by carl wilson

Thursday Reading's Bedroom Eyes

Wanda Jackson in her Elvis's-boudoir days.

In today's eye, Joshua Ostroff takes a look at the curious state of contemporary country music, though he loses points with me by talking about his "semi-ironic" visit to the Grand Ole Opry and by looking at the whole phenomenon in strictly left-right terms, which I think is to misunderstand it at least in part: Country is populist by nature, and that can be articulated along many angles of the political spectrum, and that basic populism is both its strength and its original sin. To see "underclass interests" solely in economic terms is the left's blinkeredness (do you think all your interests are economic?). Not that I've worked all this out in a rigorous way myself (though I've made a start), and I appreciate Josh's contribution because I think it's one of the subjects of the year, but articles about it are tending to retread the same ground right now.

Also in eye: A nice chat with Sam Prekop, which I was happy to see because I spent an enjoyable part of my ride back from Victo listening and reading the liner notes to Aum Fidelity's recent, gorgeous Shrimp Boat rarities box. Fans of 90s Chicago indie-whatsit post-hoosis (most of the Thrill Jockey stable and part of the Drag City one) should get themselves schooled on Shrimp Boat, which sailed most of that sound into port before its time. Also Stuart Berman recaps the MIA/LCD Soundsystem show I missed, entertainingly comparing LCD to Guided By Voices (though skipping the point about them both being record-collection bands) (and also ones I don't so much like). And Dave Morris has an arty native music-theatre project and a blog conspiracy theory (final item).

Today in the Globe my colleague Brad Wheeler makes a case for the new Paul Anka album - complete with Nirvana, Van Halen and REM covers - that Wherry was nutty about too. I remain sceptical - the question isn't whether these songs make competent Paul Anka renditions but what the use of competent Paul Anka versions is, as opposed to boo-wah-iciously bad Pat Boone versions for instance - but I ain't heard it.

Meanwhile over at NOW you've got more Prekop, a preview of what sounds like it's gonna be a really sizzling Hangama South Asian street party this weekend and tawdry dating secrets from the world of SS Cardiacs (who also confess to being the Monkees of the Blocks Recording Club universe). Speaking of tawdry secrets, Wanda Jackson tells Tim Perlich about learning guitar from Elvis by playing along to 45s, at which point Perlich asks the ultimate collector-nerd question - what was Elvis listening to? - and Jackson hilariously answers: "Now, Tim, honey, think about it. I'm alone with Elvis in his bedroom. ... Do you really think I was paying any attention at all to those records?"

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, May 26 at 06:20 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



See, the Opry=Disneyland thing is the same thing that bugged me with "semi-ironic" - I haven't been there, but I watch the TV show or listen to the broadcast now & then, and it sounds to me like a place where musicians - some new, some old - play country music. Maybe in a revue-ish way, but a variety show is not automatically phony. Disneyland, as far as I know, is where there are costumed cartoon characters and people ride roller coasters. How is this the same?

As for the rest - my real point is that a lot of the country audience might not equate to "liberal" or "conservative" in any neat way at all, and that religion and patriotism doesn't equate to anti-tax, anti-abortion, anti-social-services, etc. I think America's political polarization tends to cloud what real people's interests are like, and culture is a good place to look for that missing aspect, rather than to read it as a result of the polarization, you know what I mean?

Posted by zoilus on June 29, 2005 07:57 PM



hey carl...i'm a little late to this post (i was in europe for a month and just stumbled across it) but would you have been bothered by a reference to a "semi-ironic" holiday at disneyland?
'cause since the opry moved to its new locale, that's essentially what it has become.
as far as the economic focus, i find the republican-spread conviction that liberals are "rich elites" more intriguing than, say, that conservatives are religious and patriotic.

Posted by josh on June 28, 2005 04:35 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson