Monday, April 25, 2011

New Music Monday: Jim James, Adam Yauch and My Happy Place

Let me start the week right, with good tidings after the reanimated zombie Jesus celebration.  I trust you all ate lots of candy and got something good in your Easter basket.  If not, it's not big deal.  There's always next year.  I think we can all agree that this holiday is kind of ridiculous so I'm not going to devote any more time to it.  If you want to know what I REALLY think about Easter, you can find out here.

So here we are, summer virtually at our doorsteps banging down the door.  The flowers are blooming and the clothes are getting smaller and thinner to accommodate warmer temperatures.  Festival season is upon us and I caught up on a few Coachella sets.  The Black Keys, as always, burned the place down and The National were lively.  Kings of Leon was pretty much locked down as always, but nothing too impressive.  After watching those, I realized that in the next few months there are quite a few new albums coming out that I'm completely excited about.  MMJ is out soon, Wilco is coming up. Explosions in the Sky, The Flaming Lips, Bon Iver all have new stuff set to release, as well.  One of the biggest releases for me is the release of Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 by Beastie Boys.

I know that not everybody is quite as excited as I am about this, but that's ok.  I won't hold your lack to taste against you at all.  But, for me, Beastie Boys have a special place in my musical library.  I have just about everything they've ever done from the punk stuff on Aglio e Olio  to random imports from Japan and the U.K.  They remind me of how fun music an be.  I have a tendency to get really "heady" when I listen to music, getting obsessive about lyrics and song constructions.  I let myself get mired in the details of a song, so much so that I sometimes forget to step back and just smile at the sounds that leave the speakers and meander across the room to my ears.

We all have those songs . . .those songs that remind us to stop thinking and just get lost in the music.  One of those songs happens to by "I Needed it Most," by MMJ.  There's a simplicity and honesty to the song that just gets to me every time.  I stare off into space, attempting to keep the smile form creeping across my face, but I can't.  I hear Jim belt it out . . ."I needed it mooooooost . . . ." and I'm there.  It's a perfect moment in music that I can't, no matter how hard I try, get past.  No matter how bad of a mood I may be in before the song, by the end of it that mood has dissipated into the atmosphere, gone, and I'm left with a simple smile and a tiny reminder of how good music can break your heart (like Barber's "Adagio for Strings") or make your day.  Beastie Boys were the very first band/group that just made me smile.

It all started on a summer day in 1986 . . .I'm kidding.  I'm not going to bore you with nostalgia, but I will say that no matter where I've been, I've taken Mike D, Ad Rock and MCA with me.  I've traveled quite a bit to different countries and no matter where I happened to be, I always had two things in my possession: 1.) a copy of "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac and 2.) a copy of Ill Communication by Beastie Boys.  At the time, iPods had yet to hit the market, but I had this shock-proof, water-proof Sony Discman that wouldn't skip as I was making my way through the streets of London or Berlin or Rome or wherever I happened to be.  It was easy.  I went to a boarding school in England and travel was easy.  Just grab a backpack, my book, cd and discman and hit the bricks.  Headphones covering my ears, Ill Communication was the vagabond soundtrack to my travels.  Incidentally, I soon discovered that the headphones that British Airways provided on their flights were the best damn headphones in the world.  The bass was deep and the sound was just full as all hell.  Needless to say, I would always nick a few when I was on a flight.  Sue me, I was a teenager.  That's me on the right and my pal, Dodge on the left.  Don't ask me what I was doing, but you can ask me what was playing in the background . . .Beastie Boys.  Who else?

A couple of years have passed since this photo was taken.  I've graduated from high school and college and my musical palate has gotten more complicated with my discovery of the blues and outlaw country like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.  If you scroll through my musical library you'll find tons of stuff that doesn't really go together.  You'll find Beach House and Band of Horses, but you'll also find Deftones and Rage Against the Machine.  You'll find Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr.  You'll find classical music and electronic stuff, as well.  So much music that, at times, I have to actually REMOVE stuff from my iPod.  Some things get shuffled off to make room for whatever I'm feeling on a given day.  There are, however, things that NEVER leave my iPod.  Jim James and the boys never leave.  The Black Keys never leave . . .and Beastie Boys will NEVER leave.

I know that I didn't actually introduce any new music this week, but don't worry, I'll make it up to you next week.  In the meantime, get ready for all the great albums coming out and, because I care about each and every one of you, I'm leaving you with what is, perhaps, the greatest video I've ever seen in my entire life.

Stay frosty, boys and girls.



Jordan said...

Yes, when I have to delete stuff from my iPod, My Morning Jacket doesn't get looked at.

Gabrielle said...

The new Beastie video may be the best thing I've ever seen. Too badass for words!