Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Had a grand ol' time this past weekend, first down in Austin for the Castanets/Cross (formerly Warmer Milks; RIP WM!) gig. Got to catch up with some pals and rock obscure Youtube clips all night long while smoking copious amounts of...cigarettes. If you haven't heard Agony Bag, prepare yourselves! And don't just enjoy those tasty visuals, folks. Listen to the song! It rocks!

We then hightailed it over to Houston for the Dead Audio noise fest at Super Happy Fun Land. That place really is pretty incredible. The music was all knob-twiddling, semen-spurting, masturbatory fun. Came home with a big box of tapes 'n' seedeez. More on all that soon...

In this blog I get to talk about three of my current/former favorite bands/artists. And if you know me, you know I'm, like, serious.

First: I'm an old hillbilly hippie from way back. So I'd just like to take a moment to remind folks that it wasn't just the US coastal states that had a monopoly on psychedelic roots perfection in the early '70s. 'Course the use of the word "perfection" throws my whole argument off entirely, as there is no such thing, but if you listen to records like The Byrds' Notorious Byrd Bros or The Band's Music From Big Pink enough times under the right microscope you can trick yourself into thinking that these records are, indeed, perfect. That all the following musical acts in the tiny blip on the cosmic radar that is the history of man will ever only be redundant time wasters at best. That's never really true, but we buy into it all the same. There really was a time I thought I'd never hear another album as imperfectly perfect as Neil Young's Live at the Fillmore East or The Basement Tapes again.

Then I heard this.

Doug Sahm is undeniably one of the very best rockers to ever come from the state of Texas or the US in general. None understood the hypnotic power of a repetitive mind-licking extended jam more thoroughly than Sahm and his guys (whoever they might be on any given night) in the 70s. On this night in 1972 Sir Doug's got some of the coolest cats around lending their skills, including legends like Leon Russell, Jerry and Phil from The Dead and Benny Thurman from the 13th Floor Elevators. The two and a half hour set is comprised mostly of covers from Bill Monroe and Hank to Bo Diddley and The Byrds and so many more. It totally rocks like a motherfucker. I mean this is better than The Basement Tapes. Not kidding. The sound is a little "eh". but it wont be an issue once you get about 2 songs in. This is the holy. Courtesy of The Adios Lounge. Enjoy!

Man I sure dig me some Yo La Tengo. Back in the '90s I thought they could do no wrong. Then I lost interest some in more recent times but still dig a lot of their stuff and own it too."Here to Fall" from the upcoming Popular Songs sounds like a return to classic form if ever there was one. Sweet sister soul strings! Courtesy of Arthur. Downloadable too!

Addendum: Here's a kick ass video for the same song directed by Jim McSwain; first in a series of five. Love the con trail kaleidascopes! (Double click that sucker to get the full aspect ratio.)

And now we return to the imperfection of the universe. The only real constants seem to be entropy, transformation, a frittering kind of precariousness that our minds like to misconstrue as perfection hanging from a thread. Music, film, paintings -- reflections of the truths that are collapsing and building up in and out of us all the time. This may have something to do with why I think "perfect sounding" music is mostly total shit, or at least fraudulent, which could further speak to why i so profoundly appreciate the music of The Dead C. It seems to embody some of these stoned pseudo-philosophical ruminations of mine. Much of who or what The Dead C is still remains a mystery to most, but this sweet video interview with live bits offers some fascinating clues. Watch and learn, kiddies. From Live TV Eye via Ned R. on Facebook.


captain groovy said...

Doug Sahm in the 70's was the best.Falling down off the cuff sloppy shit that ruled.The Yo la Tengo album is pretty excellent.

The Stash Dauber said...

i saw sir doug twice: once at the soap creek saloon when i briefly lived in austin, late '79, with his son on lead gtr (also the first time i heard the mc5's "i can only give you everything," on the soap creek jukebox); and once when i was in the air force in abilene, ca. '87, with lou ann barton. they played in a strip joint because it was the only room in town with a stage and a p.a. when i was stationed in korea, 82-83, i usedta go to the base library and listen to their copy of "doug sahm and band" through headphones. hearing "is anybody going to san antone?" was almost as good as being home.

Lee said...

Yeah I got an addendum to the YLT vid im posting now.

Ken, cool recollections. Thanks for the share. In Sir Doug I trust, my bro.

The Stash Dauber said...

this is great...the sound of "austin when it was still austin!"

over the next coupla yrs this kinda vibe would take over the mainstream for a minute (cf. rolling thunder)

doug sahm was the ur-avatar of texas music, absorbing all the music that he group up with (country, blues, tejano) partly because he loved it, partly because that was what you had to do if you wanted to make a living as a muso in san antonio

The Stash Dauber said...

as singers go, leon russell's a great piano player.

mc said...


Yes TOTALLY kick ass stories Ken. I shall ask more.

The best I can tell you is I was at Ground Zero for this

and the ensuing wave of very much "with feeling" tribute nights. Hole in the Wall with Joe King, Gourds et al was magnificent.

poppyallgood said...

That's one seriously beautiful video. Long live Tengo.

The Stash Dauber said...

thanks, lee, for totally rekindling my sir doug fandom. i just ordered an aussie reish cd of "1+1+1=4"/"the return of doug saldana," and i've been listening to my vinyl copy of "together after five" lots of evenings, too.

Lee said...

YW! I got that 2-fer. Sounds great!