I hate Tuesdays

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Music
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Painting by Erin Magee, Courtesy of The Sad Bastard Book Club

I have a hate-love relationship with Tuesday. From a work perspective, Tuesday is the worst day of the week. Mondays get a bad rap, but really, Monday still has a bit of an afterglow from the previous weekend…unless that weekend featured a death, jail time, puking or some other crappy event. Wednesday’s hump day, so you know things start to look good by the end of the day. Of course Thursday and Friday are givens in that the end of the work week is coming and all looks optimistic again.

But Tuesday…Tuesday is a Country song where your dog dies, your woman cheats on you and you drink too much all on the same day, every week. There is nothing good about Tuesday. Friday the 13th should be changed to Tuesday the 13th. The only thing that keeps Tuesday from being a complete loss…it’s the day new music drops.

The Sad Bastard Book Club, purveyors of Post-Americana Doom Folk from San Francisco have dropped a new EP, entitled: The Crow Nose Quartet’s “Carrion, My Wayward Son.”

A fitting release for a Tuesday, with song titles such as “I May Be the Final Nail, But it Took a Team to Build This Coffin,” and The Ruins of Machu Picchu Were an Ancient Prototype For the Future of Detroit.” If you’ve ever spent time in San Francisco, in the summer, you may identify with the disposition of The SBBC. Fog rules the season…in fact if you’re looking to get away the oppressive heat of anywhere else, you vacation in San Francisco, because you’ll be met with the wind, cold and gloom befitting of the Yorkshire moors from Wuthering Heights. Beyond the weather, though, The SBBC writes music reflective of a band that is openingly wondering how the hell did we get to this point, and now that we’re here, where do we go from here.

Let’s Go Bowling!

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Music
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I have to be honest, everytime I listen to the album, Psychotropic Jukebox by VUM (available on iTunes and Amazon), I can’t help but feel transported to a bowling alley somewhere  in America back in the 70s. Not that I would associate VUM with bowling, but there is a certain ambiance in their music that evokes in me a sense of dingy Americana during a decade in which everything and anything that hearkened back to the 40s, 50s and early 60s was in decline. Bowling alleys were one such example of this cultural neglect…at least as I remember it. Stepping into a bowling alley was like stepping into another world, where the only inhabitants were all members of the same club that cleaved to pompadours, flat tops and black, heavy-rimmed glasses; wearing bowling shirts with the name patches that said Don, Ray or Dick; exuding the scent of Aqua Velva and Lectric Shave. Walking into a bowling alley always required a couple of minutes for the eyes to adjust to the darkness. The brightest spots were always the lanes, everything else just faded into a dim fluorescent and neon haze that seemed to die once it reached the dark wood paneling of the bowling alley bar (and grill depending on the venue). Since I was a kid during that time, going into the bar was taboo, so it was left to the imagination as to who hung out in there and what really went on in that den of darkness. The cacophony of pins forcefully slamming, en masse, off the walls of the pit, booming announcements over the PA system and the faint melodies from the jukebox in the bar all combined to bounce off the concrete walls with a reverb unique unto its own.

Hopefully I haven’t offended the sensibilities of Jennifer Pearl, Chris Badger and Scott Spaulding, the collective known as VUM. They became one of my favorite bands of 2013 after I saw them open for Wovenhand in January of last year at The Satellite. That show would actually be one of the more impactful shows of the year for me as I not only experienced first hand the lyrical and musical intensity of Wovenhand, discovered two very good LA bands in VUM and Little Red Lung, but I also witnessed a beardo re-creation of the Hobbit reunion scene at the end of The Lord Of The Rings: Return of the King that scared me straight from wanting to grow a beard, or watch LOTR ever again.

Wovenhand-VUM-Little Red Lung