[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
I spent a large part of the afternoon attempting to elevate my mood in preparation to write to you. I only want to bring you my best, such as it is. I tried to get myself out of the ditch but was, for the most part, unable.
I was momentarily pulled from the deeper and darker depths by listening to Scott Walker's absolutely incredible Bish Bosch album, released by 4AD late last year. Here's the thing: I cannot recommend it to you. Now, if I can't with any confidence implore you to petition your local music vendor for a copy of this 73-minute collection of cathartic, confrontational, hilarious and often troubling songs, then what good could it be possibly doing me? Fair question.
I guess one of the things I like most about the album is what I admire about Mr. Walker. He is 70 years old and has been making records since the 1960s. He has been steadily and quietly amazing all this time. A lot of people have dipped into his well and, in my opinion, Scott Walker has given way better than he got. He has saved his most innovative and challenging work for the later part of his life. His albums Tilt, The Drift and Bish Bosch are nothing like what he did with John Maus in The Walker Brothers decades before.
Few artists reinvent themselves to the degree that Scott Walker has for reasons other than trying to stay relevant; the results usually are less than great. Another artist who left many fans scratching their heads was the master musician John Fahey, whose late albums The Mill Pond, Womblife, Hitomi and the posthumously released Red Cross are nothing like his early Blind Joe Death recordings from decades before. (Fahey died in 2001.) They are, however, really cool.
So, even as Mr. Walker was nervously crooning insults at me in his trembling, high-pitched voice, like a balladeering Louis-Ferdinand Céline -- Does your face hurt?... Cuz it's killing me... -- I still found myself distracted and somewhat depressed. Rather than be disingenuous, I thought I might as well drag you along this dark road with me for a while.