Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

“Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth”

parkay
Parkay Quarts
Content Nausea, 2014

I feel comfortable proclaiming “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth” the best Parquet Courts song to-date. (Er, Parkay Quarts, whatever — I guess the distinction on Content Nausea is really just the 4-track recorder, right?) Anyway, they saved it all for this song. It’s like hearing the last 50 years of guitar rock on one track: the skewed-heartland lyricism of Bob Dylan; the sometimes-sincere slack of Pavement; the blocky, amateurish guitar of The Velvets. Throw in some kind of abstract southern-Odyssey storytelling and baby, you got a stew goin’. I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly new about this, but it’s rare to hear it done this good. I like this look on Parquet — more of this next time please, less “Stoned and Starving.”

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/12%20Uncast%20Shadow%20of%20a%20Southern%20Myth.mp3]

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“Coming Back”

jay stay paid
J Dilla
Jay Stay Paid, 2009

Got a quick one today, but it’s one of my favorite Dilla beats ever. There’s not much left to say about the Detroit hip-hop legend that hasn’t been said better elsewhere, so I’ll skip the myth-building and get right to the music. Just like with Dylan, the best way to acquaint yourself with the work of an acclaimed artist like Dilla is to simply find a song you like and go from there. Sequenced by Pete Rock, posthumous collection Jay Stay Paid is an ideal way to do this, as it features beats from every era of his work. If you’ve any interest in hip-hop, at least a few should stick with you. “Coming Back” is a standout, a straightforward loop of an obscure soul track (Brother to Brother’s “The Affair”) that seems so mind-blowingly simple once you’ve heard the original sample, you realize only a producer of Jay’s caliber could’ve put it together. Listen on repeat!

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/26%20Coming%20Back.m4a]

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“Alice”

tom waits - alice
Tom Waits
Alice, 2002

Tom Waits’ songs, as the man himself has identified, typically fall into one of three buckets — they’re either “bawlers,” “brawlers” or “bastards.” This adherence to form, this tacit nod to tradition, a willingness to identify one’s debt to and position in the Great American Songbook, is how we know Tom Waits, like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen before him, belongs in the canon. Or something. What I know is that “Alice,” a bawler if ever there was one, is a damn fine song. Ostensibly an outline of Lewis Carroll’s obsession with a certain young woman in Wonderland, the song skates the same thin ice as its narrator: knife-edged jazz ballad, tender pedophillic paen, suicidal mash note. So compelling it makes you feel for a guy who knows he’s being a creep. Just like Gershwin, right? Right? Wait, why are you making that face?

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/01%20Alice.m4a]

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“One Too Many Mornings”

Bob Dylan_The times they are a changin
Bob Dylan
The Times They Are a-Changin’, 1964

There’s so much damn talk surrounding Dylan’s every gesture that it’s easy to lose sight of why anyone cared in the first place. That in the early days, when he wasn’t trying to convince the media he’d run away from the circus or been raised by wolves or whatever, what made him special was his ability to conjur a moment and keep you there. This is one of the most immediate examples. It’s evening, he’s home, and if he isn’t alone yet he’d rather be. There’s been an argument, both sides are exhausted, and the outcome is inevitable. Who hasn’t known this frustration before, this restlessness? Who hasn’t been in a relationship like this, romantic or otherwise? And who, for that matter, has written a better song?

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/04%20One%20Too%20Many%20Mornings.mp3 ]

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