Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tom Waits

Sex, War and Robots tips its hat to Tom Waits, who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was about fucking time.

Yes, blogs wear hats. Deal with it.

Tom Waits 40th Anniversary
Tom Waits - Bad As Me
The Cookie Monster Has Been Drinking: Brilliant Tom Waits/Cookie Monster Mashup

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flux Capacitor: Throwing Muses - Untitled (Throwing Muses) (1986)

Throwing Muses - Untitled (1986)
There's no question that Throwing Muses deserve to be honoured in Flux Capacitor. They molded the then relatively new indie or "college" rock sound in the mid 80s more than most bands (and more than any other female-led band, if that matters), and, as the first American band signed to 4AD, permanently redefined the English label along with acolytes Pixies. The question is which album to pick, as their isn't really an accepted Throwing Muses classic album or ideal starting point. I've decided to go with the officially untitled debut for the same reason it was the first Muses album I listened to: why the hell not?

Cognitive dissonance set in straight away the first time I heard this album. My first thoughts were "this sounds familiar" and "I've never heard anything like this before". Kristin Hersh created the Throwing Muses sound by borrowing from REM, Wire, Joy Division, The Beatles and others, but, like the best innovators, fashioned it into something new. The debut never lets the listener get comfortable because it never sits still; you think the unrelenting post-punk ditty "Call Me" is going to set the tone for the rest of the album, but then the next track slows down the tempo and switches the time signature. The rhythmic shifts never stop, but Hersh's intricate arpeggios knit the whole thing together. Throwing Muses went on to release at least three albums as good as this one, but they wouldn't exist without this initial artistic triumph.


Throwing Muses - Purgatory/Paradise
50 Foot Wave - With Love From the Men's Room EP

Monday, March 21, 2011

RIP Pinetop Perkins 1913-2011

Unfortunately another musician has been taken before his time. Bluesman Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins died yesterday at the tender age of 97. Perkins played piano as a sideman for several decades, his most famous work being a 12 year stint in Muddy Waters' band. It was not until 1988 that he began releasing albums as a solo artist. In 2007, Perkins became the oldest artist to win a Grammy, winning for the collaborative live album Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas. He won the Best Traditional Blues album award at this year's Grammy Awards for 2010's Joined at the Hip with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Perkins was the oldest living bluesman to have played in the pre-World War II era that saw the formation of the art and the rise of its early stars such as Son House, Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. He passes that claim onto 95 year-old David "Honeyboy" Edwards.

Sex, War & Robots