Review in Progress: AWOL by Kevin Max

This isn’t really a review.  It’s a shout.  I’m only like three tracks in, but I already love Kevin Max’s newest, AWOL, released on June 8.

That’s all.

Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, 2008’s Crashing Gates is stellar.

Enjoy this picture of Kevin Max and Liam Gallagher, probably circa the summer before my senior year of high school.  I know I do.


Tougher Than the Rest

If you ever find yourself starting to doubt rock ‘n’ roll, take a look at this. It doesn’t even matter that “Tougher Than the Rest” is musically the same as “Brilliant Disguise” and that they’re both on Tunnel of Love. What matters is the cutaways to these couples, the band, Bruce’s boots…what matters is freaking Patti Scialfa.


(Miss You) When You’re Gone


There’s an image in today’s British press of Dolores’ mother following her casket into St. Joseph’s church.  It’s very striking.

This from The Guardian:

Born in Ballybricken, Co Limerick, O’Riordan was the youngest of nine children (two of whom died in infancy) of Terence O’Riordan, a former farm labourer who was left unable to work after an accident, and his wife, Eileen, a school caterer, and went to Laurel Hill, a Roman Catholic school in Limerick. She was a tomboy, burying her dolls in the garden and spending most of her time with her heavy-metal-loving brothers. Yet she also played the organ in church and, well into her teens, wore flowery dresses bought for her by her mother. The influence of her church music and the heavy rock she heard at home instilled a desire to join a band – specifically, “a band with no barriers, where I could write my own songs”. That’s what she got.

At 18 she landed a job with a Limerick group called the Cranberry Saw Us by playing an early version of a song she had written, Linger (it was inspired by her first kiss, aged 17: “I’d always thought that putting tongues in mouths was disgusting, but when he gave me my first proper kiss, I did indeed ‘have to let it linger’,” she said last year).

Equally in thrall to rock and Gaelic folk music, her voice was startling and steely, and gelled uncommonly well with the band’s melodicism. Her Doc Martens-shod, spiky-haired look provided a visual anchor, overshadowing the rest of the group entirely. Despite being out of step with the prevailing Britpop and grunge scenes, they were taken on by the Smiths’ former manager, Geoff Travis, and courted by 32 record companies. The pivotal moment came when the successful label Island booked them as the support act on the fast-rising band Suede’s 1993 American tour. Suede’s seedy ambiguity cut no ice in the US, but the Cranberries returned home as stars.

Return home, a star.

Chris Cornell Covering “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

Chris Cornell is gone. Prince is gone. Sinead O’Conner is fighting for her mental health.

The verses are about lovers, but the song means more than that.

This is my favorite version.

That voice.

A Psalm of Prince, Sinead, and Chris. Selah.

rad infinitum

Nothing compares 2 this.

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“Thirteen” By Big Star Needs the “Wagon Wheel” Treatment


I still love “Wagon Wheel.”  I hear it live almost every single time I’m on the food truck and there’s an acoustic guitar somewhere in the same county.  Honestly.  It’s become something of a national anthem.

But seriously, have you ever heard “Thirteen” by Big Star?  It’s the best.  Garbage did a great cover, Wilco a decent one, and Evan Dando the best after Big Star’s original.

Even if you think you don’t know Big Star, you know Big Star’s lead singer.  Alex Chilton was only 16 when he cut another one of rock’s greatest records, “The Letter,” as lead singer of The Box Tops.

Five years later, “Thirteen.”  I discovered it via Spotify a few months ago, and it’s been in my head all day.

Karma Police


I love that song. I love the video.  I love everything about it.  The car. The spooky headlights. The words, the way Thom Yorke sings it, everything.

A few years ago I heard or read Bono talking about the Christian idea of grace, which he says is the opposite of karma.  Karma is about the balance sheets and grace is supposed to be about ripping them up.  If you’re like me and struggle with anxiety, even the freedom of grace can feel like karmic obligation.  I know that’s strange.  I don’t always feel that way.  But managing and overcoming my obsessive compulsion means looking at my own feelings and actions more closely than is often comfortable.  I believe in grace, but sometimes I let my brain chain me to things my heart knows are silly.  I don’t believe in karma, but sometimes I let my brain say “well, just in case…”

Also, “Creep.”