Monday, November 24, 2008

But the humans will give no love

Scott Miller takes on 1996 this week on "Music - What Happened?" which makes a nice followup to his 1997 entry from a few weeks ago.

Those were two of my favorite musical years, when I bought a ton of albums that I don't listen to anymore. In those years before the dawn of Napster and mp3s, I would buy CDs recommended by random people on the internet, and ended up hating a few, loving a few, and liking the rest enough to keep, but not enough to keep in steady rotation twelve years later.

One of those neglected titles I recently unearthed was the Posies' Amazing Disgrace. This album can best be described by its one sentence wikipedia entry -- it's "the fourth album by Seattle power-popsters The Posies and their final release for DGC Records". Even wikipedia contributors can't be bothered to write more than one sentence on this album. Which is a shame, because despite a few misguided production touches, it still rocks pretty hard!

"Posies hell", as Scott defines in his writeup of "Please Return It", is "seven minutes of sludgy, unparseable drop-string minor chords with scenery-chewing regret over personal excesses.. in harmony". Emphasis on the last two words, because Ken and Jon's vocal harmonies always shine through their worst excesses. I've seen so many shows where they've fallen on drunken ragged versions of half-remembered cover tunes, but just before they hit the bottom of the barrel, they'll nail a chorus in perfect harmony and all is well again.

Which brings me to this video that was posted on the 125 Records newsfeed a few weeks ago to carry Scott's fans through the off week of "MWH". It's Scott Miller and Jon Auer doing a duet on "Horse With No Name".  

The late Richard Jeni said it best: "You're in the desert. You've got nothing else to do. Name your freakin' horse!!" The Loud Family covered this on one of Pravda's Star Power volumes, probably because the label thought it would be cute and ironic for a band with an album called Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things to cover "HWNN". It was an interesting version, but this one is truer to the original.  Which doesn't necessarily equal "better".

There's also a youtube of Jon Auer's solo version of "Blackbird" from the same performance. It's a version of a song by a band called "the Beatles", from their self-titled album that came to be called the "The White Album". Which was released 40 years and 2 days ago.

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