Royal Headache, Foals, Catfish and the Bottlemen and the music in my head for March and April.


As winter yielded to spring, two household arrivals notched up my enthusiasm. Of course it hasn’t hurt that climatic conditions are genuinely springlike, given our experience in 2018 of winter and summer being separated by a mere week of temperate weather.

First a kitten named Luna came into our household via the good offices of Dr. David Rowland. She’s still a couple months shy of one year old, and if her perpetual motion could be tethered to a turbine, we’d have no need for Duke Energy.

Our eccentric elderly cats both died last year, and Mila the recovering feral feline is reclusive and laid back. Consequently to enter a room these days and find Luna hanging from the chandelier has been a delightful change of pace.

Second, a wonderful album called High, which to my chagrin was released all the way back in 2015. Naturally the band Royal Headache already has disbanded (in 2018), but knowing this sad fact has not affected my enjoyment of the album.

I became aware of Royal Headache at Pints&union one morning when an earworm occurred during Calvin daily playlist. He identified the band and noted the particular song as being atypical of the album as a whole.

Calvin was right; the remainder of the album is very different — and now that I’ve heard all the tunes, the quasi-ballad can be judged as an inspired bit of contrast.

This is not a didactic or complicated band. A lot of Royal Headache’s songs are about elusive objects of desire (High) or trying to find some form of escape in a world that seems to forbid it (Electric Shock). They aren’t as light on their feet as they were on their 2011 debut – there are times on High when the ensemble slows its pace, as on the ballad Wouldn’t You Know – but these departures from punk orthodoxy allow Shogun’s vocals to insinuate much more than the band’s earlier lovelorn outsider anthems. Royal Headache isn’t a punk band any more, but that’s OK. They’re more.

Some day I’ll finally understand why certain types of songs always capture my attention. The key, the tempo, the mood; I can’t explain it, but “Wouldn’t You Know” has it. I regret the band’s untimely passing and look forward to what I hope is the inevitable reunion.

Meanwhile, it came as a complete shock to me when I realized there had been only three CD purchases in March and April.

Catfish and the Bottlemen’s third album is called The Balance. The formula has not varied, and this meets with my approval.

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1) is the most recent release from Foals, another British band that probably won’t include Louisville when (or if) they tour America.

I’ll readily concede that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selections for 2019 were pleasing to me, including personal favorites like Def Leppard, Roxy Music and Radiohead. In recent years the RRHoF finally is catching up to my standards.

As discussed previously, I’m continuing to loosen the reins and allowing myself to enjoy the archives rather than constantly obsess over finding new music. There isn’t as much new music to my tastes as before, and I’m content to wait for the pendulum to swing back — or not.

I can’t point to specific highlights, just a well-rounded listening regimen — rock and pop, jazz and classical.

Bryce Harper? Please. What instrument does HE play? We’ve got Teddy Abrams for another five years.

Late notice: Louisville Orchestra at the Ogle on Saturday with “An Evening in Italy.”