I’m going to do the thing people don’t like which is to judge another. My judgment is aimed at Samuel Claiborne who reminds me of a guy I hate. a bartender at a local bar.
Why do I hate that dude? Because he keeps winning, that’s why! He wins the way most people widely accept success, by holding onto power. Power I believe he doesn’t deserve.
Okay, hate is a strong word and in no way is Samuel that guy because what he has is just like what I have, the world we’ve created that no person can take away.
Samuel Claiborne is very much like Leonard Cohen that way. He’s got something that’s entirely his own, something I never tire of because I’m more fascinated with the results that come from daily battles fought by single men like maestro Claiborne. He’s a Peter Gabriel, a Trent Reznor a Peter Murphy.
If you’ve never heard of Samuel Claiborne: he’s been experimenting with music for quite some time now. He’s paid his dues with bands like The Wolves, Things Fall Apart and The Poorboys so this dude’s been around and he’s even opened up for other experimental artists such as Richard Hell and one of my favorites, Einsturzende Neubauten.
I feel as if Samuel and I are connected somehow, through Blixa Bargeld since I saw him perform with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds back in a Lollapalooza of the past and little did a realize how close Claiborne was to tap into my river of musical inspiration. I could have gone with my initial feeling just from the front cover alone, that he and I come from the same place.
With the first track Say Goodbye To America, the standard rock riff leads us right into a horn section I wasn’t expecting and with it, a simple message about how America is being sold out. As the song builds to a patriotic close, he closes big with marching drums and a whaling guitar solo. An example of what to expect for the rest of the album.
Claiborne doesn’t make any secret of his politics on this album and I’m not going to assume that there’s no depth to what he’s saying because the music says he’s not lacking in depth.
Look, I tend to forget that weekends are about getting away from the bullshit we get caught up in during the week. With what I do, every day is the weekend for me. But I get it, it’s exhausting and we want out of it so this might not be your go to when you want to get away from it all, but *turns on the McLaughlin Hour, the message isn’t condescending. If we’re to believe that the entire political atmosphere is stunk up by right wing extremist ideas, then this album would either be refreshing due to Samuel Claiborne’s subjectively liberal views. It certainly clears the air up a bit.
The Lion & The Lamb is a matter of fact song about the acceptance of sexual preference by reasoning with someone using the commonly accepted notion that God created everyone equally. This track seems to be mocking the stereotypical indoctrination of rural rednecks by making it sound like a country western song with the fiddle intro.
Yet, when the album isn’t hinged on a political message, it’s glowing with an aura of beautiful strangeness.
For instance, Hungering For Strange reminds me of that road movie sound similar to the dream induced Christian Death (Valor) track off of an early release. It’s distant and grand.
Other times such as in the track Succulence (Blasphemy), it sounds like I’m listening to Patrick O’Hearn’s Eldorado album in the background.
Back in the day there used to be a very independent movie theater called The Major Theater, which was said to be more independent than the Inwood which I never doubted with their showing of films like G.G.Allin’s Hated and Zeram.
It was edgy, dark, wild and for me this album hearkens back to that space and time.
I guess I wasn’t surprised when he did his version of Hurt by Trent Reznor. At the time that The Downward Spiral was released, I was hearing it everywhere, even the lobby of that same theater and so this all fits into why I’m liking Claiborne more and more. And yes, while there has been at least a few versions of that song already which thrust it out into the mainstream, Samuel’s version is as legitimate a cover as if he had written it himself.
Broken spooks me a bit. Maybe it’s those strange sounds in the background, maybe I’m lost in a haze. It’s widely open to interpretation but years ago he did suffer a spinal crushing accident, if that’s the right way to put it, and he had to rehabilitate himself back to capacity. He talks about giving up and then there’s mention of morphine.
21st Century War is immersible world music and I love the track unbound because it’s a lot like Bowie’s Strangers When We Meet with that Reeves Gabriels styled wailing of his guitar.
By the time The Heart Is A Bomb comes around, I feel as if I’m a little smarter and that I’ve traveled to many exotic places in his world of musical ideas. I’m experiencing his world first hand and I love to return time and time again.
Go get this album!