What can I say? Alex Chilton is dead. As part of Big Star, he wrote some of the best music of the 1970s, and his work has influenced so many — Jeff Tweedy, Califone, Elliott Smith, The Replacements. The list goes on.
I’m just sitting here playing the YouTube video for this old song over and over again. Those harmonies get me every time. Goodbye, Alex.
Fact: there are more albums in existence today than ever before, and, as more albums are released in the future, that number will most likely increase. We, the intrepid writers for Owl&Bear, stand at the frothy frontline of this constant deluge of new music, bravely filling buckets with the good stuff and presenting it as sweet sustenance to our parched readers. We perpetually receive music from PR people, begging us to check out undiscovered artists, and a lot of it is, quite frankly, underwhelming. But once in a while we come across a diamond in the rough, something that grabs us by the ears and doesn’t let go. And so it happened that, mere seconds into hearing “If You” (MP3), I became a fan of Boy Without God.
Hailing from Massachusetts, famed home of the sassy Congressman, Boy Without God is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Birnbaum. His new album, Your Body Is Your Soul, which sounds like Neutral Milk Hotel if they’d been fronted by Johnny Cash, has been on constant rotation in the Owl&Bear offices lately and is shaping up to be one of the best albums of the year. Birnbaum was kind enough to share his influences with us for our newest installment of Poetic Memory.
Poetic Memory is a regular Owl and Bear feature in which musicians disclose their influences—whether it’s albums, songs, artists, or something random. If you’re interested in being featured here, send us an email. Continue reading
GloriousNoise: “A few years ago, Larry Crane, editor of Tape Op Magazine, and Elliott Smith’s friend and studio partner from back in Portland, become the official archivist of Elliott Smith’s estate. We interviewed Crane back in 2007 before the release of New Moon, a collection of mostly unreleased songs recorded between 1994 and 1997…In the time since that interview, Crane has digitized over a terabyte of audio from various sources. It seems that Elliott Smith was constantly recording. We caught up with Larry via email to see what he’s found since we last talked.”