News item the first: I'm not dead. Sometimes I feel like it after work, but meh.
News item the second: To those of you who asked, the record stores to hit up in the DC/Northern VA area are Record and Tape Exchange, Orpheus, Crooked Beat, Strangeland, and the one whose name I forget. They're a basement shop a few doors down from the Black Cat, and I fell down the steps one time avoiding a lunatic on a bicycle. I think. I was pretty drunk and it was bright out.
News item the second: The Hall Monitors put out an EP and it rips. I'll be posting tracks as soon as I get the songs on my computer. Same goes for the rad Slick Andrews, the best honky tonk singer I've heard in years. Also, if you get a chance, go see the Mountain Goats this tour. Andrea and I saw them Thursday night, and they're debuting new songs for an upcoming LP. You heard it here first - "Last Man on Earth" is going to be the jam of the winter.
So anyway, Bruce. Do you even need a last name? I have mixed feelings about Mr. Springsteen, honestly. I think when he's on, he's ON. On the other hand, he's so painfully earnest that it can grate. (See one of the few funny things Ben Stiller ever did, Counting With Bruce Springsteen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV5iHgdRQRg). Plus, the Boomers love him way too much, especially my dad. In high school, the endless repetitions of his live records on Midwest-bound road trips were drowned out by Bad Religion on headphones and a mirror-practiced sneer.
However, since every old-school rock critic busted a thick, milky nut for him every time they wrote about him, I decided to give him a fair chance. What I came away with was love for specific albums (Nebraska, Darkness on the Edge of Town) and hatred of other specific albums (Born in the USA, We Shall Overcome). Super-famous "legend" acts usually polarize me like this (see Neil Young, U2, the Beatles).
Since everything he's done this decade has been a grunted-out turd, I wasn't expecting much for his new record, Magic. This all changed a morning last week when, while watching music videos while getting ready for work (coffee sucks and tea takes too long), the clip for "Radio Nowhere" knocked me off my ass. It seems the Duke of Asbury has realized that his throne has been conquered by usurpers like the Hold Steady and Gaslight Anthem and he needs to fight for his title of Rockin' Troubadour. Like Tom Petty's "The Last DJ," an old dude who had been coasting for a long time realized that he needs a fire under his ass to kickstart the dying embers of radness.
Magic finds his at his most vital since Darkness, and even I think it kicks ass. 'Most every track is uptempo and beefy and a much-needed improvement on his recent folk explorations. I guess he finally got all those letters that said "more solos, less salt-of-the-earth proselytizing." I never thought I'd say this about a Bruce record, but this will probably end up on my year-end list. So, for your listening pleasure, three new cuts, plus two classics. Enjoy!
Radio Nowhere: http://www.mediafire.com/?1lzbx3tg4bs
Gypsy Biker: http://www.mediafire.com/?2bl0k9ccnkm
Last to Die: http://www.mediafire.com/?7ycdszoihxj
Darkness on the Edge of Town: http://www.mediafire.com/?6inahjh9x3m
Streets of Philadelphia: http://www.mediafire.com/?dckomysl3tz