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“Adventures in ‘M’”


I don’t yet have capabilities to stream music in the car so on my current 30-minute commute into work, I’m living in the stone age of the ’90s, relying on my CD’s for a tunes presence on the drive (I haven’t stooped so low yet as to turn on the radio, thank God, although I was sort of half planning a satyr post about Fleetwood Mac and how they’re like a little kid who cusses, and pi**es off his parents not because of the principle of the foul language but because he sounds really effective and emphatic, to an enlightening extent, when he cusses). And finally I found those giant CD booklets to just be futile toward carrying the massive amount of CD’s that I have so I devised this new system of organizing my CD’s by letter, in stacks, with no cases, tied together with a piece of rope.

For the last two weeks or so I’ve had the “M” stack in my car — it’s about 25 or 30 or so discs and lots of my drives I just do silence but I’ve had a couple decent sessions with The Best of Morrissey, Classic Puppets (Meat Puppets), A Spectrum of Infinite Scale (Man or Astro-man?) and Good News for People Who Love Bad News (The Kaiser Chiefs… just kidding). I’ve got another post planned on Morrissey but suffice it to say that Meat Puppets night was the stuff of heathens… I’d relapsed into chewing tobacco after having a couple beers at Mulligan’s and then to get into my car on a Friday night, four fifths of the way through the work week, and hear that hardcore punk that sounds like a buzzsaw violinning on someone’s internal organs was transcendent all the way. It was one of those drunk drives where I stopped to take a pi** somewhere around the Indiana/Michigan border (right on State Line Rd. I think) but I was so unencumbered by extraneous thoughts — it’s like that feeling where everything in your life seems right, even though you’re driving drunk listening to really annoying music.

Finally, I think the “M” stack might have come close to running its course but not before a key installment earlier tonight of Good News for People Who Love Bad News. The funny thing is, that Ministry – Filth Pig disc had appealed to me for a second which I found dangerous but “a little intense” (I think I’m pretty much a hippie at heart after all) and so I gravitated back to the Mouse, a tried and true standard of my listening practices.

And I swear that opener “The World at Large” gets better every time I hear it. The lyrics have this way of toggling from small-picture to big and bag with lithe effortlessness and then that set of string riffs in the final minute of the song seems so un-punk, and even un-indie, that its inclusion seems to earmark an especial vial of inspiration that was going into the recording of the album, as if the feeling were utterly undeniable. “Float on” is something we all know but I noticed that there are two different guitar parts, the melody probably having been played by session musician Dann Gallucci with Brock covering that skittish and awe-inspiring rhythm part.

“Ocean Breathes Salty” has always been a gem to me but it hit me in an even new way on this ride and I realized how much I love that fill exiting the first chorus, where stand-in drummer Benjamin Weikel (who was in for Jeremiah Green, proud new owner of a bed in an insane asylum) hits purely snare eighth notes but emphasizes the 3, 5, 8, 11, 12 and 13. It makes for this rhythmically intricate cadence that’s really pretty much ruined me for life — I’ve heard 1,000 of what I consider mediocre drum fills since then.

How pure funk glory is “Bury Me With it?” In the last verse, Isaac Brock, almost screaming out the lyrics in complete atonal mayhem, proclaims “Well the point was fast / But it was too blunt to miss / Life handed us a paycheck / We said ‘We worked harder than this!’”, after of course that seminal declaration of “God I love that rock and roll” just to reinstate that this is music lovers’ music, too tense and full of atmosphere to be mistaken for social climbing.

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