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Songs About Writers, Opinions on Bob Mould & Sneaks

This week, Jim and Greg explore literature's influence on popular music and how famous scribes like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath, and more get name drops. They‘ll share some of their favorite songs about writers. They’ll also review the latest from rocker Bob Mould and techno-indie artist Sneaks.

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reviewBob Mould Sunshine Rock

Bob Mould Patch The Sky

On his 13th solo album, Sunshine Rock, Hüsker Dü frontman and serious rocker Bob Mould threw longtime fans for a bit of a loop with four song titles referencing the sun and cover art resembling a lollipop. Greg calls it Mould's attempt at bubblegum pop, while Jim compares it to The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset." He says since Mould formed a power trio with Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy (formerly of Verbow) in 2012, he's been at a career high. The most recent albums recorded by that trio (Beauty & Ruin and Patch The Sky) have focused on the deaths of Mould's parents and now Jim says he's emerged in a happier place. It reminds him of Hüsker Dü covering Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Greg points out the melodies are at the forefront and there's a lyrical theme of reconciliation. "The Final Years" is a wistful look back at time with his parents, while "I Fought" is like a message to his late songwriting partner Grant Hart, moving past bitterness to appreciation. Greg and Jim both appreciate Mould's honesty about who he is now.

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reviewSneaks Highway Hypnosis

Sneaks Highway Hypnosis

Sneaks's third album, Highway Hypnosis, is twice as long as her debut release and it still comes in under half an hour. Sneaks, aka Washington, D.C. artist Eva Moolchan, works with producers Carlos Hernandez and Tony Seltzer on this project and Greg says she's broadened her musical horizons. The avant garde minimalism is still there with a punk ethos, but with a wider variety of rhythmic feels- from reggae to Chicago footwork on "Hong Kong to Amsterdam." Greg wishes she would stretch out on more traditional-styled songs, but appreciates the variety on the album. He's most interested in how she takes avant garde music and works it into a pop setting, so he's looking forward to what she does next. Jim, an avowed Sneaks superfan, was let down by the album. As bizarre as it sounds, he says the album is bloated and fears Moolchan is stuck in a rut. But he hasn't given up and looks forward to her future output!

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Songs About Writers

jar It's common for artists to shout out other musicians they admire in their songs, but how about name-dropping prominent literary figures? From Hemingway to Plath, Metallica to Bobby Womack, Jim and Greg explore literature's influence on music with songs about writers.

Featured Songs

  1. 10,000 Maniacs, Hey Jack Kerouac, In My Tribe, Elektra, 1987
  2. Bob Mould, Send Me a Postcard, Sunshine Rock, Merge, 2019
  3. Bob Mould, Sunshine Rock, Sunshine Rock, Merge, 2019
  4. Bob Mould, I Fought, Sunshine Rock, Merge, 2019
  5. Bob Mould, Camp Sunshine, Sunshine Rock, Merge, 2019
  6. Bob Mould, Western Sunset, Sunshine Rock, Merge, 2019
  7. Bob Mould, The Final Years, Sunshine Rock, Merge, 2019
  8. Sneaks, The Way It Goes, Highway Hypnosis, Merge, 2019
  9. Sneaks, A Lil Close, Highway Hypnosis, Merge, 2019
  10. Sneaks, Holy Cow Never Saw A Girl Like Her, Highway Hypnosis, Merge, 2019
  11. Sneaks, Addis, Highway Hypnosis, Merge, 2019
  12. Sneaks, Hong Kong to Amsterdam, Highway Hypnosis, Merge, 2019
  13. The Smiths, Cemetry Gates, The Queen Is Dead, Rough Trade, 1986
  14. Patti Smith, Land (Part I: Horses; Part II: Land of a Thousand Dances; Part III: La Mer(de)), Horses, Arista, 1975
  15. Bobby Womack and Peace, Across 110th Street, Across 110th Street Soundtrack, United Artists, 1972
  16. Robyn Hitchcock, Raymond Chandler Evening, Element of Light, Relativity, 1986
  17. Metallica, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ride the Lightning, Megaforce, 1984
  18. Peter Laughner, Sylvia Plath, Peter Laughner:, Koolie Productions, 1982
  19. John Cale, Graham Greene, Paris 1919, Reprise, 1973
  20. Mercury Rev, The Dark is Rising, All Is Dream, V2, 2001
  21. Black Sabbath, Behind the Wall of Sleep, Black Sabbath, Vertigo, 1970
  22. Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit, Surrealistic Pillow, RCA Victor, 1967
  23. KoKo Taylor, That's Why I'm Crying, I Got What It Takes, Alligator, 1975
  24. Barbara Lynn, Ring Telephone Ring, This Is The Thanks I Get (single), Atlantic, 1967
  25. Maggie Rogers, Past Life, Heard It in a Past Life, Debay / Capitol, 2019
  26. Carlos Vives, La Gota Fría, Clásicos de la Provincia, Sonolux, 1993
  27. Rufus Harley, Malika (aka Gods and Goddesses), Re-Creation Of The Gods, Ankh, 1972
  28. Run-DMC, Walk This Way (feat Aerosmith), Raising Hell, Profile, 1986