Ear Candy

I don't really have anything thrilling to report at the moment. I'm home on a Friday night, teetering on getting sick and with a mound of grading in my bag. We're past the halfway marker for the term, and somehow, in spite of this being a light week, I'm further behind than I am when I've got a full five day schedule and oodles on my plate.

And so, I'm going to take another break - I take them like every three posts, don't I? - and talk about music instead.

But the night's good. I've got the CD player on, not as loud as I'd like because I'm a considerate neighbor (even to putzes who think that doors must either be left open or slammed as hard as possible). And the musical world has given me two great things this week which I strongly encourage you to give a listen to. I can't decide which I like better of the two. The first, which I picked up earlier in the week, is "Live at Shea Stadium" by The Clash. This one comes from close to the end for the band, taken from their 1982 tour of the U.S. supporting "Combat Rock." The band had already kicked out their drummer because of his drug usage, and I believe they broke up only a few weeks following this show. But that makes the show all the more impressive. It's not the first live disc for the band, but it's the first (to my knowledge, at least) complete show, and they're pretty amazing even without Topper on the skins for them. Part of the joy for me is that The Clash is one of those bands for me who I always loved but was on the wrong side of the age curve to have actually experienced. They're the answer to one of those meme questions about what band you wish you could see but never got the chance, so anytime I get to hear them live is a thrill. But to hear just how much I missed out on, even on a remastered recording, only heightens that longing to have, just once, seen them live.

With that leading off the week, I didn't think there would be anything else musically that would touch it. But today as I was out and about running errands instead of working on job applications, I picked up another disc: "Little Honey" by Lucinda Williams. And now the rotation for the week has gotten a bit more complex.

This is a bit of a different sound for Lucinda; her albums are always great, but very bluesy. This one is a bit more like the live shows she puts on - lots of energy to it and if I can use this without invoking a mid-1980's bright pink lettering sort of vibe, it's a lot more rocking. I've seen her live twice, and her shows always bring an edge to them that her albums, great as they are, don't always suggest she's capable of. That's a shame because her music always has that rough feel to it that comes across best from turning up in some small roadside joint with pool tables and a deceptively large dance floor. And while the album feels more optimistic than her typical album, all the things anyone's ever loved about her is still there. Lucinda is, I dare say, happier on this album than she's been in years. Now I've only had a chance to listen to this one once, since I picked it up this afternoon, but I'm pretty certain it'll be getting some heavy rotation in the next few days.

And considering what's going on these days, that's a pretty good thing. If you like either band.

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Maggie said...

I love your music posts! And I am totally going to get the new Lucinda. You've captured the difference between her albums and her live shows well, I think... although I find that distinction is also true for most blues-based rock, and blues, in general. The recordings never seem to do it justice, or get the energy right.

October 18, 2008 at 10:18 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Run, don't walk, to get the new Lucinda. It's so good!

It's tricky with her, because her albums are always excellent. It's not like the difference between Uncle Tupelo live (or even Wilco) and their albums, where recording seems to dull the sound a bit. Her alums thematically and musically are a bit dark, bluesy, and brooding overall. This one has that as a current, but it has something new to it as well.

October 18, 2008 at 5:20 PM
adjunct whore said...

oohhh, i got on to say how much i love the clash, LOVE, but i am curious about Lucinda. thanks for the tip.

October 19, 2008 at 8:59 PM