Song for a Saturday: Darn That Dream

A little melancholy for a sunny day (well, it’s sunny here). What’s better than Sarah Vaughn singing with Count Basie and his Orchestra? Not much.

Song for a Saturday: The Cruel Mother

A lovely murder ballad of the days before reliable contraception and health care. Seems they may be returning, which is good for the murder ballad industry I suppose, but not for anyone else. Lovely animation to accompany Fiona Hunter’s singing.

Song for a Saturday: Back of My Hand

Swore I used this before. Maybe not. A bittersweet twist of the knife in every spin. Enjoy Record Store Day.

Song for a Saturday: Do Anything You Wanna Do – Eddie & the Hot Rods

This song has been stuck in my head for days. Guess it’s time to write a story…

Lys Guillorn & Her Band: I’m a Boy EP

You need this. I’ve reviewed Guillorn‘s work before. This new EP hasn’t left my car since I got it. This is so right for this moment in so many ways, starting with the title song. It’s hard to improve on The ‘Oo but this version hits the right balance between homage and innovation. The guitar sound offers a jangly mid-60s authenticity but the sweeter backing vocals reveal a complexity to the gender confusion that makes it feel entirely up to date.

‘Something’ highlights the plaintive quality of Guillorn’s voice, with lyrics of loss and heartache that twist into disappointment with ‘Why did you falter? Why?’ The stripped down simplicity of the track has the guitar matching her voice, until gradually the keyboards fade in to lift the sound and the backing vocals echo the despair of ‘Why’ perfectly.

My favourite track at the moment ‘Nothing To It’ seems like the anthem of this insane time where we are all feeling ‘defeated and deranged’:

I heard echoes in the hills of the ones who survived,
who wrote what they knew and stuck to it.
I hovered in a cave a philosopher drew
and spoke of Socrates.

Plus asides about calculus: I love the sheer playfulness of this song that’s really about despair and fear and maybe even apocalypse. I haven’t said enough about Riccio’s drums: taking on Moonie’s rolls shows he’s got courage. He matches the rolling guitar sound impeccably here. I can’s say enough about Guillorn’s amazing guitar playing on this disc. So urgent here: showing the emotion the vocals try to skate over. She’d probably say there’s nothing to it.

‘Boylesque’: marvel at that title. The alternation between ‘Heavily kohled eyes’ and ‘Heavenly cold eyes’ is Guillorn at her most playful. The crystalline purity of the mix: vocals front and back, guitars, keys. It’s all so right. Complexity that sounds utterly simple.

What’s written in the space left blank
at the bottom of the page?
A view of the future hidden away.

Oh the psychedelic guitar in ‘M.K.’ is just so gorgeous. You need like early Pink Floyd video projections or lava lamps to play in the background. But utterly contemporary: it’s like she might have a time machine to go back to the 60s to liberate lost guitar riffs that weren’t appreciated at the time to give them a new home. The alchemy of music with masks:

I wasn’t happy as a child.
When on Halloween a neighbor saw me smiling,
it was the mask that freed me,
if you get my meaning.

I’M A BOY: released March 24, 2017 Little Cowgirl Records

Lys Guillorn – vocals, guitars
Peter Riccio – drums
Julie Beman – keyboards, organ, vocals
Eric Bloomquist – bass, vocals

Produced by Lys Guillorn & Her Band
Recorded by Tom Boudreau at Bonehead Studios, Cheshire, CT
Mixed by Tom Boudreau with Lys Guillorn & Her Band
Mastered by Jim Chapdelaine
Cover photo by Pete Brunelli

Dedicated to gender rebels everywhere.

 

Song for a Saturday: Spirit in the Night – Bruce Springsteen

Back in the day Springsteen was trying real hard to do his Dylan thing but — just like Dylan with his Guthrie thing — where he got it wrong was where his own voice lay. It came through a lot despite the self-conscious imitation. How else do you learn?

The song that made me a fan forever was ‘Rosalita’ but going back I listened more closely to the first album and decided I loved those songs too. Hipster Bruce I think now, but it’s good stuff. Lines from this have been stuck in my head for days so this may exorcise them. Or else they just need to keep echoing until they find what they’re leading me to — or I do.

Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley tradin’ hands
`long came Wild Billy with his friend G-man all duded up for Saturday night
Well Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake
It’s about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight
I got a bottle of rose so let’s try it
We’ll pick up Hazy Davy and Killer Joe and I’ll take you all out to where the gypsy angels go
They’re built like light
and they dance like spirits in the night (all night) in the night (all night)
Oh, you don’t know what they can do to you
Spirits in the night (all night), in the night (all night)
Stand right up now and let it shoot through you

Well now Wild young Billy was a crazy cat and he shook some dust out of his coonskin cap.
He said, “Trust some of this it’ll show you where you’re at, or at least it’ll help you really feel it”
By the time we made it up to Greasy Lake I had my head out the window and Janey’s fingers were in the cake
I think I really dug her `cause I was too loose to fake
I said, “I’m hurt.” She said, “Honey let me heal it”.
And we danced all night to a soul fairy band
and she kissed me just right like only a lonely angel can
She felt so nice, just as soft as a spirit in the night (all night)
In the night (all night). Janey don’t know what she do to you
Like a spirit in the night (all night), in the night (all night)
Stand right up and let her shoot through me.

Now the night was bright and the stars threw light on Billy and Davy
dancin’ in the moonlight
They were down near the water in a stone mud fight
Killer Joe gone passed out on the lawn
Well now Hazy Davy got really hurt, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt
Me and Crazy Janey was makin’ love in the dirt singin’ our birthday songs
Janey said it was time to go
So we closed our eyes and said goodbye to gypsy angel row, felt so right
Together we moved like spirits in the night, all night
Baby don’t know what they can do to you
Spirits in the night, all night
Stand right up and let it shoot right through you

Slovenian Double Feature

Two stories just out this month, both inspired by my travels in Slovenia. ‘These Toys Are For Tough Boys’ was the title Renato Bratkovič gave me as I was treated with great food, Lasko Noir and Alibi wine at Bar Grega and Gora pod lipo. Want a story from me? Fly me to an alpine location and give me good stuff to eat and drink. Boom! 6K story in a day.

Any takers?
‘Somewhere in Slovenia’ over at Near to the Knuckle looks at the potential problems of being unilingual in post-Brexit EU. Footie fans beware 😉 heh. Also a song by Slovenia’s premiere punk band, Res Nullius.