4 songs I’m listening to – old and new

Corrina, Corrina – Bob Dylan 

This traditional 12 bar blues song gets a fantastic folk revamp from Bob. It’s one of my favourites from his early era.  His voice has a smooth honky-tonk tone to it, and the harmonica passages actually complement the song instead of discordantly screeching over apocalyptic protest lyrics.

This is not to suggest that I don’t love that facet of Dylan. That’s what keeps him so exciting to listen to. Chameleon-like, and with such an abundant amount of material released, you can enjoy a completely different artist from album to album. And the stripped back ‘Corrina, Corrina’ sees Dylan in his forlorn crooner persona – something he would explore further with the 1969 Nashville Skyline. It’s a simple, moving song – give it a listen.


Cowboy Nudes – Geese 

This is the first single from this New York based band’s sophomore album. Their debut Projector was a whirling, nervy, kraut-rocky, angst-ridden album. Unsurprising considering they were eighteen or something when they recorded it.

But two year later, Cowboy Nudes shows the band maturing into a sense of humour and a willingness to make something bright and upbeat. With a straightforward pop-y opening, we then moves into a funky, bongo-banging chaotic middle passage that reminded me a little of LCD Soundsystem. But the song emerges out of this noise into a super satisfying conclusion. The song is really tight, running just short of the 3 minute mark, and it sounds great. The production is subtle, you can hear every note of the nimble guitar work, and in general the song is more complex than it first seems. It grows on you.


Concerto for Guitar – Luiz Bonfra

This song feels like you’re floating on a crystal-clear lagoon, lying on an inflatable lilo, as you’re eating mango with the sun on your face and one foot hanging in the warm water. It’s pureee relaxation and totally takes you out of yourself.

Luiz Bonfra was a Brazilian jazz guitarist and composer who died in 2001. He’s a recent discovery for me, and I can’t get enough. The guy is a technical wizard. Forgot all that guitar-god shredding malarkey. Bonfra is the real deal. Check out this live performance if you don’t believe me and watch from the two minute mark. It’s spellbinding stuff – riveting, energetic yet somehow simultaneously tranquil.


Friction – Television

Following the recent passing of principal songwriter and guitarist Tom Verlaine, I listened back to Television’s Marquee Moon. What an album. Friction stood out to me upon re-listening and it’s been on rotation ever since. This blues-punk masterpiece is insanely catchy. Every Television song from this album has a simple yet effective riff that runs throughout and the riff on Friction is possibly my favourite.

Verlaine’s lyricism is mesmeric too. With lines like ‘If I ever catch that ventriloquist, I’ll squeeze his head right into my fist’, there is a Delphic, elusive intensity to his language where you can’t tell whether what he’s yelping means everything or nothing.


So, there you have it. 4 songs – 3 old, 1 new – to listen to on your walk to the Billy B, or the TLC, or wherever it is you generally go to procrastinate from your summative. Enjoy!

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