William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Opinions on Leonard Cohen & Sudan Archives

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Beat writer William S. Burroughs had a profound impact and interaction with rock and hip-hop music from the 1960s through his death in the late 1990s. Jim and Greg talk with author Casey Rae about his book on Burroughs and the cult of Rock ‘n’ Roll. They also review new albums from Leonard Cohen and singer and violinist Sudan Archives.

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Thanks for the Dance Leonard Cohen

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Although Leonard Cohen died in 2016, his 15th album, Thanks for the Dance, just came out. Produced with his son Adam, this record continues Cohen’s legacy as a gravelly voiced, poetic artist. Jim is impressed by the album and enjoys the minimalist instrumentation and production on it, especially since he notes many of his past works were too ‘80s synth heavy. He also likes that Cohen continued to weave seductive adventure tales like The Night of Santiago. Greg feels differently. He preferred Cohen’s last three records to this one, citing he felt it sounded unfinished and that his lyrics weren’t particularly fresh or inventive. He doesn’t think it’s a terrible album, but it doesn’t measure up to the high standard he has for Cohen’s music.

Athena Sudan Archives

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Sudan Archives wowed both Jim and Greg at SXSW a few years back, and her debut album, Athena, did not disappoint. Jim calls her sound really sophisticated R&B... based on her songs, her voice and that violin. She is also inspired by the fiddle-based folk music of Sudan, which shows in her self-taught violin stylings. Greg notes that she uses the instrument as a sound machine, using the violin in a variety of ways to add texture to the tracks. He adds that he loves that Sudan Archives is mixing the pop with the experimental feel, the exoticism with the more experimental. Jim concludes that Athena is a stunning debut.

William S. Burroughs and Music

Allen Ginsberg with William S. Burroughs. AP Photo

Beyond his influence as a Beat Generation writer, William S. Burroughs had an outsized influence over decades of musicians from Mick Jagger to Al Jourgenson, Paul McCartney to Patti Smith, and Throbbing Gristle to Kurt Cobain. Jim and Greg talk with music journalist Casey Rae about his new book, _ William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ‘n’ Roll_. In it he makes the case that Burroughs’ influence on music was deeper and more profound than his Beat contemporaries Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

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