Last Monday was Make Music New York, perhaps the city's largest DIY annual music festival, and part of a worldwide free music celebration that happens every June 21. Needless to say, AM&A was all over that like flies on honey.
Reading Josh Thunder's recentpost about World Serpent/United Diaries got me to thinking about my own process of alienating others with music. It's a truism that every time you are alienating one person with a type of music, there is another person with whom you are entering into a secret cabal of love for the same music. Certainly, this has been the case for us Steely Dan fans over the years. But it seems that, in your 30s, in this day and age, at least, it has become acceptable or even fashionable to become public fans of the Dan. However, fewer will admit that the Dan can act as a gateway drug to the still-verboten-to-hip young people Steve Winwood.
Certainly, it might be considered to be in good, "ironic," taste to "bump" 2Pac's "California Love" at a party. "Hey, remember when we were kids? We used to love this song! LOL." You might even ironically enjoy a little Lady Gaga or Britney or whathaveyou. But put on the smooth, smooth sounds of any of the tracks from Winwood's Back In the High Life, and you will probably be met with blank stares.
But oh, how magnificently smooth and yet driving those tracks are! How clean and punchy that production still sounds, decades after the fact. Certainly you remember this song:
Cornball lyrics? Yes, cornball lyrics. But don't listen to the lyrics, listen to those goddamn horns. This was the last great era of horn production, Morphine and Fanfare Ciocarlia notwithstanding. This was the era of Peter Gabriel, Steely Dan, Huey Lewis and the News: when horns were as important as guitar to pop production. Those days were done in by the rise of grunge and the incipient fallout, and of course, our ponderous current R&B era. Listen to how the horns and guitar sync up in this sonuvvabitch:
Once you've gotten into the groove of these more obvious Winwood hits - and let's not forget "The Finer Things," which might be as big a hit as "Higher Love," it's time to move on to some more advanced Winwood. The rhythm guitar of this track might be a little too lite for even the smoothest gentrified person at first, but the title track of "Back in the High Life" will have you singing the chorus over and over again by the time you're done.
In any event, Steve Winwood is not something you want to bring around your friends. They will mock you, they will ridicule you, and they will not extend you any Punk Rock Cred anytime soon. But anyone who's ever used a sequenceror a Mu chordwill benefit from extended Winwood, in private of course.
To wash it down and keep your mind balanced, you're going to want something like Reagan's Polyp, but that is a discussion for another day.
It's the most Terrible Tuesdayyet when Budget Cut Bear and MC Buoy co-host this week's fun-for-all... kind of like Picasso and Dali releasing an LP of beatboxing and ambient noise, or a crossover between the Sex and the City and Terminator franchises... except free, on a Tuesday, and at the Shillelagh's.
Friday, June 11th
And let us not miss GLORY in the form of ROCK when Illimanjaro and The Missing Teensteam up Friday night at the Brewhouse to huff and puff and blow the joint wide open. Critics from the future have described this show as "probably the most high-octane show to ever take place on June 11th" and others have said it was the defining moment that launched President Noah Penn's political career.