Thursday, May 19, 2011

For a Song: The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul

XTC: The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul


This is one of those times when a song told me what to do. The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul popped into my head as I started my day, and said, “post me”. XTC was always a band that used strong rhythms, and, especially late in their career, they loved to experiment with their sound. Most of it worked, while some of it flopped amazingly. The album Skylarking is a microcosm of this. It’s a flawed album that I always find myself drawn back to. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren, and some of it is almost ridiculous for how overwrought the emotions are. In particular, 1000 Umbrellas is a song I often find either laughable or pathetic. And yet, the good stuff on this album is great. Man Who Sailed is a fine example. The lyrics describe a man who looks back over his life, and finds much to regret. His tale is told against an almost jaunty jazzy musical setting. The tension between the sound of the song and its content give this one its power. This is, as far as I know, the closest XTC ever came to exploring jazz, and it is a sound I wish they would have done more with.

Call for help:

Teresa Storch: Happy Girl (demo)

[donate here]

As I write this, Teresa Storch has 16 days to go to complete her Kickstarter campaign for her new album The Honesty Kitchen. The first thing I noticed about Storch was her voice. Her music is not blues, but her voice is a bluesy moan, and she does this as well as anyone I have ever heard. Some of the songs in her video look like they have jazzy touches, (one has fiddle and trombone together!), and I can’t wait to hear them. Happy Girl in its present form reminds me of the quiet intensity of a young Tracy Chapman. Please help Storch finish The Honesty Kitchen if you can. Thank you for whatever you can do.