Despite the new office, I’ve been writing here more (yay!) (or yay?) Nevertheless, I did want to do another post where I collect my writing on other sites, since the last one of these. It is sort of like the blog version of a TV clip show.
At Cover Me, I continue to not write any feature articles, although I’m thinking of one to pitch the team. But I did contribute to two “Best Covers” collections. We did Neil Young covers, and I wrote about: 50–Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit’s live rocking “Like A Hurricane,” 37-Gillian Welch’s mellow “Pocahontas,” 27–Elizabeth Mitchell’s gentle “Little Wing,” 19-Wire Train’s 80’s indie rock “Mr. Soul,” 17–Dala’s pretty “A Man Needs A Maid,” 14-Great Lake Swimmers’ atmospheric “Don’t Cry No Tears,” 10-Cassandra Wilson’s slow, jazzy “Harvest Moon,” and 7–the Pixies surprisingly poppy “Winterlong.”
Then we did Buddy Holly covers, and I wrote about 35–the Flamin’ Groovies fuzzy, scuzzy “That’ll Be The Day,” 24–Steve Hillage’s spacy “Not Fade Away,” 22–Justin Townes Earle’s rocking “Maybe Baby,” 19–The Beatles’ only “official” Holly cover, “Words of Love,” 14–The Bunch (a “supergroup” including Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Linda Peters, soon to be Thompson) doing a pretty “Learning The Game,” 12–Hot Tuna’s concise “It’s So Easy,” and a surprise at 9–Canadian singer Serena Ryder’s New Orleans influenced “It Doesn’t Matter Any More.” Next up, Radiohead, a band that I don’t really like, so I’m opting out.
Star Maker Machine continues to be where I post most often. This year, our holiday theme was “Unsainted Nicks,” and I contributed a piece about Nick Lowe’s “Christmas At The Airport.” I was prolific in responding to the annual In Memoriam theme, writing about Roy Hargrove, Russ Solomon (the founder of Tower Records), Marty Balin and Yvonne Staples and Edwin Hawkins.
Speculation about the chance that our president is a Russian spy prompted a “Spies/Secrets” theme, which prompted pieces about Jonatha Brooke’s “Secrets and Lies,” and the song “F.B.I.” We did “Happy/Unhappy Couples” next, and I discussed Joe Jackson’s “Happy Loving Couples” and the early MTV mainstay, “Voices Carry,” by ‘Til Tuesday, which featured Aimee Mann (and her more recent remake/parody of the video).
“Titles and Honorifics” was our next theme, and I wrote about the Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” and then looked at the power and risk of protest music, typified by Fela Kuti’s “Mr. Follow Follow.” The start of March inspired a Lion/Lamb theme, for which I went back to Africa to look at the twisted and troubling backstory to the song “Mbube,” which begat “Wimoweh,” which begat “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” That was followed by a piece about a bluesy version of a nursery rhyme which was one of the first things ever recorded, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
The Gaslight Anthem are one of those bands whose music I like when I hear it, but rarely think about going out of my way to listen to. Usually compared to Springsteen, if his backing band was The Clash, it turns out that they put out a song last year called “Placeholder.” It was on The ’59 Sound Sessions, an album of alternate versions, demos and unreleased songs–sort of a placeholder album–and it is pretty good. Apparently, bits and pieces of “Placeholder” were used in other Gaslight Anthem songs. Enjoy it: