words by Benjamin Stevens
- Not So Much to Be Loved As to Love- Jonathan Richman
On Friday I caught Jonathan Richman at the Sco. This show was unlike any other that I had seen this year as Richman seemed pursued to entertain above all else and boy, did he entertain! Jonathan Richman’s signature naïvité was now joined with a 66 year old wisdom, and how lucky were we to have him bestow it upon us. Between displaying his unequalled dancing skills he played many beautiful songs, all seemingly centering on reflecting upon his past youth which made me laugh and cry. This song, the last song he played that night, summed up much of what that night was about: talking of self pitying depression walks and angst and being lovesick and reflecting that perhaps he might have gotten a little caught up in himself a bit. Instrumentally, his arrangements have all the appearances of what a jolly and positive Phil Elverum would sound like.
2. Save Me A Place- Fleetwood Mac
I will fight any foe who dares question Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk as their crowning achievement. Yes, it is the album where they overstep their boundaries, try too many things, and spend a million dollars recording drums in the bathroom but how many post-punk influenced soft rock records are this good or even exist? This song’s raw and beautiful autoharp strums and longing vocals from Lindsey Buckingham all add up to create an even more affecting post heartbreak song than anything on Rumours. In contrast to the lushness of that album this song’s spare production and unsettling pitched down harmonies only serve to emphasize the song’s desperate refrain of “I’ll come running if you love me today”.
3. Halcyon Age-Vansire
The newest installment in the best Vansire song sweepstakes, Halcyon Age’s new keyboard dominated sound. Vansire, a band fronted by Oberlin’s own Josh Augustin and Sam Winemiller, has been putting out records for the last three years, achieving some major success with their song ‘Eleven Weeks.’ Now they break out of their dream pop bubble, embracing Chillwave and some vaguely eighties synths that make you wish Mac Demarco was back in his Salad Days. Referencing heroes such as Jim O’Rourke and Daniel Johnston, the song shows how Vansire has gone widescreen and with this song they are showing that almost any move they make will be the right one.
4. Sunday in Savannah-Nina Simone
Not Atlanta but Savannah. Nina Simone starts off by announcing she is going to sing about Savannah instead of Atlanta. “I think that he wouldn’t mind” says Simone. Simone is speaking of Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated just days before this concert was recorded. Unlike much of the sound of 1968, Simone takes a gentle pastoral route to express a sense of mourning. Evoking a Sunday spent in church, Nina Simone alludes back to the roots of King’s life in Georgia and the type of Sunday that King would never again witness. Swelling up into a cathartic “Amen!” Simone yells into the abyss of 1968 with hope and gracing the statement with the beauty that only her voice could conjure. A song for hope in dark nights of the soul.
5. There But for the Grace of God Go I-The Gories
The Gories straight up slap. A punk band unlike any before that informed all after. They didn’t even have a bass player! Sounding like demons who took over an abandoned Detroit car factory, the Gories simply sound how great bands should. The rowdy and unkempt riff holds together the song, the gang vocals, and primitive drums are simply perfection. You can see why the White Stripes so thoroughly ripped them off. Also a great title.