Rush 40th Anniversary Tour tickets went on sale this morning. Let’s all listen to some Rush.
1981 produced Rush’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful record of their career, the masterpiece Moving Pictures, containing their most recognizable tune “Tom Sawyer”. They seemed to hit that perfect sweet spot of geek prog, solid rock and roll, and pop sensibility. Next up was 1982’s Signals. Like many high school kids in the 90s, the school of Rush was taught by Chronicles, the 2 disc best of retrospective. When this chronological journey hit the Signals material, it was jarring. They had drifted even further from their proggy roots, added more synths and sequencers and texture, began consciously sounding more radio friendly, and long time producer Terry Brown made his exit. You can almost hear the 1’s and 0’s. It seemed so… wussy.
But then you grow up a little and you realize you’re an idiot and Signals is like one of their best albums ever.
While “New World Man” was actually their highest charting single in the US, my favorite has always been “The Analog Kid.” Things start out great with some rapid fire Lee bass lines, but when the spine tingling unexpected soft chorus comes in, Rush never sounded prettier. Pimply faced Dungeon Masters all over the world stopped slappin da air beazz mon and started pounding on their air synths. And then Lifeson still whips out a blistering guitar solo. Totally awesome dude.
Joe Cocker (RIP) “Feelin’ Alright”
Contrary to popular belief (or maybe just me prior to 2014), this song is actually about a guy feeling pretty shitty. Yet somehow it’s upbeat enough for a Friday afternoon.
San Fermin “Jackrabbit”
“Jackrabbit” is the lead single off of San Fermin’s upcoming (and as of yet untitled?) album. I just love how many layers these guys pack into each song, and new details emerge with every repeated listen. They have really great energy live, and put on a hell of a show. Apropos of nothing, they’re playing at the Wolf Trap TONIGHT, January 30. Get out there if you can, say hi, buy me a beer.
Dirg Gerner “Got Your Back”
A German-Chilean musician living in London and making R&B isn’t something I’d naturally gravitate to, but I heard this guy’s music at Pleasant Pops on Tuesday and have been obsessing over his SoundCloud page. I don’t know too much about him, but all of the songs are strong and pretty damn catchy. There are a lot of Frank Ocean influences, which is always a good thing, and a few Gotye-like songs, which is a band I didn’t expect to even recall. Give the delightfully named Dirg Gerner a listen to.
Irma Thomas “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)”
I recently powered through all of Black Mirror on Netflix (and then watched the Christmas show, too.) I wholeheartedly recommend watching the show, while at the same time strenuously recommend you do not watch it all at once. Seriously, it’s a mind fuck. Anyhow, this song keeps coming up in the show, and it’s just marvelous.
LCD Soundsystem “Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up”
On Fridays, I get up unpleasantly early for work. Musically, this can mean anything from Cat Stevens’s “Morning Has Broken” to Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” but today I beat the sun with this slowburner from James Murphy and LCD’s first album, from lo these 10 years ago. Gooooood morning.
If it came on shuffle, you’d be forgiven for thinking “Never As Tired” was from a different band, with its lack of the Soundsystem’s digital spit and dance polish. Murphy’s falsetto has never sounded more like Paul McCartney. Only its length gives it away: nearly five minutes of the instruments stalking each other before they reconcile, because you should never start the day with a fight.