Sean Keel – Jesus a Rifle
Similar artists: Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, John Prine, Tom Waits
Pop songwriting’s repertoire of tricks hasn’t exactly moved forward in the past decades. It has certainly widened though. Apart from the artists looking to create as an exact replica of the past, the majority of younger bands aim to create something modern by creating something that adds more content in one way or another.
Using that logic, music has become louder, harder to play, harder to produce, or simply extremely lo-fi. While some of these efforts are genuinely good, many of them tend to forget one thing. What was it again? Ah, yes, the songs. People used to write them. Actually, oftentimes the best ones were produced by people with a genuine interest in writing, but very little passion for the sound of their voices or the tone of their guitars.
You don’t get to hear much of that these. Although you could. It just takes a bit more scratching. Sean Keel‘s Jesus a Rifle sounds like a songwriter going through a thick notepad of verse with the intention of sending the tape over to Townes van Zandt for constructive criticism. It’s really great, although nearly impenetrable writing. It requires a bit of use of the old wing nuts, but it’s well worth turning those on every once in a while.
Brandon Jack & The Artifacts – Kerouac
Genre: Garage Rock
For anyone painting past generations of artists as carefree, responsible, and highly progressive, I’d like to suggest the tale of the Beatniks. Sure, they did manage to write some of the most important works in modern literature. Howl, On The Road, One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
But, those are the exceptions. Many forests had to be put to eternal sleep so that these speed freaks could produce their often dreary and forgettable oeuvre. They were good, but they weren’t really.
They fought for equality and an end to the war. But, they didn’t really, and couldn’t much get around to stopping real conflicts anyway. They explored spirituality, yes. But, they, regularly, changed their beliefs every few months, many eventually succumbing to alcoholic stupefaction. They were great and they weren’t really.
I’d like you to remember that as you listen to Brandon Jack & The Artifacts’ sparse inside-rock number Kerouac. There’s great charm and creativity to this, especially if you decide that you’re on board for this particular kind of delivery and songwriting. Much like King Beat himself, the world’s likely a batter place knowing that he’s around and typing away.