Archive | August, 2017

Certain Songs #974: Lou Reed – “Vicious”

Album: Transformer
Year: 1972

While Lou Reed’s first solo album was chock full of “interesting” remakes of then-unreleased Velvet Underground songs, the follow-up was arguably the first place he found his voice as a solo artist.

Hooking up with David Bowie and his ringer guitarist, Mick Ronson, Reed’s transformation into a glam-rocker felt almost natural, and he didn’t even really have to change his subject matter all that much, and in fact, Transformer is probably the most Factory-focused album (outside of Songs For Drella, of course) in his career.

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Certain Songs #973: Los Salvajes – “Amor Salvaje”

Album: Diablos Del Ritmo: The Colombian Melting Pot 1960-1985
Year: 1972

The Analog Africa label is one of those labor of love labels doing the Lord’s Work by unearthing otherwise lost treasures from Africa, or in the case of “Amor Salvaje,” African diaspora music, as this particular track was recorded in Columbia in the early 1970s.

I’m a dilettante at best with this music — every few months or so, I like to randomly buy a new compilation from eMusic — which I’ve subscribed to for over a decade — and is where I came across a compilation called Analog Africa Goes eMusic, which I think was free.

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Certain Songs #972: Los Lobos – “Will The Wolf Survive?”

Album: How Will The Wolf Survive?
Year: 1983

Los Lobos have been bringing it for over forty years now, playing an unique blend of roots rock, country, tex-mex, soul, and even experimental music whenever and however they see fit.

I drop in on them occasionally, and am continually impressed with their unassuming virtuosity and deceptively simple songs, my favorite of which is the almost title track of their 1983 breakthrough, How Will The Wolf Survive?

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Certain Songs #971: Los Campesinos! – “You! Me! Dancing!”

Album: Hold On Now, Youngster!
Year: 2008

I can’t believe it’s been almost a decade since Hold On Now, Youngster! came out.

At the time, its exuberant joy felt like a breath of fresh air, as Los Campesinos! captured the sound of a bunch of young smart kids who understood just how fleeting, fun and special being a young smart kid was.

And while Los Campesinos! have made a handful of records since then — all of the them good-to-great — none of them have quite risen to the heights as their debut, which featured gems like “Death To Los Campesinos!,” “My Year in Lists” and the immortal “You! Me! Dancing!”

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Certain Songs #970: Loretta Lynn (feat. Jack White) – “Portland, Oregon”

Album: Van Lear Rose
Year: 2004

I’ll admit it: in 2004, when Van Lear Rose came out, I only had a vague knowledge of Loretta Lynn’s music. I mean, obviously, I knew that she’d been a Country superstar in the 1970s, and that Sissy Spacek had won the Oscar for Best Actress playing her in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

On the other hand, I completely knew who Jack White was, as The White Stripes were probably at the peak of both their popularity and their powers, and I was interested in Van Lear Rose because it was his first(?) extracirrcular project outside of the peculiar constraints he’d previously set on the music made.

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