29 April 2012
Were we ever this young?
Were we ever this young?
Holy fuck you guys, there’s a video for “Punk Rock Girl” by the Dead Milkmen!
Back when I was in high school, we didn’t have yoooooooutube for listening to the punk rock music, no siree. We didn’t really have records anymore either, though. We did have dial-up internet, and we’d somehow find ftp servers and upload a few songs to get a good ratio and then download some random music, like this very song, and have our minds blown. After a scant four hours of effort.
The moral of the story is, goddamn, Joe Genaro was a cutie. Not that high school me would have cared. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, I guess. Wait, wrong song. The opening riffs of this do still give me a rush, though. That’s how you know it’s fucking punk rock.
Something that I love in real life, and also in literature and music and art in general, is the idea of the benediction, the idea that a blessing doesn’t have to come from on high, but can come from someone else, someone we don’t even know, or not even from a person. Sometimes a thing, an event, a small coincidence, just a slice of a moment can be a benediction. A blessing, a well-wishing, a tiny flick of a flashlight beam of benevolence briefly playing over us.
Maybe that’s what this song is about. The Midnight Special is a train. The headlight is her “everlovin’ light.” There are stories about the Midnight Special being a train whose headlight would shine into Sugarland prison in Houston, but I don’t know about that. I just love this simple request, this sparely-stated desire for a small blessing, this allowance: “Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me.”
Do you know what time it is? That’s right: time for another theme week here at the ol’ Mitchco A Go Go. This week’s theme: Bad Covers.
Cover number one is a terrible cover of a fantastic song. Here’s Engelbert Humperdink covering a personal favorite, Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire:”
He turns a quietly aching meditation on sexual tension into a honky-tonk trainwreck. And what the fuck is that hat. This cover makes me want to wash my ears out with a bucket of Bruce Springsteen’s urine.
Bruce Springsteen: you’re doing it wrong.
While my taste is ever-expanding in a breadth of directions that can make it seem erratic or even random, there are a few things that I predictably love. A very incomplete list:
Today I remembered a music video that actually encompasses (or refers to) all of these elements. What is such a paragon of mitchcodom, you might ask? It is “Summertime Cowboy” by Husky Rescue, a quasi-forgotten gem from the murkily remembered year of 2005.
Husky Rescue is an ambient pop band from Finland (the bastard stepchild of Scandinavia and Russia). I love how this song has a dreamy ambient quality, especially in the synthy piano riff, but also wailing guitar and a tight rhythm section (who doesn’t love meaty drums with snazzy high hat?). I’d also be lying to you if I said that I didn’t love the visuals– 2D Cowboy E.T. dancing in a boat/mysterious darkling plain (later to be killed in a disco by Cloud Cat’s laser beams) warms my heart with every viewing. God bless the Finnish conception of the American West– if you’ve never seen Leningrad Cowboys Go America, this is your personal invitation.
I like to think that this song stands as a reminder that in between the indie rock renaissance of 2001-2002 and the nudisco dance explosion of 2007, there was still good music being made, preparing to bridge the gap. I wonder what’s coming out right now that I’m not hearing but would love.