Archive for April, 2008

I have not committed my vote, but I am now more interested in attending Senator Obama’s church.* Here is Rev. Jeremiah Wright addressing the National Press Club (broadcast on CSPAN and FOX News in its entirety)[after the jump]. He invokes the prophetic tradition in the Black Church in America as the full context of his recently excerpted comments that have been so inflammatory on the political scene. Agreeing or not with his wider theology, I like the idea that the Tradition of the whole church serves as a criteria for discerning the prophetic role of the church; not just the segment of history and location of those with the biggest microphones.

I also think this is a great opportunity, agreeing or not with Wright’s politics, to consider the way scripture speaks to power, or to the dominant culture. There are a lot of white churches presenting incendiary texts every week without anything catching fire. Who gets to speak for God? Well, who does God tend to pick?


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So, I started the year eager for some harder fare, but after a several weeks of grinding and droning on with the Whigs, Ladyhawk, the Foals, the Dodos, and pop punchsters Vampire Weekend, I found myself under a self-induced avalanche of Van Morrison and Elvis Costello, and then back at blues guitar, digging out Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, and the lovely Big Mama Thornton (a new purchase for me) for a good soak. I’ve brushed up against some formidable folksters like Andy Gullahorn and the Jack-Johnson-being-eaten-by-a-panther sounds of Thao, and am still getting used to the new Weepies. Out of all that, a standout on the rock side has been the techneoise multiinstru-mentalists Throw Me the Statue and their funky-cool drummer, whoever that is (they might all be Scott Reitherman).

But, surprisingly, my first quarter pick (with Gullahorn coming in close second) is Sun Kil Moon’s April. I first came across Moon’s songwriter Mark Kozelek with the Red House Painters, I b’lieve this was ’bout the time of the Great P2P Rush of aught one. I dug the quiet, melodic stuff they were doing. This low, dawdling album reflects that charming hush; dense, but avoiding monotone or fuzzy, and always played like a late night serenade never intended for the neighbors. And as I’m scratching the surface of things lyrically, I’m finding that rewarding, too. The geography in “Lucky Man” pulls right into my driveway, and then he offers the lovely line, “I didn’t know my purpose, ’til I stood and sang.”

For all my whiddla whiddla posturing, the song’s the thing.

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Now Playing

The Weepies – Gotta Have You

New Weepies today. Not the old Weepies; the new one.

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Gabe explains music, electronica, and intercultural competency here: The Cracks and Strains!

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I’ve been thinking about the whole Mariah Carey out #1’s Elvis thing, and this is about all I have to say about it.

Big Mama Thornton ft. Buddy Guy – Hound Dog

Interesting to think about what it meant for Elvis to record Big Mama’s “Hound Dog” (Lieber/Stoller) compared to what it meant for Aretha to record Otis Redding’s “Respect.” Essay question to follow.

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I haven’t seen this yet, and I imagine there will be something well said about it before I have time to recover from the concept:

Tonight, American Idol wrapped up their big giant charity-event show, live at the Kodak, home of the Oscars, featuring Snoop Dog and Miley Cyrus (I hope they dueted), with the Idols singing Darlene Zschech’s “Shout to the Lord.”*

This is, in fact, related to my dissertation.

Anyone who would like to contribute the title of that section, feel free to do so here.

Last week, Dolly Parton was on the show. She sang a song about how all she needs is Jesus and gravity (the former, like Red Bull, to give her wings, and the latter, like gravity, to keep her grounded), and then said to Ryan Secrest something like, “well, I’ve got Jesus, and you’ve got Simon.”

*I shouldn’t be surprised that ME is arriving just in time for this sign of the impending apocalypse.

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The wife and I are big Kristen Wiig fans. We got to see her with the Groundlings the summer before she started with SNL. She did a Target cashier character in her first season that gave me hope for post-Fey SNL. She commits to these nutcase personalities in a way that reminds of John Belushi, Molly Shannon or Gilda Radner, and has this amazing attention to the little quirky details that really sells it. So hilarious.

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