J. Mascis is my best friend. Sometimes he’ll come over and sit across the table from me and we’ll discuss politics—ok, I will—he’ll just sit there brooding the way he does. Yes, the number five best guitar player of all time according to Spin will retort with a cold ambivalent stare while I unload my woes over a pint. When that’s finished we’ll grab our skateboards and go out—um—thrashing. When that gets old we hop into my convertible and cruise around town, everything captured in slow motion frames from the spinning wheel wells to my belly-aching laughter at something J. must have muttered between frowns. We’re stylized, he and I through the perspectives of everyone looking on and the over-driven guitars reverberating off brick walls of the city.
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This song is probably forever associated with the really stupid 1994 Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels “comedy” (and I use that term very loosely) Dumb and Dumber since it appears on the soundtrack. But thinking about “Where I Find My Heaven” in context to that film, or even as merely just a one-hit wonder in a field of alterna-‘90s one-hit wonders, is to do it no justice. It’s a brazenly good, sing-a-long-able pop song with hooks so big and powerful, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t written by the late Alex Chilton. “Where I Find My Heaven” is a sheer (power) pop masterpiece. What’s more, the proper album that it comes from, the Gigolo Aunts’ Flippin’ Out – released in 1993 in the UK by Fire Records, then rereleased with a slightly different track listing in the US the following year by RCA – is full of songs that are equally as good as “Where I Find My Heaven”.
Summer is in full swing with plenty of new music heating things up for the next playlist. A single from the much-anticipated Passion Pit album starts things off with the venerable Hot Chip next in line. Newcomers Deep Sea Arcade, Teen Daze and Stepdad are definitely worth a listen, while more music from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Pomegrantes are always welcome additions.
The Steeldrivers - “Can You Run” - Reckless (Rounder, 2010)
As far as I’m concerned, Nashville’s Steeldrivers are the finest neo-bluegrass group on the planet right now. Blending the literary songwriting of Mike Henderson (who sadly left the band at the end of last year) with the masterful musicianship of bluegrass/country veterans, fiddler Tammy Rogers, bassist Mike Fleming, and banjoist Richard Baileyand, as well as the soulful vocals of Chris Stapleton (now replaced by Gary Nichols), the Steeldrivers create virtuostic songs focused on Southern life past and present.
To most people, the Memorial Day weekend is the start of summer so why not explore some new music for your own personal soundtrack. With a mix of recent arrivals and established artists, releases abound for the listening to heat things up. Notes are provided with background info for further discovery.