what songs would you recommend listening to first from Them Crooked Vultures and The Sporting Life?
oh man have I got some recs for you!!!
My annoying recommendation is that both albums are phenomenal top to bottom and each deserve a listen through. But! Here are my highlights --
Them Crooked Vultures
First of all, ^^^ um, hottest dad band ever.
I like every track on this record, no joke. And I'm not going to recommend New Fang since you've probably heard it (it was on an Apple commercial and won a Grammy).
No One Loves Me and Neither Do I - Um...they really just opened this album with one of the dirtiest, sexiest tracks I've ever heard. A "riff bomb" top to bottom. It absolutely fucks. Jonesy plays lap steel on this one (and in concert, played it standing up, the absolute fiend) x.
Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up - This was their 'jam' track for concerts ala Dazed and Confused (x). And it's just 7 minutes of juicy goodness (along with John Paul Jones singing falsetto backup with Alain Johannes, bless his heart). It's vaguely soundscape-y, thick bass, I adore.
Spinning in the Daffodils - Some say this is some of Josh Homme's best work as a songwriter. It's not one of my personal favorites, but it's a favorite amongst TCV fans. He did an amazing acoustic at Lolla in 2020 (x). It also features Jonesy on keyboard and he would often do improvisations at the concerts during this part (he cheekily quotes Carouselambra in this version x).
Elephants - This song is really a testament to the onomatopoeic element to their music (I would also put Reptiles and Gunman in this category) where the music really just SOUNDS like the titles allude. It also to me gives an amazing feeling of the band's synergy with the timing elements and changes.
Honorable mentions include Scumbag Blues (enter Jonesy on the weirdly erotic clavinet; live would be a bass solo) Dead End Friends, and Caligulove (they originally wanted to call the band "Caligula" but there was already a band of that name) . This is 110% my comfort album, period.
The Sporting Life
A comment on a music video from this album pretty much sums up my feelings: "I like it because it is insane."
A much more acquired taste, but considered Diamanda Galas' most approachable work, The Sporting Life is absolutely full of fantastic tracks. "And album of really intense love songs," Galas says. I think it has fantastic storytelling from top to bottom and features not Jonesy, but Galas on the Hammond organ and piano. Jonesy's bass is absolutely STUNNING to hear against the raw vocals.
Be warned, this is a hard album to listen to on a first go. It's out there. But Jones and Galas together are too powerful for this world.
I supply this album with a content warning for graphic discussion of violence and sexual acts. General depravity.
Do You Take This Man - One of the most popular tracks off the album. I think it's a great, palatable introduction to her spoken word elements and DAMN does that bass do things to me. "Husband with this knife/I do you adore/I take you out of this world/With a lot of feeling" -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Galas' lyrical fixation with murdering men which I *personally* vibe with. Here's a hilarious 90s music video where Galas does her thing and Jonesy sits in a chair and plays bass because duh (x).
The Dark End of the Street - This is a cover of a soul song from the 60s and I think it really showcases Galas' softer vocal range while still exploring her general eclecticism. This track highlights just what geniuses these two are: even in its relative simplicity, it snaps, bends, bows, and breaks.
Skotoseme - The first track of the album and, to me, it's Kashmir of avant-garde proportions (the B section is...very reminiscent). It fucks from beginning to end. It's such a powerful track. "Skotoseme" means "kill me" in Greek. So. There's that. They performed it on the John Stewart Show and it's fascinating to watch Galas work. Also, Jonesy is having SO much fun, you can just tell (x).
Tony - Another softer track that highlights Jonesy's work as a producer - elegant, understated, cheeky. From this track, it wouldn't surprise me that artists such as Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga would have been inspired by her Galas' technique and experimentation even within what would be considered a more approachable framework. Her voice is haunting in this one.
An honorable mention to...The Sporting Life - I hesitate to include this as one of the main recommendations due to the brutality of the lyrics. Galas plays several characters all discussing how they're going to torture a man to death. The eponymous track feels like it's ripped from a play. I think it's marvelous, but I think the content could be disturbing for some without warning.
Each song is rife and trembling musically. Something that doesn't seem like it should have worked and not only works, but absolutely was off to the races from jump. The fact these two came together and ~did that is such a testament to each of their virtuosity, curiosity, and spirit. Also, they're like such pals it hurts (here's a fantastic interview they did for Bomb).
I think I might have...overdid it.
Thanks for getting this far if you did. Thank you @tophats-n-lespauls, this was really so fun for me to do and I'm really grateful I got to share my recommendations. As much as I thirst for Jonesy, I admire his talent and musicianship to that degree as well and credit him with a lot of my love for music. I'm grateful for any opportunity to celebrate the old man 🥺🥰
Anyway, all are welcome for any John Paul Jones related queries. I'm still working through his immense catalog, but TCV and DG x JPJ I could wax poetic on all day if you let me (but I won't subject you to such ramblings).
Be well xx
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Hi. I am here once again because: Jonesy throughout 80s-90s...
Specially photos from MTV Video Music Awards 1993 haunt me at night in my dreams and lives in my mind at daytime rent free.
I need help.
@kyunisixx you are speaking my language.
speaking of the mtv video music awards in 1993...
a damn shame nobody got better photos of this jacket, but god love that performance x
80s brought such a general softness ("I'm going to write lyrics with my daughter" for Scream For Help vibes)
then, of course, his mad scientist/art professor look from the Zep MTV Rockumentary in 1990 x
from the clip where he's talking about Bonzo loving soul music (don't make me cry, John)
and then, you know I won't shut up about The Sporting Life. Frankly, there's an alternate universe where these two are currently on a murderous rampage. All that pent up softness turned into sexy, dark daddy and I am here for it
and there is so...sooooo much more where this all comes from, but we must celebrate his post-Zep softness. the man contains MULTITUDES.
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Books about and by Trans Athletes
In the US, amidst a wave of legislation from state to state to diminish, revoke, and repress trans rights, Florida’s House just passed a bill restricting transgender athletes from playing sports. Even though trans and intersex athletes have been around as long as their competitions, and they quite literally make headlines for their performance and achievements on a regular basis, they still face hostility and transphobic legislation which effects their ability to participate--if even to exist--whether in the stadium or not.
Although reading books doesn’t necessarily help directly with the issue at hand (you should contact your representatives support trans athletes directly in whichever ways you can), it can certainly bring a new perspective to an issue you or another reader may not know much about.
Perhaps most on-the-nose (and important right now) is Sporting Gender by Joanna Harper. Harper gives an investigative, even-handed, and analytic look at the history of trans and intersex athletes in sports leading up to the (what would be) 2020 olympic games, and the recent developments in conversations centering trans athletes.
We recommend this pick if you’re trying to get someone to understand the issue from an empathetic and relatively nonpartisan perspective.
(Support Independent bookstores--order on bookshop.org.)
Similarly, Cyd Ziegler’s book, Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports focuses on the developments for LGBT athletes in years between 2012 and 2016. Cyd Zeigler is a sports commentator and author, and founder of outsports.com.
(Find it here)
Looking for something more personal to the author? We can’t exactly ignore Caitlin Jenner’s presence in pop culture, whether for her olympic achievements or her role as a matriarch of the Kardashian entourage. Her memoir, Secrets of My Life: A History talks as much as it does about her former athletic career and legacy, and time as a reality TV celebrity.
(Get the book here)
Finally, The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons is a forthcoming (June 1st, 2021) YA romance about a trans soccer player, Spencer, and fitting into a new school and a new team in a part of Ohio that isn’t the safest for him to really be himself. As he goes stealth at his new school to avoid previous bad experiences coming out, he faces a struggle balancing his new life at school and his life at home as a trans teen. Equally an adorable romance, an authentic coming-of-age, and a love letter to the beautiful game, this book represents the experience of many young, queer, student athletes as they strive to be their best on and off the field.
(Pre-order through bookshop.org.)
Even if you don’t end up reading these--please keep supporting trans athletes and your trans, intersex, and queer friends during this time!
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