Sunday, June 28, 2015

Non-Contextual Presentation of An Indigenous African-American Artistic Style As Interpreted by Caucasian Descendants of Former Colonists to A Largely Franco-European Audience, or St. Paul & The Broken Bones in Paris

On the one hand, we could note that the French imported four times as many African slaves to the North American colonies as the British did.  Not only did France first started importing slaves to the West Indies as early as 1540 to work the islands' sugar plantations, well before the British, but they continued the slave trade until 1830, long after the rest of Europe had given it up, and they even kept at it clandestinely after the Civil War, eventually abolished slavery only under pressure from slave uprisings.

Among the many indignities suffered upon the emancipated slaves in North American was the appropriation of their cultural and artistic achievements by white artists, going back to jazz and the blues.  Throughout the history of rock 'n' roll, starting with Elvis Presley and continuing through to the present day, songs and styles first popularized by African-American musicians gained wide-spread acceptance and popularity only after being recorded by white musicians.

It is a challenge not to be somewhat cynical watching the all-white, Birmingham, Alabama band St. Paul & The Broken Bones perform in the style of Sam Cook and Otis Redding in Paris, France, the capital of the first nation that forcibly brought the ancestors of the genre's creators to America, and bestow the gift of the art form to a European audience without any reminder or context regarding how the sound originated in the first place.  

This is not to say that St. Paul and company should not play and sound the way that they do, or that they shouldn't be allowed to earn an income and perform overseas.  And no one wants to sit through a lecture or a guilt trip about historical sins and transgressions.    

So perhaps I should just say here's St. Paul and the Broken Bones in Paris, as recorded by La Blogothèque.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Staticy Appropriations of Port-Modern Black Comedy Motifs in Contemporary Pop Music

From the past back to the present:  Dublin's Girl Band (all guys, naturally) lure us in with Lawman then disturb our dreams for weeks with Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?  Samuel Beckett would have been proud.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Your Humble Narrator, age 20
If for no other reason that I find myself nostalgic today, a taste of Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention, circa 1970.

As long as I'm at it, some of my friends from back in the day: 

And finally, it seems somehow appropriate to filter today's Supreme Court decision establishing marriage equality for all Americans through the lens of my current nostalgia by posting some vintage Bowie.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Low at Bumbershoot, 2012
Remarkably, Minnesota's Low somehow just keep getting better and better.  Here's No Comprende, the first song released from their upcoming LP, Ones and Sixes.  Enjoy.

The band has announced an extensive world tour in support of the album, but so far, no dates announced for the American South.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blind Pilot

Here's a stripped-down version of the Portland band Blind Pilot - Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski  - performing with cellist Sergey Antonov at the Liberty Theater in Astoria, Oregon.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

God Is An Astronaut

God Is An Astronaut are a 4 piece band who hail from Glen of the Downs, County Wicklow, Ireland. Here is the title cut of their just-released, latest album.