Six weeks into LxL, things are still changing and adapting. Our little website is going through puberty if you will. Growing hair in strange places, and waking up with a wet spot in its shortpants. Today, we would like to offer up the first installment of LxListening, where one of us will basically provide a quick snapshot of what we are currently listening to. This is really just an opportunity for us to talk half-assedly about a bunch of things, instead of focus on one thing like grown-ups. Also, while things may change a little bit with this section, we will probably try to have 4 somewhat current picks (within the past year or so), and 1 older pick(several years old at least). Enjoy, and thank you for reading.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: “Alabama Pines” & “Codeine”
I’m cheating early on in this new experiment, as I couldn’t pick between these two beauties pulled from April’s release, Here We Rest. On neither song is a note wasted, every one of them serving a distinct purpose. Also familiar to both tracks are stunning but simple violin pieces guiding the listener from beginning to end. “Codeine” in particular gave me some weird sense of David Allan Coe, although after listening to DAC’s greatest hits, I couldn’t quite place what it was. I think something along the lines of song structure, or just a general sense of apathy. On a side note, this is a country album, and not a southern rock album. This may lead to a full post next week, but I believe Pitchfork (among other publications) simply refuse to call a good country album “country”, opting for southern rock in lieu of that dastardly distinction.
Slaughterhouse: “Back on the Scene”
“SLAUGHTERHOUSE, ITS THE SWINE FLU” is the first line I ever heard from this rap “supergroup”. This fantastic lyric appears on the iTunes bonus track “Session One” on Eminem’s Recovery. Their work on that track was enough to get me to check out their EP that came out earlier this year. “Back on the Scene” emerges as the go-to track, sounding like a more polished Mystikal track, with lyricists that can flow instead of grunt (don’t get me wrong, I love Mystikal). While “Back on the Scene” is the cream on this EP, all six tracks are at least worth a spin.
Noah Gundersen: “Family”
Now begins the run of three songs that I heard on TV shows in the past couple weeks. I heard Gundersen’s “Family” during the closing sequence of Sons of Anarchy last week, and I must say it was haunting. Let me set this up for you: “Family” is playing during a series of cut scenes, the most important of which involves the main protagonist showing up at a girl’s place of business acting like he is going to cheat on his wife with aforementioned girl. Once protagonist is in a dressing room with girl and she thinks they are going to consummate, protagonist throws girl against a mirror, spits in her face, and then says “whore”. He doesn’t say “you are a whore”, just “whore”. Mind you, this is the protagonist of the show. Anyway, this song really plays up all the emotion during the entire sequence, and sounds like a Damien Rice B-Side to boot. Beware the rest of Gundersen’s material, as it doesn’t live up to “Family”
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi ft. Norah Jones: “Black”
Off of the album Rome, which is supposedly a soundtrack to some non-existent spaghetti western, this song (as do most the songs containing lyrics on the album) really hits the spot. I listened to this album a lot when it first came out, but it had kind of fallen out of the rotation until it was played during the closing sequence of the season finale of Breaking Bad. Another perfect usage of a song in television. If you haven’t watched season 4 of BB yet, I won’t ruin it, but I will say that this sequence proves once and for all that Walter White is an irredeemable piece of shit. “Black” could not be more fitting a song to play when you realize this.
Flogging Molly: “If Ever I Leave This World Alive”
I heard this track on an episode of The Shield, which is my current program du jour. Can’t really even remember the context, but the song kind of hit home. I never became too familiar with Flogging Molly, or any of the faux Irish bands to come out of Boston or Providence or wherever, but this is the type of song I can dig on. “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” is one of those songs that makes you wish you were in the bar hoisting a pint in the air, spilling half of it all over the place, and just not giving a shit because you are having a damn good time.