Just tonight downloaded, what, 20 more selections from eMusic--just so I don't waste my freebies. I have to say, I don't mind it this time; I think I'll be able to barrel through most of them within the week, and still have time to listen for work and leisure. To a degree, making myself hear all this stuff is work, albeit unpaid work, and, you know, hopefully enriching; that's never been a problem. But time management is not my strong suit, as my editors can have told you for years; even when I get everything in on time it's done so late in the game it probably should be considered delinquent. (Most everything I ever did for the Voice was like that; all-nighters damn near all.) I was also pointed to a good-seeming dubstep-etc. mix by my friend Nate, so I went for that first; rather nice, will want to hear more.
One of the odd things I've done lately is get fairly heavily into Bruce Springsteen. Not because of his new album or the Super Bowl or anything; it's for a secret project. Actually only one album of his is completely germane to the project but I wanted to try to get a better sense of his career's arc leading to that album, and I have to say all of it has hit me really hard all of a sudden. I'd always liked Springsteen, sometimes a ton ("Rosalita," Born to Run, "Glory Days," "Brilliant Disguise"). But I was never especially interested in the myth or the persona; I liked several of the songs, saw and heard and understood what he was doing, admired it plenty, and despite occasionally paying tribute--I even liked 2007's Magic OK, but have little interest in the brand new one--I never really cared one way or the other.
Now I do, and I don't think I'm simply being cute when I say that it probably has to do with how bad my (and everyone else's) financial situation has gotten. Lemme tell ya: being broke changes and hardens your perspective, especially if you were never all that well off to begin with, from birth forward. Eric Wesibard once wrote about his decision to take a job at Spin rather than finish his degree at Berkeley simply because it paid better. That sounds like a bad joke now.
Anyway, Bruce: don't know why I slept so long. Well, I do know--it's stuff like "Drive All Night," which mars The River near the end; it should have been three minutes, not eight. A lot of that is on Darkness on the Edge of Town, which is the weakest of his albums between the two Borns; still, there's fantastic stuff on it, and it's interesting as a bridge between Run and The River.
The latter is the one that got me started (I'd picked it up used). It took about for plays to sink in fully, which makes sense: it's pretty dense with lyrics, which with Springsteen are usually the point. It's still got glaring flaws, mostly on the second disc, but it's still got a ton of energy that draws me back. I'd always figured "Hungry Heart" as very good, but hearing it again made me realize how absolutely perfect it is, affecting and tricky at the same time, and as my friend Robert pointed out the other day, side two is perfectly sequenced (disc 1, tracks 6-11, kids). And "The River" itself feels both intimate and massive, a perspectival trick Bruce does like nobody else. And Nebraska is one of the scariest fucking records ever made.
Here's what the "unheard" folder looks like right now.
Alva Nota, Xerrox Vol. 2
Chick Corea & Hiromi, Duet
Crystal Stilts, "Love Is a Wave"/"Sugarbaby" (7-inch on mp3)
Dorian Concept, When Planets Explode
Dred Scott Trio, Live At The Rockwood Music Hall
Duke Ellington And His Orchestra Featuring Paul Gonsalves
Here We Go Magic
Justin Townes Earle, Midnight at the Movies
Kurt Vile, God Is Saying This To You . . .
La Cherga (Oct. '08, Christgau A-minused it, why not?)
Loin Brothers, "Heavy Helmet"/"Heavy Helmet (Mock & Toof Remix)"
Mi Ami, Watersports
Neil Landstrumm, Lord For £39
New Villager, Rich Doors
That new double-CD best of Nick Lowe thing, looks awesome, can't wait
Reykjavik!, The Blood
Tim Hecker, An Imaginary Country
Tobias Oliver, "Winter"/"Summer"
A lot of it is stuff I have no recollection of from name-title alone, but something (usually 17 Dots editors' posts) led me to put it in my "2009" private folder, which I then took another look at earlier today (yesterday afternoon, I mean, good heavens) seemed to ring some alarm somewhere. Or to be perfectly frank about it, I picked the ones I knew right away, then I picked the singles and EPs, then I went by title and/or cover art, thumbnail though it might be. I guess, thanks to my system, I'll find out for sure, right?