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Showing posts from April, 2013

Rodriguez: the Sugar Man's rarities

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If you haven’t yet seen Searching For Sugar Man, the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature, I highly recommend it. It tells the story of an American singer-songwriter named Rodriguez (full name: Sixto Diaz Rodriguez), who recorded two critically acclaimed but commercially overlooked albums in the early ‘70’s, then disappeared from the music business. Strangely enough, Rodriguez became a musical and cultural icon in South Africa, where he was believed to be dead. But the gruesome rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated, because Rodriguez is alive and well. For decades, he worked as a carpenter in Detroit, and was completely unaware of his stardom in South Africa until 1997. He has since performed numerous times in that country, but he continued to live a humble life in Detroit. The film is a fascinating true-life story, one that no one would find believable if it was written as a movie script. The film has given Rodriguez long-overdue fame and success in other parts of th…

Whirlwind Heat “Do Rabbits Wonder?” (2003)

In my previous blog post, I mentioned the 2003 album from Whirlwind Heat titled Do Rabbits Wonder?, produced by Jack White and engineered by Brendan Benson. That album is currently out of print, although it is fairly easy to obtain. The album is ten years old as of this month (as is the White Stripes’ Elephant). It was the first non-White Stripes album released on the Third Man imprint.

Whirlwind Heat is an alternative trio from Michigan who tend to be heavily influenced by bands like Sonic Youth; in fact, their name comes from the cover art of Sonic Youth’s Goo album. But Do Rabbits Wonder? doesn’t quite have the same type of loose underground ethos that later Whirlwind Heat releases do. This is undoubtedly due to White’s production, which makes the band sound crisper, cleaner, and harder-hitting than usual.

On this album, Whirlwind Heat are reminiscent of the Pixies in many ways. David Swanson hoots and hollers like Black Francis, and Steve Damstra’s bass playing is sometimes simila…