Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Bonobo - Black Sands
Bonobo is Simon Green, UK beatsmith, musician, producer... & Black Sands is his latest effort released on March 23rd, 2010. What to say about Black Sands? It's possibly Bonobo's most diverse & striking effort yet, incorporating the most ecclectic musical elements into each track of any of his previous releases. Violin, flutes, bird calls, synths, chimes, triangles, etc. You name it instrumentally & I believe Mr. Green has included it here. It's not just a kitchen sink though, Bonobo manages to fantastically blend all of these ingredients together to make a relaxing but inspiring, downtempo collection of musing tracks. They make the head-nod & move the feet the same. Check it out.
Peanut Butter Wolf - Styles, Crews, Flows, Beats
Peanut Butter Wolf co-founder of the Stones Throw alternative funk & hip-hop label outta California. This is a collection of exactly what he calls it.. Style, Crews, Flows & Beats, the range on this one is incredible, its got Funk, Soul, Hip-hop, Jazz, R&B all pulled down into a hip-hop beat menagerie... mmm good.
Willie Bobo - Broasted or Fried!
Willie Bobo is a classic funk & Soul artist from the late 1960's that just knows what's good & how to kick it.
The Vitamin String Quartet - The Shape & Colour of my Heart: A String Tribute to The Foo Fighters
This really speaks for itself.. melancholy, while invigorating, all the classic Foo arrangements set to a classical string quartet. By now I'm convinced the members of Vitamin are huge classic metal & Modern Rock fans considered this is 1 in nearly 50 modern rock & heavy metal String Quartet Tributes they've put together now & this one does not disappoint if you're a Foo Fighters fan.
Monday, October 19, 2009
So after thinking about making my own list for the last three weeks, I actually sat myself down and did it. So at this moment, these are my top favorite songs. Yes, this topic is always a revolving door, and I'm sure I forgot many songs and will kick myself in the booty for not thinking about them when I wrote this out. But these songs are what comes to mind at the moment, and I guess that's good enough for now. And by no means do I write this thinking that these are the best songs ever written, recorded, or sung... because they definitely are not. I'm not trying to impress you with my music knowledge. These are just the songs that got me started, interested. These are the songs that mean the world to me...
Long, Long, Long, The Beatles
Yes, I know. Of all the Beatles songs to choose from I pick one from the least loved side of white album. With valid reason though, because Harrison lets himself loose and reveals it all. This could be the one of most genuine, heart felt songs in the Beatles collection. (Bold statement I know.) And it does it for me every time.
Romeo & Juliet, Dire Straits
I first heard this song while watching the movie Empire Records. Being 13, this movie was pretty damn cool, and the epitome of what I wanted my life to be. I wanted to work at a record store. (What can I say, I dream big.) I wanted to know these songs... especially this one. It was was so different than anything I had heard before. It was sweet and sincere, but at the same time it held mystery and intrigue. I was hooked. As time did unfold my adolescent dream job came to reality. Almost a decade later I became an official employee at record store. Oh bOy! Only it wasn't nearly as exciting as the one at Empire Records. There was no speed. No pills. There was no back room sex or roof top hook-ups, and there definitely wasn't a has-been singer that I wanted to lose my (non-existing) virginity to. My record store had Chris Isaak. And while I do secretly admire the man a little, (and by a little I mean a lot) I most certainly was not pulling a Liv Tyler and wearing a red bra for him... But I might have lingered by his autograph table for a few hours, re-stacking the same shelve of cds over and over like a manic obsessive-compulsive.
Fake Plastic Trees, Radiohead
... from my first and favorite Radiohead album. I think I was initially drawn to this song because it was the easiest to learn on guitar. Now for many more reasons than that.
Night Moves, Bob Seger
I'm a sucker for some Seger. I can listen to this song on a constant loop. Ooooh it's good! Find me someone that doesn't have this blaring down the boulevard on a perfect summers night. Seriously. I would like to have a word with them. It would probably start out with me asking this... "So it's the (lyrical) promiscuity that gets your goat?"
This is just one of those songs that continually builds to be better and better. James is tremendous and (for the most part) breathes life to the fullest. Great lyrics full of honest emotion.
The Boy with the Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian
One of my college loves & road trip favorites. And Alex, I owe these last two all to you...
There are certain things you remember in life. Your first job. Your first kiss. Your first best friend... and to the music fiends out there, i'm sure you recall your first record, 8-track, cassette, or cd... So that being said, one fateful day-trip to Circuit City, my mother purchased me a 3-disc changer home stereo. Fuck Yeah was it ever cool! I was happy as a clam. I remember decorating it with those big peace flower stickers and all. Boy. Now this was an exciting moment in my life. And since it was a high tech 3-disc changer, I needed 3 cds to compliment it. So my first ever CD purchases went as follows. 1/ Counting Crows - August and Everything After. As disappointing as they became, they were phenomenal when they started. This album I hold near and dear. 2/ Meat Puppets - To High To Die - I don't even know where this CD went, but I'd sure like to find it! And 3/ as most could expect, R.E.M - Automatic for the People... That's when the gates opened and the floods pursued. I owe a lot to them. From Murmur and beyond... This song sets the tone for it all. (And after living a pretty fun life, and a few late night swimming moments of my own, this song is ever the more meaningful and memorable.)Cue the wah-wah music... Yes, I am one of those chickies... One of those hopeless romantics who fall to their knees in love with every whisper and crack of certain singer songwriters. Show me a romantic comedy movie or have me read a romance novel, and i'll wince with pain as I laugh all the way home. But put on a Drake, Elliot, or Buckley album and I'll succumb to every word and believe them all to be true.
Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley
Have you ever pulled your car in the driveway, turned it off, and waited in the driver's seat, in the dark, for the song you're listening to to finish?... and then remain sitting there, for a while after it's done, to take it all in. As simple as they are, these are some of the greatest moments in life. And this was one of them for me. Yes, I know it's Cohen's masterpiece originally. But Buckley. He made it magic. He made it come to life. For the most part every song on this album is interchangeable. It's a great piece of work. (Side note: When I get a place with enough space, I'm getting a dog, most likely a retriever, and his name will be Buckley... So check called it, don't be stealin' my thunder!)
One of These Things First, Nick Drake
This one falls in the above category. Now there are so many choices from Drake, but this one in particular combines optimism, innocence, and imagination. I always picture a small child bicycling in slow motion on the streets of his suburb town, arms spread out like wings as he rides daydreaming about what the future holds.
I Want You, Elvis Costello
Some things just happen by chance. Elvis Costello was exactly that. I happen to have an amazing friend who says Yes! to everything. No matter how crazy or stupid the situation is, the answer will be yes, every time. So one weekend during the college days, said friend wanted to drive to Canada just for the hell of it. I guess I kind of did to, because I jumped in his car at 5am and we were off. We got pulled over at the border. Could have got in a lot of trouble, but didn't... Then continued our way to Niagara Falls, where we could drink and gamble for the first time legally. (Canada is great fun!) Next day we continued North to Toronto. Got an expensive Hotel and went to a Blue Jays/ Giants game. Just for the hell of it. Next day saw a flyer on the street for an Elvis Costello show that night. We heard of his name before, but never actually heard his work. So we went. Just for the hell of it. And it was fantastic. Funny how life unfolds itself sometimes. Been digging in his works ever since. This song is frickin' awesome. Maybe it's because he maintains to sound so cool and collective throughout, even though his lyrics are dripping with an unbelievable amount of jealousy, desperation, and lust.
Hotel Chelsea Nights, Ryan Adams
I like Adams a lot. And I feel like he doesn't get enough recognition. Or maybe he does. But I can only remember having one conversation
in my lifetime that revolved around him. And I think it lasted a whole 13 seconds. And he's worthy of more. Chelsea Nights offers the grit of a classic Tom Waits tune with the soulful undertones of Prince's Purple Rain - And all the pain that lies in between.
Wish You Were Her, Billy Bragg
You know. Looking at my list, it's pretty evident that I like depressing songs. The more dark the better. Don't know why, but I just do. Though this one could be classified as a "downer," I also think it could be viewed as quite the opposite. Perhaps more of a secret appreciation. Either way, though Bragg is mostly known for his words of government rebellion, he proves with this song and others, that sometimes people just get distracted.
Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Smashing Pumpkins
Aaahhh Whaaat!? Was that your first reaction? I'm sure it was. Because it would be mine. But trust me there is a story to go along with this pick. Remember a few albums back when I said, "There are certain things you remember in life..." Well consider this part II, The continuation of my musical memories.
The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie Tour', with opener Garbage, was my first concert. Ever. Alone. Accompanied only by friends and that amazing feeling of freedom. Of living. Yes, at 13 this was one of my favorite albums. And Bullet with Butterfly Wings was my favorite song. (Looking back, tracks like Galapogos, Thirty-Three, and By Starlight are way better...) But it was the angst and explosion that Bullet with Butterfly Wings had that hooked me. And like every typical confused teenager, I thought "the world is so f'ed up... no one gets me, blah, blah, blah..." So this was the perfect song to match... (News flash for the little kiddies of the future. The world will always be f'ed up, and no one will ever get you 100% of the time. Hopefully you'll end up with someone that gets you 72.3% of the time. And that's a good average.) So back to original story. So we are at the show. Garbage was okay, probably slightly better in my mind because this was the first time I was in a large arena with loud guitars and cool looking people. But then the real deal came on. The Pumpkins! I was going out of my mind. This was amazing. A few songs past, and then I heard the beginning riff to my favorite teenage tirade of a song... My eyes were going to pop out of their sockets.
Just then one of my two girlfriends looks over at me and says... "You ready?" (What she meant: Are you ready to go smoke these Marlboro Lights that I stole from my mom's purse? We want to go now.)
(Pause.) Almost five seconds later, I said..."No, it's cool. You guys go on." (What I meant: Now? Now!! Are you guys fuckin' serious!!! Is this not the best moment of your entire fuckin' existence? And you want to leave it, to go smoke cigarettes that we probably aren't even inhaling. You're insane. Absolutely not.)
What they said... "Suit yourself" (What they meant: I knew she wasn't cool enough to hang out with us.)
What I thought... (Wow. This must mean something to me.)
... And it did. That was is it. That was my music moment. That's when I realized that the strong emotions I carried for music was not the same as everyone else's. For a teenager to skip on an activity that was declared "cool" was unheard of. This was huge. Or atleast it was for me. Because at the time, I definitely was one to follow the crowd. But not now. I had this. So going on music was my main passion. None of my girlfriends understood it like I did, but I was okay with that. It was officially mine.
And that's why I declare this song one of my favorites of all time.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Portugal. The Man ------ Rx Bandits ------- Dredg
"The Satanic Satanist" ------ "Mandala" ------- "The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion"
I wanted to speak today/tonight/tomorro about Taking a Leak.... Never Fear, I'm not talking about what you do in the lavatory. What I'm referring to when I say "Take A Leak" is the taking of leaked music or albums from the internet. Well, whataboutit? Are you a leak taker? A Pirate? A Digital Booty Thief? Do you fit the profile of someone that illegally obtains music from internet based sources for your own enjoyment, entertainment, or amusement? Or is it for more illicit reasons, i.e. Selling bootlegs CD's on the street corner like the true skell that you are? Maybe, maybe not. Either way - I'd like to speak on it momentarily if you'll indulge me.
Pirating music in the last 10 years + has become many things, a blight, a boon, a phenomenon, an epidemic, all things to all different groups.... whether it be Record Labels that have had to lose millions in revenue (Yay!?) to these file sharing networks that enable individuals to search & download many different types of digital content including music. Some see it one way, others in a different light. I'm here to talk about the bands whose music has been made available via illegal early leaks..
Portugal. The Man, Rx Bandits, Dredg, Eels, Metric, St. Vincent, The Thermals, Thrice, Discovery, Passion Pit, Mos Def, Abe Vigoda, Albert Hammond Jr., ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Apostle of Hustle, As Tall As Lions, Wilco, Doves, 311, Tortoise, Taking Back Sunday, Silversun Pickups, & the list just goes on & on & on forever. Each of these artists has either released a new album, had an as yet un-released album leaked early, or just piqued my interest & had their wonderful work pilfered by my grubby internet fingers in recent weeks.
Starting with my first listed artists above, I'd like to speak briefly on Portugal. The Man's recently leaked album "The Satanic Satanist".
Not the most creative name in my opinion for a band that has shown tremendous depth in their insistence on creating a unique & divergent album with each subsequent musical outing that they've embarked on. "The Satanic Satanist" is a wonderful album from this band whose early years sounded like if Minus The Bear & The Mars Volta had an illegitimate child & said child was then raised by founding members of Incubus, Coheed & Cambria, & maybe the Who. They followed in the footsteps of many bands of that nature. A post-prog, post emo inkling sound that was like all your favorite bands growing up but oh so brand new & electrifying.
Well forget everything you may or may not remember about those early albums. Yet at the same time, take all those early albums & their influences, mix in some pop & put them in a blender with Willie Nelson & what new records from Woody Guthrie might sound like. This might get near the sound that comes through on "The Satanic Satanist". As I always recommend, It really takes 3-5 listens all the way through to digest it. It's wide, it's lush, it's warm, & intimate all in one. I'm pretty sure that Portugal. The Man is on the verge of becoming one of the best bands in contemporary music. I know we hear that a lot, I might even say it a lot but I don't think it's very long before everyone & their mother agrees with me.
Here's a link to them performing "People Say" from the new record Live.
Looking forward to seeing them @ Johnny Brenda's in fishtown Philadelphia on Oct. 22nd.
* Next - Rx Bandits - Mandala
The Rx Bandits are wonderful! With the release of Mandala the Rx Bandits continue to grow their sound in new & exciting ways. Some will consider the idea that they've lost their brass section as a detraction in sound, while the band is quoted as saying they felt the horn section in their previous work was holding them back from rocking out. Either way, Rx Bandits fans couldn't ask for a better compliment to their catalog than what the band has given them in Mandala. From the opening pummel of "My Lonesome Only Friend" to the Proggy intensity of "Breakfast Cat" (Possibly the Rx's greatest song ever written), Mandala delivers & surpasses on all heightened expectations of what this band would deliver.
Starting in 1999 out of California as a ska-pop-punk outfit, they've transitioned & reformed slowly & meticulously into a Prog rock, hyper-tempo'd, kinetic group of songwriters. Matt Embree's lyrics stir the political & personal pot as much as ever if not more so on Mandala with lyrics like, "Are you living the life that you've dreamed of, or while you're working are you working just to survive?", while the instrumental chops of the band keep getting better. The instrumental breakdown that concludes "It's Only Another Parsec.." is the perfect example of a great band with a burgeoning sound that's increasingly comfortable broadening their musical ambitions.
All in all, following 2 fantastic hard rock ska albums like "The Resignation" & "...And The Battle Begun" wasn't going to be easy, but with the release of "Mandala" the Rx Bandits have done it & have possibly even surpassed those 2 great works. Kudos bandits!
* Dredg - The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion -
What a title! Named for a Salman Rushdie essay "Imagine There's No Heaven: A Letter to the 6 Billionth Citizen", The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion is a brilliant return to form for Dredg. Previously Dredg had released 2 albums while signed to Interscope Records, "El Cielo" & "Catch Without Arms". Both of which are great albums, especially "El Cielo", but with "The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion" Dredg has returned to self-promotion & display a freedom that wasn't as evident while the record label pressure hung over the music. This is adventurous stuff for the California foursome. From the childlike chanting that opens "Pariah", to the great interlude that is "Drunk Slide", it's Dredg's signature sound tweaked up with little creative touches that touchstone back to their arching crescendos & emotional build ups of "El Cielo" combined with the taut, sharp songwriting displayed on "Catch without" but with just enough improvisational free-wheeling to make it feel loose & exciting again.
Gavin Hayes has managed to fill almost every song with palpable emotion that grips the listener with the turn of every word. "Ireland" seeps into the mind with his musings on the changing of life & love & how time affects both. Lamenting the loss of innocence & the inevitable cynicism that comes with growing up, the Hayes' lyrics are as tragically enthralling as they ever were. The band has also managed to create a musically epic soundscape for Gavin Hayes to pour his heart out onto. "Lightswitch" opens with a Built To Spill-esque country twang guitar line that harkens back to 1994's "There's Nothing Wrong with Love" or Doug Martsch's solo work "Now You Know".
To say it plainly, Dredg has always been an emotionally gripping band. Their music has a plaintive, heart on sleeve quality that worms inside even the densest heart & mind coupled with titanic, building instrumentals that show how touching real hard rock can be when done with finesse. Overall, the album is fantastic & the band deserves much more attention than what they regularly receive.
Of all 3 of the albums listed above, The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion is by far the most invasive. Each album is great in its own right, but none touch the heart with dramatic emphasis like Dredg's does. 5 Stars.
So to sum up, each of these albums has been leaked & illegally downloaded to provide the audio entertainment for this review. The internet has changed the way the world works in so many ways, & it will continue to do so whether the suits & ties can hope to contain it or manage it. I for one am happy to support the artists by buying their albums first hand after having enjoyed the free download capabilities. Most progressive bands in this day & age realize that their music will inevitably be leaked & that only by incessant touring & continual self-promotion will they be able to endure & prosper. The idea being that the more people that hear your work, the more downloaders you have pirating your songs, the more individuals will come to know & love your music as well. Let's all do our part to keep downloading & leaking the music we love as long as we promise to buy a cd once in a while or pay for a download & then go see the groups when they roll into town. These guys need to make a living too & they can only continue to do it & continue to make the music that we love if we help to support them, right?
So go out & Buy some damn music then people!
This article gestated waaaay too long, & I've gotten about 200 additionally interesting albums in the meantime. More will hopefully follow soon.
bye for now.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
zSHARE - The Radio Rescue 8.25.09 FULLSHOW Prof. Anarchy.mp3
Shared via AddThis
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I'm back as promised, with my first Blog Radio Podcast, or whatever you prefer to call it. Recording this mix was a bag of "mixed" emotions for me. It's been years since I listened to many of the songs in this mix, so there was plenty of excitement, nostalgia, enjoyment and jubilee involved with the recording process. On the other hand, I use Serato for all my DJing purposes these days, and during the recording it began to crap out on me (for the first time ever), so there was plenty of stress, anger, frustration, terror and fear involved as well. But after everything was said and done, and the final mix was edited, I think it came out well, and it will be quite enjoyable for you. So here it is;
Track Listing is as Follows;
1. Sunny Day Real Estate - 47 / 2. The Fire Theft - Chain / 3. Brad - Buttercup / 4. Satchel - Suffering /5. Team Sleep - Ataraxia /6. Deftones - Can't Even Breathe /7. Rival Schools - Used For Glue / 8. Quicksand - Thorn In My Side /9. Handsome - Left Of Heaven /10. Mineral - July /11. The Gloria Record - Grace The Snow Is Here /12. Built To Spill - Carry the Zero /13. Butterfly Train - Paper Thin /14. Texas Is The Reason - Back And To The Left /15. New End Originals - 14 to 41 /16. Far - All Go Down
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
King Khan & the Shrines. Yeah Boy. –As of now, this album is in the running for one of my top albums of the year. Even though this album was officially released as an import in 2007, it's now on a new domestic label, Vice Records, with a few more tracks added to the bill. So it's kind of like the previous What Is!? with some other greatest hits thrown in there... So yes, in my eyes, a new album. (Which is complete BS I know, but I'm excited about them and wanna talk about it, Dog nammit!)
So what is WHAT IS?!? A cluster fudge of sound, that revolves around multiple eras, temperaments, and styles... with a kick ass brass section throughout. (These are players who worship Coltrane & played with Mayfield and Stevie Wonder. So no joke.)
To give you a basic recipe of King Kahn & the Shrines, I’ll start with the nucleus of their sound: 60’s psychedelic rock - A mixture of Jefferson Airplane, minus vixen Grace Slick, and Iron Butterfly. Well the one and only song I know from Butterfly – In A Gadda Da Vida Babbyyyyy. (Not the greatest song to have stuck in your memory membrane.) If you're turned off already, please keep reading. (I understand that drugs aren't for everybody.) So this is where King Khan & The Shrines throw a boom-a-rang in the mix, twist it up, and make it their own. They also add a strong sense of garage rock (lots of gritty prod and analog hiss), with a refreshing blast of surfer guitar, and, at times, a straight up ska beat. ON TOP of all that ,they throw in a little bit of Egyptian flare nestled on top of a warming layer of bluesy soul. And lead man, hootn' and hollern' Erick Kahn, sells it perfectly. Little to say, James Brown would be pleased with his pipes. (That came out a little weird, but you know what I'm talking about people.)
Yes, What Is?!, is that fun, brash, rowdy, and humorous... and just tickles my listening senses. It’s NOISE(y) at times, but definitely unique in that it’s different from everything you heard this year, or the last two. Worth the listen, even just to make sense of everything I wrote in the paragraph prior. So get to it ganstas!
Album Grade: B
Kaatcha Radio Rundown: Passion Pit - Sleepyhead/ Cut Off Your Hands - Oh Girl/ Devendra Banhart - I Feel Just Like A Child/ James - Hymm From A Village/ Deastro - Child Of Man, Son Of God/ Here We Go Magic - Tunnelvision/ King Khan & The Shrines - Land Of The Freak/ Bouncing Souls - That Song/ Deer Tick - Baltimore Blues No. 1/ The G0-Betweens - Cattle And Cane/ Matt & Kim - Lessons Learned/ King Khan & The Shrines - No Regrets/ Grandaddy - AM 180/ Eels - Mr. E's Beautiful Blues/ Passion Pit - Little Secrets/ Tiny Vipers - Dreamer