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Texacaliago Tuesday - Album of the Week - Meat Puppets - Meat Puppets II

 

 

 

The month of May represents the first legit month of mostly good weather in Chicago for the first time, in, I don't know, at least half a year usually, so it should come as no surprise that my musical tastes typically evolve along with the weather.  There's still a fair amount of chilly/rainy days, but everything is super green, like NorCal in the winter, things are blooming, 60s rule the roost, so things are pleasantly chill for the most part.

I bring that up because the arrival of May also coincides with dusting off my bike and pedaling to/from work a couple of days a week, and Meat Puppets II has become one of my favorite go-to biking records over the years.  That's probably because it has a nice mix of playful punky jams along with some really serene, spacey, mellower numbers to boot.  When you're biking 6 miles through the heart of Chicago in rush hour, amongst all the chaotic vehicular, pedestrian, and fellow biker traffic that goes along with that, sometimes you need a soundtrack to take the edge off a little (particularly for the morning commute).  MPII (along with the equally sublime Up On The Sun), kind of zen me out from all that, and this album kind of transports me to a different frame of mind, a frame of mind that recalls the sprawling and beautiful emptiness of the desert southwest.  I grew up around the NM/TX border, a fairly arid environment, and I used to ride my bike a lot around cacti, mesquite bushes, etc, and the Meat Puppets just have that energy about them in their music being that they're from Arizona.  There's parts of West TX, NM, AZ, CA, NV, CO, that are very near and dear to my heart...they have a wistfully beautiful energy about them that will always be a part of me, and, MPII taps into that to a degree.

But aside from all that personal BS, MPII is just a pretty great quirky record that was a total abnormality when it was released back in 1984, and it still holds up today largely because of it's uniqueness. Some call it "cow-punk", which sounds about right to me (maybe acid-fried cow-punk would be more apt), but whatever the case, it's a very cool and unusual record that sounds light-years away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, a city that I love, but can admittedly be a grind sometimes.  Anyway, I love the Meat Puppets, and this is a classic album in their catalog. Dig it.

 

Texacaliago Tuesday - Album of the Week - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

 

 

 

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One of the sexiest, spunkiest, and downright fun albums of the "Aughts", the YYYs debut still sounds pretty fresh and invigorating to this day.  Half of the album sounds like the soundtrack to an epic F session, whilst the other half is a bit more sensual and mildly subdued (relatively speaking) in nature.  And although most of this album is pretty raw and high-energy, let's not forget that it also features perhaps the best love song of the entire decade "Maps".  This is a truly great album that brings back a ton of memories of my first year or two in San Francisco...ah to be 22 again...good times.

 

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