I’ve wanted “Pop Life,” my weekly online column at OffBeat.com to be a blog so that it can function as a conversation instead of a pronouncement. Since changes to our Web site are unlikely to happen before Jazz Fest, I’ve decided to set up a blog here as an interim home for “Pop Life.”
Coolest new CD to cross my desk: Don’t Stop: Recording Tap (Numero). Numero doesn’t simply champion rock and soul’s underdogs; the celebrates the never weres, and nowhere more than on this collection of songs recorded and hoarded by Teddy Thompson – Jeremiah Yisrael, after a spiritual conversion – from the early 1980s. Few songs on the collection of Thompson/Yisrael projects were ever released despite his obsessive efforts cutting them. The only song that needed to see the light of day is Jackie Stoudmire’s “Invisible Wind,” but the disc is a beautiful document of one of music’s blinder alleys. The songs are almost all genre exercises, and the remarkable thing about them is that they all sound four or so years older than they actually are, as if Yisrael never escaped 1976.
Second coolest: Jeffrey Lewis’ 12 Crass Songs (Rough Trade). Songs by Crass quieted down and treated like contemporary folk. The didactic lyrics are so full of their own righteousness that they’re oddly quaint. I almost wish I’d paid more attention to Crass the first time around. Almost.