I was just talking to Brian about why I still love Under the Blacklight, despite the anger it incites from standing Rilo Kiley fans (I know a lot of ’em, too…), and the general distaste for Blake Sennett, comparatively. It mostly feeds into my reflexive irk at “Oh, the singer makes the band,”–an unstated but largely subconscious perception. And certainly it’s true for many of us (yes, “us”), but not always fair.
When I wrote my extensive (and exhaustive) record review blog, I tried to make sure to cover all appropriate credits, because the laziness of assumption can deny you a lot. It made me realize interesting things some times, like how much I appreciate Sam Henry’s simple but catchy drums on “Return of the Rat”, or Zach Barocas’s interesting and creative every god damned percussive line he did for Jawbox. And if you think Member X did all the good stuff, you might never listen to Bash and Pop, or Sparta, or Steel Train, or Slim Dunlap, or Grant Hart’s stuff–and all of that would be sad. It means you mistakenly do things like assume it was Cedric singing “Hourglass”.¹
I did get my Slint box in today, which was quite exciting, especially the Albini review of Spiderland which is reproduced inside, as well as numerous tour flyers, where Slint played with Big Black and Killdozer and a bunch of T&G labelmates. Fascinating, as, for all their intensity, their future connection to Mogwai (as inspiration, and common “they were clearly inspired by…”) makes me associate them more completely with post-rock, and not the same kind of noisiness as a result.
I’ve taken up spreading the gospel of Small Faces, as none of my friends or I had bothered listening to them, despite the reputation. “Song of a Baker” did it for me, so here’s a nice link for you:
¹Okay, here’s a catalogue for the unfamiliar:
Bash and Pop: early 90s spin-off from the Replacements, fronted by ‘Mats bassist Tommy Stinson. Paul Westerberg is, of course, the vocalist for the ‘Mats and primary songwriter, and thus gets most of the credit. His solo albums are good (shut up author of article on Cracked whose name I can’t recall! You’re fucking wrong!), but Bash and Pop is fucking awesome. Friday Night Is Killing Me is like, top 10 shit for me.
Sparta: post-breakup spin-off of At the Drive-In. Guitarist (largely) backup vocalist Jim Ward fronts bassist Paul “Pall” Hinojo and drummer Tony Hajjar. Ignored in favour of The Mars Volta. I hold grudges here, as many people know. Let us speak of this no more, other than to add: most of “Hourglass” is sung by Jim, not Cedric, but, this very day, I saw people insisting to the contrary, fabricating artificial limits on Jim to conform the world to their narrow viewpoint.
Steel Train: pre-formation fun. origin. The Format is where Nate Ruess came from, and they’re awesome, but Steel Train continued for another album (their self-titled swansong) after fun. started. And all of Steel Train’s records are better than that awful shit they do now (no insult intended if you like it: it’s only my perspective).
Slim Dunlap: Replacements-replacement (harrrr!) for Bob Stinson, who did too many drugs, and it’s sad. A bunch of people said his exit from the band ruined them, but All Shook Down is awesome, and they’re wrong. Dunlap did two solo records, of which I’ve heard the one so far (The Old New Me) and it’s excellent, so there.
Grant Hart: one half of the feuding duo behind Hüsker Dü. I think they remind me most of Uncle Tupelo, relationship-wise. I think it’s allllmost the same from fan perspectives, as Mould did Sugar and his solo records and Hart was mostly left in the dust, as I understand it. I guess less a distinct “God, Farrar is a dick” kinda vibe, because I think there’s plenty of that vibe going around Hart/Mould (but I see fewer accusations thrown at Tweedy). I dunno. Regardless, pretty sure Hart is less listened, post-Dü.