Tag: neil young

MOVIE REVIEW | Dead Man (1995)

In a nutshell, Bored and Dangerous says: “This is arthouse cinema made for the mainstream.  It’s the kind of movie that lets the uninitiated dip their toe into the alternative cinema waters, and not be immediately scared away by high falootin’, intellectual, or existential ideas or filmic rule breaking.”

 Dead 1
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.”

It’s hard to comprehend now, but back in 2003, it was huge surprise and novelty when Johnny Depp appeared as Jack Sparrow in the introduction to the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.  Before then, he was the brooding, serious artist of Hollywood.  He was the former teen heartthrob who gave up Tinsel Town, moved to Europe and appeared in movies where words like “independent”, “arthouse” and “weird” we’re used in the descriptions.  Movies like Dead Man.

On a train full of gun wielding wild men dressed in rugged furs, one man stands out in his impeccable suit, hat and spectacles.  Bill Blake (Depp) is obviously a man out of place.  Things don’t get any more civilised when the train rolls into the town of Machine.  Whores turn ticks in the street, while everyone gives off a feeling of aggression mixed with suspicion.  When Blake walks into the accounting office where he has secured a job, he’s finally surrounded by men who look like his refined equals.  But any feeling of belonging is fleeting.  It turns out he’s over a month late, his job no longer exists, and Jackson (Robert Mitchum), his gun wielding, cigar chomping boss, has no interest in letting the tardiness slide. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | ***CSNY WEEK*** Neil Young – Harvest Moon (1992)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I’m starting to not hate Neil Young’s solo music.”

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When I wrote about Neil Young’s seminal 1972 album Harvest, I said, “I want to feel the same way about Neil Young’s music that so many other people do. But I think he’s gonna end up in the same place for me as Lou Reid. It’s not them, it’s me.”  And I meant it.  I want to like Neil Young, I want to get Neil Young.  And I feel like this current binge of Young’s other bands, side projects and related bands has made me much more prepared for solo Young.  And what better choice to give him another crack, than Harvest’s spiritual sequel, Harvest Moon.

Straight away, Unknown Legend makes me hopeful for this era Neil Young.  In the 20 years between records, his voice had aged in a way that takes some of the edge of his shrill delivery from the 70s.  And as always, I like him a lot more when there’s a bit more substance to his backing ensemble.  Drums, bass, slide guitar, back up vocals.  For me, Neil Young within a band always beats Neil Young in isolation. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | ***CSNY WEEK*** Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Deja Vu (1970)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Another showcase of their impeccable musicianship, and even more impressive ear for melody.”

Without ever listening to any of the music, the addition of Young to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young always seemed a little weird.  Growing up in the 90s, Crosby, Stills & Nash were folky hippies, while Neil Young was the Godfather of Grunge.  When I finally listened to a Young solo album, I realised he was a lot closer to my idea of Crosby, Stills & Nash than I ever thought…  In the worst possible way.

Then I listened to Buffalo Springfield, and realised that Neil Young and Steven Stills were actually pretty good at combining rock and folk.  Then I listened to Crosby, Stills & Nash and realised that those three were nothing short of amazing.  So, with my hopes and expectations the highest they’ve ever been when thinking about his group of musicians, I dived into Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young territory, with Déjà Vu. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | ***CSNY WEEK*** Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s the kind of album where disliking a particular song was no big deal, because I knew whatever came next would be different enough to at least be interesting.”

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I’ve always assumed that Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as their output with the addition of Young, would be some tedious, hippy shit.  I’m not sure why I think that, because I can’t name a single one of their songs off the top of my head.  I also assumed the same presence of tedious hippy shit from Buffalo Springfield, the previous band of Stills, Crosby and Young.  And this time, I did have at least one song the base that assumption on, the wet, painful For What It’s Worth.

Maybe it was a great song in the 60s, but in the decade since, it’s just been co-opted too many times by lazy movies and TV shows as a shorthand for the 60s.  But the enduring legacy of the band, and its members, is too big to ignore.  So I took a chance on Buffalo Springfield Again.

Immediately, Mr. Soul makes me feel better about taking that chance.  Because Mr. Soul is a solid rock song.  Louder guitars and more oomph than I ever would have expected from this band.  And while it’s backed by up something a little more folkie in A Child’s Claim to Fame, it’s a version of folkie that is more lively and less nauseating than that genre description usually indicates. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | ***CSNY WEEK*** Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps (1979)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I personally may not love the acoustic half, or that side of Young’s music in general, but I can appreciate it.”

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Neil Young was name I have known for most of my life.  But I didn’t pay any attention until I was a teenager and Pearl Jam embraced Young as their mentor and he became the ‘Godfather of Grunge’.  Back then, Pearl Jam finished most live shows with a cover of Young’s Keep on Rocking in the Free World.  I loved their version of the song and assumed I would love Neil Young.  Then, I did nothing about confirming that for about 15 years.  A year, or two ago I finally listened to a Neil Young album in its entirety and was pretty underwhelmed by Harvest.  But that was solo Young, and I’ve always heard he rocked harder when backed by Crazy Horse.  Time to find out, with Rust Never Sleeps.

While My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) starts in a similar vein to what I didn’t like about Harvest, the folkie guitar and nasal voice of Young at his most reflective has a whole new energy to it here.  Recorded live, then sweetened and overdubbed in the studio, that live spark is still evident. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974)


In 2015, I reckon Lynyrd Skynyrd are famous for three main reasons.  In decreasing level of notoriety, we have the song Sweet Home Alabama, then the song Freebird, then the fact that a good portion of the band was killed I pane crash decades ago.  Well, at least they’re the reasons why I have known about the band over the years.  Then, I got obsessed with Drive-By Truckers, who made an entire double record concept album, loosely based on the history and legend of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  And all of a sudden I knew they were a band to be taken more seriously.  Which is why I listened to Second Coming.

At the time, the band would have had no idea that they were opening Second Helping with the biggest single they would ever record.  A song that has lived on for the decades since.  Which is great, because Sweet home Alabama is a great song, and much better than the surface level conflict that red necks used to claim it as their own.  When racism in the south lead to an Alabama church being bombed and three young black girls being killed in the explosion, Neil Young wrote Birmingham, venting his outrage at the situation.

Sweet Home Alabama was Skynyrd’s own response to that after recording in Alabama and noticing that there was more to the state than red neck racists.  And as Patterson Hood said in Drive-By Truckers awesome song Ronnie and Neil, Lynyrd Skynyrd, “met some real fine people, not them racists pieces of shit”.  A song about the good to be found in Alabama, it’s also just a catchy as shit rock song that’s way better than some of its dirt bag fans.

Then, it’s time for some dirty, sleazy blues with I Need You.  Slow and deliberate, wringing the blood and sweat out of every single note, I Need You is a less is more kind of song, where the restraint makes it feel like there’s so much happening under the surface.  Too much to let loose, or else the song might run rampant.

With its slide guitar and honky tonk piano, the southern nature of Skynyrd’s southern rock is turned up to 11 on Don’t Ask Me No Questions and it’s pretty great.  But the rock gets its time to shine on Workin’ For MCA, when the triple guitar attack gets to show off a little.  Wailing solos are never a surprise from the band who wrote Freebird, but that lack of surprise never makes them any less enjoyable.

Never has a swamp sounded as fun and full of good times than on Swamp Music.  This is Lynyrd Skynyrd at the party startin’, moonshine swillin’ best.  It might be basic 12 bar blues at its core, but Ronnie Van Zant’s vocals are having too much of a ball for anyone to ever get the blues from this one.

Lryically, The Needle and the Spoon has nothing in common with Sweet Home Alabama, but musically, it might as well be Sweet Home Alabama Redux.  But despite that similarity, it never feels like a rehash or cheap copy.  All the while being just as immediately catchy and toe tapping as its much more famous twin.

Second Helping makes it obvious why dumb red necks love Lynyrd Skynyrd so much.  It’s the kind of music perfect for clutching a beer can in one hand and your bro’s neck in the other while you yell sing at each other.  The only problem is, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Second Helping are much more than that.  They’re also amazing musicians, top rate song writers and smart dudes who actually have something to say.  No matter how low an opinion you may have of what you think Lynyrd Skynyrd fans are, get past that.  Because the music is so much better than that dick head fan you’re picturing in your head.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

MUSIC REVIEW | Booker T – Potato Hole (2009)

Booker T
I can’t name a single Booker T song off the top of my head, but I know that his organ playing is legendary. I also know that he’s a bit of a funk founding father. Well, at least I think I know these things about him. Because thinking about it, I can’t remember a single reason why I ‘know’ these things at all. But I think that’s kind of proof of his legend. His name and his area of expertise have entered my brain in a totally subconscious way. Now, I’m trying to make it conscious, buy listening to Potato Hole.

Sure, I could have gone back to one of his hallowed classic albums from decades past, but why would I do that when he has an album from six years ago, on which the mighty Drive-By Truckers played the part of his backing bad? And their contribution is immediately right out there, for everyone to hear with the crunching guitars of Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood. But as big as they are, that doesn’t stop Booker T’s organ from taking front and centre on Pound It Out.

The raucous rock of the Truckers and fellow backing band member Neil Young are all but completely abandoned on She Breaks. This is pure Hammond organ greatness in all its glory. Even when the guitars solo, Booker T’s organ on backups is the standout. An instrumental cover of the Outkast classic, Hey Ya manages to keep the fun of the original without the awesome Andre Benjamin vocals or lyrics. That’s the sign of a good musician, right there.

It’s hard to get into specifics about an album like this without saying the same thing over and over. Ultimately, it’s an instrumental album, built around a single, very specific instrument at its centre. So to say it sounds very similar from track to track isn’t totally inaccurate. But it’s also not meant as a bad thing either. That constant centre gives it a real unifying sound and consistency that I really like. It just means my reasons for liking it don’t differ all that much as I make my way through the track listing.

Can something sound extremely dated, yet timelessly cool at the same time? Yes, yes it can. And I have proof. Booker T and Potato Hole.

Booker T

MUSIC REVIEW | Neil Young – Harvest (1972)


I can’t deny that Neil Young is a legend. I also can’t deny that I’ve never really got it. Well, I do. I can see why others love him so much, I can appreciate everything he’s done. I just can’t make myself love it as much as I feel like I should. His high pitched, wavering voice on quieter songs generally just shits me. And I’m starting to think that the invention of the harmonica might be the worst thing that has ever happened to music. But if I’m gonna write about music, writing about Neil Young seems like something I’ll have to do sooner or later, whether I like it or not. So here it is, with Harvest.

If you hate the idea of 60s and 70s musicians with harmonicas and acoustic guitars, you’ll hate Out on the Weekend. If you love the idea of 60s and 70s musicians with harmonicas and acoustic guitars, what’s wrong with you? Out on the Weekend certainly is a 60s and 70s musician with a harmonica and acoustic guitars. Make of that what you will, but I’m sure that description will steer you in the right direction. (more…)