Classic Poster-Art Proves “Rock” serves more than just the aural senses

Wes Freed's legendary poster art is unmistakeable.

Wes Freed’s legendary poster art is unmistakeable.

I don’t like using the “reblog” function on WordPress — it’s so impersonal, allowing bloggers to simply take the work of others and regurgitate it, assuming no role in the creative process. But I stumbled on this post from commenter Mister STAP‘s Blog Stand There And Play and it got me thinking about the role of album covers and poster art in fueling our collective obsessions with rock music in general. His post is well worth the visit even if only to gape at the astounding collection of posters he’s able to stare out at every time he writes. But I have to wonder as well, which art reaches out to you, my readers? I have long been attracted to the work of Wes Freed, whose creations for the band Drive-By Truckers are unmistakeable in their immediate visual hook.

Have any artists in particular inspired you as listeners with their distinctive album or poster art? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Wes Freed (photo from

The artist Wes Freed.


ALBUM REVIEW: Not An Airplane – “It Could Just Be This Place”

Not An Airplane

Album Review
Not An Airplane – “It Could Just Be This Place” (2012, Indpendent)

A twisted, tasty morsel of what alternative country should always strive to reach, Not An Airplane, led by the balls by Nick Shattell, shows that music doesn’t need to be distilled to the barest common denominator to have something worth saying. A Kentucky-fried bluegrass-pop opera consisting of two single-song fifteen-minute acts (“Speak In” and “Speak Out”), the album distills a relationship from start to finish in all its gory glory (or as Rolling Stone puts it: “operettas of heartbreak autopsy” — take that, CSI!). It’s a whirlwind of frantic bare-bones introspection. Imagine the Drive-By Truckers pairing up with Drag The River with a libretto written by Jack White and you’ll go into the listening experience at least mildly prepared. Beyond that it’s impossible to put into mere words how much fun will come from repeating this pair of brilliantly conceived songs until your speakers break or your neighbors break the door down demanding just who the hell you’re listening to. It Could Just Be This Place is daring songwriting from a band not content with the status quo, and if there’s a more fitting way to start 2012 from a musical standpoint, I sure haven’t found it yet!

Shonna Tucker leaving Drive-By Truckers

Shonna Tucker

Shonna Tucker announced today she's leaving the Drive-By Truckers

Shonna Tucker, bass-player for Drive-By Truckers since replacing Earl Hicks prior to releasing The Dirty South, has announced today that she’s leaving the band to pursue “the next great thing, whatever that may be.” Patterson Hood responded hours later to confirm that Shonna has indeed left the band, to be replaced on upcoming shows by David Barbe, who has played with the DBTs since 2000. “We appreciate our fans and supporters and your caring and concern,” Hood writes. “Decisions like this are not made lightly … everyone involved deeply cares for each other.”

Membership changes have been no shock to the Truckers, who have seemingly undergone more changes than any band since Fleetwood Mac. But Tucker’s absence will be missed. Here’s hoping she has as much success in her post-DBTs career as her ex-husband Jason Isbell has had with his band the 400 Unit.

Mrs. Claus’s Kimono

Bad Santa

Futurama's original "Bad Santa"

Leave it to Drive-By Truckers to write the most fucked up Christmas song EVER.  You’ll be singing this one all through next week.

Download the MP3! (Courtesy of “Sweet Static”)

I’m a sinister elf
With a sinister plan
Santa’s little helper
With too much time on my hands
He’s got a fine lookin’ wife
For such an old man
I can see her lookin’ at me
When there is no one else around.

And I’m countin’ down the days to December 24th
The old mans in his sleigh
I am sneakin’ in the back door
She asks if I know what the candy cane is for
While he’s slidin’ down the chimney
I’ll be comin’ back for more

Not really worried ’bout the old man findin’ out
‘Cuz me and Rudolph worked the whole thing out
It’s not about vengeance or anything like that
I just want a little sex
And the old man off my back
Rudy’s out for blood
‘Cuz he hates the fat old man
‘Cuz he caught him in the stables with his fat little hands
On a female reindeer he likes named Wynona
And the last thing he wants to see is Santa on her
So we’re loadin’ up the toy sack with heroin and crack
We sent Santa off to Georgia
He ain’t comin’ back
And we call up an evil green Grinch
To tell him Santa’s holdin’
And they’ll have him on the chain gang
And the electric chair
The electric chair

And there’ll be a happy ending
All you girls and all you boys
There won’t be no more Santa
There won’t be no more toys
There’ll be no stoppin’ Rudy and Wynona
And I’ll be taking off Mrs. Claus’ Kimono
I’ll be taking off Mrs. Claus’ Kimono
I’ll be taking off Mrs. Claus’ Kimono
I’ll be taking off Mrs. Claus’ Kimono

Merry Christmas!

Drive-By Truckers – “Used To Be A Cop”

Drive-By Truckers - "Go Go Boots"
Upcoming album from Drive-By Truckers. Image courtesy

These guys are like clockwork, producing classic, raw alternative-rock / country year after year. Their latest effort, Go Go Boots, comes out a mere eleven months after 2010’s stellar The Big To-Do, and judging by this live cut, it’s going to be as good as ever.

The new album comes out February 15th, and if you pre-order on their website, you’ll have a shot at winning a pair of tickets for every DBTs show in 2011 (at least every show after February 15, 2011). As usual there are multiple ways to buy the album, everything from a $9.99 digital download to a $74.99 “Deluxe Edition” including vinyl, bonus tracks, the full CD, the digital version of the album, a special DVD of videos and a series of special art prints from Wes Freed, who has been designing the band’s album covers for years.

As a special bonus, check out one of my favorite recent DBTs songs, “This Fucking Job,” performed live on Letterman from back in March.