Showing posts from September, 2017

The Drive-By Truckers and their Southern Rock Opera: Part Four (The Excesses of Touring and Lessons Learned)

Act Two opens with Hood's “Let There Be Rock,” which not only alludes to AC/DC's song of the same name but addresses how both Betamax Guillotine and Hood grew up in the shadows of great bands. While he never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd, he lists the bands he did see, while the band works up a rock frenzy. Like most songs that purport to introduce the power of rock music, “Let There Be Rock” attempts to be a blistering example of the form, yet Hood's clever, yet straightforward, lyrics temper it.    
          The narrator could be any young music fan growing up in America during the 1970s, listening to music, doing drugs, and drinking to excess. He drops acid at Blue Oyster Cult, is pulled over with weed and booze, drinks vodka and almost dies. He juxtaposes each binge with his experiences seeing classic bands. Both scenarios are equally important to his future quest at being a rock god, or at least, writing about them. The refrain reintroduces the rock: “And I never saw Lynyrd Skyn…

What Grant Hart Means To Me

I first heard Grant Hart, who died on September 13, 2017 at the tragically young age of 56, onHüsker Dü'sCandy Apple Grey, the band's underrated and oft-maligned major label debut from 1986. As a fan of Bob Mould's Sugar, I decided to finally take the plunge into Hüsker Dü's catalog, and this was the first album I was able to find. By Candy Apple Grey, the band had nearly perfected their poppy power trio attack, mixing heavy, buzzsaw guitars with power pop affectations. Those elements were always there, even on 1981's raucous, live album Land Speed Record and the hardcore, yet melodic, Everything Falls Apart. By 1986, after several more seminal records (Zen Arcade, New Day RisingFlip Your Wig) in the hardcore/indie cannon, they perfected the form. Alternating between Mould's generally faster songs that increasingly relied on pop sensibilities and Hart's more lyrically-and vocally-focused songwriter paeans, both revolving heavily around failed love, Hüske…

365 Films in 2017 # 299-308

299. The In-Laws (1979), Arthur Hiller, Warner Bros.

300. Hopscotch (1980), Ronald Neame, AVCO Embassy

301. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972),
Woody Allen, United Artists 

302. Bulldog Drummond's Peril (1938), James P. Hogan, Paramount

303. The Naked Spur (1953), Anthony Mann, MGM

304. A Christmas Horror Story (2015), Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan, Image

305. The Great Dictator (1940), Charlie Chaplin, United Artists

306. Crumb (1994), Terry Zwigoff, Sony Pictures Classics

307. Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Mr. Leonard Cohen (1965), Don Owen and Donald Brittain, National Film Board of Canada 

308. Black Panthers (1968), Agnes Varda

Track This:The Barracudas' Grammar of A Misery

I find myself thinking about the Barracudas's song "Grammar of A Misery" today as I work on lesson plans, abstracts, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of academic life. The song is lyrically simple, yet holds complex emotional resonance for me. Jeremy Gluck sings in the chorus "Run From yourself for twenty years / Cry yourself a thousand tears /Call for help but no one's listening /At your grammar of misery." The sadness of going through the motions is evident as is the emotional pain of feeling alone in the void. The song makes evident how hard it can be to express our true feelings as we sink into a solipsistic state. Yet the song's propulsive drumming and ringing guitar chords coupled with the sheer energy of the Barracudas attack are hopeful. And check out that guitar solo and playful vocal effects that recall Generation X at their bounciest. However, The Barracudas are generally more complex than Billy Idol's first band. They tend to write su…

The Drive-By Truckers and their Southern Rock Opera: Part Three (The Duality of the Southern Thing)


365 Films in 2017 #289-298

289. Movie Crazy (1932), Clyde Bruckman and Harold Lloyd (Unc,), Paramount

290. Bullshot (1983), Dick Clement, Island

 291. Wild Strawberries (1957), Ingmar Bergman, AB Svensk Filmindustri

292. Tracks (1977), Henry Jaglom, Trio

293. Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages(1922), Benjamin Christensen, Skandias Filmbyrå

294. Who Is Henry Jaglom? (1985), Henry Alex Rubin and Jeremy Workman, P.O.V.

295. The Birth of A Nation (1915), D.W. Griffith, Epoch

296. "Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia" (1974), Sam Peckinpah, United Artists

297. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), Lotte Reiniger, Comenius-Film GmbH

298. Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi (1954), Hiroshi Inagaki Toho

The Drive-By Truckers and their Southern Rock Opera: Part Two (Inspirations and Ideas)