Tuesday, June 08, 2004

CURSE OF THE MEKONS

For some reason lately I've had a fondness for over the hill punk bands (couldn't possibly be 'cause I'm over the hill myself, no siree bob). In any case two very different bands are the locus of my interest--The Mekons and Sonic Youth (more about them later). I got turned on to the Mekons a few years ago when a friend of mine left their Rock n Roll CD at our mutual place of work (thanks Mark!). I took it home and remembered I'd seen the shambling video "title" track Memphis, Egypt on some obscuro public access TV show back in '89 when it came out. What I didn't know at the time was that Rock n Roll was their one big major label shot and that it went nowhere. It didn't help matters that most of the tunes were about corruption--political, sexual and most pointedly, in the music biz. It hit me hard and I went seeking out their insanely varied back catalog--punk, country, dub, folk were part of the mix (and even touches of electronica on their record ME). I ended up taking a trip up to Portland just to see them and they didn't disappoint. Funny, rude, and impassioned--when Jon Langford, Sally Timms, Tom Greenhalgh and Rico Bell sang together they seemed like a profane drunken choir. Recently in honor of their 25th anniversary they re-recorded some of their earliest songs on the only slightly ironically named Punk Rock. Also worth seeking out is Jon Langford's most recent solo record All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, a more folky country offering with typically astringent social commentary. Viva the Mekons!

Here's a few free MP3s for a taste...

Last Night on Earth from Journey to the End of Night

Dancing in the Head from OOOH!

Chivalry from Fear and Whisky

Many of the links above are from Nobby's labor of love Club Mekon...and the late great Lester Bangs' tribute to the Mekons is just too good to pass up...

NOTES FOR THE MEKONS STORY by Lester Bangs