Episode 41: The Rolling Stones

rolling stones
Standard

Oh God. They did it. The bastards finally did it. We’re doing the Rolling Stones.

Which is a bit of a departure for us. We’ve been vocal about our distaste for the classic rock songs of the 60’s and 70’s, to the point where we avoided long-time Rolling Stones adversaries The Beatles by hitting their solo albums instead. But this was a direct request from ever-popular recurring guest Caroline Rayner, and when the prospect of bringing on both her and her partner/long-time friend of the island/driest of dry-wits Caroline Stewart, it sounded too fun to resist.

So don’t worry Stones fans—this episode won’t just be Max ranting about how much she hates British blues (although there’s plenty of that). Caroline and Caroline are the best kind of fans—conflicted, self-aware, and still incredibly enthusiastic for a bunch of old white dudes even in the face of all opposition and reason. And with their expert tutelage, we’re taking on what’s often considered the prime swath of the Rolling Stones discography: Aftermath through to Exile on Main Street.

It’s the era when a bunch of mop-topped blues-devotees finally started writing their own goddamned songs, embarking on a journey that would take them through sitar jams, sweet folk, and a psychedelic phase before doubling down on their blues roots for a stretch of critically acclaimed albums that are still held up as the best of their genre by 90% of rock critics.

For Max and Andrew, such a trip is akin to Dante’s descent through hell. But hopefully, with the help of the Carolines, this episode will be an equally monumental work of literature. If nothing else, we got some real good chants out of it.

Also: Andrew professes his love of watersports, Max debuts her new perfume, and the Carolines eat some real bad chili.

Links

Caroline Rayner’s Chapbook: http://www.witchcraftmag.com/shop/calorie-world-by-caroline-rayner
Caroline Belle Stewart’s Chapbook: http://www.factoryhollowpress.com/books/husbandly-things-caroline-belle-stewart

Continue reading

B-Side: World of Echo

Standard

Disclaimer: Hello! Apparently, the anecdote related about Kevin Killian in this episode is a misremembered falsehood. For a more factual account of his relationship to Arthur Russell, read “Hold On To Your Dreams” by Tim Lawrence. Also, Max’s views on poets and poetry are hers and hers alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Andrew, our guests, or Desert Island Discourse as a whole. Best not to pay much attention them, she’s a bit of a crank.

“The name of the next B-Side is: ‘We’re Sorry, But This is How We Learn'”

Has the winter fog settled in where you are? We wouldn’t know, since our island is in a permanent state of miserable sunshine. But we’ve found a pretty close approximation in World of Echo, by famed composer/cellist/disco-ist Arthur Russell. As the one official album released in his tragically short lifetime, World of Echo holds a unique place in his mostly posthumous discography. Where the vast majority of the albums that have built up his legacy were thematically curated by the heroic archivists at Audika, World of Echo was a purposeful release, designed, composed, and recorded to be an album. As such, it is, in many ways, his most definitive artistic statement.

But it’s also a weird outlier in a career filled with outliers. Where many of his other tracks feel like experiments in whatever his obsessions of the moment were, World of Echo feels startlingly personal, mostly free of his usual conceptual underpinnings. The whole album is just Arthur, his cello, and a few pedals, recorded live and transformed into a thing of vague, heart-breaking beauty. Songs from such far flung projects as his disco single “Let’s Go Swimming” and rejected Medea score “Tower of Meaning” find a home here in radically different forms. There’s really nothing else like it.

Which makes it kind of hard for us to talk about, but damn if we aren’t gonna try. And amidst our many tangents and difficult grasping for words, there is a very real, brief account of how two analytically minded music-lovers try to unpack such a mysterious object. Also: Max unjustly slanders a beloved poet, Jeff Buckley spits in a bucket, and we reveal why Andrew can never leave the podcast.

Continue reading