This week we got to realize our fragility, talk to the lead singer of The Hold Steady about commitment, analyze our body language, understand some of the musical and cultural history of Milwaukee, and preview the Pitchfork Music Festival, which we will be covering this weekend. We got to do that all through 5 songs. These are those 5 songs.
Click the link below to hear all five in one long, beautiful steam.
Martha- “Dust, Juice, Bones, and Hair”
It’s comforting to realize how basic life is when everything feels so complicated. When work is piling up, rent is due, we feel guilty because we don’t talk to our mom enough, we are worried that we don’t eat well enough, but its 7:00 at night, and we just got home from work and the last thing we want to do is cook a decent meal, and life just seems so complex.
But if we get down to it, strip away our mental hangups, and our emotional baggage, we see that, as human beings, we’re really simple. That physically, we’re made up of the same stuff that everyone else is made up of. It’s humbling. It makes us feel smaller, and in turn, makes our problems smaller too. And its a freeing thought, to think that we are mostly dust, juice, bones, and air.
Martha’s album, Courting Strong, is out now.
Listen if you like: Jangly rock, cute reflections, British accents
The Hold Steady’s Pick: The Replacements- “I Will Dare”
The Hold Steady played here a couple weeks ago. The Hold Steady has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered Separation Sunday my sophomore year of high school. When I went on-air for the very first time in my life at WSUM in Madison 4 years ago, the very first song I ever played was “Your Little Hoodrat Friend,” by The Hold Steady. This was a big moment for me. Initially I wasn’t going to say anything to Craig Finn. I could hear my dad’s voice, “Never meet your heros.” But, when the show ended, Craig Finn walked off stage and it was just me and him standing there. I mentioned David Foster Wallace, because I knew we had a mutual interest in the author, he looked directly into my eyes, he smiled and we talked like old friends about Infinite Jest, anxiety, isolation, and the redemptive qualities of reading David Foster Wallace. Eventually I got to ask him if there was a song he couldn’t stop listening to. He thought for about thirty seconds and launched into a perfectly articulate monologue about The Replacements song, “I Will Dare.” You can listen to it in the soundcloud link above.
The Replacements’ album, Let It Be, was released in 1984.
Listen if you like: The Hold Steady, Minneapolis and St. Paul, punks committing to love
Slow Club- Suffering You, Suffering Me
This song highlights the importance of body language in relationships. It starts with the line, “So I saw you turn from me the other night, Right there I knew that I was losing you.” We can see relationships slipping away through body language. We can always say, “oh I love you baby, everything is fine.” all we want, because its easy to say what someone wants to hear, but the body doesn’t lie. Body language is, for the most part, sub-conscious. A turn away, or a concealing smile can often tell more truths than our words can. And then it’s just a matter of time before we admit the truths of our body.
In the second verse of this song he finally admits what his body was saying and he leaves. She puts her chin down and wonders if she will be able to get over him. And then there is a sea change from self-pity to confidence. And she suddenly goes from having her chin down to holding her arms above her head, in triumph.
Slow Club’s album, Complete Surrender, is my ALBUM OF THE WEEK. It comes out this Tuesday, July 15th.
Listen if you like: Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind”, Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, songs of triumph
Vic Pitts and the Cheaters- The Girl I Love
Vic Pitts and the Cheaters were an R&B group in Milwaukee in the late 60’s and early 70s, who made a difference not only in music, but in race relations, and education as well.
In 1969, Milwaukee tried to curb drop out rates by having a white police officer stand in front of the camera on Channel 18 every Sunday lecture for 45 minutes on the importance of staying in school. As you can imagine, those thinking about dropping out, were not turning on, and tuning in to the show.
And then, someone from the University of Wisconsin asked Vic Pitts and the Cheaters to host the show, thinking that at risk kids would be able to relate to a young, interracial band from the ghetto, who made funk and R&B music. And it worked. Their show, “The Grapevine” ran for 3 years on channel 18. It featured skits, and interviews, and music, led by the band, all with the goal of creating a more integrated, and educated Milwaukee.
But the band never made it commercially. They broke up and and this story was mostly forgotten. Until Last year, when Secret Stash Records found the masters of some unreleased Vic Pitts songs in a box of a soul studio in Chicago. And this month they released, for the first time, the lost tapes Vic Pitts and the Cheaters.
Vic Pitts and the Cheaters album, The Lost Tapes, is out now.
Listen if you like: The musical history of Milwaukee, Sly and the Family Stone, late 60’s R&B
THIS SONG DOES NOT EXIST ON THE INTERNET- Listen to the song, its worh it, in the soundcloud link above
Giorgio Moroder-Giorgio’s Theme
Asking a disco producer from the mid 70’s who has released one song in the past 20 years to headline a festival is undoubtedly the most Pitchforky thing that Pitchfork could do. But aside form that
I think that Pitchfork is making a statement here. With Daft Punk’s monster success in Random Access Memories, 4 on the floor used in every pop song, and EDM steadily creeping into the mainstream, maybe DISCO is not dead, and maybe it has been, and is going to be influential than we thought, especially in our computer culture.
With all that, and with rising credibility of computer based music I would say it’s pretty wise of Pitchfork to make Giorgio Moroder, their musical point of reference this year.
Giorgio Moroder’s new song is available via the Adult Swim singles series.
Listen if you like: The father of Disco, Daft Punk, Pitchfork