Very good. I went to Munich for De Wiesn, aka Oktoberfest. It was my first time in Germany and the German people really did make me feel welcome. I tasted all six beers that they had there, and I think Hofbrau’s selection this year was probably my favorite. It was a full-flavored beer with a crisp, short aftertaste, nice and cold for the warm weather. The Augustbriner tent was a real experience though, they did a full polka remix of “Big Wheel.” Like every other fool, I got up on the table and downed my
to roaring applause.
Besides a heavy amount of drinking and merrymaking, I also got to scope out the architecture and buildings of Munich. I’ve made no secret of my love for architecture on this blog, and checking out the Rathaus, the Cathedral of Our Lady, and St. Paul’s, although the belltower was closed, and the Sendlinger Tor, which I surprised a bunch of tourists by explaining (in English) about arrow and gunloops that they thought I was a tour guide.
“Sky Ferreira has said she’s recorded over 400 songs throughout her years on Capital Records, but only 12 tracks saw the light of day on her much anticipated 2013 debut Night Time, My Time. That is until Now.
Yesterday (Feb. 27), Ferreira took to Twitter to address the fact that one of her songs, "Rancid Girl” leaked online. Not that she was too upset about it. “Leaks usually bother me,” she tweeted. “But I actually like ‘Rancid Girl’ so that's… cool?”
The song itself is a stripped down ballad that showcases Ferreira’s vulnerable vocals and lyrics beside an acoustic guitar. Ferreira wrote the song with composer Jon Brion, Fiona Apple collaborator Blake Mills and Cass McCombs, who Sky told Radio.com last year made one of her favorite albums of 2013 with Big Wheel and Others.“
Choosing which tracks from Cass McCombs’ double album, “Big Wheel & Others” to include on this list was incredibly tough. I’ve waffled back and forth on what to include, and honestly in the interest of objectivity had to cut my favorite track, “Joe Murder” from the list. Why? Because, with “Big Wheel & Others”, McCombs reaffirms his status as one of the best lyricists alive, a name deserving of placement alongside Woody Guthrie and Gordon Lightfoot as one of the most idiosyncratic and original North American songwriters. Like those aforementioned folk singers, McCombs is fascinated with the heartland, interesting characters and genuine emotion.
Before we get into lyrics, because that’s where the meat of this review is, it’s important to mention the beautiful instrumentation here. Congas tap in the background, and under McCombs’ roughshod guitar strumming is a virtuoso bass line, one of the best and most proficient of the year. Anyway, onto the lyrical content.
With “Morning Star” we get McCombs at his most impressionistic, a song filled with metaphors and uncharacteristically very little literal action. The whole thing is a metaphor, but for what exactly is unclear. I’ve been attempting to decipher this song for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the meaning is intentionally impossible to clarify. “Morning Star” acts as an Eisenstein-esque montage, a ridiculously relaxed assault on the senses. The contrast of emotions expressed are incisive, as McCombs talks of running away with a girl, being honest and enjoying the good times in the first stanza before opening the next with “Wring my neck/Under your thighs”.
The seemingly self serious and poetic nature of the song is thrown for a loop, however, as McCombs tosses in acerbic lines like “Pull me up to see your face/What’s it like to shit in space?” which immediately lend the song a sense of irony. But what is ironic about the seemingly genuine sentiment transmitted into the listeners mind? The key seems to be hidden in the final lines: “Shitty songs/Shitty art/Shitty poems/Shitty hearts”. Perhaps it’s that we take ourselves and our many emotions too seriously. Perhaps the song is addressing the absurd miniscule nature of our existence. Perhaps it’s just a really fucking good song
“Morning Star” is number 24 in Tune O’ The Day’s 50 Best Songs of the Year countdown.
Cass McCombs - Brighter!, Angel Blood, Morning Star (Live at Triple R)
Alright, I’ve been a Cass McCombs fan for several years and have posted a few songs here. But goddamn am I tired of nobody else listening to him (at least of the people in my own circle). This video features some of his more understated material, but the first song in particular is the type of music that makes me love his work so much.
This dude is one of my favorite songwriters, ever.
Recommended if you like: Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, Bill Callahan/Smog, Jason Molina/Songs: Ohia, Phosphorescent, Big Star, Father John Misty
Cass McCombs’ generosity knows no bounds. That “and others” in the album’s title is the ultimate understatement. These are not bit-parts, not side-shows, not supporting roles; this album contains life, in all its fragmentary, contrary complexity: the musical equivalent of an attempt at The Great American Novel.
“Hey now, Brother. Where you goin’ so slow?” “Hey now, Sister, I’m going to burn down the temple.”
Cue a classically Cass McCombs slog through an instrumental half ragtime, half burlesque, and entirely full of melancholy. The parts here are remarkably similar to some of McCombs other work, such as “The Lonely Doll”, in concept, but “Burning of the Temple” never gets too bogged down, unlike many of McCombs’ more ambitious songs.
McCombs, ever the sardonic lyricist, shows some vulnerability to accompany his quiet rage, and his vocal performance, as always, is on point. Let McCombs serenade you with his trademark mumble, and let the flames engulfing the temple hypnotize you.
I like this Cass McCombs guy. Since I did Kareoke last night I am putting up the lyrics. Probably won’t be my last kareoke, but the world would probably be better off if I didn’t.
‘THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE’ LYRICS All that which is that which shall be done They say it’s nothing new I give my heart away to just one And it could be only you
Like a master’s baptism of fire I know you have your ways And two masters at once, no man can aquire You set my heart ablaze
There’s nothing new under the sun Who owns my heart? There can be only one
Broken down for days at a free motel Under the Oregon ridge Broken hearts, a lifetime in this hell I hope it’s water under the bridge With love it’s either all or none Who owns my heart? There can be only one
To saints and martyrs, lovers now and foregone We are forever committed But as even martyrs are taught by an Imam At least we’re grown enough to admit it
All that which is that which shall be done Who owns my heart? There can be only one