moonbeam and I Discuss the New Twilight Singers Album

The last time I heard Greg Dulli, it was on the Gutter Twins’ 2008 album Saturnalia, which was, to say the least, a pretty banal affair. So I approached Dynamite Steps, Dulli’s new album with the Twilight Singers, with some hesitation. In fact, I didn’t really want to review it at all. But then I will have wasted all this time listening to it (and a little cash purchasing it). What’s a guy to do?

“I know,” I thought. “I’ll trick my friend moonbeam into reviewing it for me.” I thought I could get away with that because Ani DiFranco makes an appearance on Dynamite Steps and you could lure hippie chicks into a burning building with the promise of Ani DiFranco music.

Turns out moonbeam is a lot smarter than I give her credit for. When I offered her this new assignment, she asked, “do you really think i’m going to listen to some album i’ve never heard of just because ani difranco is on one song?”

I couldn’t lie. I said, “Well, I was kinda hoping so.”

“you’re an idiot,” she said. “sorry, that was a little harsh. but why don’t you want to review the twilight singers album?”

I was cornered and felt like a total pussy admitting this, but I told the truth: “I’m scared. The last time I listened to something Greg Dulli recorded, it literally bored me to tears. And I just got done sleep-sobbing my way through the new Lucinda Williams album.”

moonbeam, who is much nicer than I am, took pity on me. Sort of. “okay,” she said. “put the album on and we’ll listen to it together.”

“What… like, right now?”

“yeah. you’re clearly not doing anything else right now, and i’ve got some time to kill before the rally.”

“What rally?”

“some of my friends and i are going to protest at peta.”

“You mean with PETA?”

“no, at them. we’re protesting the fact that they euthanize nearly 85% of the dogs they rescue. if you’re going to put this conversation on the blog, you should link to the 2008 newsweek article about it.”

“Will do.”

she smiled. “good. so let’s listen to this twilight singers album, huh?”

“Sure.”

“and remember not to use capital letters when typing stuff i say.”

“Done and done.”

So we put the album on, drank some coffee (moonbeam opted for tea. When I asked her if she wanted something to drink, I swear to dog she said, “tea. earl grey. hot.” She must be part nerd), and let it play a couple of times.

Afterward, moonbeam asked, in as condescending a tone as I’ve ever heard her use, “that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

I was impressed. “Are you mocking me?”

“only a little,” she said. “why? are you upset? jesus, i’m sorry.”

I laughed. “No, it’s cool. I’m proud of you. Bollocks! HQ is powered almost entirely by sarcasm and smart-assery. It’s a green energy alternative.”

She kind of looked at me blankly for a second, so I changed the subject: “That was… I mean, it was really kind of good. Maybe even beautiful in a way.”

She nodded. “yeah. i really liked it. greg dulli’s voice kind of reminds me of everything i liked about the 90s. it’s dramatic but never emo. that’s pretty cool.”

“I know. Where was this guy on the Gutter Twins record?”

“maybe you need to listen to it again.”

“Maybe I do. Later. When we first started listening to Dynamite Steps, I was in full eye-roll mode. I thought, ‘Great, here comes more of that plodding, minor-chord bullshit…”

“…but then the first chorus hits you…”

“And I’m done. It seems like all of these songs build so carefully to these epic climaxes. “She Was Stolen” kind reminds me of a Menomena song.”

She put on “Blackbird and the Fox” again. “i love this song,” she said. “the way the guitar just cuts loose for a minute at the end there. there aren’t a lot of guitar solos on dynamite steps. i like that.”

“What else do you like about “Blackbird and the Fox”?”

she smiled. “okay, the ani difranco duet is pretty awesome.”

“I knew it! Hippies love Ani DiFranco.”

you love ani difranco.”

“You’ve got me there. And I have to admit, her voice complements Dulli’s extremely well.”

She finished her tea. “didn’t you say a while ago that 2011 might be the year of the pleasant surprise? it’s really starting to look that way, isn’t it? you thought you were going to hate this album.”

“It is and I did,” I answered. “It was kind of daunting, given my limited experience of Greg Dulli’s music. When I previewed it at Barnes and Noble, their little listening station only played snippets of each song and I started to feel like the whole album was gonna kinda sound the same. Plus, the title track is nearly seven minutes long.”

“so why did you buy it?”

“I don’t know! I needed some new music and it was on sale and I figured I could always trade it in at Amoeba or something if it sucked. And I’ve always wanted to like Greg Dulli, just like I want to like Lucinda Williams.”

We’d left Dynamite Steps on repeat while we were talking and about the fourth time through, about three minutes into “Last Night in Town,” moonbeam looked at me and said, “this is really good.”

And it was. Dulli displays some impressive vocal range on Dynamite Steps and the instrumentation is almost perfect – every guitar squall and swelling string bit is in its right place, serving the song, which is what I always want every musician to do all the time. Though I was reluctant to discuss this album at first, I am now fully a fan of Dynamite Steps. But I didn’t tell moonbeam all that stuff, because she didn’t need to know. She’d helped me out in my hour of need and I was determined to return the favor.

So I just said, “You know, it is really good. Isn’t it about time for that rally?”

She looked at the clock (we have a backwards clock at Bollocks! HQ that I’ve had for years. Baffles the shit out of other people, but it’s made it so I have a hard time reading your so-called “normal” clocks) and said, “yeah, I should get going.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“you want to come to the rally with me?”

“Sure. I’m feeling good, you know? Yelling at hypocrites sounds like the perfect way to end the day.”

A look of horror crossed her face. “oh, we don’t yell at anyone.”

“You don’t?”

“absolutely not. we get some puppies from a local no-kill shelter and sit out side the peta office, petting the puppies and looking disapprovingly at the peta people when they go in or out of the office.”

“That’s it?”

she smiled. “that’s it! peaceful protest at its finest.”

I regarded her quizzically. “Have you ever seen Do the Right Thing?”

“yeah. why?”

“I… it’s just… forget it.”

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2 thoughts on “moonbeam and I Discuss the New Twilight Singers Album

  1. Pingback: moonbeam Reviews the New Raveonettes Album « Bollocks!

  2. Pingback: The Bollocks! Summer of Badass Women: Ani DiFranco « Bollocks!

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