arcane comparisons about "the greatest live band currently touring" the last time you wrote about them. Here are some things that I like about The Grifters: they don't take themselves too seriously, they can play every musical style there is with mind-numbing dexterity, they are just some sort of old dudes from Memphis, they have a great sense of humor, they kick ass, they make me laugh, they rock with the fury of a thousand jungle beasts, they admittedly don't write songs about "the world's injustices" and they admittedly do write songs about "girls, liquor, the solar system, you know." Oh, and let us not forget the delicate interplay between the two guitarists/vocalists Scott Taylor and Dave Shouse, each bringing his unique bent to the table - Taylor more Stones/Howlin Wolf/Pearl Jam and Shouse more Bowie/George Clinton/Lou Barlow - a damn good, never boring mix. And let us not forget the fabulous rhythm section of drummer Stan Gallimore and cover artist and bassist Tripp Lamkins - well, they're the kick ass part, but you can also readily apply them to all the other things that I like about this band too, 'cause it's as much their doing as anyone's. So the place isn't even packed - in fact it is noticeably "unpacked," but that doesn't matter, 'cause one of their Memphis pals is out back selling vintage Shangri-La vinyl, tee-shirts and the like. I ingest some more and as the band takes the stage, I literally walk up front and wonder where all my music loving buddies are and then I think that the stories of this evening will just make me more popular with the ladies. The Grifters saunter and launch. They squeeze and moan. They spit and spew. They good. They real good. Burning through the new album, the last album, the last EP and the album before that (with a couple of single-only tracks and weird sorta "Those Bastard Souls" songs re-werked as weird sorta Grifters songs), you could never accuse them of just burning through the new album. Whatever. I couldn't help but wonder if there was something in the New York City air, when someone yelled for "Junkie Blood" (the first chapter to the heroin trilogy - followed by "Slow Day For The Cleaner" and "Spaced Out" off of the new one) when Taylor fired a "Good luck, pal." right back at them. Other highlights: a played too early in the set cause we were all still settling down but great nonetheless "Spaced Out," "X-Ray Hip," "Skin Man Palace" and "Sweetest Thing" off the new one, "Full Blown Possession." I've said it once, I'll say it again - see this band.
I was 32 years old then. The Grifters don't exist anymore. And honestly, I can't remember if it was at Brownie's or the Westbeth Theatre or hell, maybe it was Tramps. Doesn't matter. They're all gone...
And here's the first shot from my new, new series. It's called: Naked hairdryers and brushes in chairs.