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Drunken Butterfly

Or, Random Observations Provoked by Seeing Sonic Youth Live for the First Time

Jun 19, 2006
Category: Music

Inner City Blues

If I’m remembering theory notation correctly, the change for “Inner City Blues” is i-IV. Two chords. It opens with twenty-four straight measures of the minor root before finally changing to the major IV, where it stays for all of four measures before returning to the root. Would have bored me senseless a decade ago; now, I’ll be damned if that change ain’t transcendent. The song is a chant-like, soul-filled lamentation. An angry prayer.

Feb 20, 2006
Category: Music, Song of the Moment

Silence (and a New Mix)

I had two main goals with this mix. First, I decided to divide it evenly between older and newer music. There’s always a jump of at least 15 years from tune to tune. But I also wanted the mix to be coherent, so I was looking for a tone that could maybe be described as “Songs that might actually sound better if they were played on an old, hissing record player.”

Dec 11, 2005
Category: Mix Tapes, Music, Song of the Moment

Everything is Copasetic, Now

At Girish’s request, I’ve pasted together a mix of music that features the Fender Rhodes.

Aug 19, 2005
Category: Mix Tapes, Music, Song of the Moment

Also Sprach Zarathustra

I only know of Deodato because of Being There (1979). Hal Ashby drops his needle on “Zarathustra” during the long sequence near the beginning of the film when Chance leaves his now-dead employer’s estate and wanders, umbrella and suitcase in hand, through the streets of Washington, D.C.

Aug 10, 2005
Category: Music, Song of the Moment

A Good Man is Hard to Find

Sufjan Stevens’ recent performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic is now available in streaming video. It’s a fantastic set.

Jul 16, 2005
Category: Music, Song of the Moment

Safeway Cart

The new Song of the Moment, Neil Young’s “Safeway Cart,” scores a scene in which the Legionnaires march through a rocky desert, one of their many meaningless exercises in the film. It plays like a dirge and is one of Beau Travail’s few explicit references to the Christian allegory at play.

May 15, 2005
Category: Music, Song of the Moment

Missing

“Missing” won Song of the Moment honors in a close race with “Black Tambourine” and “Hell Yes,” both of which, it must be said, are even more ass-shaking than “Missing” but not quite as perfect. All three sound even better in multi-channel.

Apr 1, 2005
Category: Music, Song of the Moment

Notes on “Sonny’s Blues”

Like a soloist, Baldwin introduces an idea, a phrase, then he explores it, explodes it, develops it until he finds something new, something more precise or melodic. Baldwin accomplishes in his story what Sonny accomplishes in that jazz club. And, really, isn’t this just the most beautiful “vanishing evocation” (as the narrator describes music) of what art is capable of doing?

Mar 17, 2005
Category: Words

Evening on the Ground

Joanna and I just made what we hope will be the last of many recent trips to southern Alabama. It was another rough one — the type of experience that is supposed to give us “closure.” Everytime someone says that to me (and always with the best intentions, I know), I think of Philip Roth’s […]

Mar 14, 2005
Category: Music, Song of the Moment