Musicology 101 by Bob

It's time to talk music again. Here are a few of the better recordings to pass my ears in the last few months.

Wildwood, Paul Weller (Go! Disc)

With this, his second solo release, Paul Weller, former Style Council/The Jam leader, serves up more blue-eyed soul. His solo outings are more reminiscent of the Style Council rather that the Jam. These songs are well crafted. He expertly blends the best of motown and seventies soul stylings with his own brand of rock-n-roll. The result is an ultra-cool, laid-back fusion of rock and soul.

Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star, Sonic Youth (Geffen)

Here we have the best rock band playing today! They are always pushing out on the envelope of rock, be it by their use of feedback, distorted guitar tunings, weird sound effects, power chords, snappy hooks and disjointed lyrics. From the opening acoustic (!) number to the closing noisefest, this is an album to be reckoned with. The sonic distortions are a bit subdued this time out but somehow this adds to the overall sound, it's kind of like waiting for a bomb to go off. Pure and simple, this is an outstanding CD.

The Crying Tree, The Blood Oranges (ESD)

Their genre is cowpunk. They play it with all the abandon of a bronco buster at a rodeo. An immensely engaging, toe-tapping, down-on-the-farm, good-time-had-for-all album. It's a damn shame that a band like this toils in obscurity while a band like Pink Floyd has the current #1 album. I bet you will find yourself singing these songs out loud hours after listening to them.

Tindersticks, Tindersticks (Barnone)

A remarkable debut album from a band that invokes memories of The Feelies but with the addition of horns, woodwinds, keyboards, and a violin that floats in and out of the songs like a nervous butterfly.

Dressing for Pleasure, Jon Hassell and Bluescreen (Warner Bros.)

Welcome to hip-hop heaven. I do believe that this was the album that Miles Davis intended to make before his death rather that the dreary bee-bop. It now seems that Jon Hassel has picked up that baton and is now running with it. A very beautiful and sexy (read: spiritual) album.

Trance, Hassan Hakmoun and Zahar (Real World)

The music is rooted in Hassan's sintir playing and as the groove takes hold the group quickly creates a spellbinding psychedelic dance trance. This is melded with primal Moroccan musical traditions. Phew!

Peppermint Tea House, Shoukicki Kina (Lukabob/Warner Bros.)

A compilation of Kina's best okinawan garage-boogie recordings, ranging in sound from a fast John Lee Hooker boogie groove to a slower bolero feel for love songs. It's wild, wacky, and loopy but never boring.

Bulb Records, here in Ann Arbor, sent us a few 7" records for us to digest. I found most to be unpalatable, which is probably what attracts their fans. However one band, The Monarchs, did catch my attention. Their sound is like grunge meets surf played through a transistor AM radio.

And hey, stay awake out there, your ears may hear something you like!


A fire is burning in Bird Spirit Land.
My bones smolder. I must journey there.

-- Shaman dream chant, ca. 10,000 BC

Workman's Daughter

i'm in love with the workman's daughter
if a stray gaze permeates
a great hate radiates
and counterweights all fine fate with the workman's
daughter imminent haste paint the workman's order
lone sweat puddles where
i'm told once there was hair
that chose to vacate space for the jerk's disorders
I lay low at the break of day
on the hope that fate may throw
some break my way and lure her to me
if I say so I think that she
maybe might consider me a fine-minded man of modesty
wake up kid
cuz you don't fit
with whatever the endeavor she could do or did
workman's mad cuz I love his daughter
piss poor is the pay
his spit born in a spray as he raves
but I take it all for the workman's daughter
I lay low at the break of day
on the hope that fate may throw
some break my way and lure her to me
is workman too dim to see
she's the only reason I could work so cheap
and put up with the creep
I said wake up kid
you're just wasting your wits
on something that you're never going to end up with
I said wake up kid
cuz you don't fit
with whatever the endeavor she could do or did
-- Frank Allison

Home Page Praise Bob Contents Forward