Song of the Week – Fresh Air, Quicksilver & Before the Water Gets Too High, Parquet Courts

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

April 22, 1970, was the date of the first Earth Day.  It has been celebrated every April 22nd ever since.  Long before we understood the impact of greenhouse gasses or coined the terms “climate change” or “global warming,” the environment was being polluted by gas-guzzling cars using leaded petrol and factories were spewing toxic gasses and smoke into the air.

Musicians took up the cause and wrote songs about it.  The earliest one I recall was “Out in the Country” (written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols) from Three Dog Night’s album It Ain’t Easy (1970).

About the same time, Quicksilver Messenger Service released “Fresh Air.”

“Fresh Air” was written by Dino Valenti (aka Dino Valente, Chet Powers, and Jesse Farrow).  He also wrote the hippie anthem “Get Together” which was a major hit for Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods.

Throughout the years many other songs that touch the issue of the environment have been recorded by major stars.  A few examples (and there are many more) include:

Mercy, Mercy Me (the Ecology) – Marvin Gaye

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell

Fall on Me – REM

My City Was Gone – The Pretenders

Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil

Still, very recently, this issue was addressed by Parquet Courts in their song “Before the Water Gets Too High” on 2018’s Wide Awaaaaake!

State TV helps the public explain
Broadcast beamed into the dry terrain
Images of drenched survival
Without hope but soaked with pain
Consequences of reality felt
All conditions of humanity built
On the bridges
Tent villages waiting for the state to help

Before the water gets too high

This brings back the memories of the trauma left behind in post-Katrina New Orleans and 2017’s Maria in Puerto Rico.

Almost 50 years after the first Earth Day there is still more work to be done!

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Black and White, Parquet Courts


This post was originally mailed to my distribution list on October 4th.

A band that is currently on the indie rock circuit is Brooklyn (yes, another one from Brooklyn) based Parquet Courts. Their third album, Sunbathing animals, has been out for a few months now. I’ve been checking it out on Spotify and really enjoy the whole album. But “Black and White” stands out to me for its up tempo, post-punk drive – so it is today’s SotW. (It’s also the song they played on Seth Meyer’s late night show earlier this year.)

“Black and White” has a Velvet Underground/Television/Sonic Youth vibe to it – repetitive strumming and droning lead and a feedback laced freak out.

The lyrics communicate the difficulty and frustration of trying to balance how to continue to be fresh and creative when you’re trapped by the mundane tedium of constant touring. Here’s the second verse.

There’s a sinful sort of side of being
So contained, a bit like being lost
Stumbling through the background like a small town loner
Quietly a-whisperin’ my thoughts into my cupped hands
Folded and monk-like, at least that’s what I’ve always said
How does writing letters from the lonely margins feel
When there is no hair on my head?
Is the solitude I seek a trap where I’ve been blindly led?
Tell me, where then do I go instead?

Parquet Courts is another contemporary band worth keeping an eye on.

Enjoy… until next week.