Something More Than Free Jason Isbell Southeastern Records, 2015 Americana artists are a dime a dozen. The field is as crowded as that of the 2016 GOP hopefuls, and sometimes it can feel just as stodgy and unimaginative. How long can a genre go back to the well of its influences – the cadences and […]Read more "Roots and Roses"
from The Sacred Heart Sessions Team Love Records, 2015 God I love being smart. Using words they taught me in SAT prep. Connecting dots you’d never think to. Making statements so hard to understand that they couldn’t possibly be meaningless. My brain is a Great Dane puppy. It needs room to run, or it will go […]Read more "Stuck In My Head #18: The Lowest Pair “Rosie”"
Get Behind Me Satan The White Stripes V2 Records, 2005 by Noah Kucij Now that the White Stripes’ story has more or less been written, let’s […]Read more "Give The Devils Their Due"
by Noah Kucij Call it acoustic roots-rock or slowgrass or modern folk, but the music of Gillian Welch (pronounced like the gills on a fish, as she sometimes tells audiences in a conspiratorial stage whisper) is less interesting to classify than it is to hear. She’s better known for the traditional elements of her sound […]Read more "Top 5 Gillian Welch Songs"
from Tales of Great Neck Glory DGC/Geffen, 1996 Blah. Boredom. Block. Ennui. Uninspiration. Even way back, when the pioneers of […]Read more "Stuck In My Head #12: Sammy “Neptune Ave./Ortho Hi Rise”"
by Noah Kucij Wim Wenders’ 1987 film Wings of Desire centers on two angels who spend their days hovering above and among the people of Berlin, carrying out a distinctly angelic purpose that’s beside the point here. But early in the movie, one of the angels begins to give voice to his yearning to fall, […]Read more "Stuck In My Head #5: Dire Straits “Wild West End”"
The Silver Gymnasium Okkervil River ATO Records, 2013 by Noah Kucij The problem of the past – what to make of it, what to keep and what to throw away – has always been with us in the arts. While the great minds of the Renaissance had to dig up and dust off the Classics in […]Read more "Born to Run in Circles"
by Noah Kucij I’m not talking about some golden age when one box was enough, one big ass cherry cabinet, brass knobs, glass, transistors, wires, tubes, the whole brood gathered. When one box wasn’t enough, one big ass cherry bomb went off in the middle of culture. Strings, transistors – brooders gathered over the […]Read more "Radio Pantoum"
by Noah Kucij I know Lucinda Williams reminds you of your mom. And that’s fair enough: her breakthrough album, for which she won her first Grammy (the fanny pack of accolades), came out when she was 45. But because her CDs came standard in turn-of-the-century Subaru Outbacks, you may have missed what she’s been […]Read more "Top Five Lucinda Williams Songs"
Chronicles of a Rush Fan by Noah Kucij My older brother introduced me to Rush around 1988. A good big brother is a careful arbiter of musical taste, so the first thing he played for me was side two of the second cassette (it was all cassettes all the time back then), 1975’s Fly By Night. […]Read more "Bristle with the Energy"
by Noah Kucij You could index the thickness of influence in tape’s grey grizzly hiss – was it a clean copy, a Maxell swiped from Rite-Aid, unwrapped and christened, blue ballpoint a line at a time, still crisp handed over the table at lunch, or was it your brother’s old Beasties, the casing opaque, magic […]Read more "Ode to Cassettes"
Pour Down Like Silver Richard and Linda Thompson Island Records, 1975 by Noah Kucij You may have heard something by Richard Thompson, or you may just have heard something about Richard Thompson: songwriter’s songwriter, guitar geek’s darling, balls-to-the-wall live performer, daring interpreter who’ll slide from Prince’s “Kiss” into an 11th-century English peasant dance. Maybe none […]Read more "Hammersmith dervishes"
by Noah Kucij I watch a lot of cooking shows. And while I can appreciate the glamor and high technique of a five star dish gussied up for the camera, I like just as much to see great cooks take on simple pleasures. “Comfort food” brings us home, gives our palates just what they want when they want […]Read more "Five Comfort Food Albums"
by Noah Kucij In this blog’s debut list, let me see what I can do to offend you right out the gate…OK, I think my number 1 should do it. But here’s the thing: We’re not all born with a full head of hair, and not every band cuts a gem of a record the […]Read more "My Five Favorite Debut Albums"