It's difficult these days to recommend anything for friends or family to listen to. The market is saturated with music: interesting, dull, annoying, retro, futuristic, folky, beatles-influenced, post-modern, ear-splitting. The internet has made music even more available, and hence, less desirable. I find it difficult to forge personal bonds with anything too popular. I don't like to share with too many people, it seems to dilute the effect. I tend to base my new purchases on a combination of factors, and we could here draw parallels between them, and Antonio Gramsci's analysis of 'legitimate' political power. First of all, Gramsci maintains, we tend to dislike change, prefering to grant legitimacy to what has gone before without a real and thorough critique of it. In my case this would mean going back to my current CD collection and choosing a new album by an existing artist, or one on the same record label. An artist or label endorsed by a current favourite artist would also suffice here. Secondly, Gramsci asserts that there are certain sources of information whose opinion we lend huge weight, again without a real or thorough critique. In short we believe what the media tell us, the fools that we are. For me, this would mean the unquestioning following of certain publications, namely The Wire and Plan B magazines, and the subsequent purchasing of anything that they might endorse.
How I have fallen prey to both of these false sources of power, how weak my mind, how soiled my soul. Anyway, through a combination of both of these sources i came across the new Loose Fur album, Born Again in the USA, and its my current recommendation to friends and family alike. Even Gramsci would have enjoyed its playful anarchy. Jim O'Rourke, of Jim o'Rourke and Gastra Del Sol fame, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame, and Glenn Kotche also of Wilco fame, play a willfully messy and lyrically silly country type rocky pop thing that brings together the best elements of their other projects. Here's a small sample:
Christ is on his way across town,
He was getting tired of hanging around.
He's back Jack, smoking crack, find him if you wanna get down.
For more: http://www.dragcity.com/bands/loosefur.html