Thursday, November 17, 2011

Never let me down

Yes, I've got stuff to say- but no time to say it in. On top of my insane work schedule, I've got relatives visiting in short order. So I really cannot post much. I know that this lets down the entire world, as I've been posting so consistently lately (sarcasm can be printed, you just have to know the author).
So, just a thought to tide me over- I have two main jobs, right now. Bothare basically servicing the needs of rather wealthy people. Without getting too deep into it, you know that line in Fight Club- We watch you while you sleep- well, it's true. I get compensated middle class wages, which is good. But, I'm seen as being part of the machines I operate- these people depend on me, and don't realize it. For example, a very big reality TV star uses my services. I'm not stupid, so I know what they are doing, and so, I don't need the tabloids, I do know their secrets, and probably could make a mint by spilling said secrets. But, then, I'd have to live with myself, and quite frankly, it's against my sense of propriety to divulge these things I know. But, it irks me that so many wealthy people are so utterly base, debased, venal, and crapty humans. have you seen what Spencer Pratt wrote? It's ironic, because he's basically flogging a book, probably so's he'll get some additional fame and fortune, but what he says about the commercial nature of all things celebrity is dead on the money (all puns intended). If you buy into the celebrity culture, you're literally buying in, and I'm warning you now, it's a sick game where you'll never get what they promised you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alt Country?

More of a by-the-bye than a real post: you may have noticed some "alt country" in my tastes. I hate that term. Rocknroll, by its very nature is a mix between the blues and country. It wasn't just white people playing the blues- especially because the guys who pioneered it, like Ike Turner and Little Richard were black. It was incorporating what was around- so, from the gaelic and Scots high country interpreting American Swing you derive American Western Swing, then, add some Latino cowboy chords, and you get the kind of Country that people heard- hillbilly music. You add that to the gospel, and jazz derived blues formats, and you get rocknroll. If it was just White guys playing the blues and not a real mix, it'd be a lot slower, and a lot more modal- less open and major chords...
For me, then, Rocknroll inherently has a country element. I've been hearing it since I was a boy, and it was that lack of the electrified country tempo that was killing my love for music in the late seventies. I don't hate the disco beat, and I like funk. I'm ok even with the blues, but minus that hillbilly shuffle, and it gets pretty flaccid.
For me, therefore, a lot of what gets called "alt country" just sounds like rocknroll to me. I've been listening to it about as long as anything else- starting with True West, and then, the Americana side of the Dream Syndicate, and the more pronounced "Death Country" (Thanks George, for that term) of Thin White Rope, all the way back in 1984-85, going through stuff that actually made the country charts like Dwight Yoakam and the Mavericks, into Uncle Tupelo, and Son Volt and Wilco, to the present day, it's always been a part of what I listen to (oh, and bear in mind, I'm skipping over the " Cowpunk" of bands in Los Angeles- everyone from Los Lobos, The Minutemen, The Gun Club, to the Blasters, and X, as I just think of all that as Punk Rock, not even rocknroll)- so much like Alternative rock- Alternative to What?? It's just rocknroll to me....

Hybrid Moments

So, the past couple of days, I've been listening to what might get called hybrid music- for example, Lydia Loveless and her country/punk stylings. I'm not sure if I really think of this stuff as hybrid music. I mean, right this second, I'm listening to "Old Folks Boogie" by Jack Oblivian, from his new one "Rat City". I can hear the memphis R&B and the early 1970's rock and soul connection, and I can hear the Crypt/Sympathy for the Record Industry garage-rock production, where treble is clarity, and bass is blur. So, I know that it's got hybrid characteristics, but it still sounds whole to me, following its own thing. I mean, without the labels, I'd just think of it as a particularly funky garage boogie. For yet more clarity, I've been listening to Mariachi El Bronx II, which most folks classify as "The Bronx playing Mariachi music". But, it's not straight Mariachi music, at least not traditional Mariachi music. It's not the Rocking thrash punk that the Bronx specialize in, either. It's too uptempo to be Mariachi, but the instrumentation isn't rock. So, is that a hybrid between the two, or is it something new? I'm not sure. It's not a goof on traditional music, like how I get the feeling that Hayseed Dixie is a goof on both Ac/Dc and bluegrass. Let's not forget that Rocknroll is a "hybrid" to begin with, and rarely stays pure even to that supposed blend (Country and Blues). Of course, it's tempting to say it's all just "music", and who needs labels , Maaaaaan. But, that isn't honest, either, because Mariachi El Bronx has little in common with Jack Oblivian nor Lydia Loveless. So, what is it, a hybrid, or a flavour? a colouring? a shade? a mix? a mash up? Hard to say, hard to say....