Beck and Bat For Lashes

Yesterday we featured the duo voices of Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello. Today we move to another generation with the exquisite combination of Bat For Lashes and Beck. Bat For Lashes is the name used by Natasha Kahn, an English musician and songwriter with a dreamy voice. Her two albums, Fur and Gold and Two Suns, are two of my favorites. Beck has always proven to be unpredictable, distinctive and unique through his twelve albums, an artist that always moves us in new directions. From the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, “Let’s Get Lost” is the Song of the Day.

“Let’s Get Lost” by Beck and Bat For Lashes

Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello

In anticipation of Season 3 of the HBO’s True Blood, we have an advance of the soundtrack. A number of the songs will be featured here in the days ahead, and we’ll begin with a collaboration between two formidable singer/songwriters, Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello, whose voices blend so well together. They have guested on each other’s albums in the past, and today we feature “Kiss Like Your Kiss” from True Blood as the Song of the Day, plus “Jailhouse Tears” from Lucinda’s Little Honey and “There’s a Story in Your Voice” from Elvis’ The Delivery Man.

Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello

“Kiss Like Your Kiss”
“Jailhouse Tears”
“There’s a Story in Your Voice”

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Of the hundreds upon hundreds of rock shows that I have attended over the years, only a couple of dozen can be described as truly transcendent. And of those, when the band was new, the songs mostly unknown and when I had no pre-conceived notions of the artistry, only a rare few have mesmerized me from the ring of first note to the last sustain of the encore. A performance where after the cheering had died and the lights had come up, I stood enraptured, basking in the afterglow of a great artistic experience, floating in a sea of wondrous thought knowing that I had witnessed something transformative.
One such performance for me was by the Arcade Fire. This band from Montreal will soon release their third album, Suburbs. From that album, the song of the same name is the Song of the Day.

“Suburbs” by Arcade Fire

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela

The Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela (Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero), lead and rhythm guitars respectively, bonded as teenagers in Mexico City over heavy metal. They moved to Europe and developed their own unique instrumental guitar style. Few instrumental duos have received such international acclaim. Rodrigo y Gabriela recently performed at the White House and have just released a new song. “Hanuman” is the Song of the Day and for fun I’ve added their version of “Stairway to Heaven”.

“Hanuman”

“Stairway to Heaven”

U2

A friend recently sent me an old copy of the Boston Phoenix, a weekly in this town, from December 16, 1980. It’s the issue with the cover story “The Dream is Over”, which gives in-depth reporting and commentary on the assassination of John Lennon that took place on the 8th of that month. In that edition it chronicles that fateful night when I was on-the-air and had to make the announcement. (I will feature it in a future post.) While browsing through this now yellowed paper, I came upon an advertisement for a small club where a band called Barooga was playing and the band opening was an unknown U2. (My former radio station is credited with first playing and championing U2.) What struck me as ironic is that out of the tragedy of John Lennon’s death, a small band was just beginning to make itself heard that would someday give us hope. U2360° at the Rose Bowl is being released today on DVD and Blu-ray. From that DVD, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is the Song of the Day.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2

Public Enemy

Public Enemy

In keeping with yesterday’s post of supporting The Sound Strike and the Boycott of Arizona, we feature Public Enemy’s song from 1991, expressing their outrage that Arizona would not recognize the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Apropos today as Arizona continues to deny civil rights to all people. “By the Time I Get to Arizona” is the Song of the Day.

“By the Time I Get to Arizona” by Public Enemy

Boycott Arizona

Boycott Arizona. Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine has organized The Sound Strike and I urge you to join. It’s a coalition of artists and friends who refuse to play or visit Arizona until the state repeals its egregious immigration law. In effect, if someone is stopped by the police for any reason in Arizona, they must prove that they are citizens of the United States. In principle it appears reasonable, but in reality it is racial profiling at its worst.

The federal government determines immigration policy, not individual states. And it is the job of the federal government to enforce it. Selective implementation of immigration laws by local law enforcement can only lead to abuse. Racial profiling has to rear its ugly head. White people will not have to prove that they are citizens. Only people of colour will have to suffer the indignity of proving their legality. If they cannot, they must be detained by the local police for federal authorities.

Worst case scenarios are obvious as we all have read and seen examples of racist cops in books and film. But let’s take a best case scenario. An Hispanic woman, a citizen of the United States, is stopped for a minor traffic violation. She has left her license in another purse. Instead of merely receiving a ticket for driving without a license, she will be subjugated to the humiliation of being detained or arrested if according to the statute “reasonable suspicion exits that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States”. In other words, her skin colour as she is “undocumented”. A white woman would only have received a citation.

The federal government must amend our current immigration policy to make it fair and unbiased. And then they must allocate the resources to enforce it. But in the meantime we cannot have individual states requiring local police to have citizens to “show me your papers”. The Arizona state law turns federal law into one of bigotry and racism. Although it is true that Arizona bares more of the brunt of undocumented people than most states, it does not give the state the right to selectively abuse people.

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It is not for naught that this is happening in Arizona. One of the last states to approve Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it is another desperate gasp on the part of white people who cannot accept that soon they will not be in the majority. Senator John McCain voted against the creation of the holiday until he was forced to change his position. This is also the state where in the film Borat, citizens sang along to the song “Throw the Jew Down the Well.” We are a nation of colour and the laws must be fair and equitable to all. We are also a nation of immigrants and now most of our immigrants are non-white. Laws like this one are subtly but insidiously fascist and racist.

Arizona is one of my favorite states, from the Painted Desert to the Red Rocks. I have visited it frequently as I love the diversity of the terrain and its varied climate. It is a regular stop when we visit our wolf at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. Now we will no longer contribute to Arizona’s local economy. The last boycott of Arizona took place in 1990 when the state refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Even the National Football League participated in the boycott by moving the Super Bowl out of Arizona until the state honoured the holiday. Today many local United States cities, citizens, and organizations have joined in the boycott of Arizona. (It is worth noting that the Tea Party opposes the boycott and supports the Arizona law.) Please go to the website and sign the petition. The struggle for our civil rights has been too arduous to allow one state to begin to move us back into another century. To even allow for the potential of the rights of any minority to be violated is untenable. Boycott Arizona!

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