Song of the Day: The Mekons – “Hard to Be Human Again”



You probably haven’t heard of the Mekons. Despite the fact that I’ve previously written about them, you can be forgiven for skipping that article from two years ago. Luckily, you’ve got a brand new chance to get into the criminally underrated English country/punk group. Though I’m using the fact that co-founder Jon Langford turned 60 years old this week as an entry point, you really don’t need a reason to start listening to the Mekons. Their 1985 record Fear and Whiskey is a dusty and lonesome record about open spaces and doomed relationships that happens to incorporate the rhythm and volume of first-wave punk. For fans of groups like The Clash, Gram Parsons, Uncle Tupelo and the Magnetic Fields, Fear and Whiskey  is a must. If you hate all those groups, maybe you’ll still like “Hard to Be Human Again.” The rhythm is so relentless, it’s almost metronomic, and it just barely captures the swirls of distorted guitar, a wild animal destined to  break free. I also really enjoy the call-and-response vocals and harmonica interludes. It’s as if Joe Strummer and Mick Jones went a little bit county. Really, though, the Mekons are more than a chicken-fried Clash. In their long career, the group helped to usher in an exciting wave of below-the-radar roots music that can still bears fruit today. Check it out, yeah?

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