Monday, March 18, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Cruise control and I
on the lawn outsidddebullet
straight away into black
ink smeared night.
like the breath
of ghosts moves through
and around us
A town called Independence.
The heart of America?
3 crosses on a hill overlook
the highway. Hotels
overlook the crosses.
Cows dot the landscape.
Churches mark their turf.
I talk to God while I drive.
This car is my temple.
Carolina blue becomes
Virginia green. Citgo,
Wilco, Amoco, Texaco,
Days Inn the
it would be to live
in that yellow house on
acres with a barn and a
creek and a fence to
keep the world at bay. The
young girl who sits on
the porch watching cars
go by is probably
how this highway
will take her away
|Words & Image ©Jerry Lee Kirk (CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW LARGER)|
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Being a fan of year end lists in general, this is a list that I compile every year mostly for my own personal enjoyment to reflect on and to celebrate the music that made me happy. I'm not so presumptuous as to call these discs 'the Best', but they are my favorites.
1. 'Let England Shake' by PJ Harvey: A brilliant hybrid of rock, punk and folk that is often times chaotic yet also extremely melodic and mostly sublime. War and it's consequences is the theme here and the album is an angry yet sad, open letter to England, the homeland that Polly Jean deeply loves, lamenting a history built on the horrors of conflict and the blood of too many young soldiers. The music clangs and jangles and churns along anchored down then set aloft by Harvey's quivering, hypnotic yelp of a voice. This is an important work by a true artist that for me was the best release of 2011.
2. 'Collapse Into Now' by R.E.M. : Could that be Michael Stipe waving goodbye to his fans on the album's cover? Possibly, as R.E.M. called it quits as a band after the release of this album, which, ironically, many fans and critics saw as a return to musical glory. No less than a compendium of their previous sounds and history, 'Collapse' draws from the folk rock of 'Out of Time', the college rock of 'Document' and the art rock of 'Automatic for the People' to create an album that is comfort food for longtime fans and the perfect sendoff for one of musics greatest bands. They were 'The Beatles' for many of my my generation and I miss them already.
3. '21' by Adele: There was no escaping Adele in 2011 as her odes to heartbreak were heard everywhere.. especially in my own home as my 9 year old daughter, who aspires to be a singer, fell in love with Adele's perfect voice and played this CD incessantly. Adele is not a poseur, but an artist who proudly wears her emotions on her sleeve and who is unafraid to bear her soul. Hit after hit confirmed the power of both her voice and her songs, including what for me was the best song of the year, the beautifully mournful 'Someone Like You'.
4. 'The Whole Love' by Wilco: After two good but not great albums, Wilco returns to form with their best collection since 'A Ghost is Born'. It's all here for those familiar with the Wilco sound; the Artsy Experimentation, the Americana infused pop and whispery, elegant ballads. Also featuring what may be Jeff Tweedy's best song to date, the long, mostly acoustic elegy, 'One Sunday Morning'.
5. 'The King is Dead' by The Decemberists: Folk Rock at it's absolute best as the Portland band pulls out the acoustic guitars, and with the assist of R.E.M's Peter Buck, conjures a collection of campfire songs and hoedown jams. Of all the albums listed here I probably played this one the most.
6. 'Bon Iver' by Bon Iver: Justin Vernon abandons the isolation of his mountain cabin that begat his last solo disc and enters the studio with an actual band to record a disc of simply beautiful and sonically perfect pop sung with one of rocks most unique voices.
7. 'El Camino' by The Black Keys: Kick-Ass, Bluesy, Gut Punching Rock 'n Roll by two nerdy looking white guys who got started by jamming in their basement. They are everything that The White Stripes wished they could have been and more. Featuring the years best rock single, 'Lonely Boy'. Roll down the windows and crank it loud!!
8. 'Ashes and Fire' by Ryan Adams: Marriage has certainly mellowed out bad boy Ryan Adams, and that's a good thing. 'Ashes' proves to be one of his best albums ever with song after song of wonderfully low-key, country infused pop sung in that buttery smooth voice. 'Lucky Now' is another of the years best singles. A gem of an album!
9. 'Ceremonials' by Florence + The Machine: Light years ahead of their very good first album, 'Ceremonials' finds Florence Welch stepping out and taking the crown from Kate Bush to be the new Queen of Art Pop. The production is pristine and repeated listens rewarded as new layers of luscious sounds are revealed. Simply gorgeous.
10. 'Days' by Real Estate: Dreamy, hallucinatory music that crawls into your brain and refuses to leave, sending echos throughout of soft melodies and velvety vocals. Serenely pretty Art Rock that unexpectedly comes from a band out of Brooklyn by way of New Jersey.
11. 'Parallax' by Atlas Sound: Atlas Sound is the brainchild of Bradford James Cox, who is the lead singer of Deerhunter, one of Alt Rocks best bands. With 'Parallax', Cox steps away from some of the obscure experimentation that he is most known for and delivers an album of surprising, 'almost' pop songs. Seemingly adopting the pose and sound of a 50's crooner, Cox delivers an album filled with wonderful, complete songs that, with repeated listens, sneak up on you and unfold in layers of melody.
12. 'Helplessness Blues' by Fleet Foxes: Beautiful folk rock!
13. 'The King of Limbs' by Radiohead
14. 'Bad As Me' by Tom Waits
15. 'Last Summer' by Eleanor Friedberger
16. 'Barton Hollow' by The Civil Wars
17. 'Circuital' by My Morning Jacket
18. 'Noel Gallager's High Flying Birds': Better than anything by Oasis, (his first group)
19. 'Wasting Light' - Foo Fighters
20. 'Torches' by Foster the People
MY 10 FAVORITE SINGLES OF 2011
1. 'Rolling in the Deep' by Adele
2. 'Someone Like You' by Adele
3. 'Lucky Now' by Ryan Adams
4. 'Lonely Boy' by Black Keys
5. 'My Mistakes' by Eleanor Friedberger
6. 'Edge of Glory' by Lady GaGa
7. 'Mona Lisa' by Atlas Sound
8. 'Lotus Flower' by Radiohead
9. 'Heart in your Heartbreak' by The Pain of Being Pure at Heart
10. 'Pumped Up Kicks' by Foster the People
Best Reissue of the Year: 'Quadrophenia' by The Who. A Rock Opera that is better than Tommy and is simply one of the best albums in Rock and Roll history.