|"Right! We're screwed. Let's get a drink. Mine's a whiskey."|
The problem is that I bought another record that same day and I put them both on the same playlist that I use for my (walking) commute. Also, I put the other record first on that playlist. The two records are v different in style but I love that first record so much that I have not been able to give White Denim their due.
The other record is Max Eider's latest, actually released in Winter of 2010, called Disaffection. Max Eider used to be Pat Fish's guitarist for The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy. (David J of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets played bass.) Max and Pat had an infamous drunken fight in Zurich (how Rock and Roll!) and Max quit the group. Max did a fab solo record in the 80s, the splendidly titled, The Best Kisser in the World, and then promptly vanished for a while.
Max and Pat eventually kissed and made up and even occasionally play shows together. I saw them w/ a friend at the Great American Music Hall in The City in the late 90s. Great show. They even did a new Jazz Butcher record together, called Rotten Soul, that was good but not as good as those old 80s records.
Anyhoo, Disaffection is a real tour de force for Mr Eider. It is a gold mine for caustic couplets and lovely guitar playing. Eider is a lounge-y jazz player by trade and spectacular at it. (Pat Fish and the JBC always had fantastic lead guitar playing, even if of varying styles.) The songs he writes are of the same lounge-y style, but lyrically Eider goes against the grain, writing mean, misanthropic songs that constantly surprise the listener. (Steely Dan plowed this same field excellently themselves.)
One of my fave Eider lyrics is from his Jazz Butcher days in his song, Who Loves You Now. The music is like you might hear at a fern bar or Nordstrom's and then Eider unleashes this lyric at you: "Who'll be with you/As you hemorrhage, stagger, and die." I mean, who the fuck uses the word hemorrhage in a great pop song?
Another juicy couplet is from The Best Kisser in the World, "Jesus, friend of the poor/What do you take me for?"
Disaffection is chock full of nasty, wonderful lyrics. The major drama of the record is Man v Nature (like Other Lives' latest, Tamer Animals.) And Eider is most definitely like Hamlet, "Man delights not me. No, nor women, neither, ... "
Here are some more "dusky jewels" (eff you, Jimbo) from Maximilian Eider:
"So thanks, you sneering bigot/Patsy won't be seen again" From Nice Guy, a song about a white bigot who spoiled Max's great day at a beautiful nature scene.
"Well I hope she dies/In a place like this/Terrified/And soaked in piss" From East End Boy, sounds like a song about his Dad. And himself.
"So this is evolution/We make tools and tools make us strong/We're self-conscious and we talk/And on two legs we walk/What could possibly go wrong?" From Evolution, a song about how small this human race really is.
"She's gorgeous/But she's not pretty/Dripping with red/From tooth and from claw" From Tooth and Claw. This is absolute beautiful poetry about Mother Nature. The drop dead gorgeous ruler of us all that is so unforgiving and ugly, no matter what you do. But especially nasty if you fuck w/ her. She has no pretty ways then, for sure.
"We know from George Harrison/That all things must pass/And one day some sainted publican/May refill your empty glass/You might even take a break/From sitting on your arse/Drowning in self-pity/Smoking too much grass" From The Black Dog, a song about dealing w/ depression.
"And thank God, we caucasians/Can look on with some pride/We could teach those boys a thing or two/About force and genocide" From Those Who Work Together, a song about the Rwandan genocide, but also about the notion of "The banality of evil." The notion that it is, My neighbor who commits these atrocities, not myself.
"There's a hole in the middle/Of everything/They say you can't fill it with liquor/But let's try" From Dancing with Andromeda. Eider is a first class drunk in all the best senses of that awful phrase. His biggest "hit" w/ the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy was a song called Drink. Plus, this is near the end of the album (and this has all been told to you as you would experience it yourself on the record.)
I cannot get enough of Disaffection. It rules my life these daies. It is the work of an old forgotten master, an album that challenges the listener, yet puts them in a place so comfortable as to open said listener's mind, and let them soak up the Ugly Fucking Truths. A spoonful of sugar, if you will.
Thank you, fucking, Max Eider. And thank you, Pat Fish, too.
"If it weren't for heavy drinking/We'd never play Sweet Jane"
Do not worry, White Denim. You will get your turn.
I know I have already posted it. I am going to post it fucking again!
(I think I might post the JBC Death Dentist video, too; on another post, shortly. That is a re-post, too, but it gives you a great idea of what Eider was like in the JBC, in a rawk setting.)
I love you all. Kisses, ...
Ardent Fucking Henry