My thoughts on what I’ve listened to in the car this week:
Monday June 1st: The Jesus And Mary Chain – Munki. This album is not really what the band is known for, it’s considerably more pop-y than their usual shoegazey wall of sound, but for me it works. It’s pretty long, too; I wasn’t able to listen to the full sixty-nine minutes and change while working tonight, so I guess I’ll definitely be listening tomorrow. To tackle what I did get through, though, the album opens with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll“, which is not a cover of Joan Jett’s song of the same title, but is instead a very positive number extolling the positive effects of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Jim Reid’s life. “Birthday” is another excellent song in a similar vein musically, but the real treasure of the first half of the album is “Moe Tucker,” a shout out to women who rock in general and one of my favourite drummers in particular. Moe Tucker was a fantastic drummer famous for being a significant part of the Velvet Underground, and you should take a quick detour and listen to her song “After Hours” before you head on to my thoughts for tomorrow.
Tuesday June 2nd: The Jesus And Mary Chain – Munki. Key standouts on the second half of the album include, “Cracking Up,” and “I Can’t Find The Time For Times.” True to form for a shoegaze band, there’s a lot that sounds relatively similar, but it’s all really quite good, so I’m not really complaining. “I Can’t Find The Time For Times” in particular has a real negative tone, clearly the crie-de-coeur of somebody who feels they’ve screwed up. If you’re paying careful attention, you might note that the more negative tunes on the album all tend to be by Wiliam Reid, where the more positive ones tend to be by Jim. This album was right before the brothers broke off their band for eight years, and it shows. Mirroring the opening song perfectly is the closing song on the album, “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which reflects William’s frustration and disappointment with the industry up to that point. This one came first; Jim wrote “I Love…” in response to the negativity of this song, but personally, between the two, I prefer “I Hate…”. The energy of it seems more honest, and the music is just a little stronger for it. Wait for the bit where the lyrics reverse, and it becomes, “Rock ‘n’ Roll hates me…”, it’s absolutely the perfect end to an excellent album, my favourite by the band.
Wednesday June 3rd: Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots) – Glory Days. There’s no link to the album here because, unless you already have a copy, you can’t get one anymore. After being picked up by Royal Mountain Records, the band is either re-recording the album, or recording a new album with many of the same songs, so the original recording is no longer available. I also intend to review the new album on the podcast when it comes out, so I won’t go too in-depth here now. At its heart, this album is best described as “bro-punk,” even though I feel vaguely like I need a shower just putting those words together. It’s reminiscent of Blink 182, to me: raucus and immature, but still charming in its own way. The whole album is suffused with a very dudebro attitude. Use (and abuse) of alcohol is a theme throughout, best expressed in the song “Road To Victory,” in which the chorus is the repeated phrase: “We’re guys, we don’t cry, we just get drunk.” The language is merciless; in the song “Glory Days,” a generic small town “hero” still living in his highschool glory days is admonished with the words, “If those were your glory days, I’m glad I wasn’t around / If those were your glory days, you must be real shitty now.” It probably doesn’t sound like there’s a lot to recommend this album (unless you’re kind of a dudebro yourself), but the whole thing is tinged with a self-awareness that takes the over-the-top attitude and renders it kind of adorable, rather than irritating.
Thursday June 4th: Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots) – Glory Days. I listened to it again, it’s got a fantastic energy to keep a late-night worker going. On the other hand, though, my main disappointment with this album is that, despite its frantic energy, it fails to remotely capture the intensity of the energy that the band has live. Here’s a recording of “Glory Days” again, this time from a live show (and with another number of theirs as well). Even this doesn’t compare to being in that crowd, but it’s a better example of what the band is really like, and I sincerely hope the upcoming release better captures this absolutely insane energy.
Friday June 5th: Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots) – Glory Days. Well, congrats to Pkew, this is officially the first album I’ve got stuck on since I started this. It happens now and then, readers, I wouldn’t worry, I’ll snap out of it. One of the things I noted while driving around this morning was that many of the songs are incredibly simple, and they almost all have sections that lend themselves to singing along, even if you don’t really know the words. I think this is a conscious choice. I know Jess doesn’t tend to like stuff she calls “sing-along-y,” but it works fantastically for Pkew, especially in the live show. It serves to draw people at their shows into their energy, who in turn reinforce and strengthen the energy. I’ve said to a few people that Pkew is unlike any live show I’ve really been to, and I really mean it. If they’re playing near you, and you have even a passing appreciation for heavier music, go see them.
Saturday June 7th: Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots) – Glory Days. Total cop-out this time. Just using the energy of this record to sustain me through the last workday of the week. Something new on Monday I promise.