Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I've been listening to Aimee Mann a ton lately. This is a bit odd -- she doesn't have mosh parts or steel guitar, at least one of which is usually a prerequisite, and she doesn't hail from Bulgaria or Ethiopia or the hills of Kyrgyzstan, which is where most of my other listening hails from. But at one point last week I was creeping above 66% Aimee Mann CD-saturation, which is pretty impressive. It's also kinda interesting because it's taken a few years to sink in. I've had friends who were into Aimee Mann for years, dating back to when my response was probably "the 'Til Tuesday singer? Snicker snicker." A couple years ago two friends were going to see her on Valentine's Day; one bailed and I got a free ticket. I thought the performance was ok. Then I met the Ski Bum, an A.M. devotee. We went to see her last summer (and right there, she's tied for the lead in "performers I've seen most since moving to Atlanta," with Steve Earle and the Neil Diamond cover band) and she was pretty impressive, but none of it really stuck. Then a few weeks back I needed something to balance out the Jesuseater and Unsane in the car CD player, picked out "The Forgotten Arm," and kazaam. I'm listening to little else. It takes a certain talent to make me want to listen to such sad songs so obsessively. It also takes a certain talent to make me listen to her for a while, then listen to Elliott Smith and find his songwriting lacking in comparison.

But hey. That's not all that I've had on the CD player. Three other things that I dug out of mothballs lately, things that I've loved and apparently been taken for granted:

* Waylon Jennings "Honky Tonk Heroes". I was actually gonna write a long post on this alone, then found that Perfect Sound Forever had done it much better, and with actual research. Friends and I back in Colorado were big Billy Joe Shaver devotees, and this is (almost) all Waylon playing Shaver's songs. And god does it sound good. My father listened to Jennings a lot when I was a kid; this was the album that finally brought me full circle on that. And it's kind of good to realize after reading the PSF article that the one song I never dug on the album was actually pushed by the label. The universe seems so much clearer now. I'll probably be digging out Shaver's "Old Five and Dimers Like Me" album soon as well -- the writer's takes on the same songs.

* Kiss It Goodbye "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not". It's kind of stupid to classify this a rediscovery because I still wear a ratty old KitG longsleeve more than a 36-year-old guy really should. But I hadn't listened to this in a long time. When I was younger I think I was secretly a little disappointed in this because I expected it to sound like a mix of Rorschach and Fixation-era Deadguy, only better... and it did, and did sound better, but not in the ways I expected. Now? Yeah, it's overwrought, but so is most of the stuff that I listened to between 1989 and, oh, last year. Great album. "Sick Day" is up there on the Greg list of favorite hardcore songs ever.

* The Jesus Lizard "Liar". At some point along the line, I convinced myself that "Goat" was a superior album. I was so, so wrong. Monumental album. I started disregarding them at some point because, I dunno, "Down" didn't grab me and then they signed to a major label, which I really cared about at one point. As is often the case, I was wronger than the president of Wrongistan.

All great stuff. All make up for my recent attempt to get back into the Blues Explosion, which went sadly awry.

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