Category Archives: Jazz

Unfamous Songs (That Shouldn’t Be)

[Debut post by new addition to Minor Scratches, Atavistic.]

Bob Dylan – I and I (Infidels)

Produced and picked by Mark Knopfler, and sounding rather similar to Telegraph Road at times, I and I is one Bob Dylan’s bitter songs.  He talks through acrimonious verses as Mr. Knopfler’s guitar wanders about, filling in just so.

Think I’ll go out and go for walk, not much happening here
Nothing ever does
Besides if she wakes up now, she’ll just want me to talk
I got nothing to say, especially about whatever was

….

Simon & Garfunkel – Richard Cory (Sounds of Silence)

The Kinks made a career of writing songs like this, about being working class and proud.  Simon and Garfunkel couldn’t summon up the anger or nostalgia to make it a career.  Besides Greenwich Village was always more their style.  Simon and Garfunkel were groovy, which is to say too cool to be affected by anything as blasé as nostalgia.  So they couldn’t be The Kinks, but on Richard Cory they get pretty close.

But  I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be
Richard Cory

….

Scott Walker – The Cockfighter (Tilt)

[The internet fails to provide. You’ll have to hunt this down on your own, kids.]

Of Scott Walker’s later work, The Cockfighter is one of his more accessible songs.  After the first 80 seconds of weird sounds, the music is (mostly) created on recognizable musical instruments.  Even so, Scott Walker can be off-putting.  He takes the loud/quiet/loud approach literally and I’m not positive even Scott Walker knows what he is singing about.  It may be rococo jabberwocky.  Nevertheless, with sufficient volume and big enough speakers, the percussion in The Cockfighter will disrupt the little synapses in your brain that command locomotion.  You will sit and listen.

Do you swear the breastbone was bare?
I sought and made my escape
Do you have any doubt he slept in that bed?
I can only repeat, I never saw it

….

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Brother My Cup Is Empty (Henry’s Dream)

Nick Cave has always been more of a writer who writes songs rather than a songwriter and he was imagining unnatural deaths long before he penned Murder Ballads.

I cannot blame it all on her
To blame her all would be a lie
For many a night I lay awake
And wished that I could watch her die
To see her accusing finger spurt
To see flies swarm her hateful eye
To watch her groaning in the dirt
To see her clicking tongue crack dry

….

Son House – John the Revelator (Original Delta Blue)

Son House gets biblical, accompanied only by occasional hand claps.

….

Sonny Rollins – I’m an Old Cowhand (Way Out West)

It begins with an understated drum and bass line.  The first hook hits about 30 seconds in and sticks in your head for the rest of the day.  Buy Way Out West on vinyl while it is still cheap.

….

Tom Waits – Hell Broke Luce (Bad as Me)

Despite his simplistic anti-war instincts, Tom Waits has written the best (of the very few) songs about the GWOT.  Hell Broke Luce is loud, wild, and angry – the musical opposite of his The Day After Tomorrow, though the sentiment is the same.  What Hell Broke Luce lacks in melody it makes up with percussion and acerbic humor.  If The Day After Tomorrow is Tom Wait’s Platoon, Hell Broke Luce is his Full Metal Jacket.

Of course, it would be nice if someone with some sense of perspective would write a song about what has been going on over here for the last 10 plus years. It isn’t all tragedy.

My face was scorched, scorched
I miss my home
I miss my porch, porch
Can I go home in March?

….

Belle & Sebastian – Sleep the Clock Around (The Boy With the Arab Strap)

Sounding much like My Bloody Valentine without the feedback, Belle & Sebastian sings quietly about nap time and failing.

Take a walk in the park, take a Valium pill
Read the letter you got from the memory girl
But it takes more than this to make sense of the day
Yeah it takes more than milk to get rid of the taste

….

Angus & Julia Stone – Santa Monica Dream (Down the Way)

I hesitate to recommend this song because heard an Angus & Julia Stone song backing whatever they call the newest teen drama ala Dawson’s Creek.  This isn’t indie-kid snobbery.  At least not exactly.  It is more like the self-doubt that grabs you the when you see an Oprah’s Book Club sticker on book you’ve recommended.  The confidence in your taste goes a bit wobbly.  Surely Oprah and I have nothing in common.  But those are my issues and with any sort of perspective, totally irrelevant.

To the music:  If Julia Stone’s voice was not so enamoring, the whole thing wouldn’t work.  But it is small and sugary and easy to love.

I could call you on the telephone
But do I really want to know?
You’re making love now to the lady down the road
No I don’t
I don’t want to know

/s/Atavistic

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Filed under Jazz, Pop, Rock

Merry Christmas

From the gang here at Minor Scratches and the good people at OverClocked ReMix.

The good folks at OverClocked ReMix should be congratulated for being ahead of the curve in calling for recognition of the artistic merits of video game music. To a noticeable extent even today, video games are treated much as motion pictures were in the early days of cinema. Time is all that is needed for the creative works involved with video games to be given their critical due (the industry now has its own awards to try and recognize its best and brightest). The John Williamses and Enrico Marconis of the video game world will have their day in the sun soon enough.

While it has not been uncommon for orchestras to feature music from famous video games on those rare days they attempt to attract an audience, the exchange has gone in both directions. One good example are eight bit enthusiasts Rush Coil arranging traditional standards via a palate of square and saw toothed wave forms.

It’s certainly enough to help spread that warm holiday feeling.

/s/Mohammed Chang

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Filed under Jazz, Movie/TV/Video Game Music, Remixes

Link Dump No. 1

  • Vox Popoli – The True and Obscure History of Psykosonik, Part I
  • Standpoint. – What Happens When the Band Stops Playing?
    (The orchestra I live closest to performed Handel’s Messiah on a single night this month to a sold out house and didn’t bother to schedule any other performances of the work. This isn’t completely dissimilar to the owner of the Upper Level in Day’s post above not welcoming the success of a dance cover band like the NoBoys in spite of audience reaction.)
  • John AugustNo Trombones
    (What would the reaction be from those who trumpet the benefits of music education were it proposed that only piano be taught to middle/high school students?)
  • Village VoiceWheelchair Sports Camp’s Crip Life
    (3,500+ words written to introduce readers to the group and only a couple of paragraphs give any indication of their sound.)
  • JazzWax – Why Sonny Rollins Matters
    (Contrast this with the Village Voice article linked above. It doesn’t shy away from mention of politics, but gives the unfamiliar an idea of what Rollins did musically, why that was special and how doing so was political – and in fewer words. For Myers, the political content of Rollins’ music sheds light on the depth of his artistry. For Dodero, Wheelchair Sports Camp provides her merely an opportunity to champion a set of political views. Heffernan doesn’t come across in the interview as a particularly insightful political mind, Dodero is left applauding the existence of an artist that can play a strong hand in victimhood poker and has to quote Riggs to provide the article’s best musical insight.)
  • Baseball ProspectusBaseball, Sex and Sheet Music

/s/Mohammed Chang

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Filed under Classical, Hip Hop, Jazz, Link Dump