The mid-season classic gives us an unwelcome respite from the essential baseball season. But it allows us to reflect on some of the music that has coursed through our cerebellum in the first half of the year. Here are some of my personal All-Stars.
Radiohead-A Moon-Shaped Pool. Whenever I feel like the world has “Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain,” I am reassured that this band can still have a #1 Rock album on the Billboard Charts. Someone must be paying attention. Someone must care. They’re playing Lollapalooza. Get yourself ready.
And as a bonus: Kids react to the “Burn the Witch” video.
Beck-“Wow” Sure he looks like he needs a hamburger and when he wins a Grammy, social media explodes with curious outrage, but he rarely makes a musical misstep. There is finally a date for a new album in the fall. Meanwhile, he has been content to tease us with a couple singles. Has Kanye covered any of his tunes yet? Because he should.
All Chicago All-Star Infield:
Just as The Cubs took over the National League infield, my all-star infield features 6 Chicago artists who could use the same rabid support.
1B– A lanky first-bagger with a lot of range, Robbie Fulks follows up his brilliant Gone Away Backward with Upland Stories, too cool for country and too folk for rock. Turns a phrase as quickly as a 3-6-3 DP. One of the best singer-songwriters working in America today.
2B– Ike Reilly. Like many a standout second baseman before him, a scrappy, unrepentant rocker the critics love and the Coldplay fans fear. “I used to want to die young, but it’s too late now.” Latest album is Born on Fire. Title track was used in a documentary for his old college buddy Chris Farley.
SS– Waco Brothers. They cover a lot of ground. Their capacity for living life to its fullest reminds baseball fans of Babe Ruth. When you need a collection of bruising 2 minute rock and roll songs look no further than Going Down in History.
3B Michael McDermott- Best on defense when he’s deep in the hole, this classic hard core troubadour brings the same intensity to his lyrics as he does to his performance out in the field. Willow Springs is his new album. Author Stephen King is a longtime fan, saying
“Michael McDermott is one of the best songwriters in the world and possibly the greatest undiscovered rock n roll talent of the last 20 years.”
Starting Pitcher: And on the mound, a hurler who began her career when Jackie Robinson was playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mavis Staples collaborates on “Livin’ on a High Note” with a roster of superstars like Neko Case, Nick Cave, Ben Harper and The Head and the Heart.
Catcher: Your All-Star catcher has to be smart enough to direct all the action on the field. You have to reserve your use of a word like genius so when Andrew Bird comes along you can use it without diminishing its power. The newest album is called “Are You Serious.” Yes. I am.
There’s your 2016 All Chicago All-Star infield.
Let’s finish up the starting 9 in the outfield.
LF– The Jayhawks- They’ve always been kinda in left field. “Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces” is the prettiest song I’ve heard this year.
CF– Frightened Rabbit- I’m only surprised this Scottish band does not get more hits. Painting of a Panic Attack came out just in time for the start of the baseball season.
RF– I need a strong arm in right field. Bob Mould is a player with power and a killer arm.