(Smog) was the alias of Bill Callahan (he now releases albums as Bill Callahan). He was one the progenitors of lo-fi tape cassette recorder indie rock music, along with Sebadoh, The Mountain Goats, et al. Like most of the other pioneers of the genre, he eventually moved up and on to better recording studios and more polished records, and honestly I think he was all the better for it. Smog's music was always odd and structurally strange, with dark, and often hilarious lyrics as well.
There are many reasons I am envious of Bill Callahan, not the least of which are the former romantic ties between him and Chan Marshall (Cat Power)
and his current romantic ties to Joanna Newsom
In addition to him being a motherfucking pimp, many of his songs sit atop the list of songs I wish I wrote. Some are insanely scathing and bitter and funny. There is a song on his incredible album, Julius Ceasar, called Your Wedding. The lyrics are short, sweet, and awesome. "I remember, entering you. entering you. I'm going to be drunk, so drunk, at your wedding." While not all of his songs are completely bitter about lost love, all of them are clever and dark and because of his baritone voice, something seems deeply sinister about them. Like on Red Apple Falls' Stranger: "and why do you women in this town/let me look at you so bold/when you have seen what i was/in the last town/in the last town/you should have seen what i was/if i was a stranger/i was worse than a stranger/i was well-known"
I go back and forth between what I would call my favorite album of his, since there are maybe four that I think are absolutely incredible. The two previously mentioned, along with Knock Knock and Dongs of Sevotion. While Dongs wins for awesome album title, Knock Knock wins for maybe greatest album cover ever.
And in honor of this beej worthy man, here are a few of his more awesome songs for your enjoyment.
Dress Sexy At My Funeral
I Break Horses