This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"I can't make the words I need to say" - Lucero

News item the first: Lemmy Kilminster and Brendan Kelly are doubtlessly the two coolest people on the planet. But you knew that.

News item the second: I don't normally post this kind of thing, but in this instance, I'm willing to make an exception: Otherwise, I dunno what to say - never been good with this kind of thing. Honestly, I normally am apathetic to stuff like this, but something this bad happened to the child of a DC musician is almost like it happening to someone in your extended family, at least to me.

Now that you're suitably depressed, I figured it'd be time to spring some Lucero on you. Of all the things my ex-wife gave to me (busted eardrum, alimony bills, an overwhelming hatred of crust punks, Hep C), by far the best thing was the love of Lucero that she fomented in me. I've always figured the only Southern things she's liked has been me and them (although not in that order).

I'm gonna guess that when most people hear the idea that there are Southern rock bands operating in the 00's, touring and writing their own material, they groan and wonder why it didn't die with Hank Williams, Jr., like it was supposed to. I have two points of rebuttal: 1) discounting "Sweet Home Alabama" and "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," Skynyrd fucking rules, and 2) remember how rap was supposed to die in the late 80's? Yeah. Never underestimate the loyalty and tenacity of genre fans, no matter what form of music it is. How the fuck else do you think Barbara Streisand commands three- and four-digit ticket prices to her concerts, decades after the apex of her popularity? Shit, even Flock of fucking Seagulls gets $40 a head in some podunk bar every night.

Of course, Lucero ain't operating in some vacuum where the Allman Brothers were the best band of all time, maaaan. Even with the barrelhouse pianos, mournful organs, and soaring arpeggios, you can very much hear the shambling, intoxicated heart of the Replacements and the open-up-and-bleed quality of Jawbreaker. It certainly doesn't hurt that Ben Nichols is a hell of a songwriter and a singer. The combination of both on "Nights Like These," is sad, angry, and lonely all at once, and you'd know this even if you didn't speak a word of English. Dipped in whiskey and set ablaze with cigarettes, his hoarse croon is as worn-down and mystical as the South I love, and it says a surrendering "fuck you" in the way that only someone exhausted can. It's one of my favorite songs of all time, and one that rips me up each and every time.

If I posted every Lucero song that meant the world to me, I'd probably be putting up enough MP3's to draw the attention of the RIAA. Suffice it to say that this sampling should be more than enough to entice those that like what they find. They just put out an amazing new album called Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers, which is probably the best thing they've ever done. Their two albums before that, Nobody's Darlings and That Much Further West are also extremely crucial, and the place to start is you prefer the ballad side of the band (which I kinda do). Of the songs on the new record, "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight" sounds like a bonafide radio hit without sounding like it made one damn concession to modern rock stations or the CMT Network, while "The Mountain" has some great lines ("my daddy lost most everything/On horses, whiskey, and wedding rings") combined with those promises that Southern boys make that they have every intention of keeping, but you know it ain't happenin'.


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