Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys – There you are rock-n-roll. I missed you in 2011. Up to the point of The Black Keys’ newest album, El Camino, the rock of 2011 had been filled with insipid drolling called rock-n-roll (Black Stone Cherry), a bunch of other stuff (Foster the People) praised as rock that, while decent, wasn’t, and numerous releases from once mighty bands (RHCP, Foo Fighters, Jane’s Addiction, R.E.M.) that should have (or did) ended it years before. I can go on. The last true saviors of rock, The White Stripes broke up in 2011. Lou Reed and Metallica collaborated to release a rock -n-roll crime against humanity (LuLu). Coldplay. The once saviors of rock, Kings of Leon, committed the unforgiveable sin of getting too popular and mailing in albums and, I guess, their career as a result. Ed, one of rock’s sincere and passionate guys, dropped a ukulele albumn. The Strokes gave it one more try to minimal fanfare. But none of it seemed to matter. The party was over.
2011 for rock-n-roll was a desolate place before Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney dropped this 38-minute face melter. This particular track is not my favorite (Nova Baby…wow), but it’s close. It’s the most immediately accessible great rock song (and I swear the riff at the 2:08 mark is a carbon copy from the DBT track Zip City. Listen to it.) highlighting the shit I love about the Keys. Kill you with blues-ed out guitar, not overly (evenly?) wrought, good blue-collar rock. This may be the album that elevates them to the super popular/ubiquitous level. They were everywhere with their previous album (2010’s Brothers), but this one’s better. Tighter cuts, more singles.
I’ll be interested to see their reaction to super-stardom if it happens. When the not-rock-n-roll shit (some of which they can control, some of which they can’t) starts to occur, whether it’ll be Kings of Leon time or White Stripes time. I know what I’m hoping for. But whatever rock-n-roll is and will be 2012 will dictate most of it. (N.B. There’s a long meditation brewing about what I think rock is/should be. But I didn’t think this is place to do it (read: I ran out of time/self-imposed word limit). However, I did stumble upon a couple of nuggets in the last few weeks that will ultimately be addressed or will inform that meditation: (1) Dave Grohl (the drummer for a band that in its brief existence defined rock-n-roll and the leader of another band that at its apex was truly magical) said this at the MTV Video Music Awards. “I just want to say: Never lose faith in real rock and roll music, you know what I mean? Never lose faith in that. You might have to look a little harder, but it’s always going to be there.” I’m afraid both the fact that he said that and where he said that ensured that his rock-n-roll relevance is over; and (2) The Rolling Stones are currently in midst of negotiations regarding how to celebrate their 50th anniversary concert……)
OK, I know we have some new readers (some of you did OK, but the email list-serv is still open to all comers) and with that on my mind over my two-week crunch, I became concerned with the vernacular of WD (that sounds significantly more important than it actually is, huh?) such that I thought it best to take a few moments to bring everyone up to speed. Constant readers (this is you, mom) please let me know if I’ve omitted anything at the new email address firstname.lastname@example.org (N.B. And if you find out whoever has email@example.com let me know.)
1. A note on the process: Typically the links I provide are to youtube videos or another stream with a given week’s song. As of yet, I haven’t found a genuinely easy way to just give you the jams (and I’ll be honest with you, I’m not looking that hard). So an ultimate acquisition of any WD is incumbent upon you. However, in the event a particular track I dig has been made available for free (and I come across it), I’ll let you know by designating it a BGFD (by god free download) and linking to the same.
2. A note on the rules: There is just one. I like to call it the Ted R. Smith rule of family functions: No Politics, No Religion. Open season on everything else with a focus on music, film, (occasional) TV, my neurosis, intimate details of my marriage, my troubled childhood, Ford’s facial wounds and tacos.
3. A note on acronyms: I have a truly lazy individual’s obsession with them. I’m pretty good about identifying and explaining acronyms contained wholly within and relevant to a particular post. However, there are some recurring ones that merit a key:
WD: Either an acronym for this blog or how I refer to myself in the 3rd person when I’m feeling particularly professional athlete-y.
SMCs: Serious Music Critics (my foil)
AOTY: Album of the Year (WD’s own personal rankings)
PJ: Pearl Jam (The Jam-Fathers)
DV: Deepness Value (Some ethereal thing I feel about certain ablums that’s a combination of musical and lyrical coherence and general bad-ass-ery. e.g “The Suburbs had serious DV.”
SNL: Saturday Night Live (The once comedic center of my life that, no matter how bad it gets, I’m still devoted to.)
KD: The Durantula
DBT: Drive-by Truckers (The best band in America. You’ll soon grow quite weary of me recommending them/square-pegging one of their songs in hopes of relating it to what’s on my mind)
OKC/Action City/The O.C./ The 405 (if I’m feeling trendy): Home
DFW: David Foster Wallace (my favorite author and frequent (if at times uncredited) raison d’être behind particular rambles. (N.B. D/FW, If I’m referring to that certain urban/suburban hell-hole three hours south)
N.B.: Nota bene (a Latin phrase meaning note well)(a/k/a my favorite drafting toy (since I can’t get footnotes to look cool) allowing me to insert my mind’s somewhat off-topic digressions. In fact, I’d say there is a continuum begining with parenthesis then to N.B. and finally to the dreaded I.Y.I. Parenthesis indicate the least off-topic digression, normally an on-point clarification or maybe an anecdotal irony which prolly could be separated with commas, but I prefer parenthesis. I.Y.I.: If You’re Interested (credit to DFW) is a big-time dorky digression, a brief reduction of my thought processes, history of a particular point or simplified (for me, not for you) mathematics/statistics regarding baseball. (N.B. But I have some entire posts that should be labeled I.Y.I.) And unless you really like baseball (or whatever it is I’m obsessing over) I’d reccomend you never read I.Y.I digressions (and damn sure not while you’re operating heavy machinery). Finally, N.B.’s are a comedic, ironic or maybe even poignant middle ground between parenthesis and I.Y.I.s that for various (and normally inexplicable) reasons I feel should be set-off from the rest of the text. Oh and sometimes I’ll qualify each one of these as an ALD: Abnormally Long Digression. Which is, frankly, just a nightmare.
a/k/a: Also Known As (beats me on the slashes)
NPR: National Public Radio (the platform for the liberal/socialist America hating illuminati and the home of You Bet Your Garden.)
IPA: India Pale Ale (my favorite type of beer ten months out of the year)
MO: Modus Operandi a Latin phrase, approximately translated and backronymed as “mode of operation”. The term is used to describe someone’s habits or manner of working, their method of operating or functioning.
CD: Compact Disc (an antiquated technology on which music was stored and played back on an optical disc similar to and both cooler than and not as cool as vinyl records. I’m back to being an ardent supporter.)
TV: Television (That which I like to act as if I don’t watch very much yet somehow still end up writing about.)
4. Non-acronym recurring phrases, people and elements:
The UN Security Council: My strained metaphor for ranking my all-time favorite albums.
Wear it: Baseball jargon for owning up to your mistakes and/or accepting what you are. I’ve tried to shoe-horn it into various other contexts in which it prolly has little relevance.
Prolly/Kinda/Gonna: Western Oklahoma patois for Probably, Kind of and Going to.
Yeezy: The street nickname for Kanye West. (I found this on Urban Dictionary, although I’ve never used it, I’m about to start.)
The Boss: America’s rock-n-roll Poet Laureate, Bruce Fredrick Joseph Springsteen
Jeter: Derek Sanderson Jeter, The Captain.
Ed/EV: Eddie Vedder, The Love Boat Captain.
Joe Posnanski: America’s best sportswriter of whom I’m a huge fan/devotee.
Awesome/bad-ass/killer: Words that WD falls back on far too often when describing music. 2012’s goal is to rid WD of them. (N.B. WD’s 2012 goals also include: (1) expanding our musical horizons beyond adult contemporary complaint rock; (2) genuinely assessing whether or not I can ever do a WD Top 16 Songs-of-my-whole-life-ever post; and (3) throwing in a book review every now and then.)
The Truth/PR/Ford: WD’s old roommates whose long-term impact on his life can only be described as troubling.
Killamike: The flow
Jimmy-G, lil’ G, Fred, the G-unit, the Bundesliga: My son, the genetic repository of my vast and worthless music/pop-culture knowledge.
Wife: the patiently betrothed
The Horse: Street slang for intravenous heroin.
Strikethrough: (1)When I change a word of some import post-publishing, I’ll strike through the earlier word just for things to remain above board between us; (2) Sometimes I use it simply for comedic effect.
Closing scene of the biopic of my life ____ cut/version: An infrequently recurrent WD theme wherein a certain song has led me to a vision (normally during Windshield Time) of the closing scenes of a auto-biographical movie as directed by a certain director or in a certain style or patterned after another movie. The movies often star my friends and/or spouses and often end with my own death (at least me favorite ones do).
Windshield Time/Wheels of Justice: The now infrequent car trips related to my other job during which many jams (N.B. maybe eliminate the word “jams” as well….) are consumed and many of these ideas are hatched.
Jameson: Irish whiskey (my frequent co-pilot during the execution of the ideas hatched during Windshield Time)
Snark: Portmanteau of snide and remark. Often what I deal in.
Portmanteau: A blending of two or more words into one word creating a neologism. I’m obsessed with them. My current favorites: tangelo, manscaping and diaperate.
Movie Rankings: The first casualty of parenthood has proven to be watching movies. Should I ever re-launch WD weekend movie review, I’ll also restate what the rankings mean.
Ups to: WD’s recognition of a reader (or other source) who’s dropped a song or other whimsy in my inbox or my CD player that I subsequently choose to convey. Up to are normally followed by initials or nicknames I’ve found cute (unless you demand full-name recognition. Then please let me know).
I think that covers it. Always hit me at the above email (or any of them really or twitter me @tmattsmith) with your recs/responses (or even just to say
get fucked hi ). Or of course feel free to comment hereon. Thanks for reading.