The music banging around in my head for January and February, 2019.


Although I fail miserably when it comes to supporting local music, this song by Jacob Resch deserves a solid plug. A little bird tells me that he may begin performing regularly at this downtown joint called Pints&union. You’ll be kept informed.

I try to do as much public service writing as possible, much to the chagrin of polite society, and yet it’s still my blog and a running diary of sorts. Hence this ongoing effort to document the soundtrack of my life.

For the past decade, I’ve consciously resisted listening in the past. I’ve carefully rationed classic rock. However, the seemingly permanent marginalization of fresh rock and pop gradually finally has eroded my vigilance — at least a little.

Concurrently I’ve finally shifted much of my home listening to headphones and streaming sources. This enables a broader survey of worthwhile new music, and if it’s something I like, I’ll still buy the CD just like I always have. It remains my goal to find new music, but maybe I’m learning to relax and enjoy the tried and true a bit more often.

As such I’m pleased to say that while my 2019 album purchases thus far have been few in number, they’re uniformly excellent in quality. First, two very different outliers from 2018 that slipped past me last year. I’ve linked to reviews that strike me as the most accurate.

Sunflower Bean … Twentytwo in Blue (2018)

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats … Wasteland (2018)

Now for the 2019 releases, beginning with the awesome Bob Mould … Sunshine Rock

Twilight Sad … It Won’t Be Like This All the Time

Yak … Pursuit of Momentary Happiness

Sleaford Mods … Eton Alive

As for the old days, one of my top musical experiences in January was listening to Who’s Next with headphones, then listening again, the second time focusing on John Entwistle’s incredible bass.

Another January highlight: I was at Pints&union on a Sunday afternoon/evening when it was decided to play Black Sabbath non-stop the remainder of the day. This led to three unexpected outcomes.

First there were memories of how ubiquitous Black Sabbath really was during my youth, starting in the 5th or 6th grade when someone brought his older brother’s 45 rpm of “Iron Man” to school.

Then listening again to 13, presumably the band’s final studio album, and finding it better than I remembered.

Finally, a perverse desire to listen again to the sole Black Sabbath album with Ian “Deep Purple” Gillan as singer. It’s a very strange beast, indeed.

I spent a solid week in early February listening multiple times to This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours by Manic Street Preachers (1998). The second “side” is highly recommended; the hits are at the beginning, and deeper wisdom nearer the conclusion.

Another day or two was devoted to Cheap Trick at Budokan (1978). Talk about a template. Lest we forget, Bun E. Carlos in his heyday was an amazing drumming force.

February brought a lengthy dive into the extensive Duke Ellington catalog. If memory serves, his son Mercer wrote this one.

Of course, having a keg of Dogfish Head Wood-Aged Bitches Brew on tap at Pints&union was all the encouragement necessary for a period of quality immersion in Miles’ fusion-period releases.

Most recently came a full-tilt Muggsy Spanier revival, and yes, I realize almost no one remembers him. But I do, and keeping musical culture alive is important. Follow the link, read all about it and I’ll pick up the tune in two months.

Jazz break: On Muggsy Spanier’s Ragtime Band, “That Eccentric Rag” and the long departed Rod Cless.

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Miles Davis, Dogfish Head and Bitches Brew, or everything old is new again.

“Bands are known for drink, drugs and dust-ups. But beyond the debauchery lie four models for how to run a business.”

Reminder: The LO performs Tchaikovsky next Saturday (January 19) at the Ogle Center.