It’s been pretty quiet at the Beck camp for the last few years, that is, in terms of new music from the soul/punk/pop/rock genius, despite being busy serving as record producer for the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) and Thurston Moore (formerly of Sonic Youth). But thankfully, Mr. Hansen was recently in Nashville in 2011 recording material for his soon-to-be latest LP release, and while at Jack White’s Third Man Records during his last day in town, churned out an amazing impromptu session, which has now made it to vinyl.
It should be no surprise while in Nashville Beck serves up some instant, classic, old school country sounds for his TRM debut release, two tracks that really show the youth of today what country music used to sound like.
The A-side boasts the track “I Just Started Hating Some People Today,” featuring Beck on vocals, electric guitar and harmonica; White on drums, backing vocals and acoustic guitar; Dean Ferita on keys, background vocals, bass and acoustic guitar, and Fats Kaplin on one amazing fiddle and pedal steel guitar, the one true instrument of any worthwhile country music. White’s vocals also goes all-out punk toward the end of the song, while in The Beatles’ “You Know My Name, Look Up The Number” fashion, Karen Elson croons “I’m going to kill you” over a swanky lounge jazz beat. Lots of interesting peaks and valleys served up within this five minutes of recorded bliss.
The B-side to this fresh piece of hot wax has Beck channeling his best Leonard Cohen on “Blue Randy”, a dark and moody number that could be a page straight out of the Tom Waits songbook made especially for the AM radio waves. Things slow down just a bit here with Beck’s breezy and breathy vocals over White’s card shuffling drums and Kaplin’s tear-jerking honky tonk pedal steel.
Beck’s musical taste never ceases to amaze me, and this release from TMR is no different. I would love to hear a full-on “Beck Goes Country” LP somewhere down the line (produced by Jack White, of course) which would serve as an interesting genre-bending science fair project in the same manner as Willie Nelson doing Reggae on 2005’s “Countryman” album. White did a spectacular job performing on and producing Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose” album, after all.
Will the public have a chance to see or hear more interesting material such as this from Beck on his upcoming LP release? It would be a tragic shame, if not. However, I’ve come to respect the fact that you just don’t know what Beck will come up and out with next. Only time will tell.
To purchase your own copy of Beck’s new TMR 45rpm single, buy away here or download the tracks from iTunes. *(Do the world a favor, tho…buy the vinyl. It sounds better, anyway.)