By Jon Dawson/Staff Writer
New album: Patch The Sky
Artist: Bob Mould
With his band Husker Du, Bob Mould channeled punk aggression through a melodic filter that acted as the counterbalance to R.E.M.’s initial pastoral leanings. Years later Green Day would take the same approach, albeit with geographically doubtful accents and weaker songwriting.
There’s always going to be a group of ninnies who assume the Monty Python Gumby voice and declare Mould’s solo records inferior to those of Husker Du, but they’re wrong. Since Mould isn’t in his 20s anymore, whatever is passing for the music press may not give him the ink his old band garnered, but they should. The fact that any rock music as genuine as this is given a decent airing is no small miracle.
Sonically, Path The Sky is the equivalent of an armored tank. Retaining the trio format that has graced his last few albums, Mould’s songwriting warrants the wattage. Take new song “End Of Things” for example: A pulverizing guitar/bass/drum assault with psychedelic chord voicings and a cryptic lyric delivered as if it were anthem. Mould is staring down the inevitable with a gusto that not only rages at the dying light, but seems to be taunting the candle.
Over the years Mould has proven himself capable of working with acoustic and electronic palettes to great affect, but hearing him make Foo Fighters sound like a polka band on the ripping “Daddy’s Favorite” is the most cathartic thing you’ll hear all week. Patch The Sky ranks with the best work Mould has ever done, solo or otherwise. Get this record as soon as you can.
Classic album: Funkify Your Life
Artist: The Meters
No band epitomizes New Orleans funk more than The Meters. With a career that spans several decades and record labels, leave it to Rhino to pull all the essential tracks together on this flawless two-disc set.
Usually the albums discussed in this space are individual works, but a band like The Meters is ripe for the compilation treatment. Rhino also compiled a single-disc Meters anthology, but it’s difficult to paint an overview of the voluminous funk these guys produced in just 76 minutes.
Everyone has heard the band’s big hit “Cissy Strut” on the radio and multiple movie soundtracks (most notably Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown”), a track that has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest and N.W.A. among others.
But “Cissy Strut” is just the tip of the funkberg. Many of these tracks were produced by the legendary Allen Touissant, and when you consider The Meters were led by the equally lauded Art Neville, it seems impossible that something great wouldn’t come from this union. What separates The Meters’ funk from that propagated by James Brown is the looseness of the playing and that New Orleans stutter beat. The phrase “marching to the beat of a different drummer” certainly applies to the inhabitants of New Orleans, so it makes since that the music they make would be on a different track as well.
There are loads of gems on Funkify Yourself: “Zony Mash”, “Hey Pocky A-Way,” “Fire On The Bayou,” “Soul Island” are just a sampling what came in the wake of “Cissy Strut,” so anyone unfamiliar with the band’s vast body of work is in for a real treat. If you never replaced that Meters 8-track that nearly disintegrated from overuse, Funkify Your Life will remind you of why you played it to death in the first place.