Valentine’s Day with Bud Powell

Bud Powell
Broadcast Performances 1953, vol. 1
1973, ESP-Disk

Even at my advanced age, I still feel that someday I will be into jazz. Someday I’ll be a guy who references Miles Davis and knows what the fuck he’s talking about. Someday I’ll have strong opinions on alto saxophone players. Someday I’ll put on a jazz record and follow the notes like each one is a hundred dollar bill blowing away in the wind. Someday I’ll hear the pain and beauty and love in these sounds that dart through the air faster than summer wasps. Someday it’s all gonna hit me.

Until then, I just “like” jazz. I like it when it twinkles in the background. I’m your regular dilletante, a total bird-brain and a complete fuckface. I enjoy jazz, but I’m not conversant in it. I’m like a guy who has a picture of the Eiffel Tower hanging in his living room, but hasn’t spent more than a day or two to Paris.

Someday, though…

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The Big Job of TINY IDOLS

Various
Tiny Idols: Transmissions from the Indie Underground 1991-1995
2005, Snowglobe Records

In my defense, I never wore horn-rim glasses nor did I own the “sunny-side up” Pavement T-shirt or the Sebadoh shirt with the heart on it, but 90s indie rock did its job on me all right. I was right in there, reading Puncture magazine in my dorm, folding my arms and nodding at club shows, taking Steve Albini’s opinions seriously, looking for an identity and finding something that resembled such in lo-fi rock on stacks of 7″ records. It feels like so long ago. In the time since, I’m pretty sure that I’ve said that I hate 90s indie rock. I’ve also said that I love 90s indie rock. Call that a contradiction if you like. Me, I call it merely teasing an old friend.

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The Only Christmas Album That Matters

Tiny Tim
Tiny Tim’s Christmas Album
1995, Rounder Records

Lesser singers, such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Barbra Streisand and Michael Bubbles (or whatever his name is), have tried.

They’ve tried to conjure up a joyous holiday spirit while they wrap their pristine voices around some of the worst songs ever written. They’ve tried to make us feel good. They’ve tried to make us hold our loved ones a little closer. They’ve tried to make us think about Jesus while we’re on our fifth eggnog.

They’ve tried and failed. At least for dirtbags like me who only like Christmas because it’s a day off from work—and shouldn’t us assholes be the REAL judge of what makes great Christmas music?

I think so. And you can trust me. I’ve only had three martinis tonight.

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Twin Peaks Season 3 Soundtrack Albums Part II: Screaming on Your Knees at the Roadhouse

One of many refreshing left turns in the Twin Peaks revival is its disinterest in traditional television cliffhangers. Episodes end with dangling questions galore and turning points left up in the air, but David Lynch never gives us a hard cut to credits after a gunshot in the night. Instead he often goes out on a song, a “live” performance on stage in the long-standing Roadhouse. Like Mr. Rogers changing his shoes and jacket, the moment the neon bar sign hits the screen, you know the show is almost over. What young band in Lynch’s iTunes is playing this week?

Far from superfluous though, these scenes have two powerful effects on the series:

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Twin Peaks Season 3 Soundtrack Albums Part I: Angelo & Friends

Composer Angelo Badalamenti was the Great Missing Man For the first few hours of Twin Peaks season 3.

It began almost eerily quiet. There was the typically meticulous David Lynch sound design, but there was nothing like the nearly wall-to-wall jazzy snap and shuffle of the old series. Still, it made sense. This was a world slipping back into its skin and feeling its way through the dark. Characters we hadn’t seen in twenty-six years were in no rush to open up to us about where they’d been all this time (except for Lucy and Andy). It was mystery on top of mystery on top of mystery, right from the first scene.

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Thrift Stores and Other Delights

When you see Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in a thrift store, you buy it. Just to have it. It’s like a membership card into the club of cheap-bin record hunters (all of us have it). This LP in your possession says that you’ve been there. You know the fluorescent lights. You know the dirt. You know the smell. You know the pain.

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Discovering the REAL YOU with The Platters’ ENCORE OF GOLDEN HITS

Sometimes I get to thinking that I’m a real mean guy. A hard ass, a walking scowl, one gruff customer, a storm system coming in from the south, a beer bottle that’s been pissed in, a bruised banana, a carcinogenic soul with an abortion clinic dumpster for a heart, a dead dandelion in a winter field, a tornado that carries away your kitten, a broken cookie jar, bad news in old blue jeans, a hair in your fettuccine alfredo, a spoonful of bitter medicine that doesn’t help, a straight-up jerk, a bad dream, a bus station restroom, a carton of curdled milk, a human skull that you find in the grass on your Easter picnic, a soiled towel, one foul fella.

I think you get the picture.

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Pleading Guilty with PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN & JONES, LTD.

The Monkees
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. LP
Colgems, 1967

Guilty pleasures are the best. I love everything about guilty pleasures. That’s why I have about 9,000 of them. Meanwhile, some others outright hate the very expression. “Why should I feel guilty about the things I like?” goes the usual argument. They seem to interpret it as a feeling of shame and ostracism, best avoided. In spirit, I agree, but I still think these people are all mixed up.

Guilt is an exciting emotion and I prefer to savor it.

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