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Oakland: Sir Lord Von Raven & Brian Glaze (March 2009)

1 April 2009

It’s been said that the kind of music most common in Oakland’s mostly white 20-30-something live music scene (largely underground, with the exception of the Stork Club, or otherwise forced to spill over into surrounding towns) has much more in common with the music (made mostly by black artists) of 40-55 years ago: rhythm and blues backbeats, melodies and instrumentation than it does with contemporary hiphop. Not that many of the 70-something black folks are coming out to places like The Stork Club most nights, only that there’s more of shared language.

Now, does the generational disconnect within the black community have anything to do with the increased segregation between the 20/30-something white and black musicians? Or was it more because the alienation of the electronic drum, which parallels the rise of crack cocaine (not that the great hand percussionist didn’t sometimes succumb to hard drugs)? Does this have anything to do with why more of the most interesting new musicians I know (in the white scene) are much less worried about being called “retro” than many of the most cutting edge musicians (in the largely black scene)?

So, Brian Glaze’s guitar style has been getting progressively more 80s alt-romance in its trancy Echo and The Bunthorne, but beyond that, nuggets like The Died Pretty’s classic “Modelling Class.” A brooder, even when he rocks; like Joe Tex not even trying to sing “La La La La La La La La La Means I You, for fear he’ll only be as convincing as David Bowie…” But just when you think Brian’s gonna serve the hippest lounge singer this side of The Move’s “Blackberry Way,” he’ll remind you how much The Brian Jonestown Massacre were pale imitations of his deceptively effortless use of offbeats (as if to zone out with a wink, “you don’t have to be crippled to dance!”)

While Sir Lord Von Raven is lonely, lonely, really lonely. He’s still very lonely. He’s Oakland lonely. Ocean lonely. Happy Parts Go-To-Bakeries Lonely. Fats Time Domino FLies Lonely. Chip Shoulder Glamour Grit Lonely. Dorian Grey Mike-The-Cat Lonely…Look him in the eyes, and ask him if he’s satisfied? Death-of-a-ladies-man Buster Poindexter lonely. Same-drummer-as-Brian-Glaze-lonely (Take him quiz question; does Jay Bronzini’s drumming style have anything particularly Italian about it?) Oh solo mio (lonely!). Anything but Sting lonely!