1:a MAJ

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Dags att bekänna färg. Här är tio låtar med hjärtat på rätta stället, som pissar på rasism och strukturella klyftor och hyllar enighet och solidaritet. De listas utan inbördes ordning.

 

Marvin GayeWhat’s Happening, Brother?

– 1971 släppte Marvin Gaye ett av alla tiders bästa album, den politiskt laddade What’s Going On. Denna låt må vid första anblick handla om en Vietnam-veterans desillusionerade hemkomst, men tar samtidigt upp tidlösa ämnen som sammanhållning, solidaritet och socialt utanförskap.

 

Gang of FourGuns Before Butter

– Åt helvete med nationalism, åt helvete med att arbeta för ett samhälle man inte tror på. Gang of Four var postpunkens mest kompromisslösa gäng. Sylvassa taggtrådsgitarrer, funkiga rytmer och texter som slår dig på käften och får dig att tänka till.

 

Public Enemy Fight the Power

– PE:s största anthem är en vänsterkrok så hård att den sänker rasismen, de sociala klyftorna och alla de rådande krafterna som understödjer dessa farsoter – samtidigt som den får dig att dansa på köpet.

 

Imperiet/ThåströmAlltid rött, alltid rätt

– Ett självklart val denna dag, men ack så hårt träffande. Bäst är Thåströms blitzkrigs-version från turnéerna 1999 och 2002.

 

Gil Scott-HeronThe Liberation Song (Red, Black and Green)

– Svart frigörelse är rasismens utplåning, vilket i sin tur betyder slutet på några av de värsta strukturella orättvisorna som plågat vårt samhälle i hundratals år. Minoriteters och lägre klassers uppror mot förtryckande makter är att skjuta in medicin i demokratins sjuka kropp. Detta visste Gil och gjorde en svängig låt av det.

 

The ClashI’m So Bored with the USA

– Kommentar överflödig? USA anno 1977 var kanske inte så himla kul, men 2018? Fuhgeddaboutit. Joe Strummer har aldrig varit mer saknad.

 

Bruce SpringsteenThe Ghost of Tom Joad

– Bruce kanaliserar Steinbeck och besjunger kapitalismens värsta baksidor i denna folkballad från vad som måste betraktas som ett av hans allra bästa album.

 

Michael JacksonThey Don’t Care About Us

– MJ gör upp med all möjlig samhällelig orättvisa och tyranni, och har aldrig tidigare låtit så förbannad. HIStory-skivan från 1995 är full av liknande nummer, men inget är bättre än detta. 2014-2015 fick låten ett uppsving då den användes av Black Lives Matter-rörelsen. Den kunde inte använts i ett bättre forum. En stolt Michael log sannolikt från sin himmel.

 

John LennonWorking Class Hero

– Arbetarklassens omöjliga predikament. Hur man än gör blir det fel. Den strukturella kvävningsdöden.

 

The ImpressionsKeep on Pushing

– Svårt att välja bara en låt av Curtis Mayfield, men jag stannade vid denna. En av medborgarrättsrörelsens viktigaste låtar under 60-talets mitt, och dess budskap om att härda ut och kämpa emot funkar ypperligt även 50 år senare. Och kommer sannolikt låta lika fräsch om ytterligare 50 år.

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Spotify-lista med alla låtar hittar ni här.

Annonser

Liverecension: I’M KINGFISHER, Mejeriet, Lund, 27/4 2018

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Igår såg jag Thomas ”I’m Kingfisher” Jonsson öppna för kanadensiska indie-folk-pärlan The Weather Station på Mejeriet i Lund. Och jag råder alla med minsta intresse för americana/folk i allmänhet och intensiv, innerlig musik i synnerhet att gå och se någon av Jonssons resterande spelningar, på turnén som kretsar kring senaste albumet Transit.

På skiva är Kingfisher inte sällan lågmäld, nästan timid. Live, och trots att han är ensam på scen med blott en sliten akustisk gitarr och en effektpedal, är det en helt annan utstrålning. Med en febrighet och med ”Oberstska” nerver vrider han furiöst ur sina folksånger ur själ och hjärta och trollbinder sin publik.  Och då har jag inte ens nämnt hans virtuositet med gitarren. Thomas Jonsson är tvivelsutan svenskt gitarrspels svar på Chuck Johnson – den amerikanske folk-gitarristen och experimentalisten, vars finger-picking man tror ej kunna hava någon like. Men efter att ha bevittnat Thomas Jonsson gå lös på sin stålsträngade gitarr tvingas man inse att så ej är fallet. Utan att anstränga sig vrider, rycker, slår Jonsson fram omöjligt intrikata gitarrfigurer i låtar som Silent Spring och Sarajevo, och psykedelian i Sinking Ship blir om möjligt snårigare och tyngre med bara Jonsson och hans gitarr. Men det där vemodet som är hans kanske allra främsta medel finns där också. I den alltid lika lena, ensliga rösten, och i mästerliga låtar som What Good Would Loving Do Me Now? och den hittills obetitlade(?) låten som avslutade setet. En låt som för övrigt, potentiellt, skulle kunna vara bland det allra bästa han gjort, med en melodi som skulle kunna vara skriven när som helst de senaste 60 åren. Man kan höra Elvis sjunga den, i American Sound-studion 1969, eller Glen Campbell några år tidigare, eller Springsteen kring Tunnel of Love 1987. Under en konsert med flera höjdpunkter var detta peaken. Jag hoppas på en snar release.

Och jag hoppas att fler får upp ögon och öron för Jonsson. I sommar spelar han på en rad platser (och fler tillkommer). Gå och se honom.

Följande är saxat från www.imkingfisher.com:

10 JUN – EKSJÖ (S)

    1. @ Emmas lada

28 JUN – MALMÖ (S)

    1. @ TBA

06 JUL – KARLSTAD (S)

    1. @ Kvarteret Eken

26 JUL – HULTSFRED (S)

    1. @ Hotell Hulingen 3-nighter with Ella Blixt

27 JUL – HULTSFRED (S)

    1. @ Hotell Hulingen 3-nighter with Ella Blixt

28 JUL – HULTSFRED (S)

    1. @ Hotell Hulingen 3-nighter with Ella Blixt

07 AUG – HELSINKI (SF)

    1. @ Elmun Baari

11 AUG – NOTTINGHAM (UK)

    1. Melodica Nottingham (Rough Trade)

12 AUG – NOTTINGHAM (UK)

    1. Melodica Nottingham (Jam Cafe)

29 SEP – LUND (S)

    1. @ Stjärnteatern (+ Louise Hoffsten)

13 OCT – UMEÅ (S)

    1. @ Droskan (w Damien Jurado)

14 OCT – ÖSTERSUND (S)

    1. @ Studioscenen, Storsjöteatern (w Damien Jurado)

16 OCT – MALMÖ (S)

    @ Folk å Rock (w Damien Jurado)

 

My Formative Teenage Albums

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This entry is inspired by something I read on Pitchfork yesterday. There, the staffers had listed the ten albums from their formative teenage years that have made the most lasting impression on them. As a list geek I immediately figured I wanted to do the same. In chronological order, here are the ten most important albums from my formative years, age 14-18. I interpret ”lasting impression” as either meaning albums that opened important doors to musical worlds in which one still dwells, or simply albums one thought was great back then and still does.

Billy Idol Billy Idol

– Time of discovery: late 2000, aged 14.

To be quite honest, Billy Idol is the original reason for me listening to alternative (pop/rock) music. Before seeing the White Wedding video on MTV’s ”So 80’s” Weekend in the fall of 2000, the only music I listened to was hiphop and Michael Jackson (which is great, of course). Seeing this video, this sinister, weird, gothic video, changed everything. The song was equally sinister and weird, yet catchy, and with strange lyrics. It didn’t sound like anything I had ever heard before, or like anything my friends or classmates listened to. And the guy singing it was pale, skinny, wearing a red leather vest (with nothing underneath) and black pants, looking all cool and threatening. This was the first time I could even remotely see myself in a musician (even though we only had the pale and skinny thing in common – I was the least cool person you would ever meet). Earth-shattering. I went out and bought his self-titled debut album. I remember being disappointed that the other songs were kind of poppy, but it didn’t matter. I became a Billy Idol fanatic, and through him I discovered punk rock, and through punk I discovered…everything else. I became a…person. I developed some sort of style. I got ideas. Opinions.  Values. Stuff that’s still at the core of my being. Thank you, Billy. You’re one of the most criminally underrated singers/songwriters of all time (not to mention vocalists!).

Sex PistolsNever Mind the Bollocks, here’s the Sex Pistols

Time of discovery: late 2000, aged 15.

– I had learned that Billy Idol was originally a punk and lead singer with original punks Generation X. This made me terribly interested in the genre, and for my 15th birthday I got a gift certificate at the record store CD Land and I bought this album. Another earth shattering moment. Again, it sounded like nothing I had ever heard. It was totally aggressive, but the lyrics were hilarious (without failing to convey important messages such as anti-royalism, solidarity and alienation) and their attitude was so off, so un-cool (the traditional sense of cool) and antisocial it instantly felt super cool. I was on my path to becoming an individual.

Ebba GrönKärlek och uppror

Time of discovery: 2000, aged 15.

-The dearest thing I ever discovered through punk rock. Cemented my love for all things Thåström – a love that gets stronger with each passing day. There’s no-one like him.

The CureThree Imaginary Boys

Time of discovery: early 2001, aged 15.

– I discovered The Cure on the same So 80’s Weekend on MTV as I did with Billy Idol (and a-ha! and The Clash!), although I had heard of them before. I knew they were moody and weird, and the video for Close to Me didn’t change that idea. It took me a few months, however, before buying my first Cure CD (and this was the only one that the record store had), but I liked it. It was guitar-driven, like the punk rock I usually listened to, but it was more understated, moodier, weirder. Mood-wise, this suited me better than punk and I got deeper and deeper into The Cure in the following years. They are still very dear to me.

Oasis(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

– Time of discovery: mid-late 2001, aged 15 or 16.

I missed the Britpop wave of the mid 90’s (I was too busy trying to learn how to Moonwalk and rap along to Biggie songs). But after listening to punk and Billy Idol and The Cure for a year or so, I knew I wanted to take it further. I knew of Oasis and I knew their most famous songs, so I decided to borrow their albums from the public library. And I don’t know what it was exactly, but they spoke to me. Their music had the attitude I loved from punk, combined with the wistfulness I more and more felt I needed from music. And so, another life long love began.

Bruce Springsteen The Rising

Time of discovery: mid-late 2002, aged 16.

– I was exploring my increasingly deeper interest in music and decided to check out this legend and his newly released and much talked-about comeback album. It was instant love and Bruce is now one of my all-time favorite artists, and someone I keep returning to. This is far from his greatest album, but it was the first one I heard and that’s important.

KentIsola

– Time of discovery: late 2002, aged 17.

My teen angst had really started to gain serious momentum at this point, and this album spoke to me. It was like discovering an album you always knew was out there, but one you never really seemed to find – until one day.

Joy DivisionSubstance: 1977-1980

Time of discovery: early 2003, aged 17.

– I bought it because I had been knocked out by Love Will Tear Us Apart, and even though the other stuff on the album was far less catchy, I loved it. It had a seriousness to it that I had never heard before. The lyrics were very abstract to my 17-year-old ears. Very pensive.  Very contemplative. They matched my more and more frequent…moods. My love for the band would however grow even stronger in the years to come and I now consider them one of my top 5 all time favorite bands.

The SmithsThe Queen Is Dead

Time of discovery: early-mid 2003, aged 17.

Solidified my lifelong love for Morrissey (and Marr). Helped me survive my teens, my twenties and with a little luck, my thirties and beyond.

Bright Eyes Fevers and Mirrors

Time of discovery: late 2003, aged 18.

I would become a full-fledged hardcore Conor Oberst fan in 2007, but this album blew me away four years prior. Conor is a more interesting songwriter now, but this album is definitely intense. I bought it on a whim, without having heard a single note from it, having read a blurb at the back of a three-year old music rag. I remember it said something overblown about angst. That sealed the deal for me. Glad it did!

 

Photo by me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews: Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (the autobiography)

img_3723One of the best books I’ve ever read came out earlier this autumn. It’s called Born to Run, and it’s the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen.

I’ve been a Bruce fan since 2002, aged 17. A love affair that’s gotten stronger and stronger through the years. I love Bruce for his empathy, his burning heart, his compassion, his ability to comfort and offer solace – his outstanding lyrics are made of this. I love him for his melodies and that voice.

So when news broke earlier this year that he was to release his autobiography, my expectations instantly grew to gigantic proportions. After having read a few pages once the book was released, it was clear that these expectations were fulfilled.

All the things I love about Bruce’s music and lyrics; the warmth, the compassion, the solace, has been transferred to a 500+ page book, without losing any of the poetry or urgency or intimacy. I was stunned throughout reading it.

He speaks freely and with his head held high about his bouts with depression and alienation, his troubled relationship with his father, personal loss, his creative work and the joys of his family life. He makes the reader feel less alone, that it’s okay to be ”grown up” and still feel lost, alone, haunted and hunted. But he’s never defeatist. He builds up strength and gives the demons one hell of a fight. And he’s still standing.

Buy the book from Adlibris or Amazon, and listen to Bruce’s music wherever and whenever you get the chance.

9/11 – The 15 Greatest Songs from New York: a Tribute

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Musically one of the greatest and most influential cities in the world, giving birth to punk, hiphop, jazz and numerous subgenres to all of these styles and more. And to mark the 15th anniversary of the fall of The Twin Towers, here is my rundown of the 15 greatest songs to come out of NYC.

15. Richard Hell and the Voidoids – Blank Generation 

– One of the originators of punk. This song is the blueprint.

14. Nas – One Mic

– The greatest living MC to come from NY.

13. Swans – Sex, God Sex

– Took punk, slowed it down considerably, made it ten tons heavier, painted it pitch black. The result? Horrifying and gorgeous.

12. Television – Torn Curtain

– Post-punk long before punk was even dead. True innovators.

11. Johnny Thunders – So Alone

– One of the coolest rock stars of all time. He oozed NYC.

10. New York Dolls – Subway Train

– Perhaps the most important band in terms of their influence on punk. This is existential angst set in a dimly lit and desolate subway car.

9. Patti Smith – Free Money

– One of the greatest rock poets to come out of NYC. Another one of the innovators.

8.  The Velvet Underground – The Black Angel’s Death Song

– The Godfathers. Thanks to the Velvets and Lou we have punk, goth, post-punk, industrial, indie pop… This song lives up to its title. It’s a masterpiece.

7. Interpol – C’mere

– For a while in the 00’s these guys carried the NYC torch and they did it perfectly. This one of their most touching songs.

6. The Notorious B.I.G. – Kick in the Door

– The King of New York. The Greatest MC of all time. The second musical idol of my life. On this track he sets the record straight as to who really is the King of New York.

5. Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

– Okey, he’s not from New York. Hell, he’s not even American. But this song IS New York, just as much as the Hudson or Bagels.

4. Suicide – Frankie Teardrop

– What I said about The Velvets could easily and just as rightly be said about Suicide. Their influence can not be over stated. Not ever.

3. Ramones – 7/11

– These guys saved rock n roll from the dreary likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Genesis and whatnot. They ushered in a new era. This song is one of their least known, but it’s stunning all the same.

2. Bruce Springsteen – Jungleland

– Bruce is from the other side of the river, but this song is not. This song lives and breathes NYC street life.

1. Frank Sinatra – It’s a Lonesome Old Town

– Also from the other side of the river, but you don’t get more New York than this. This is wet streets, lonely walks lit up only by neon signs, steam rising from the sewer and a heart too heavy to bear. Essential. A masterpiece.