Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts In Real-Time On The Five New Tracks From The Tribute Album

Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Friends, Ruben & Cherise

  • Okay.
  • Pretty guitar part.
  • How Bonnie is Prince Billy?
  • More Bonnie than Franklin?
  • Always loved this song; they didn’t play it enough.
  • This guy’s voice is not growing on me.
  • I thought it would.
  • But he’s not actually singing notes.
  • One of the bridgiest bridges in the Dead’s canon.
  • This guy’s nickname is offensive.
  • Too soon.
  • Drums still sound like shit, and I think this will be a thread in the blanket that is this post.
  • All right, I guess: the song is so good that it’s a treat to hear in any form, but if you’re just going to play the Dead’s arrangement, then I’ll just listen to the Dead doing it.
  • Bobbie Billy hit a lovely note or two while I was writing that last sentence, and I think I get what he’s doing now, and I like it.
  • I am now silly for Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
  • And the fade.
  • Painless.


Jim James & Friends, Candyman

  • Arrest him.
  • Hunt down and imprison the person who was responsible for this drum sound.
  • Everything else is good, especially the organ, but the drums sound like a hobo raping a cardboard box.
  • Two in a row: same arrangement, same feel, same vocal phrasing.
  • Also not my favorite song, if we’re honest.
  • There was an American Dad episode about this Jim Jones person, and he has a large beard and is given to fringed jackets.
  • Digging the solo: Venusian AM radio crackle and hiss; it is unpleasant and wonderful.
  • This is all right
  • It’s not awful, and Jim Jones is doing kind of a ’74 Dylan thing.
  • It could be over now, though.
  • Alpaca.
  • Bison.
  • Cat.
  • Dog.
  • Elephant.
  • Fox.
  • And we’re done.


Charles Bradley & Menehan Street Band, Cumberland Blues

  • Hey now.
  • This is not West Virginny coalmining music!
  • All right: this is good, or at least adventurous or just shows effort.
  • It’s totally the riff from Thank You Falettin Me Be Mice Elf..
  • Okay, I love this.
  • Best one yet by an incredibly large margin.
  • Catfish Collins on lead guitar.
  • Yeah: this is a band with a sound, not some random Pitchfork darling with a passable backing band running through the tune once or twice.
  • And it’s short!


Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Shakedown Street

  • I don’t know about this already.
  • I continue to not know how i feel about this.
  • Is this the Disco Biscuits?
  • Oh, God: is this a Disco Biscuit tribute band?
  • Bass player’s pretty good, but the keyboard is like a nail file in my left ear.
  • Wait: is this Jamiroquai?
  • Is it a Jamiroquai/Disco Biscuits super-group?
  • The chorus is great and energetic and fun, but then they dip back into the verse and let their keyboard player play and I feel hatred in my heart.
  • Jamming?
  • On a Grateful Dead-related record?
  • Stop that!
  • Oops.
  • They did.


Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends, To Lay Me Down

  • I do not like the name Perfume Genius.
  • Who’s singing?
  • The Et?
  • Whoever it is, she can sing.
  • Very good, strong.
  • Many people can sing well, but I sing Grateful Dead songs better.
  • Hey! Get out of here, Donald!
  • That was weird.
  • Anyway, this is a dirge.
  • I mean, the song has always been a dirge–AND THERE’S THAT FUCKING KEYBOARDIST AGAIN–but I think the Perfect Genie and Sharon van Houten have chosen to emphasize the dirgiest qualities of said dirge.
  • Giraffe.
  • Heron.
  • Ibex.
  • Jaguar.
  • There’s two fucking minutes left.
  • I know I’m not a good man, but I don’t deserve this.
  • 1,2,3.
  • 1,2,3.
  • 1,2,3.
  • We get it.
  • You’re lying down, he’s lying down, you’re being laid down: everyone is horizontal.
  • Kangaroo.
  • Lynx.
  • Marmoset.
  • Nipplehound.
  • Osteopathfish.
  • This is never going to–IT ENDED.


  1. “Is it a Jamiroquai/Disco Biscuits super-group?”

    i spit out my tea.

  2. Meh x 5 = Meh

  3. No one is more Bonnie.. than Bonnie

  4. Not to get all Phil Zone, commentator on your ass.. Well I guess actually I am doing that.

    Cumberland is in Maryland, not Wes Virginny it does however have an appendage of West Virginny sticking right up into it.

    See pic, the white art is WV, the pink part is MD.

    Also… You used Van Houten!! Big bonus points for the Van Houten.

  5. Ummm not to get all rototd on yr ass there Tor, but the Cumberland mine is in Nova Scotia and was owned by the Cumberland railway co.
    There were also disasters leading to the Cumberland blues in 1891,1956,1958

  6. I know there is a lot of cumberlands in the us, but I would not put it beyond the realm of the possible that a 17 year old Robert Hunter was watching the Ed Sullivan show in 1958 when some of the survivors of the Cumberland mine disaster in Nova Scotia appeared on it as celebrities.
    I also have a photo of Robert Hunter in Nova Scotia watching a total eclipse of the sun, but that’s another mystery song.

  7. Indeed, I’m not far from there myself, ever see Margaret’s museum ?
    It’s a masterpiece film , highly recommended !

  8. What was it about that damn Nova Scotia Eclipse ?
    The you’re so vain person flew his learjet up there to see it.

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