Saturday, May 6th, 2006
And The Horse They Rode In On
Soul Asylum and I have a bit of history. During their 15 minutes of mainstream fame in the early 90s, I had my high school band cover “Runaway Train” because I thought it’d get us girls. It didn’t. Neither did being in a band at all, come to think of it. I would have rather done “Somebody To Shove” but that opening riff was way too hard for my amateur fingers.
Anyway. I had Grave Dancers Union, of course, and I think I liked it a lot. That sort of melodic alt.rock with a folkish undercurrent was – and still is, to some extent – my thing. I was probably a little too cool for Soul Asylum by the time Let Your Dim Light Shine came out, but recall filing the singles under guilty pleasures whenever I caught them on MuchMusic, or at least the one with Claire Danes… But anyway, Soul Asylum and I parted ways – Dan Murphy stayed on my radar via Golden Smog but the band, after releasing the barely-there Candy From A Stranger in ’98 quietly went away.
But like so many acts from their era, they got the reunion bug a few years ago and started work on a new record – sadly, bassist Karl Mueller was diagnosed with cancer and though benefits ensued, even managing to reunite Bob Mould and Grant Hart of Husker Du for a split-second, he succumbed to his illness in June of last year. But before he passed on, he finished work on the new Soul Asylum record, The Silver Lining, which will be released July 11. Dan Murphy talked to Billboard a bit about the new album.
The first single is “Stand Up And Be Strong”, which while not a classic by any stretch is a decent enough comeback tune for a band that’s been out of the game for a while. There’s some more clips from the new album on their MySpace page and also on their website. You’ll also find some Summer tour dates for the band there.
Ironically, Soul Asylum’s return is being overshadowed by that of the Minneapolis band that once called them “the B-teamers” – The Replacements. As reported previously, the band reconvened to record two new tracks for their Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? best-of, due out June 13. All remaining original members were on board, though for some reason hired gun Josh Freese handled drums and original drummer Chris Mars only contributed vocals? Either way, I Am Fuel, You Are Friends has a radio rip of one of the tracks – “Message From The Boys” – available to download. It’s a satisfyingly raucous tune very much in the spirit of Tim or Pleased To Meet Me – certainly better than anyone probably had a right to expect. Pitchfork is similarly impressed. The songs were intended to premiere on sports radio dude Jim Rome’s show (he’s apparently a big ‘Mats fan) but for whatever reason, Westerberg didn’t show up leaving Tommy Stinson (who, coincidentally, is Soul Asylum’s new bassist) to handle all the PR duties. Rome wasn’t impressed and The Pioneer Press’ blogs have some coverage of the fallout from that.
The Stranger tries to be a little less of a stranger to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers. The Canadian release of their new one, A Blessing And A Curse, has inexplicably been delayed more than a month from the US release and will be out here on May 23.
And if you really needed another reason to hit up Sneaky Dee’s tonight for Asobi Seksu, Catfish Haven and PAS/CAL, I’ll give you three more: Betty Marie Barnes. According to PAS/CAL’s website, the former(?) Saturday Looks Good To Me singer will be joining PAS/CAL on backing vocal duties for their quick-like-bunny Canadian tour which finishes with tonight’s Over The Top show. This isn’t the first time Barnes has played with the PAS/CAL folks – last year ago they recorded a cover of Blondie’s “Call Me” for kicks (via The Modern Age).
np – Grizzly Bear / Sorry For The Delay