Throwing all the way back to the Bicentennial with this one. Three cord rock was perfected and Punk was born on the Ramones self titled debut. Two sides, 14 fast and furious 2 minute songs. 40 years later Rhino has released a massive Deluxe Anniversary Edition including demos, outtakes and a West Hollywood Roxy performance that highlights Joey’s ability to count to four at the beginning of each and every song. Great stuff! I highly recommend picking it up, but for now, here is the original platter.
No matter what your medium, whether its paint or clay, cooking, music or just words on paper the creative process is a messy one. Getting the idea from the brain to the canvas, if that’s your instrument, is primal, chaotic and often very sloppy. Creativity springs from passion. It is life, all natural, and just like in nature, nothing is clean and tidy. Those of us in the business know the undertaking can also bee frustrating, as you struggle either with a creative partner, a client or just yourself.
The creative process is both intimate and revealing. A painter friend of mine once said, “An artist who takes the risk and puts a piece of art out there, that’s good art”. He was speaking to the point of putting yourself out for others to see hear and criticize. It is a risk, that can be very scary and very rewarding. I guess that is why I enjoy the process. I like the experience of starting from nothing, developing an idea and taking it from concept through to the final product.
When you listen to a Guided By Voices album, especially their earlier ones, you sometimes wonder at what point in the creative process did Robert Pollard say, “OK, we are done with this, lets put it out.” Bee Thousand is the band’s 1994 release, a raw roughly cut plater of 20 songs that were most likely set free very early along the creative chain, but are in no way any less brilliant than later more produced GBV albums. In fact this record would probably not be as great if it had been rubbed up more.
From the starting line to the finish line, Bee Thousand is a workbook made up of mini 1 to 2 minute oysters.
“Sitting out on your house, watching hardcore UFO’s, drawing pictures, playing solos to them . . .
In-between you will bee serenaded and intoxicated by a multitude of unseasoned little pearls, smothered in hugs. It’s a magical spellbinding trip through a creative exercise guaranteed to charm and entertain.
…Rusty and divided steel, the race is yet to come.”
Take the time, forget the mess and let your mind run.
Buzzards and Dreadful Crows
Tractor Rape Chain
The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
Smothered in Hugs
Yours to Keep
Gold Star for Robot Boy
A Big Fan of the Pigpen
Queen of Cans and Jars
Her Psychology Today
Kicker of Elves
Demons Are Real
I Am a Scientist
You’re Not an Airplane
My birthday came early this year with the April release of PJ Harvey’s 11th album The Hope Six Demolition Project. Once again, Polly Jean removes the frills, glam and make-up and gets down in the dirt to tackle some fairly squalid subject matter. Harvey strikes uneasy chords combining avant-garde jazz saxophone wales with her signature guitar and drums on songs like Ministry of Defense and The Wheel. She also creates moving spiritual chants on songs like Chain of Keys and River Anacostia.Hope Six is raw, hard hitting filled with stark bitting lyrical imagery. It takes you to the abject poverty and destruction of the middle east, through the ruins of Kosovo and Afghanistan and then drops you right down Near the Memorials To Vietnam and Lincoln in the heart of our own decaying capital – Washington DC. This album is not just good, it is serious good, heavy stuff delivered with PJ Harvey style and tenacity.
“Wade in the water, God’s gonna trouble the water…”
If you prefer your alternative pop sweet and sugar coated, this is not for you. The Hope Six Demolition Project goes down like a stiff drink and it is by far my favorite album of 2016. It’s volatile cloth is cut very much in the same vein as Lou Reed’s New York. It will move you and open your eyes no matter how rose colored your glasses may be. Stream it for yourself and see. Enjoy!