Arcane Fire Vol. 4

Nudes by Rites of Spring. My brother and I listened to this record “end on end” (danger: nerdy insider rites of spring reference) back in the early 80’s. Guy Piccioto’s band before Fugazi. Absolutely essential.

Gotta Have You by Weepies. This is a (borderline) guilty pleasure, but it’s really SUCH A GOOD POP SONG. I fully expect to hear this song in 30 tv commercials before the year is out, and as the title music for a major motion picture. There’s something really brilliant about the marriage of the phrasing and the melody that elevates the fairly familiar chord progressions. I love this one. I confess.

Night Riders by Mahavishnu Orchestra. wow, some 80’s synth fusion. Let’s go there. This stuff has NOT aged well, but I still like it. Kind of like U2 (oh, SNAP!) relax, everybody, I’m just kidding.

Lila’s Dance by Mahavishnu Orchestra. OK, here’s some redemption for Mahavishnu. Although this one’s also a little saccharine, it’s also total brilliance. I used to listen to this before getting on the bus to go to high school. And no, I was not smoking anything! (I was a super clean kid!) It took me a while to figure out how to play that guitar riff, which is in 5/4, or in 10/4 (good buddy), depending on your mood. strictly speaking it’s 5.

Odessa (City On The Black Sea) by Bee Gees. Believe it or not, this song was one of the central initial inspirations for the record my new band just finished. Don’t knock the early Bee Gees. Even though this record (it’s called “Odessa”) is like a thrift store that’s full of really fun junk, none of which you really want to buy; the singing is perfect, and the arrangements and general doofy scope is adorable (although Maurice’s vibrato is almost in joan baez territory…).

Naima by John Coltrane. ok, here’s one that’s just impeccable (since some of my other picks this week are all dangerously cheese-tastic). Is there a lovelier melody than this? As they say in France: “non.”

Blue Lake by Don Cherry. with a charming spoken word intro, this is a spare piece don cherry plays on a borrowed native american holy flute. You can hear the lovely purity that is at the core of don cherry’s appeal. Good stuff.

Take it So Hard by Keith Richards. We’re all thinking about Keith these days, hoping he’s ok. Here’s a recorded version of one of the songs that usually signals a trip to the loo at most stones shows. Get well soon, Keith!

Matte Kudasai by King Crimson. King Crimson fans are going to hate me for picking this softy instead of one of the great epics from court of the crimson king or red, but I think this is an under-represented one. It’s so 80’s! but adrian belew manages to transform his guitar into seagulls, and the way the melody works in the chorus is just cool.

Words of Advice by Material. William Burroughs dropping science over a Bill Laswell – curated funk groove, including a perfectly placed sample of Ornette Coleman’s “The Blessing.” I have taken these words to heart: “If, after having been exposed to someone’s presence, you feel as if you’ve lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence. You need it like you need pernicious anemia….” SO true. [this sample contains profanity]

Ravishing Grimness by Darkthrone. This is black metal, a genre in which bands are criticized for being “not as evil as they used to be.” sweet! This is the real thing, from Norway via you know where. Part of the fun of metal is not knowing whether it’s evil for evil’s sake, or if it’s just “Fun-evil.” horns up!

Look Back and Laugh by Minor Threat. Full circle from Rites of Spring back to the source, here’s Ian Mackaye’s classic DC punk band Minor Threat. I recently ordered everything we didn’t already have from Dischord, but this is where it all began. The Dischord label has consistently put out excellent music while remaining true to principles that become more important to fight for every day. Ian went on to form Fugazi weith Guy, and now has a great new band called The Evens. [this sample contains profanity]

see you next week!

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