Archive for January, 2011

26 January

And if I don’t see you, in a long, long while… I’ll try to find you Left of the Dial.

The Replacements

Music can change your life. I believe it to be a transcendental moment when it happens, although that “exact” moment, cannot usually be qualified until years later upon reflection. You could build a personal calendar around it. Example: There was the era before you heard the Grateful Dead and your life after. The Calendar notation of B.C. and A.D. could be replaced with B.Phish and A. Phish. The same could be said for any band or musician that you stopped your life for. the Sex Pistols, Garth Brooks, Lady Gaga, Led Zeppelin, etc. etc. etc. You had to have every album, you read all the lyrics, stopped a conversation to make someone listen, replayed a song over and over for someone to try and make the person feel the power you felt when you heard this song.  If you were to replace ‘music’ with ‘God’ you would have been described as having had a religious experience… and therein is the power of music.

This experience has happened to me more than once. I keep up with music, I labor over it. Definitely a labor of love. I am quite sure there were bands during my adolescence that I obsessed over, and still enjoy, but the band that I truly carry with me  to this very day, the band that I will always carry in my heart, were The Replacements. This scruffy Minneapolis foursome, embodied the freedom and frustrations of boys turning into men. The howl of the internal fear (that manifests itself as anger) that every man tries to keep bottled up inside himself. The working class poetry that rises as hope, because it is the only beacon from a life too dull to face.

The Replacements were all that and more to me. They brought the swagger of young men prepared to do things their own way, yet lead singer Paul Westerberg‘s lyrics were captured in time, through the eyes of an older wiser man, that you knew full well that you would become, as sure as time itself. I remember a lyric from one of the The Replacements albums: “I hate my father, one day I won’t.” There is not much to expand upon here, just the absolute truth of the inevitable. Women were drawn to this band as well. The warrior with the poet’s heart. The man that still carries a bit of the boy inside. It’s an attractive trait, to never let go of your true you, and to keep the light burning from within. I cannot begin to count the amount of women I have met who have indicated that Paul Westerberg and The Replacements are their favorite band.  Arguably one of the most influential bands of the 80′s, I read a quote where Jeff Tweedy from Wilco said, “Everything we do is based upon the Replacements” before launching into a cover of their song ‘Color Me Impressed’.

I am not sure exactly what put the hook in me, but something about them spoke to me. I remember the moment.

What band did that for you?

Left Of The Dial - The Replacements

Unsatisfied - The Replacements

19 January

They’re playing our song…

Blind PilotThe Pacific Northwest has been producing some interesting bands ever since Jimi Hendrix decided to pick up the guitar. In recent times however, there seems to be a shift from the grunge music of the ’90′s (made famous by the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains) and more focus on music with an ‘Americana Roots’ type sound, coupled with golden harmonies. I think of newer bands such as: The Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, The Decemberists, The Head and The Heart forging this bridge of indie rock mixed with classic folk sensibilities. The appeal is obvious for the record companies, music that your parents would enjoy, but left of the dial enough to make the purist indie heart jump for his hipster jeans and an ironic t-shirt.

One of the more original bands I have heard from the genre lately, is from Portland, Oregon and  call themselves Blind Pilot. The band orginally consisted of two members: Israel Nebeker (guitar, vocals) and Ryan Dobrowski (percussion) who met while students at the University of Oregon. The duo gained notoriety in 2007 by conducting a tour from Seattle to San Diego, travelling by bicycle with a custom-made bike trailer to haul their instruments. Recent concerts have seen Blind Pilot grow from the original duo to six members in concert to reproduce the sound of their latest release: 3 Rounds and a Sound.

Their music can portray a sweet & sentimental sound, but touches on darker themes of abandoned love, youthful irreverance, and the inevitable refelction of who we are amidst the dissapearing path that led us there, with the fearful knowing we can never get back.

Blind Pilot has had the experience of opening up for The Hold Steady and Counting Crows, as well as recent stints at Lollapalooza and Outside Lands Music Festivals. News has it that they are readying a new album for release. I will be excited to see the direction of the new music, but in the meantime here are a couple of songs from their last release, 3 Rounds and a Sound.

3 Rounds and a Sound - Blind Pilot

I Buried a Bone - Blind Pilot

 3 Rounds and a Sound

They’re playing our song
They’re playing our song
Can you see the lights?
Can you hear the hum?

Of our song
I hope they get it right
I hope we dance tonight
Before we, get it wrong

And the seasons
Will change us new
Be the best I’ve known
and you know me
I could not be stuck on you
If it were true

I was swimming
My eyes were dark
Til you woke me
And told me that opening
is just the start
it was

Now I see you, til kingdom come
You’re the one I want
To see me for all the stupid shit I’ve done

Soil and six feet under
Killed just like we were
Before you knew you’d know me
And you know me

Blooming up from the ground
3 Rounds and a sound
Like whispering you know me
And you know me

So this was our song
This was our song
I still see the lights
I can see them

And the criss cross
Of what is true, won’t get to us
Cause you know me
I could not give up on you

And the fog of what is right
Won’t cover us cause you know me
I could not give up a fight