Blind Spots - Listening to Albums for the First Time
August 12, 2019 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Joey Purp listens to John Coltrane's A Love Supreme for the first time.

Welcome to Blind Spots from Vice's Noisey. Artists you may or may not have heard of listening to classic albums you may or may not be familiar with.

Featuring:
Stephen Malkmus Listens to LCD Soundsystem
Twin Peaks Listen to Billy Joel's ‘The Stranger’
Soccer Mommy Listens to Patti Smith's ‘Horses’

And many more!
posted by SpiffyRob (34 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is an interesting way to frame an interview! You end up getting a lot of interesting information about that person that you might not hear about in another format. Like, I never knew Stephen Malkmus liked disco.

The only problem is that I don't know who most of these artists are :(

That said, it's kind of fun to see what people's musical blind spots have been. Like OK, I'm not a famous artist, but I'll publicly admit that I didn't hear Purple Rain all the way through until late last year. It's as great as people say it is! I just never got around to listening to it until someone put it on at work. Whereas I can't imagine never having heard A Love Supreme, Sun Ra, or Slayer, because that's stuff I was exposed to early on.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:26 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Cool idea for a series. I have no idea who Ryley Walker is, but this -

All he needs is the really attractive French girlfriend by his side while he’s smoking and he’s set.

- is almost word for word part of what I told my wife when I was trying to explain why Leonard Cohen has never done it for me. As for my own blind spots, I went down the Rolling Stone best 500 albums list and #23 (John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band) was the first one I haven't heard in its entirety, but of course there are tons of classic albums in genres outside my particular wheelhouses that would be new to me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:40 PM on August 12


It's an interesting idea for a series, but I gotta say, if you're a musician, and you're 43 years old and releasing the equivalent of what is folk music for 20+ years and you've never listened to Joni Mitchell, and Blue in particular, you should be ashamed of yourself. David Bazan, you should be ashamed of yourself.
posted by dobbs at 1:00 PM on August 12 [19 favorites]


I don't know who Riley Walker is, but after reading about him shitting on the music of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and Lou Reed all in the same article I don't care to know who he is.
posted by rocket88 at 1:09 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


I have no problem with people blowing off Leonard Cohen if he's not their bag, that's fine. À chacun son goût and all of that there jazz.

From the Ryley Walker interview:

I’ve just always been turned off by art that comes off as bougie to me.

Says the guy who does Primrose Green. Not saying there's anything wrong with his music if that's what you like, but geez, dude. Richard Thompson wants his accent back, young feller from...

*Googles*

...Illinois.

The Card Cheat
: I have no idea who Ryley Walker is

You've probably met this sort of guy. If this interview is anything to go by, he believes himself to be a deeply intense edgelord with his folkness.

To wit:

I just feel like this guy would be reading a book and I would be doing a line of blow. We’re just two different people.

Anyway, some of these interviews are pretty good. The Joey Purp one was great:

Yeah, the timing of this reminds me of a Rick Ross song featuring Andre 3000 called "Sixteen." It's about how sometimes you want to say more than just 16 bars but it's a metaphor for other things too.

I'd never heard that song before, so went and listened to it. Interesting comparison, and it makes sense.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:26 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


I’ve just always been turned off by art that comes off as bougie to me.

It's bougie 'cause it's listened to by old white folks, usually wealthy ones. And he's singing to their kids. This is someone with a lot of surface area maybe, but no depth.

And this was ‘65 so jazz was already a half a century old. Oh wow, I just realized that rap is not going to be the thing one day. Wow. That just fucked me up. Because jazz is pretty much off the court right now, bro. In popular music, it is out of the paint.

IDK who Joey Purp was either (not a rap fan), but now I'm much more likely to want to find out.
posted by bonehead at 1:34 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


Wow does Ryley Walker (whomever the hell he is anyway) not come off well in that interview.
posted by slkinsey at 1:41 PM on August 12


Semi-related: One of my favorite YouTube videos in recent years has been from the YouYouYou series where this gentleman, an avowed hiphop and metal fan, reviews albums while driving around in his car.

His reactions as he hears Rage Against The Machine's first album for the first time is one of the greatest examples of someone's mind being musically blown you will ever see.
posted by jeremias at 1:43 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


The Georgia Maq/Black in Black one is a good read for the amount of face-palming it involves:

What’s this one called?

Uhhh, it’s titled "Let Me Put My Love into You"

Oh God.


And this was pretty great:

I know they tour with a bell but I don’t think it’s the original one.

It sounds evil. It’s really fucking cool. I wonder where they’d go to build to bell. If me, Georgia Maq, needed a bell, who would I call?

I don’t think I have a bell guy but they did make it from a foundry in the U.K. called John Taylor & Co. Bellfounders.

I need an industrial bell. How do you even make a bell? You need a big cast. Who invented the bell? Where the hell did that come from? How would all these churches feel about a bell being used in a record like this. Can I email John Taylor & Co. Bellfounders?

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:02 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


jeremias, that had me grinning ear to ear start to finish
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 2:11 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


if you're a musician, and you're 43 years old and releasing the equivalent of what is folk music for 20+ years and you've never listened to Joni Mitchell, and Blue in particular, you should be ashamed of yourself. David Bazan, you should be ashamed of yourself

From the interview:

"Until about the 10th grade, I was only allowed to listen to Christian music so just from the Christian bookstore and then church music that was happening around me. So yeah, there were shelves with tapes at the Christian bookstore, and that was what I got to choose from."

I think, all things considered, he's done pretty well for himself.

David Bazan has nothing to be ashamed of.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:20 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I'm reminded of Ruth & Martin's Album Club, which a few years ago had J.K. Rowling review "Violent Femmes" after hearing it for the first time.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:24 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


~ Michael Stipe is one of those frontman where his lyrics are pretty hard to decipher and sometimes he pronounces things in really interesting ways that can sometimes cloud what he’s saying.

~Like Dave Matthews!


*sigh*
I still love Snail Mail, though. It’s all good.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:29 PM on August 12


I really wish this were a video or audio series, but I love it anyways. I just want to see them reacting in real time.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:01 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


IDK who Joey Purp was either (not a rap fan), but now I'm much more likely to want to find out.

He comes off as kind of a jerk here, to wit: just going for a drive, smoking some weed, talking about Coltrane......Whoops! Almost hit that lady crossing the street.
posted by thelonius at 3:01 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]




Oh... I knew a guy like Ryley Walker in university. In the Eastern Eurpoean cinema class we were both in he did a presentation on Tartovsky's Stalker (the professor's favourite film). His take on it was very much like Mr. Walker's take Leonard Cohen. It didn't go well for him.
The icing on the cake in that Ryley Walker interview: "Is the world just some fucked up Sylvia Plath shit?"
posted by Ashwagandha at 3:37 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Today I learned: "Spike Lee originally wanted to name “Mo’ Better Blues,” “A Love Supreme” after John Coltrane’s most celebrated album."

My recollection is that Alice Coltrane objected to the language in the film.

I once referred to her album, Ptah, the El Daoud, on my website as "the greatest album ever released by a Coltrane." I still get angry emails. (Love Supreme is my second favorite album by a Coltrane.)
posted by dobbs at 3:46 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


The Joshua Tree one is entertaining me immensely because while I do genuinely love most of the album and U2's back catalog, I totally agree with the last comment in the following portion of the Diet Cig interview:
According to interviews with the band, a large portion of their writing time was spent trying to get this intro right. The Edge, the band’s guitarist, tinkered with this opening riff relentlessly to get the timing right when the rest of the band comes in.
Luciano: Wait. The Edge? His name is the Edge? Is that really his legal name? What’s Bono’s real name?

It’s just a stage name but I agree it maybe hasn’t aged particularly well. Also, Bono’s given name is Paul Hewson.
Luciano: So Bono just decided one day that he’s going to be called Bono. He really is a robot.

Bowman: Why Bono?

It was a nickname “Bono Vox” he got that was a play on the latin phrase for “Good Voice.”
Luciano: Ha! He’s such a prick! But on the other hand, this song really isn’t bad.
posted by rather be jorting at 5:25 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Bowman: I feel like I’ve heard this song at the Super Bowl. Have they done the halftime show before?

Yeah, in 2002. It was the one after 9/11. Last year, GQ called it the best halftime show ever.

Bowman: That’s bullshit. Prince was the best halftime show ever.


The kids, as they say, are all right.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:35 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


This series is truly delightful.

Also, I remain old.

Also also, would love to see the shoe on the other foot: Billy Joel listening to music by Twin Peaks, for instance.
posted by hijinx at 6:01 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Hmmm. I just really heard for the first time this month:
Aug. 1967 second album Underground by (the misfortunately named) Electric Prunes. SLYT

This is early vintage psychedelic. Their first and third albums were heavily manipulated by Reprise, but they were pretty much left alone on this one. *There are no hits on it* but it stays standing. Gets better with more listens. These guys are breaking stuff. (NOT to be confused with the Electric Grapes ... they played spookily at Monterey.)

Also hear: earlier SF band: The Beau Brummels in 1964. They're rocking the first hints of what's to come.
posted by Twang at 6:17 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I'll publicly admit that I didn't hear Purple Rain all the way through until late last year. It's as great as people say it is! I just never got around to listening to it until someone put it on at work.

This is a fascinating generational gap. I'm technically old enough to be your parent (if I'd started early), and holy shit, not only had I bought the album and memorized it and seen the movie at least a dozen times in theaters but I'd also camped out (like literally camped out, sleeping on concrete) in line for tickets to the Purple Rain tour for 48 hours in order to make sure my crowd got tickets.

I'm glad you like it once you heard it! It was nearly earth shattering at the time. Like, When Doves Cry, WTF was up with that? And yet, we all loved it.
posted by hippybear at 6:26 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Speaking of first time: Here's Boston's 'Foreplay/Long Time' blowing away Lost in Vegas. (These guys do -a lot- of this too.)
posted by Twang at 6:46 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to RTFA and dive into this.

I'm someone who is almost ALWAYS late to the party,, but often by choice, especially with acclaimed albums that were a bit "before my time".. out of a sense of intimidation, almost.
As one example, Paul's Boutique came out when I was about 5 years old, but it took me until 2012 to finally dive in and give it a proper listen, despite (somehow) considering myself a huge Beastie Boys fan otherwise.

Anyone else feel this way ever? Like you're just "not ready" to hear something that everyone else always raves about?
posted by wats at 6:58 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Like you're just "not ready" to hear something that everyone else always raves about?

For me it was Townes Van Zandt. I'm glad I waited as I appreciated it better now.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:04 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Oh man, Townes. I was lucky to discover him right about the perfect time in my life. I try to turn people on to him not to demand they become superfans *right*now*, but so that they know enough to be able to find him when they need him.
posted by notsnot at 7:08 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


For me it was Townes Van Zandt. I'm glad I waited as I appreciated it better now.

Along the same vein, when I was a young teenager, my dad brought home Steve Earle's Exit 0 and Copperhead Road. At the time I was like "Pfffft. Whatever, old man."

Little did I know that a couple of decades later, I'd find myself drawn to appreciating his music, and Train a Comin' made me think "Hey, the mandolin's a pretty cool sounding instrument, I'm going to go try some out..." and here we are.

Having read through all of the Blind Spots interviews now, I guess their one limitation is that sometimes it takes a while for an album to sit and settle. First listen sometimes isn't the listen where the penny drops and you go "Oh, wow. This is good."

Anyway, I gotta say this was news to me:

On a random note, do you know that song "Blinded by the Light"? That's a Bruce Springsteen song that Manfred Mann popularized.

What? I didn't know that. I only knew that Bruce wrote that Patti Smith song, "Because The Night." I love "Blinded By The Light." More like, "revved up like a douche, right?" I know it's actually "deuce."


Despite it being the perennial misheard lyrics song that lots of people find a mishearing in common on, I had no idea that was a Springsteen song.

*head explodes*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:52 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I can't tell you how many times that I heard the Manfred Mann version on the radio on long car rides when I was a kid. I can't say because I have a psychological block about it. Douche or deuce, I had no idea what they were talking about.

Mandolin conspiracy, at least now the upcoming movie Blinded by the Light will make more sense to you.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:07 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Anyone else feel this way ever?

I was a huge Smiths fan in my teen years. Due to stuff in my life happening when Louder Than Bombs came out, I didn't buy it initially. Then somehow ended up not buying it at all, despite having bought everything else that came out before and since that album.

For a band like The Smiths, there was no radio airplay in my part of the US. Maybe a song would get played on 120 Minutes. But generally if you didn't buy it and your friends didn't buy it, you'd never get to hear it. And then I moved on to other bands and other music and somehow ended up skipping that one album.

So, here I am 30+ years later. And there's a Smiths album that will be almost completely new to me. I'm thinking about leaving that one for my deathbed. Despite Morrissey becoming an utter shithead, the band still means something to me. Was a huge part of my life at one point. Kinda makes me happy that there's something new waiting for me from a long dead group. Like I've broken time and space somehow and kept a small piece of my teen years alive.

And I can completely understand the guy above missing out due to a restrictive Christian family. I was lucky that mom stopped policing my musical tastes around 16. But before that, I had to do some serious smuggling to get music that wasn't Amy Grant. Or Stryper. Ugh.

Purple Rain was one of those albums. I was 14 when it came out. Used Columbia Music's "Get 14 albums free for a penny!" Had them sent to a friend's house. His parents were more tolerant but they would have freaked out about Prince too. So we opened the box in a darkened room like we were about to summon demons. Played Purple Rain on a tinny portable tape player at a volume level somewhat below a conversational voice. Played it over and over again.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:17 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


"I think I like old Bono and I don’t know if I like new Bono. Is that how the world feels?"

Awww, bless. Yes, yes it is.
posted by praemunire at 10:19 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


Wow does Ryley Walker (whomever the hell he is anyway) not come off well in that interview.

I mean he's not exactly wrong (even though I like Leonard Cohen alright) he just comes off as a different sort of obnoxious guy.
posted by atoxyl at 11:00 PM on August 12


They need to make Bono listen to Ween's "The Mollusk" and tell him that they sell out stadiums
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:09 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


What? I didn't know that. I only knew that Bruce wrote that Patti Smith song, "Because The Night."

Co-wrote.
posted by dobbs at 8:06 PM on August 15


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