My Trip to Boston (In Music)

22 03 2009

Posting has been a bit slow around here lately since I’ve been out of town the past two weekends. I’m not sure what it says about me that I’m generally busier when I’m on vacation than when I’m actually at school and working. Last weekend took me back to Boston to look at a potential law school for next fall. Here are a couple songs that came up for various reasons during my trip:

The Standells – Dirty Water (Download) (Buy It)″

“Dirty Water” is of course the quintessential Boston anthem. Gritty garage vocals meet a bouncy, almost Sesame Street-ish guitar riff that perfectly captures the feel of walking through Boston neighborhoods on a warm afternoon. As my plane touched down in Boston for the first time in six years, the first time since I spent four years there as an undergrad, I couldn’t help but recall this song’s refrain – “I love that dirty water / Oh, Boston, you’re my home.” Suddenly, and with an intensity that I hadn’t anticipated, I felt like I was back home.

Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road (Reposted from Parallel Lines #2) (Buy It)″

Saturday night I might some nice folks from Princeton and discovered over some drinks that the only music we could agree upon at all was Bruce Springsteen. But how can you go wrong with people that love “Thunder Road”?

Neko Case – Deep Red Bells (Download) (Buy It)″

Later that night, still trying to find people at the law school who shared my taste in music, I ended up in a conversation with a country music fan and tried to recommend some alt country. I feel like Neko Case has universal appeal, so she’s a great place to start in terms of building common ground between people with very different musical tastes. Anyway, the country music fan wasn’t interested in hearing any Neko, but it did spark another conversation when the girl sitting next to me said she had heard…I think she said The Tigers Have Spoken, or maybe it was Canadian Amp, either way, one of those Neko Case albums that I’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t yet. And then there was an interesting moment where someone asked if we were talking about Nico Muhly. So, at the very least, if there aren’t too many indie rock fans in Boston, someone’s listening to avant garde classical music.

I deliberately avoided choosing a song from Neko Case’s excellent latest album, Middle Cyclone because I plan to post on it later.

Destroyer – New Ways of Living (Notorious Lightning and Other Works version, with Carey Mercer from Frog Eyes) (Download) (Buy It)″

Monday after the law school admitted students program ended, I had a chance to make it into downtown Boston. I was hanging out by Faneuil Hall waiting for my former roommate Mike (whose apartment I was staying at) to get off of work, and decided to check out the CDs at the Newbury Comics that’s apparently moved into Quincy Market since I last visited. I wasn’t really planning on buying anything, but when I saw a used copy of Destroyer’s incredible EP, Notorious Lightning and Other Works, for only $2, I decided I had to have it. Notorious Lightning is 6 songs from the more or less boring LP Your Blues, stunningly rerecorded to feature the shaky guitar of Frog Eye’s lead man, Carey Mercer. I already have the EP as mp3’s, but this was a great find, and I love the album enough that I feel like I should legitimately own it.

The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound (Reposted from the Best of 2008) (Buy It)″

This came on the radio as Mike was driving me to the airport to leave Boston, and I insisted we keep it on. Mike kept repeating the part that goes “Young boys…”



2 responses

29 03 2009

You should host a music mix party when you get to school in the fall. Everyone could bring a bunch of copies of their own mix cd and exchange them with others. You could take turns playing the CDs on your laptop during the party.

7 04 2009
Wei Wei

Listening to the Neko Case now! It’s really great stuff. Thanks!! Somehow even after listening to more of her music, “If You Knew” is still the song that sticks with me most.

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