The new Rancid album came out. These guys have been at it a while now and despite some odd diversions into ska a la The Clash in their later years, have stayed pretty true to their roots though with vocalist Tim Armstrong's Operation Ivy past, maybe he's staying true to his roots too. This new album is good, but what really impressed me is the packaging. For $11.99 I got the CD, a second CD including a surprisingly good acoustic version of many of the songs off of the album, and a DVD packaged inside a nice slipcase with a poster and some goofy collectible guitar picks. Maybe illegal downloads are a good thing after all in that at least they inspire the record companies to give those of us who do still buy records more bang for our buck.
I also picked up the remastered History of Melodie Nelson album from the man himself, Serge Gainsbourg. My Gainsbourg obsession has been growing at a pretty rapid pace over the years as I start to make the (some would say obvious) connections between his stuff and artists I hold near and dear like Pulp, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and the like. The remastering job is fantastic. The production really shines through and you really get a chance to hear how layered this recording is. The liner's translate the lyrics into English from their native French and the saucy cover art featuring a topless Jane Birkin cuddling a big teddy bear is still inspiring. And I mean that in the literal sense, not at all in the 'hey a naked lady' kinda way, though it is remarkable that Gainsbourg got with her and with Bardot within the span of a couple of years. Just goes to show that 'cool' trumps 'handsome' any day of the week.
A co-worker loaned me some of the Neil Young Archives discs, Live At Massey Hall and Live At The Filmore. Both sound great, it's amazing that old live recordings like this can have such clarity decades later. I've been a Neil Young fan since early highschool (as a kid my dad had a copy of Harvest on vinyl when I was a kid that I couldn't get into until early 90s - better late than never) and while I'll admit his voice, like Dylan's or Springsteen's, is an acquired taste, he is in my opinion one of Canada's greatest living songwriters. He's still got a potency to his work that makes him more than just another aging hippy and like Cash in his later years and Kristofferson in his current phase, his music still means something to those of us willing to pay attention to the lyrics. His last two albums haven't wowed me the way his earlier stuff does, but they've got their merits and Living With War makes some good points in the same way that Cash's Heavenly Minded did. I also find that the older and greyer I get, the more I look like him, which is kind of weird.
Tomorrow night we're going to see Hank III play in Brooklyn. I haven't been to a live show in, wow, almost seven months so it's high time I got get my rock on, or in this case, my honky tonk on. There's some good shows coming up, too many in a sense: Agnostic Front, Jarvis Cocker, Naked Raygun, Motorhead with Rev. Horton Heat, Scott Biram, among others. I'd love to go to them all and really take advantage of the music scene here - but it's a matter of time and money and right now we've got a wedding to pay for - obviously that takes priority but I am going to see if we can scrounge together $20 for Scott because he delivers one of the best live shows around right now.