Profiles in Outsider Music (Volume 3) UNKNOWN HINSON

Posted: August 27, 2014 by Dale Nickey in List

Originally posted on THE MUSE PATROL:

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Unknown Hinson - (b. 1954 –       )

Authored by Dale Nickey:

This Outsider is not only the greatest guitar player you never heard of, he’s also the funniest. Unlike many Outsider Music icons, he has no diagnosed mental condition or obvious pathology. There is no artistically transcendent ineptitude. Unknown Hinson (real name Stuart Baker) is a totally calculated and self-aware construct. The Unknown Hinson character has been carefully crafted with a compelling and ridiculous backstory. Unknown Hinson never breaks character and never refers to his alter ego Stuart. However, his rootsy, guitar mastery and songwriting are so bracingly authentic and hilarious; he easily earns his admittance into The Muse Patrol’s – “Outsider Music Hall of Fame”.

He may have appeared as a faint blip on your radar screen as the voice-over actor who played the character of Early Cuylor in the animated comedy Squidbillies. He also…

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JANDEK – “Houston Saturday (2011)” – Album Review

Posted: August 4, 2014 by Dale Nickey in List

Originally posted on THE MUSE PATROL:

HOUSTON SATURDAY (2011)

Artist – JANDEK

Corwood Industries (0815)

0815-Houston-Saturday-2011-300x300

More Jandek? Click >>>>song-of-morgan/maze-of-the-phantom/houston-saturday

Authored by Dale Nickey:

In the world of real estate it’s all about “location, location, location”. In the world of Outsider Music the corollary would be, “perception, perception, perception”.

Jandek has just released a new album titled, “Houston Saturday (2011)”. If this sounds familiar, it should.  Earlier in the year, Jandek released a live album, “Houston Saturday”. Two entirely different animals. Jandek doesn’t like to make it easy, does he?

“Houston Saturday (2011)” is the album this reviewer has pined for.  It’s a live album recorded at the Menil Collection on December 17th, 2011. A no-nonsense brace of tunes with only acoustic guitar and voice (save the spoken word opener). This new record has the feel of an intimate studio recording. Indeed, the audience is eerily silent until long, sustained applause is heard after the final song. The sound…

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JANDEK – “Houston Saturday” (Album Review)

Posted: March 16, 2014 by Dale Nickey in List

Originally posted on THE MUSE PATROL:

Authored by Dale Nickey:

More Jandek? click>>>>>song-of-morgan/maze-of-the-phantom

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Jandek – “Houston Saturday (I know I’m Alive)”

Corwood Industries (0813)

Recorded Live at the Free Press Summer Fest June 1, 2013   

With Jandek’s last studio release, “The Song of Morgan” in my rear view mirror, I didn’t foresee any immediate Jandek activity on the horizon. Then, along comes the always unassuming parcel from Corwood Industries. Hand printed mailing label in legible sharpie script and old school postage stamps in lieu of dated, metered business indicia.

Usually, I get a little communication jotted on my enclosed Corwood Catalog – the official stationary of Corwood Industries. However, no message this time, just the blank catalog. Was the blankness an oblique message from the Representative of Corwood Industries? How do I interpret this?  Am I going insane?  Here we go again…….

Jandek’s last studio album was 2013’s “The Song…

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          By Kevin Collier

American Authors - Oh, What a Life

Here we go, my first album review of 2014, and it’s only March! Not bad for a new dad who is a little rusty when it comes to this whole writing thing. Well, if you’re a fan of indie rock, chances are good you’ve already heard American Authors. The first track on the Album, “Believer” was my first exposure to them, via pretty heavy radio play on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation for a few months last year. Though it will not be their first official single, it’s a fun, catchy song that sets the perfect mood for the album at track one.

Next up is “Think About It”, a clap-happy, synth driven exercise in positivity that keeps up the life high set by the first track. I could easily describe the Brooklyn based four-piece’s debut effort as “Happy Music”, which is less of a genre and more of a feeling that I personally get from the high energy, poppy and uplifting message conveyed both in lyrics and instrumentals.

The official first single, “Best Day of My Life”, was almost too happy for me, at first. I heard it for the first time, again on Alt Nation, a few months back. I was driving home from work after a particularly frustrating and stressful day and here was front man Zac Barnett belting out “I’m never going to look back, whoa. I’m never going to give it up, no. Please don’t wake me now. This is going to be the best day of my life.” Complete with woos, whoas and some funky, crunchy guitars, bouncing drum beats and cymbals, invoking all of the wonderful things about Tigger (there is only one.) But a funny thing happened at the end of the song; catharsis. I began the song with an attitude; who is he to tell me that this is going to be good day? What’s his problem? Then, after it ended, another song came on and I can’t for the life of me recall what song. I was thinking about the mood and the mindset behind these simple, almost cheesy lyrics, along with the oh so happy/sappy vibe produced by the accompanying music and I let out a sigh of relief. My day may not have gotten any better, but my mood did. See? Music can move you. Believe it.

Of course, like anything, variety is the spice of life. Not every song can be at an eleven, or perhaps cloud nine. So, the next track, “Luck” manages to maintain the somewhat positive outlook, but adds depth, perception and some subject matter that shows how varied life is and not every day is the best day of our individual lives, unless you’re Chris Traeger, then each new day is literally the best day of your life. But folks, I hate to burst your bubble, but he’s fictional. We are not one dimensional people, especially when it comes to emotions. This song reminds me of Fun., especially “One Foot”.

“Trouble” is…well, it’s the next song, by golly. (See what you’ve done, American Authors? You’ve made me so giddy that I use words like by, and golly…and giddy. Urgh.) “Trouble” is a song about a bad girl. “I knew she was trouble from the first kiss. I could tell that something wasn’t right with you. I could feel it blowing in the night wind. I could tell that something wasn’t right with you. Musically, they introduce a banjo, giving it a little country vibe.

After two slowed down tracks, the pace again quickens with “Hit It”, a fast paced song with a little bit of everything. It’s enough to make you dizzy with all the dancing you’ll probably be doing. I wouldn’t know. I’m pale as paper.

Track seven, “Home” is a nice sentimental song with some great imagery, conveying the simple, tried-and-true thought that plagues most of us at one point or another, but especially musicians, I would imagine and that’s home sickness. Barnett sings, “I’ve seen mountains and valleys through my missing days, but I never once parted with how you begged me to stay. I will run down that long, hard and treacherous road to get home. I’m not trying to stop a hurricane. I’m not trying to shake the ground below. I’m just trying to find a way to make it back home. I’m not trying to part the ocean waves, I’m not trying to overthrow the throne…I’m just trying to get home.” Great, powerful imagery in the lyrics and their execution. You can feel the emotion in his voice and empathize. Home definitely is where the heart is, I can say, as a husband and new father. For other great songs about this subject, I recommend Manchester Orchestra’s “Pensacola”, Maylene & the Sons of Disaster’s “Raised By the Tide”, The Classic Crime’s “Far From Home” and Five Finger Death Punch’s “Battle Born”.

Keeping this peace train rolling is “Love”. While the obvious first thought about this song is it’s about a person, but it’s actually about the past, being able to reminisce and remember “the good times”, even if they may not have been appreciated in the moment. It’s another solid, thought provoking, and yes, happy song, or maybe bittersweet? Musically it’s moving and light and it fits right in on this album.

“Heart of Stone” could definitely be described as bittersweet. The subject matter is that person in your life that lies, is very negative and possibly a lost cause, yet the song is fast paced, ironically happy-sounding and yes, catchy. You can try not liking this one, but that probably means you’re one of the people described in its lyrics.

“Ghost” is the penultimate offering and it again offers a positive perspective and suggests an attitude of moving on from our past demons and trying to improve. Not the strongest song on the album, in my opinion, but it’s an enjoyable song with some good general thoughts about how to enjoy life more.

Speaking of life, the eponymous “Oh, What A Life” is the final track on the album. A softer song…at first, but it picks up in no time and features a fun chorus that reminds me of a bunch of happy people in a bar, drunk and singing karaoke, you know, but with better vocal quality. (This tends to happen in a studio.) In the end, the song crescendos as a perfect swan song, and I imagine it would play well on stage as a closing song or an encore. After hearing the album, I would love to catch the band live. You can too. Check out their tour dates here. They are coming near me in June.

The album will release March 3rd, 2014 on Island Def Jam Records. You can also catch the band on Conan March 4th, 2014 and March 10th on Live with Kelly and Michael.

This is not a test; it’s a testament. To your singing ability. To your songwriting skills. To your originality. To your personality. Okay, so it’s kind of like a test I guess. Think of it as a challenge, then. Be like Barney Stinson and simply say: Challenge…accepted. All right, so that wasn’t a very original line, but yours don’t have to be either. What am I talking about, you ask? Well, I’m talking about the Unsigned Only Music Competition!

Here at The Stereo Lounge, I love sharing my new music discoveries with people. I love supporting great independent bands and artists. For me, that’s what it’s all about. I love music and when someone makes great music that makes me happy, makes me think or just makes me move, I want to spread the word. Unfortunately, while I do often hear about great new (or established, yet new to me) bands and artists that aren’t signed to a record label, mostly through friends, going to concerts and word of mouth, the reality is that I, like other people, live a busy life and I often don’t have the means or the time to go out and discover new music.

If you or your band have something to say and you aren’t currently a household name, here is your chance! Even if you have years of experience and a solid fan base, maybe you want to get even more exposure or a little cash, maybe. Money does make the World go ’round sometimes, if we’re being honest. Even the most anti-materialist person’s got to pay the bills (unless you’re Lauryn Hill).

So, here’s some information for you. Step one: Go to Unsignedonly.Com. Step two: Read more about the competition if you’re curious. Step three: Submit your original or cover song to one of the following categories (Please note the $30 entry fee):

  • AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
  • AC (Adult Contemporary)
  • Americana
  • Christian
  • Country
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriter
  • R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Rock
  • Pop/Top 40
  • Teen (for artists 18 years old and younger)
  • Vocal Performance

One Grand Prize Winner will get $10,000, one-on-one mentoring from record execs at companies like Atlantic, Capitol, Elektra and Virgin, along with a bunch of other great prizes. Each category will also have a First and Second Prize Winner, who will also win cool, useful stuff. The submission deadline for entries via Mail and Online is March 13th, 2014 (Postmarked/Mailed date by mail and 11:59 EST (US) Online).

Some cool facts: Your work will be judged by Music Journalists from Rolling Stone, The Washington Post and well-known Artists, including John Oates (Hall & Oates), Neon Trees, David Crowder, Alt-J, Roseanne Cash, Of Monsters and Men, and Run DMC’s Darryl McDaniels. Winners will be announced in August. If you win, your song will be featured on the website and even if you don’t win, your name will be posted which means exposure, right?

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and submit your songs! If you have any more questions, check out their FAQ or contact them.

JANDEK – “The Song Of Morgan” (Album Review)

Posted: January 8, 2014 by Dale Nickey in List

song-of-morgan-three

Authored by: Dale Nickey

Jandek – “The Song Of Morgan” (2013)

Corwood Industries – 0811

“Nocturne (noun) (French: “Nocturnal”), in music, a composition inspired by, or evocative of, the night, and cultivated in the 19th century primarily as a character piece for piano.” From Encyclopedia Britannica

I committed to reviewing Jandek’s latest album. “The Song Of Morgan”, a nine CD box set. Corwood Industries confirms that this is an entirely new work. “The Song of Morgan” is an album of piano nocturnes;, nine of them, one continuous hour-long piece per CD. I don’t know how you go about reviewing something like this. It took two hours just to transfer the damn thing into my IPOD.

The artwork on the box set “The Song of Morgan” is as sparse and minimal as the music is expansive and plentiful. The cover photo is clearly the artist we have seen on previous albums. However, this year’s Jandek looks like a school boy no older than 9 or 10. The box houses simple cardboard sleeves for each of the nine CD’s with the simple track designations – “Nocturne 1″ and so forth. You didn’t really think a booklet would be included did you? Is the cover photo some oblique reference to Dorian Gray? Has Jandek recaptured some childlike innocence lost? Was he taking piano lessons at this age? Is the pre-pubescent Jandek we see on the photo the link to the classically influenced noodling we find on “The Song of Morgan”? Or is it just a ringer to throw us off the scent? All questions we love to ask but don’t really want answered. At $32.00 the collection feels like value for the money. And, for those invested in Jandek futures, it’s collectability seems assured.

I know of no other artist who has issued a new work of this length. Without liner notes or one-sheet, I get to turn my imagination loose. However, two main questions about Jandek continue to hang in the air and should be restated and addressed. Because in the genre of Outsider Music, context and preamble mean everything.

First, let’s discuss the secrecy surrounding Jandek. The party line of Jandek scholarship holds that the person that is Jandek is a stubborn, hermetic, iconoclast who is cultivating anonymity purposely. The intent of this policy is unclear. It could be a pathological thirst for privacy. Or the representative is maybe offering a clever variation of the “hot chick theory” which states the more you ignore your admirers, the more desirable you become. Or was he sage enough to realize that when you make music this un-commercial, mystique is the best trump card you’ve got in the deck?

http://www.corwoodindustries.com/

As Jandek’s music has evolved so has his celebrity. I think journalists are more obsessed with preserving Jandek’s anonymity than Jandek is. The last decade finds Jandek playing live. YouTube footage finds the artist walking, talking, sitting in radio studios jamming. I think the artist we presume to be Jandek has bid adieu to the menace and mystique and has moved on, finding the role of enigma more comfortable and sustainable.

Second question. Why so many albums? Particularly when so many are so similar to one another. Add together all the official titles in the Corwood Catalog and we’re talking 70 releases. Why? The answer to this question might be relatively simple. Jandek probably just likes making records. I do. It’s fun. And, if you like to do something that much and can afford to it, then, why not? It’s probably as simple as that.

So where is Jandek the artist now? What does “The Song of Morgan” tell us? In 1978, Jandek started off as a guitar snapping primitive from another dimension. His earliest recordings are cave drawings by an artist who seemed intent on remaining inside the cave. It’s almost as if the artist decided that his journey in music needed documentation at every stage; novice, intermediate and advanced. While most musicians remain cloistered in the bedroom, practicing for the day they feel ready to present their muse to the world, perhaps Jandek decided that even his embryonic stages needed to be memorialized with an official record release. Regardless of intent, Jandek’s discography is a fascinatingly long and winding road. And, what a long strange trip it’s been.

Also we are dealing with an entirely new and separate period in the Jandek saga. When the documentary film “Jandek On Corwood” was released in 2003, all those interviewed in the film seemed to agree that Jandek’s discography could be codified into three (more or less) distinct periods. First was his guitar/vocal, delta blues from the twilight zone period. Then came his extroverted electric period where he collaborated with other musicians. Third was his partial regression into the isolated and menacing early template, best expressed in his harrowing and uncomfortable trilogy of A Capella albums.

Jandek’s fourth act seems to have coincided with the release of the 2003 documentary film “Jandek On Corwood”. After the film’s release, Jandek confounded the world by making his first live appearance. Not only that, he began a campaign of concert appearances all over the globe whilst documenting them on video. The DVD’s and Live audio CD’s were released by Corwood Industries with traditional regularity; thus giving us the first moving images of the man. At the start, Jandek’s live work seemed to represent the brackish work of his second period. Basic electric guitar, bass and drums squalling in a power trio format. He started mutating quickly and began expressing himself in various configurations. Now it seems he’s a keyboard man. And, recent live DVD’s find him sitting behind an electronic synthesizer leading ad-hoc ensembles whose repertoire is the free-form ambient music found on Jandek’s 2012 release “Maze Of The Phantom”. His concerts draw SRO audiences wherever he appears. This despite the fact he refuses to do advance promotion or advertisement.

I needed to do some homework to properly calibrate my perception of “The Song of Morgan”. So I went back to 1999 and studied Jandek’s first foray into piano music. A fifteen minute piece called “The Beginning”.

“The Beginning” is a difficult cup of tea leaves to read. The temptation is to say that Jandek hit the record button the very second he decided to sit down and play a piano for the first time. The piano is woefully out of tune. And much of the piece sees Jandek flooring the sustain pedal and letting the room ambiance do most of the sound sculpting. Other places I can almost see Jandek’s gears turning and calculating the percussive potential of the instrument as he repeatedly hammers on the upper register keys until the room echo and colliding harmonics threaten to create a new tonality. There are times it seems that Jandek might have taken a few lessons on the instrument, and other times he sounds like your pedantic four year-old toddler banging on the keys in the throes of a sugar rush. The piece is an exploration. Much of “The Beginning” is self-indulgent. But, one thing it you can say with certainty. “The Beginning” is 100% pharmaceutical grade Jandek.

So now Jandek fancies himself a classical pianist. Gone is the segregation-unit ambiance of his early work. The piano on this new collection is in tune and apparently of good quality. Likewise the recording is as clear and full as you could want. The bass rumbles and the upper registers plink as God and Deutsche Grammophon intended. At first listen I have a strange affinity for the music I am hearing. Probably because Jandek’s pianistic skills are roughly comparable to mine at my peak proficiency. However, where I avoid memorializing my limitations on record, Jandek embraces the challenge and ups the ante by issuing an instrumental album almost nine hours in length. Going back to 1978 musical currency, we’re talking 15-18 vinyl LP’s! Jandek has balls of titanium to go with his (apparently) bottomless war chest. But, what could he be planning as a follow up? A Christmas Album? A collection of children music? I’d better shut my yap, lest I give the ‘gang’ at Corwood Industries any ideas.

So here’s my pledge. I’m going to listen to every note on all nine volumes of this new work multiple times. I will be living, driving, working, sleeping, eating and excreting Jandek’s “The Song of Morgan” for as long as it takes. Do I have a life? At this point, I think the answer should be obvious…..

JD

CD 1 (Nocturne One)
Nocturne 1 establishes a template that will become very familiar on each nocturne. A slow bass ostinato in the left hand paired with cautious improvisation in the right hand. Minor keys predominate. At about 18 minutes in, things start becoming a little more active with some higher register arpeggios as the left hand becomes a little more stabbing and percussive and Jandek rolls out some well-placed glissandi. This is the first point at which things sound properly classical. Around the twenty minute mark, Jandek starts exploring the bass notes a little more aggressively and actually demonstrates some facility in the left hand. The glissando action is now migrating to the bass notes of the keyboard. This middle section seems the dramatic apex of the piece with random cascading note clusters and some hyperactive dissonance. Jandek then moves back into the high register with some staccato plinking that evokes the image of a farm hand stabbing a haystack with his pitchfork looking for a bothersome rodent. Jandek seems to be in a holding pattern whilst trying to keep the vehicle from going off the shoulder of the road. At 22 minutes we get some descending piano runs sounding very much like Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright on an ambitious day. We are now going into a section of free playing. Just throwing random technique at the wall to see what sticks. Up till now Jandek was trying to stay in his modal comfort zone. At certain points you suspect the artist is just ‘pissing around’ on the piano. But it is a performance. A marathon. No punches or pro-tools trickery is in evidence. 24 minutes in the storm has subsided and we are very much back to the walking bass lines and meditative counterpoint, which is pretty much the same territory Jandek staked out earlier in the piece with the exception of some marginally adventurous interval movement in the bass.

Originally my intent was to studiously dissect each piano piece as one would a frog in biology class. However, as I pursued this policy, I realized that this was as unfair to the artist as it was to the reviewer. For example the most revelatory moments of listening occurred during half-sleep. On one occasion I awoke to one of Jandek’s more hyperactive interludes and momentarily thought that Jandek employed overdubs on one of the pieces. Closer listening revealed the passage to be real time improvisation. However, it did remind me that “virtuosity’ is subjective and totally in the ear of the beholder. Also some of his more percussive plinking in the higher registers resulted in timbers that sounded more synthetic than pianistic. Listening to Jandek in half-sleep has it’s rewards.

More than once I fell asleep listening to “The Song of Morgan” only to awake at daybreak with the album still playing without repeat, a somewhat unsettling experience.

CD-2 (Nocturne Two)

In my research I found one reviewer who compared the music on this album to Erik Satie. The beginning of Nocturne Two definitely mines Satie territory. Whereas Nocturne One started off with rudimentary counterpoint. …..Two seems to me more interested in establishing chords as a mission statement. Pleasant if somewhat tentative. Jandek finally introduces some thirds in the bass……About seven minutes in we have a break in the action which either suggests a new movement or an edit or both. Action resumes with some delicate upper register notes much like those my cat composes when she makes an unsanctioned walk across my piano keyboard. Not that this is a bad thing. My cat is fairly musical. I’m thinking the break at seven minutes was an edit because Jandek now seems refreshed and more assured in this playing.

The more I live with the record the more I become familiar with Jandek’s “parlor tricks’ on piano. In the main, the pieces share a common architecture in that they begin slow and meditative. Slow walks with the left hand predominate. Variety will often be found in the form of a double time of the walking bass. Each nocturne sports a hyperactive “free form” section where Jandek is just playing what he feels with blatant disregard for harmonic or melodic cogency. Sometimes the stars (notes) align and sometimes they don’t. Non-figurative would be the only scholarly description of these abstract and atonal flights of fancy.

CD-5 (Nocturne Five)

This selection starts out morose and contemplative. After driving around a minor key cul de sac for a couple of minutes, Jandek tries to open up the piece several times with some more active right hand work in the upper registers. At about six minutes in Jandek double times the left hand bass figures. This finally gets things moving and Jandek starts getting a little more adventurous melodically. At 10 minutes in Jandek seems to have painted himself into a corner with his static left and figure. However, his improvisations with his right hand becomes more adventurous and sure-footed. At twelve minutes in there are some nice, delicate upper register filigree. Jandek remains in a meditative and repetitive mode until minute 38 when Jandek starts hitting the keys a little more aggressively and starts throwing in a few glissandi and some more animated bass. This commences a somewhat abstract cadenza where the listener might be surprised by some rather athletic, rolling bass arpeggios against some deftly executed right hand soloing. This goes on for a while with intermittent episodes of inspired improvisation blended with what could best be described as atonal tomfoolery. Jandek hits the breaks at minute 44:00 and returns to his beloved 5 note bass ostinato that he seems so very attached to.

Listening to the album, some recurring patterns become self-evident. Jandek’s technique is mainly a walking left hand ostinato that hues closely to diatonic major/ minor modalities. He has developed an athletic knack for throwing in glissandi at regular intervals in both the bass and treble keys just to keep things moving and to suggest virtuosity . Attempts at key modulation are rare and met with the grinding of gears. Sometimes Jandek seems to get caught in the moment and threatens to go off the shoulder of the road. He usually soldiers on turning mistakes and happy accidents into new motifs. Of course this is all educated guessing on my part. My wife hears it out of the corner of her ear and it sounds pleasant and relaxing. And, if you listen to this music in the manner most people would, it is. “The Song of Morgan” is an album I fall asleep to quite often. You cannot say that about any other Jandek album. This is a good thing. And, the ability to relax and think during nine hours of Jandek is an entirely new experience to the Jandekophile.

CD-6 (Nocturne Six)

Jandek finally finds his voice on this work. The piece opens with meaty, ominous single bass notes, with pedal to the metal sustain. Right hand bass notes are eventually introduced and the next few minutes find Jandek giving us pure sound in lieu of any discernible time signature or harmonic structure. It works. Think Cecile Taylor on angel dust composing music for a Japanese monster movie. The concussive rumbling finally give way to Jandek’s now familiar device of the slow walk in the base with close to the bone counterpoint in the right. This music is abstract. It’s pure sound. Some of the more ominous and explosive effects would not sound out-of-place as the soundtrack of a feature length film and is a welcome respite from the piano recital format that defines much of “The Song of Morgan”. Hey, there’s a thought, Jandek as a film composer.

CD-9 (Nocturne Nine)

This last leg seems a restatement of all that’s gone on before. To me, the quieter moments of this nocturne (and others) remind me of Bartok and his masterpiece collection of studies for piano, ‘Microcosmos”. Delicate, mildly dissonant, oddly accented and calm. Like any marathon runner there is stumbling and weaving at the end of the race. But, I still cheer him to the finish line despite the salt stains and contorted features.

Really, I can’t do Jandek any more justice than this. And, if my review is meandering and (at times) unfocused, perhaps it’s my life imitating Jandek’s art. At first, I felt impelled to give a note-by-note commentary of every movement in this album. Then I realized its title is “The Song of Morgan”….Song, singular. So I’ll take the clues I’m given and view it as a singular statement. I have probably listened to this work more times than any other person on the planet. I have listened to “The Song of Morgan” in my car, during walks, before bed, during sleep, at work and while cleaning the cat box. I have listened with a critic’s ear and an acolyte’s heart. I have listened both passively and actively. After this review, I may never listen to it again. Or it might be the first music I turn to on a cold rainy day with a book in hand. “The Song of Morgan” is like the public library. You may never visit, but it’s comforting to know it’s there.

Nobody could have predicted the longevity and/or artistic evolution of Jandek. Listen to “Ready For The House’ or “Six And Six”. Could you have possibly imagined that Jandek would be soldiering on 35 years later as anything, let alone a classical pianist? Bravo to the artist who invents his own reality and hands his life over to the solitary sojourn of intuitive artistry. When quantum physics and Jandek’s persistence collide in musical expression, it’s a thing to behold. Even if only for a few seconds.

Towards the end of my research I decided to do some final market testing. I played “The Song of Morgan” uninterrupted on my portable stereo at The Office where I work. Where I work has a customer service lobby where people have to wait in line. Captive audience. Near closing time, the line was long (as usual). However, one of my associates told me he noticed the customers were uncharacteristically calm and quiet if not happy. Usually, close of business lines are hyperactive, impatient and noisy. Not today. However, nobody complained about the music. Indeed, Jandek’s work seemed to have a relaxing effect. Well, no, I think ‘medicinal’ would be a more accurate description. But Jandek clearly controlled the environment and left an impression , which is all any artist has the right to expect or hope. And, I’m sure an entire eight-hour shift performed to the backdrop of Jandek has never been experienced by any other government office.

Plug into “The Song of Morgan”and you may hear the soul of the man. He’s left it there for all to hear. Nine hours of streaming consciousness filtered through his ten fingers and eighty-eight piano keys. It may not solve the Jandek riddle, or tell you what he eats for breakfast, but it might tell you how he feels. If the mystery and menace of Jandek has been diluted by time and Youtube, he still plays the enigmatic card expertly. However, this new work does add another question to the thirty-five year conundrum of Jandek……

….Who on earth is Morgan?

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Click Here to buy Jandek music>>>http://corwoodindustries.com/

JD

I can’t believe 2013 is already over. While it wasn’t a great year for writing in this blog, it was a great year for me, personally. Let’s see..new job, new baby and oh yeah, lots of new music! 2013 was a fantastic year for music, and as usual, it was hard to narrow down my list of top albums, or even remember all the great albums that came out this year. Thanks to a longer commute to work, Sirius XM radio and Google Play Music: All Access, I listened to just about every album I could get my hands on. So, since it’s that time of year again, it’s time to count down… My Favorite Albums of 2013! (Check out the 2010, 2011 & 2012 editions!)

The Neighbourhood – I Love You.

The Neighbourhood - I Love You.

Featuring catchy songs like “Sweater Weather“, (It’s too cold for you here and now…), “Female Robbery (Don’t let the police know anything, anything…) and “Afraid” (When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might take my place…) This was an easy choice for my list this year. I find myself singing Sweater Weather on a day to day basis.

Childish Gambino – Because the Internet

Childish Gambino - Because the Internet

Why did this one make my list? Because Childish Gambino. A late arrival this year, Donald Glover’s alter-ego releases his second legit on a record label album since he signed with Glassnote. Continuing in the tradition of CampBecause the Internet is thematic and grandiose. Arranged like a play, complete with Roman Numeral scene numbers on each song, organized (I use the term loosely here)  into acts with interludes in between. The first single, “3005” showcases both his singing ability and his awesome and witty flow as a rapper. Definitely worth checking out, in my opinion.

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

I am not the biggest fan of Vampire Weekend. With their last two albums, Contra and Vampire Weekend, I would have to be “in the mood” for them. I would often get annoyed by the frenetic, too-happy vibes in songs like “California English.” So the bar was set low going into Modern Vampires. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the album. At times, it almost sounds like an entirely different band, or at least, a more mature, tempered band. Standout tracks are “Diane Young” and “Unbelievers”, the latter of which is regularly stuck in my head…and for once, I’m  okay with that.

Robert DeLong – Just Movement

Robert Delong - Just Movement

Since signing with Glassnote last year, Robert DeLong has made his presence known with the best year of his career so far. Whether he was at festivals like Coachella, or travelling the globe, or being played on several radio stations, including Sirius XM’s Alt Nation and KROQ, he was somewhere, doing something big and having lots of fun doing it. Not only that, but he continued to release brand spanking new music to his loyal fans every month and even had his remix featured on the Deluxe edition re-release of AWOLNATION’s Megalithic Symphony. Last year, I got to catch his live show and I’m not the only one who will tell you it was amazing. Energetic, creative, and interactive, this kid’s going places (and I’m not just saying that because I went to college with him.) He might just make you dance.

Alter Bridge – Fortress

Alter Bridge - Fortress

Continuing their trend of releasing a new album every 3 years since 2004, the former Creed members have now officially released the same amount of albums as Creed. Once again, they make my list, as they did with III in 2010. “Addicted to Pain” came on the radio and got me addicted to this album, but the rest of the tracks held up their end of the bargain as well. Solid hard rock effort here and fantastic as always from these guys.

City and Colour – The Hurry and the Harm

City and Colour - The Hurry & the Harm

The former clean vocalist of Alexisonfire doesn’t disappoint with his latest offering. He once again lends his haunting voice to some beautiful melodies and maladies (lyrically). Time after time he’s proved to have mastered the art of the melancholy song that somehow puts the listener at ease. This is a wonderful follow up to Little Hell.

Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just a Dream

Fitz & the Tantrums - More Than Just a Dream

Fitz & The Tantrums did stuff before this album. They were around, making music and I just wasn’t paying attention. But with their song “Out of My League”, I was hooked. I listened to the rest of the album and found little gems like “The Walker” and “Break the Walls”. This is good mood music and it earns a place on my list.

Cage the Elephant – Melophobia

Cage the Elephant - Melophobia

Melophobia is defined as “Fear of music” or “Aversion to Music” (though I couldn’t find it in either Merriam Webster or Dictionary.com).  But there’s nothing to be feared here, just some good, funky music from the boys who brought us “Shake Me Down”. Here the draw and fixture is “Come a Little Closer”, a track that I can listen to several times without getting tired of it. Oh, and the rest of the album is great too. Check it out.

Arctic Monkeys – AM

Arctic Monkeys - AM

Arctic Monkeys have been around the block. The British band has been around since 2002 and unfortunately I missed out on a lot of their earlier stuff. But their newest album, the simply titled AM, is great all the way through. It starts off strong with “Do I Wanna Know?”, a groovy ear-pleaser with some nice falsetto and cool beats. The sound is bouncy and ethereal and other standout tracks include “Arabella” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”. The album ends strong with the slow jam “I Wanna Be Yours.”

Lorde – Pure Heroine

Lorde - Pure Heroine

What else can I say about the stellar 17 year old singer from New Zealand that hasn’t already been said? With wisdom and maturity in both her voice and her lyrics, she came from relative obscurity to major stardom this year. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for? “Royals”, “Team”, “Tennis Court”. Go.

Atlas Genius – When it Was Now

Atlas Genius - When it Was Now

Another new band that had a breakout year. You may have heard their song “Trojans” and possibly “If So”, but you’re missing out if you don’t check out the rest of the tracks. This band will probably ride this momentum into 2014 and continue their success. Check out the album for some retro, poppy fun.

Bastille – Bad Blood

Bastille - Bad Blood

I didn’t number the entries this year, as each year I have said I don’t want to do a top ten or top twelve, et cetera, but if I did, this would be number one. From the first few seconds of “Pompeii” I was captivated. I loved that song and the few songs included on their EP early this year and my only gripe was that there was not enough Bastille. I wanted to hear more and eventually I did. Bad Blood was released and I was very pleased. “Bad Blood” the song has begun to get airplay lately, but my favorite track aside from “Pompeii” is “Things We Lost in the Fire.” I’m just surprised the upcoming film Pompeii, starring the bastard of Winterfell, didn’t capitalize and use the song “Pompeii” in the trailers. Also check out “Overjoyed.” Seriously, this album is amazing. Let’s hope for more Bastille in 2014. Happy New Year from the Stereo Lounge!

Link  —  Posted: January 1, 2014 by Kevin Collier in List