[School of Rock, deleted scene #17]
Dewey Finn: Katie, what was that thing you were playing today, that big thing?
Dewey: Ok. And what kind of music do you play on a callo?
Whatever Disintegration means to certain people, Home, Like Noplace Is There is my own keepsake for when I want to hide away from the world. Neither band, The Cure and The Hotelier respectively, sounds much alike, yet when I listen to either band and I close my eyes with my headphones on or drive on some Midwest highway I feel outside myself. Both paint colorful dreams of sound, one of swirling lullaby blue and lipstick red and the other calm, natural forest green. Both turn guitars into voices, one gentle and moody and the other loud and unabashed, celebrating the urgent, exaggerated emotions we always want life to encompass for all its joy and dread (shouldn’t life always sound so perverse and beautiful?). As it is with the best music, they both trick me into feeling alive, which is the most stunning thing.
In his time with Lifter Puller, The Hold Steady, and in his own solo career, Craig Finn has told stories of party-hard townies, drug-dealing pimps, young conflicted Christians, and other boys and girls in America, and he made them all sound romantic, tragic, and worth fighting for. He sang about you and me like Bruce Springsteen wrote about his own friends and family, except Finn sang about our own specific anxieties – our post-Internet, post-9/11 hopes and fears of the future. It doesn’t matter what stories were true and what weren’t; the best storytellers can jump into any skin and tells us what it means to be alive and human in any walk of life. Good storytellers should also be able to embody a different time and pull out lessons that never die (though the characters often do).
The Beach Boys‘ Pet Sounds turns 50 next month, which means we’re celebrating 50 years of mediocre bands trying to replicate Brian Wilson’s perfectionist pop and 50 years of publications trying to mold otherwise good bands into pop musicians with misguided Beach Boys comparisons (I’m looking at you Animal Collective). But hey, the original record is still one of the best things you’ll ever hear.
Whenever one watches HBO’s widely successful Game of Thrones, a show full of magical realism and naked people riding dragons, the question always pops up: why isn’t there a bluegrass cover of the theme song? Well, question no more; bluegrass band Flatt Lonesome performed its take on the show’s theme song live on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, which you can watch below.