glueleg vs Gnarls

glueleg is a Canadian band you might not expect me to enjoy as much as I do. I have as stand-alones: Heroic Doses, Clodhopper. A now defunct Toronto band they had a hard-edged progressive, art-rock sound – think punk Blood Sweat & Tears! That’s right or even Chicago thanks to a section of sax, trumpet along with their distinctive grunge sound. Reminiscent of Kind Crimson – they even do a cover version of Red.

 

I saw a video on MuchMusic – remember when that as a video channel? The horn sound held my attention – the rhythm  was a bit clunky in a funky boozy jazz way. The lyrics were a bit surreal but romantic in the hetero angsty way. A rare Canadian art-rock band that worked well without feeling contrived or bored with it all. 

 

Next is Gnarls Barkley. I have St. Elsewhere, the odd couple as stand-alones. Yes there is a sprinkle of ‘modern’ pop in the my collection 🙂 These guys produced great summer hits that are an updated Marvin Gaye – r’n’b, urban trip-hop that is not overly challenging. I’d say it is perfect radio music but who listens to the radio anymore? I guess it’s perfect Spotify music (I don’t have Spotify).

 

Not as overtly sexual as say LMFAO but with the same pop smarts. Beautifully engineered the band is a delight to hear on headphones. Danceable, romanic, humorous, hetero music that is safe for the whole family. It’s good to know that there is urban music that isn’t all anger & angst. Crazy, eh?

Thought 

The phone hadn’t rang all night. Dave kept hearing it though, over the sound of the dishwasher, while he vacuumed but it didn’t ring. Not once.

If his sister thought he was going to be a hotel at a moment’s notice she had another thing coming. This place was barely large enough for him, let alone her and Sally.

The phone didn’t ring. He picked it up several times times to call her but stopped. Calling would  only alert her mistake, as she called Matt, the guy she had married.

He could still see that wedding photo taken at the reception. She and Matt by a painting. He figured they weren’t aware of that painting. But he couldn’t miss the fact that it was a sailing ship going down in a storm with the face of Christ in the clouds offering salvation. An omen.

Only he was no salvation for anyone. No, she’d have to make other arraignments. Besides that letter was postmarked almost a week ago. If they were going to arrive they would have been there by now. 

The phone hadn’t rung. A good omen.

He wasn’t going to lose sleep over this. Couldn’t. Too much to do at the denim mine tomorrow. New shipments to sort. Make more sales. His real life. The life that give him purpose, accomplishment.

The vacuuming done he put the Hoover in its corner of the front closet. Closets in apartments were just too small. No storage space for much of anything. If he bought anything new he had to get rid of something else to make space for it. Kept life simple and compact.

Yes that was good. No room for anything more. 

No room for dolls, sister’s suitcases. She would bring the dog too. Was he allowed a dog in this building? Yes he’d seen some on the elevator. Stoop and scoop. Oh no, not him. Something to teach Sally to do.

It was nearing midnight. Everything was in order once again. Ready for the wave of his morning departure to scatter things here and there so that when he returned from work he had something to do, something to look forward to. Yes it felt good to make things neat and tidy. Kept them in their place.

The phone didn’t ring all night.

Dave drifted off to sleep quickly. Another dreamless night

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every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
 capfireslam.org 

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Horny

In the late 60’s & early 70’s there was a rush of brassy, horned up, pop bands: Blood, Sweat & Tears; Chicago – being the prime examples. Muscular sound, jazzy, male dominated, rocking big bands. There were many others who added horns to their line-ups as a result; John Mayall, Paul Butterfield. But real rock was a man’s industry.27desk01Women were vocalists only. All girl bands were novelty items, not considered real rockers. Folk was different Baez, Mitchell blazed a trail for many. Even today women rockers don’t get that respect – most often its a nod of shock that they can rock out at all. It was fine for a band to have a female vocalist: Jefferson Airplane.

A few bands broke that mould. Heart was a commercial success, but had men on board; ditto the amazing Patti Smith. Others floundered on the shores of male dominance. One was Goldy & The Gingerbreads – which leads to Isis. (side note: I didn’t use their name as a title for this blog post for obvious reasons. I resist the temptation to type as Is is though. Don’t want that terrorist attention. So not even #ing it or tagging it Isis.)27desk02Isis was an all-female version of Chicago. The first lp featured the band naked on the cover, in gold body paint. The music is solid, as good as, but not as bombastic as, any of the male fronted groups & they got decent reviews, of the sort: good for women but not as good as etc. There is some wicked guitar work on the first lp, a great Black Sabbath quote. All 3 cds have great moments.27desk03But the band was a semi-critical success but not a commercial success. Novelty wasn’t enough, nor was their unwillingness to back down & kowtow the the male dominated industry. Carol MacDonald, singer, songwriter & guitarist of the band, refused to deny her lesbianism, refused to delete songs about her love for women. By their 3rd lp they were considered too non-commercial successful to record & had lost critical regard as well – damn feminists. I guess there were no Women’s Musical Festivals at that time.

I downloaded all three lps this year & have listened to them several times. The first from 1974 is the most adventurous – they become more commercial with each succeeding one. The musicianship is excellent but they lacked the genius of say, a Laura Nyro, to give them an identity. 27desk04This is part of the sad music history of lgtbq – good, talented people denied respect & success because they wouldn’t back down from who they were. Some were destroyed, others opted out: Janis Ian. If you haven’t heard Isis it’s time you did. You won’t be disappointed.

sample

Confessions of a Dick Pig part 1

Sometime when I have trouble sleeping I hike over Mike’s 24 hour Gym. It’s usually not too full at 2 a.m. and I can take my time with my work out. Tonight was one of those night and as expected there were only a few only die-hards sweating away. One of them was Clive, a name I only knew by over-hearing it one day. I filed it away because Clive was, to my way of thinking, a stunning black man. At less than 5’6” he also had a body that responded perfectly to iron. He also had one of those not-so-pretty faces I loved.

I was at the tail end of my work-out,  bench pressing my maximum and enjoying the feeling of my muscles screaming for me to stop, enjoying the feeling of my sweat on my hairy chest and my balls. That feeling of health. I grimaced and shut my eyes for a last forced rep. When I opened them I was staring up directly into Clive’s basket.

“Here let me help you with that.” He smiled down at me knowing that my eyes were glued to the grey-white flash of his jockstrap up the legs of his baggy shorts. He took the bar and settled on the hooks of the bench. “You shouldn’t do that without a partner.”

“Right, “ I mumbled grabbing my towel and covering my face to keep my eyes from crawling back up to his jock. I sat up as he walked around to face me, confronting me with with his hard abs between his cut off T-shirt and shorts. They were glistening with sweat.

“Care for a coffee?” He asked. “I could give you a couple tips. You’re doing good work here but …”

“Uh … sure. I’d love to.” I cut him off.

“I got a place near here.”

“I gotta shower first.”

“There’s a shower at my place.” Our eyes met as I stood up. Toe-to-toe. “Come on. It’s just around the corner.”

On the way we made small talk. Weather. Work that sort of stuff. As we entered his apartment neither of us knew what to expect other than we were both looking for sex. The room was dim. It needed a window open to stir the air, to move the dust, to move us to each other. He followed, brushing past me as we entered as if to prevent me from finding something he’d left out by mistake.

“Pets?” I asked.

“None. Plants are demanding enough.” He opened a window which let in air but no light.

“Perfect conditions for night.”

“Yes it would seem so.” An awkward silence.

The apartment was a large bachelor with a book case making a wall between the bed and the rest of the room. A casual mix of antiques and moderns, a scattering of magazines. Without turning on the light he went to the CD player.

“I hope you’ll like this. It’s one of my favourites.”

A soft throb filled the room. A electronic babble of rippling water mixed with real voices, occasional guitars. We stood and listened a moment. I moved to the window to look at the view. He stood behind me, close. I could feel the heat of his workout, of our workouts, meeting in the thin space between us. I could feel his body barely touching then touching mine. Did I lean back? Or did he press forward. We were like magnets, drawn to each other without any means of resistance. Not even cold water could have kept us apart. We stood like that, pressing and feeling with our bodies only. The measured beats of our hearts, the slow rhythm of our breathing gradually matching, in sync. Were his eyes closed also.

“Not much of a view.” he murmured, his tongue licking along the outer part of my ear. His warm breath moving the hairs along the back of my neck.

“I don’t want to move.”

“Neither do I.”

But his hands did want to move. They slipped under my arms and onto my chest. Pulling me tighter against him. One of them moved up and under my oversized sweatshirt. Roughly stroking my hairy stomach, the other remained firmly planted between my pecs, almost daring me to relax, to let my legs go limp and completely lean on to him. My own arms hung, barely brushing against his quads.

He was breathing into my ear, rubbing his head against the back of mine as if trying to merge our thoughts. I pressed back. I groaned in expectation, anticipation. I pushed his roaming hand down into my sweatpants, onto to my damp cock. Damp with gym sweat now mixed with pre-come. I could feel his own stiffen as it pressed against my ass. I moved my gluts to slightly rub it, to encourage him.

“Not so quick,” I said as he peeled away from me. I let my hand move to cup his balls behind me. I discovered that at some point he had gotten out of his shorts. A quick glance and I saw that they were in a jumble around his calves. I was suddenly touching the hot flesh of his cock. It was his turn to groan, to growl.

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Laura Nyro Genius

Let me state that I think Laura Nyro is a genius. Her story is amazing, tragic, uplifting & she deserves to be more than a top 40 footnote. Her songs are amazing, tragic, uplifting and often challenging. Things that a pop diva was not supposed to be and then she got buried. Oh, yes, she was lesbian, too – which may account for her premature burial.

greybooties

save the children’s booties

In my collection I have: Eli & The 13th Confession; Gonna Take A Miracle; New York Tendaberry; Smile; Nested. And a tribute album: Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. Plus many of the hit covers by Fifth Dimension, Blood, Sweat & Tears (& others) of her songs: ‘Stone Soul Picnic,’ ‘Save The Children,’ ‘When I Die.’

Laura wrote soulful but pure pop music – her recordings are dynamic. Her vocals are astonishing, compelling & delightful. Like Janis Ian she started in her teens, made it big fast, then pulled back. Drugs, sex & rock’n’roll producers got in the way. Her early work is full of sweet horn work, almost gospel momentum, deep heart lyrics ‘Lonely Women’ & arraignments to weep for. She knew what she wanted & the men in industry didn’t like that, I guess. Those songs of her that were hits were almost note for note replications of her charts.

knitted

miracle of the scrunchie

Her best charting single was from “Miracle’ the lp she recorded with Labelle – it was Up On The Roof’ a Carol King song from this great set of covers. Her work was always challenging too – Tendaberry is raw, almost frighteningly direct at times. Her live album Lights is excellent.

She dropped out of sight for a few year & resurfaced mellower with Smile & Nested: two of most romantic, emotionally seductive albums I can think of. Her later Mother’s Spiritual & the posthumous Angel in The Dark show her matured musically, some covers of her favourites, originals with various approaches, her alone on piano, some horn & strings – very Steely Dan at times. Tori Amos owns her a deep debt. All of them are highly recommend.

blackbra

wet & black

The tribute album doesn’t really reimagine her as much as I would have expected. Sweetly jazz for the most part but too respectful & tasteful. But those songs are timeless. Her death in 1998 was too early.

sample

Sweet Smell of Success

‘Jill, did you do this?’

‘Why Mr. Nunn? Is there something wrong with it?’

Jill was never comfortable when confronted by her supervisor. Especially when the supervisor was holding the file she had worked on the day before. Jill became defensive, insecure.

‘It is good work. It looks like you are ready for something more complex.’

More complex! Jill felt her heart beat faster.

‘Well, yes after a year in this department you must be familiar with things around here. This basic stuff is for the newer staff to cut their teeth on.’

‘But … ’ Jill didn’t think her teeth were sharp enough yet to tackle anything more than she had been accustomed to these past several months. The work demanded just enough most of the time and for the first time since getting this job she began to feel she could handle it.

‘You don’t seem to have much confidence in your abilities.’ The supervisor put the folder down.

After years of being told she was stupid, lazy, fat, unattractive she never trusted people who told her the opposite. She immediately began to suspect their motivations. Men who told her she was attractive just to nudge her towards her purse moments later; men who would be gone if she had no money for more booze or cigarettes; men who would only seek to satisfy themselves and then leave her; men who she would hear snicker to their buddies when she entered Moe’s Tavern; men who would tell her they really weren’&t keen to be seen with a fat stupid bitch like her.

Now her boss, who smelt so clean and fresh, was telling her she did good work only to follow that up with what he was really after. To make her work harder, to demand more of her than she was ready to give, to demand more without giving her anything in return.

‘Thanks Mr. Nunn but I’m pretty happy doing this stuff.’ she smiled up at him.

‘Why? Your last job review said you were capable of much more. Don’t you want to get ahead in this company.’

Ha, she laughed to herself, get ahead by giving head. I know what you’re really after and I won’t put up with it or put out to get it.

‘I realize that Mr. Nunn but I’d like to stick with what I know till I think I’m ready. Can’t I make that decision for myself?’

Last year’s queer music blogs:

June 2 Billy Strayhorn http://wp.me/p1RtxU-L0

June 9 ‘Hangin’ On The Telephone’ http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Ll

June 16 Tea Room Tramps http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Mg

June 23 Ned Rorem http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Mx

 

 

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