Assuming these seven new-to-Wussy songs are de facto demos‑-for sure some and likely most but probably not all will be rocked up on a fifth album that now seems a certainty‑-we should think about not their acoustic settings but their acerbic subjects. No breakups here. Instead, three of Chuck Cleaver's lyrics address that other Wussy preoccupation, death, which invariably besets the kind of wacked-out and/or mean-ass loser who brains a monkey in the cheerfully entitled exception, "Ring a Ding Ding I'm Rotten Inside," while two of Lisa Walker's address yet another Wussy preoccupation, the failed consolations of religion. So her climactic praisesong to English girls who swim in the North Sea like it's summertime comes as a true relief, with Cleaver's piano tracing a delicate counterpoint. Inspirational Verse: "The Witnesses will all be waiting for the chance to be the first to squeal/As you're going through your souvenirs to help decide what is and isn't real." That's how I hear it, anyway. A MINUS
Wussy: Rigor Mortis (Shake It '08)
I underrated this EP five years ago because, having never seen the band play, I had no inkling of how much I'd end up valuing their live recordings‑-how much I'd love hearing two perfectly unmatched voices interact in the moment. The up-front redundancy of the title cut is now extended by the reappearance of the live "Rigor Mortis" and the formerly EP-only "Blood and Guts" on the free Berneice Huff mixtape. That said, I always thought the vibraphone-bedizened "Skip" was the choicest EP-only here, "Sweetie" squeaks and whooshes as it rocks out, "Millie Christine" adds a raw declarativeness one of their milder numbers thrives on, and "Airborne" is the finest version of their finest song, which leads their first and finest album. But of course, they're all worth owning. As is this. B PLUS
Two notions leapt to mind the moment I heard George Jones had died.
Except back when he was not himself but Thumper Jones, he almost never appeared in a g-d-damned cowboy hat. Remember that: two of the biggest hitmakers in C&W history -- Jim Reeves and George Jones -- dissed the f-ing hat.
Second, Jones beat the Devil(s). Neither the drinking nor her memory killed him. Hank Williams (only eight years older) was destroyed by the demons within. Climbing out of childhood muck almost as dire, Jones did not die in the '80s (or even -- ulp -- the '60s), but defeated his destruction-wellsprings and lived to be a grand old man, though, since the world allows only one Willie Nelson at a time, he did not find autumnal glory.
In an otherwise so-so obit in the *New Yorker*, Ian Crouch drove this point home quite well:
"He never liked his nicknames. “Possum” disparaged his middling looks. “No Show Jones” impugned his reliability and professionalism. Both were unkind, and both were deserved. He idolized Hank Williams, and it seemed like he was bound to follow him to an early grave. Yet “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was a hit, and three years later, at rock bottom, Jones quit the drinking and drugs, and lived on for three more decades, making music, recording too many albums, lending his golden voice to innumerable duets. He was Nashville royalty, name-checked by every young country singer with any sense. He’d been married to his fourth wife, Nancy, for those thirty years. In the end, he wasn’t the lonely, regretful man in his most famous song."
Back home in Seattle after a great weekend spent with the band you guys can't seem to stop talking about. I'm a little to tired to post much at this point. I can say everyone in the band was in great spirits and full of optimism towards the future. Met a great kid with a great story, which I hope he shares here soon.
Second show was so much better than the first, sorry Nicky
No songs were performed from the Duo CD though we were treated to an as yet untitled Lisa song that led off the Pittsburgh set. Her vocals were so buried in the mix it was hard for me to form an opinion. She claims to hate it so who knows it's future.
That's how weird and wonderful this place is.
Oh, wait, I forgot to account for the George Jones bump. Can one of our math guys (Joey D? Brad Luen?) adjust for that?
"-the point is a woman singing. King has done for the female voice what countless singer-composers achieved years ago for the male: liberated it from technical decorum. She insists on being heard as she is--not raunchy and hot-to-trot or sweet and be-yoo-ti-ful, just human, with all the cracks and imperfections that implies."
I always took that as yet one more necessary comment on constrained female body image expectations, and believe that your thoughts were in the same vein. Right?
Yet another reason to like Wussy.
(shakes head realizing that it's all guys talking about this topic.)
Listening as of tomorrow-
As- Ponies "electric rock music"
Comments I doubt to follow. What else could
possibly be said?
PS Jason Collins? I guess it's a big deal. If one thinks the pros outweigh the
cons in letting everone know-fine. I guess the book royalties somewhere
in the future might have some weight here. Some. Not all. I'm not that
cynical. Of course he's a well paid professional basketball player. But I'm smart enough to expect some comments from this forum.
One thing I really like about Lisa's singing is how it acknowledges a tradition of women vocalists--she invents a lineage for herself in a way.
It came clear to me on FDII that Lisa was consistently dropping little hints about the women in her vocal pantheon. Nothing too obvious (well, there is that Joni-move at the very end--the last "meant the way you took it" that my daughter pointed out to me) but nice nods to Joan Armatrading, Rosanne Cash, and I'd say, above all--and not surprising--Chrissie Hynde. As the other feller said, "Some has to take responsibility for the tradition.'
Bragg said little about the attacks, except for congratulating us on our response ("compassionate" and not "belligerent") but offered up a lovely set--really Billy Bragg and his Cowboy Outfit--that started with "Ideology" and ended with "Sexuality." The right order, I think!
The band was young and cute and featured a steel guitar/dobro player. It wasn't a thrilling night--he'll never touch that band he brought to town in 2002 that featured Ian MacLagan and which held an urgent soul groove most of the night--but it was reassuring. This man does not expect "defeat" (as the feller said)--he just expects the struggle to continue.
He brayed, he strummed, he told funny self-deprecating stories. He ended the whole thing with "Help Save the Youth of America"--"help save them from themselves"--that sure sounded right in Boston just about now.
Back to "Hot Rocks"-our host didn't like it? Who remembers?
There is a good chance if RC didn't like it-I didn't buy it.
Long live "Buckeye".
PS Too much homework necessary for this blog. Thus I lurk.
And rock in once in awhile.
To JY49NY- I replied to your reply re Mofungo.
Reply to this and I'll give you my email address.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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