Tribute albums and Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox

Photography by geishaballs

I have a love/hate thing for tribute albums. In one hand, they are fucking awesome because I love a good & proper cover and tribute albums offer a chance for some of my favourite artists to do just that! BUT, the hate comes from how I invariably feel like a total loser for not being familiar with the artists they are covering! Back to the plus side though, it then gives me an opportunity to learn about a brand-spanking-new-to-me artist, and well, that’s ALWAYS a good thing.

In summary:

2 goods + 1 potentially bad for the ego = love/hate
love/hate – stupid “I wish I was cool” ego = SUPERAWESOMEGOODTIMES!!!


But heres my question. On these obscure — “obscure”, as in, I’ve never heard of them, meaning, probably not obscure at all — tribute albums, like today’s for Chris Knox and that cool one for Mark Mulcahy, do ALL the artists really know who the artist is when they sign up? Or are they approached, are (like me) completely ignorant, do a little digging, give a thumbs up, pick their song to cover, then knock it out for the album?

No clue, but I imagine there’s GOT to be some from column A and some from column B, right? Either that or C, I’m just that clueless….

Now that I think about it, it’s probably D, all of the above.

Oh well.

So, if you are, like me, wondering who the hell Chris Knox, let’s sit down by the fire and have us a little learnin’ session via the youtues. Scooch a little closer, it’s okay, I won’t bite ya!

There, I feel better, don’t you? Me too! And to all the cool kids laughing at us, pointing their snobby little fingers, making fun of my hair, piss off.

Unless you are Chris Knox or his family, there was a time where you didn’t know who he was too! So, nyeh! =P

Okay. Now that we’ez got the “who”, here comes the “why”… According to Merge, recently Knox had a pretty severe stroke that resulted in an inability to walk & talk to some degree. No matter who you are or what you do, that’s a damn shame. So, the folks at Merge got a pretty bad ass list of artists together to celebrate him & his music, including favourites of mine, Jeff Mangum, AC Newman, & Bill Callahan, and created Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox!

Once seeing the news, I had to own it. Some credit card info passed, a little bit o’ downloading and BLAMO! my ears were a-warshed in a plethora of sounds and songs, all 36 of which were new to me! Love it.

Well, not every song, some were just not up to my “getting” (like “Grand Mal” and “Knoxed Out” that finish off the first disc, BEYOO! right over my head), which is totally fine. $12 for 36 songs (i.e 1/3 the price of crappy iTunes crappy crap) for a talented and (obviously) loved artist who’s battling a physical problem? Hell, even if I only got one CD out of, I’d be a happy boy.

Hell, I’m happy just getting a new Mangum & Newman song!

So, why don’t you do yourself & your karma a bit of good, head on over to the Merge store, sample ALL the songs, love a bunch, toss the man your $11.99, and enjoy! Here’s the track list with a couple semi-random mp3s (well, two planned, two random), but really, go get your own copies…. it’s good stuff.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Chris Knox originals to start learnin’ about!

Disc One:

01 Jay Reatard: “Pull Down the Shades”
02 The Checks: “Rebel”
03 The Bleeding Allstars: “Ain’t It Nice”
04 Peter Gutteridge: “Don’t Catch Fire”
05 The Chills: “Luck or Loveliness” (removed on request)
06 David Kilgour: “Nothing’s Going to Happen”
07 The Crying Wolfs: “All My Hollowness to You”
08 Stephin Merritt: “Beauty”
09 Portastatic: “Nostalgia’s No Excuse”
10 The Mint Chicks: “Crush” (removed on request)
11 Jay & Sam Clarkson: “I’ve Left Memories Behind”
12 Sky Green Leopards: “Burning Blue”
13 Shayne Carter: “The Slide”
14 Pumice: “Grand Mal”
15 Hamish Kilgour: “Knoxed Out”

Disc Two:

01 Boh Runga: “Not Given Lightly”
02 Red & Zeke: “Bodies [ft. Bill Doss and Neil Cleary]”
03 Jeff Mangum: “Sign the Dotted Line” (removed on request)
04 Bill Callahan: “Lapse”
05 Genghis Smith: “Growth Spurt”
06 Yo La Tengo: “Coloured”
07 A.C. Newman: “Dunno Much About Life But I Know How to Breathe”
(removed on request)
08 Alec Bathgate: “Glide”
09 Don McGlashan: “Inside Story”
10 Sean Donnelly: “The Outer Skin”
11 Lambchop: “What Goes Up”
12 The Mountain Goats: “Brave”
13 The Tokey Tones (and Friends): “Round These Walls”
14 The Bats: “Just Do It”
15 Bonnie “Prince” Billy: “My Only Friend”
16 The Finn Family: “It’s Love”
17 Jordan Luck: “Becoming Something Other”
18 The Verlaines: “Driftwood”
19 Lou Barlow: “Song of the Tall Poppy”
20 The Nothing: “Napping in Lapland”
21 Tall Dwarfs: “Sunday Song”

Some Knox Link Love…
BUY NOW!!! | Myspace | Wiki | Official | Label

Tsuru And The Bride | Etsy | Society | Facebook | Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *