"Producer Charlie Sexton presents the Shirley brothers—Joe, John and Dave—as heavy but not hard. The drums and guitars have weight and impact, but they’re not mauling the listener; instead, they’re giving the melodies some physical support. You can hear a few iterations of Britpop in Cardinal Sons’ sound with The Beatles and Blur equally evident, but with a very American urgency and sincerity.” - from a review of Cardinal Sons’ “The Echo Choir EP.”
David Bowie - Be My Wife (1977)
Originally titled New Music Night and Day, Low is an album of juxtapositions: hope and desolation, inspiration and detachment, form and formlessness, pop and the avant-garde. The personal, emotive quality of Bowie’s struggle, which is present in the lyrics, is delivered in a flat, almost disinterested croak throughout much of the album.
“Be My Wife” is, on the surface, the most conventional pop song on the album. The song’s structure is relatively traditional and its lyrics straightforward. However, there is something unsettling about the piece. With its jangly keyboards and Bowie’s flat, detached vocal delivery, it is the opposite of what one would expect from a song called “Be My Wife”; an impassioned plea to a lover this is not. Bowie’s south London accent is as thick as his indifference as he remarks, “I’ve lived all over the world / I’ve left every place,” as if the fact of his travels are as unimpressive as the lover to whom he is meant to be appealing.
This disinterested tone is further emphasized in the promotional film for the song. In a simple plaid shirt and Buster Keaton makeup, Bowie emulates Keaton’s stone-faced composure. He stands in front of a white backdrop and gives an aloof, half-hearted performance of the song, before finally giving up the effort entirely and choosing instead to icily arch one eyebrow toward the camera. Though Low was therapeutic for Bowie on a personal level, there was still, as always, the manifestation of performance in the presentation of the work. Even Bowie at his most seemingly vulnerable—and maybe even because of this—still moves in between layers of pose and persona.
"[Our music] is definitely a dialogue between high pop and pedestrian pop music. One of Sylvan Esso’s main conceits is making pop music from a normal person’s standpoint. When you look at Beyoncé, she’s an amazing being from the planet Mars that you aspire to be, but that you could never be. If you saw Beyoncé or Lady Gaga, it’s like seeing an alien, [they’re] so high above me, and we’re not interested in that. We’re interested in being dudes that hang out and also write music.” - Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, which plays Gasa Gasa Saturday night.
“Before I’m a hard rock or hardcore or a punk rock or a thrasher or a this or that, I’m a human being. Before I’m a Republican or a Democrat I’m a human being.” - Keith Morris of OFF!, who play Siberia in New Orleans Sunday.
DJ Tony Skratchere talks about the music that made him want to be a DJ.
A first look at the new video from indie electronic artist Sundog & a review of his new album, “Space Criminal.”
Photographer Steven Hatley’s shots of A Sunny Day in Glasgow in New Orleans.
Our favorite things this week include Tropicalia, Greg Hindy, and Criterion Collection.
“The more guitar I play, the less talking I have to do,” Dave Hill jokes. “A 10-minute set becomes a 20-minute set if you put enough guitar solos in.” - comedian Dave Hill, who plays One Eyed Jacks Wednesday night in New Orleans
We’re giving away tickets to see Nick Cave at the Mahalia Jackson Theater tonight. Contest is open until 1 p.m.