The Gleaming Sword
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The Gleaming Sword

Cheek By Jowl: Medicine At Midnight (2021) & Starcrawler (2018)

It’s Dave Grohl Week!

Spotify: Medicine At Midnight & Starcrawler

I will say it over and over: Dave Grohl brought me here.

A year ago, I was still under the illusion that hotels would reopen under normal operations and I’d have my job back. A year has passed and it’s still far from possible. Also, a year ago, Dave Grohl surprised fans with Dave's True Stories, his personal account of backstage experiences as a musician. Hence, I joined Medium to read his stories with no intention of writing whatsoever.

I was a very cautious person, always thinking that whatever I say or write publicly might be used against me. I had no Twitter, I stopped using Facebook, and tried my best to avoid Insta. I’d thought there’s no point in telling people whatever’s happening in my life. “Who cares?” was my motto.

Reading Dave’s True Stories and a few excellent articles on this platform, I was encouraged to do the same. (Besides the fact that I was laid off from my sales job and had to quarantine for God knows how long.) With a lot of time in hand and a lot of thoughts in my head, I began writing. I started with a thank-you note to Dave and later I became comfortable writing for whoever’s interested.

However, Dave left us with only a handful of stories. I check his account from time to time to make sure that I don’t miss one. Nada. But three days ago, I opened Medium intending to write a draft and saw a new story from the man himself. Title: Never Erase. I was ecstatic because it was published on the same day as my Medium anniversary! For a guy who believes in omens, this is a big deal to me. Another full circle reminding me where I began.

Dave’s latest true story is crazy good. In the end, he teased an upcoming book and my heart leaped. It’s called The Storyteller. A book full of stories even before Nirvana is something that makes me more careful so that I’d live long enough to read it. All the more I became aware of Covid because I vow to stay alive for Dave’s memoir. To paraphrase: this book is keeping me alive.

The best thing about the teaser is that it has an audio recording where you’d hear Dave’s raspy narration.

The ninth week of Cheek By Jowl is dedicated to this guy who I won’t get tired of writing about.

Throwing it back to my first story for The Gleaming Sword, the time we were all excited for Foo’s “danceable” album, Medicine at Midnight. Now that it’s finally here, it is indeed a party album. It’s worth mentioning again that it is inspired by The Rolling Stones’ Tattoo You and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. (The mentioned albums foreshadowed the Cheek By Jowl series, ladies and gents.)

The songs that I’ve been shimmying on repeat are “Cloudspotter,” “Holding Poison,” “Love Dies Young,” and the album title, “Medicine at Midnight.” Remarkably, the tracks will start danceable only to explode later with Foo’s trademark sound — guitar-shredding, heavy drums, solid bass, and. . . Dave Grohl.

It was a challenge to pair this with another album so I did my research and looked for Dave-approved bands. And I hit the jackpot. Criminally, I wouldn’t have heard of Starcrawler if I didn’t google “Dave’s favorite bands.” Dave remarks that Arrow De Wilde, the lead of Starcrawler is an “incredibly powerful female lead singer (Buchanan, Alternative Nation).”

Yes, she is. The band released their self-titled album in 2018 when most of them were teenagers. Besides their impressive music, their videos are fun and I spent an hour watching them. Here’s a good one called “I Love LA.”

This is rock, man. The band is awkward and unique and definitely not something I’ve seen before. It’s so entertaining and so good that I abandoned Medicine At Midnight and played Starcrawler obsessively. In a few tracks, the guitarist Henri Cash serves as a backing vocal to De Wilde and their duo is reminiscent of the band X — only more understandable.

I spent today listening to the album cheek-by-jowl, guaranteed that it’s a good match.

You can never go wrong with this pairing. Foo’s upbeat tunes compliment the youthfulness of Starcrawler’s music. I felt younger listening to these. These albums are alive.

Dave Grohl is like a tree who branches onto many other things. There’s his legendary band, to begin with. His true stories are to be expanded into a full book releasing this October. Then, there’s his unwavering faith in the younger generation. This man, despite his achievements, will remain one of the most relatable human beings on the planet. His music and beliefs are something his fans do not take for granted.

I believed I could write because of him. I think I’m a fan.

If you aren’t suffocated yet with my enthusiasm, you might like last week’s pairing and let Jeff Buckley and Leon Bridges take you to church:

Many thanks for reading!




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Harry Male

Harry Male

Here for music, literature, and good omens.

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