Forgot Myself - Jen Cloher

from the album Jen Cloher (2017)

I was nearing the gruesome end of a long relationship.  It was just a matter of time before one of us had the guts to put the final dagger in the other one's heart.  Needing to hit that big, red hyperspace button, I signed up for a three-month stint on the other side of the planet.

After a month in Sydney, I was still a zombie.  Walking the streets, alone in the night.  Standing in the corner of the bar, slamming VB's, smoking cigarettes, interacting with no one.  Going back to my room.  Waking up, heading to work, coming home, and stepping back into the night.

In some ways it was cathartic.  Endlessly writing the next great American novel in a dark corner of my mind.  Henry Miller meets Arthur Nersesian.  Nostrand Avenue.  Niagara Falls.  The Velvet Elvis.

So, one night, I'm standing at a crowded bar in King's Cross, chain smoking nasty sticks and drinking Jack on the rocks.  This chick across the room is making eyes at me, but, in thi…

Drive - Mere Women

from the album Big Skies (2017)

Drive by Mere Women is one of those songs that crave to see performed live.  I imagine a well mic'd drum kit mule kicking me in the chest to the thunderous tom beats.  Even though it sounds like a "smaller" kit, those drums need to be "felt" as well as heard.

I would also like to absorb the bass groove.  Bass guitar is a new addition for Mere Women.  I dig the way the groove stays present, adding dimension and bottom, without morphing the band's signature sound.  It is a lesson in restraint.

Together the bass and drums create anxious anticipation akin to a churning winter's ocean.  Swells.  Chops.  But never that climactic crash.

Over the rhythm section the guitar and synthesizer complete the post punk soundscape.  The collective sound is very agreeable to my musical tastes.

That leaves the vocals of Amy Young.  In my mind, I imagine how she stands, holding the mic, her groovy sway.  She sounds sexy, in a discordant way.  …

Feeling Good About Feeling Good - Art Feynman

from the album Blast Off Through The Wicker (2017)

Feeling Good About Feeling Good has rapidly become one of my very favorite songs of 2017.

This globydelic groove explosion is hypnotic, hyperbolic, and parabolic.  The jams jam for over seven minutes, man.  Groove and beat.  Move your feet.  Who's guitar playin'? Riff splayin'?  Mantis prayin'?  Jane, never let them stop this groovy thing...

The brainchild of Luke Temple, this song is recorded under his alter-ego of Art Feynman.  Although I dig his work as part of Here We Go Magic, the liberation of an alter-ego suits him well.

Capture the rapture.  Call the dispatcher.  Hope I die before they put me to pasture.

Click Here to listen to Feeling Good About Feeling Good.

Puss - Party Dozen

from the album The Living Man (2017)

Party Dozen is the name given to the duo of Kirsty Tickle and Jonathan Boulet, two Sydney, Australia musicians who play the saxophone and drums, respectively.

The music is a form of primitive experimental jazz.  I find it captivating.  On Puss, the duo take full advantage of multi-track recording to create layers of dissident sax over flat tom syncopation.  The add in a little bit of organ and percussion to round out the sound, but I honestly do not know if it is necessary.

I dig people creating their own vibes, marching to their own beats.  I would love to hang out with Party Dozen.  My guess is that it would be fun, in a different kind of way.

Click Here to listen to Puss on Bandcamp.

Cryin' In The Streets - Zeshan B.

from the album Vetted (2017)

One of my favorite "freedom songs" of the Civil Rights era is Cryin' In The Streets by George Perkins and The Silver Stars.  A lesser known song from 1970, George Perkins was inspired to write this song  based by his recollections of the imagery of Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral.  It drips with raw soul that is authentic and pure.

For me, this song speaks to the power of the image each of us projects towards the world and the impact that image has on others.  When I flip the dial, I see all sorts of people carrying on, projecting images and issuing statements that make me cringe.  Do these people realize that their freedom of speech also comes with responsibilities, and that they are seriously lacking in the latter?

Then there are others - the good ones - who use their imagery and words to inspire, educate, and promote justice.

Which are you?

It is great to hear Zeshan Bagewadi covering Cryin' In The Streets.  Songs like this should…

2017 In Aspic - Episode 2

Thus far in 2017, perhaps no genre of music has shined like the singer-songwriters.  This should not come as a major surprise.  After all, great singer-songwriters write and sing great songs.

There are so many great artists, songs, and performances in this mix.  I am certain that when the Grammy nominations come out this September, artists included here will be included.

I hope that this mix does justice to these songs.  Enjoy.

Here is the playlist:

Cry Cry Darlin' by Leslie Mendelson

Night Bird And Morning Bird by Abigail Lapell

You Ain't Worth Suffering For by Kasey Chambers

Hotel Amarillo by Caroline Spence

What A Girls Gotta Do by Lindi Ortega

Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing On A Sweet Potato Vine? by Jake Xerxes Fussell

Any Given Day by Georgia Mulligan

Astral Plane by Valerie June

Lies I Chose To Believe by John Moreland

No Good At All by Lucy Rose

Gaudy Frame by Monk Parker

Where I'll Find You by Joan Shelley

Shiver And Shake by Ryan Adams

Love Soldiers On by Tift Merritt


No Reason - Bonobo

from the album Migration (2017)

Bonobo is the musical moniker of Simon Green, a British musician, producer, DJ who now calls Los Angeles home.  His form of electronica is noted for its inclusion of global rhythms, many from Africa and Micronesia.

On his latest release, I am digging the song No Reason.  The beats and tones are straightforward in a way that really hooks me as a listener.  Vibe and texture set the soundscape apart.  I enjoy listening to this track in headphones to maximize fidelity.

The song is also notable for its lead vocal track by Australian electronic mastermind Chet Faker, who appears under his true name of Nick Murphy. Chet (or Nick) has one of my favorite voices in music today.

Click Here to watch the official video to No Reason.  It is very innovative.

Eléctrico - Sotomayor

from the album Conquistador (2017)

Global Bass is perhaps my favorite music genre, because of its energy and inclusiveness.  In this musical form, electronic bass - laid down in a thick and heavy style - is mixed with traditional forms of music from various areas of the world, be it latin, acrobat, gypsy rhythms, you name it...

I particularly dig when it mixes with latin dance music.  Cumbia, tango, the boogaloo.  All introduce great dance rhythms with pulsing electronica to create something fresh and dramatic.  Endless musical intersections tied together by bass.

Sotomayor are a brother-sister duo from Mexico City whose brand of Global Bass draws heavily from Cumbia, but also andean rhythms - such as peruvian chichas - as well as afro-beat.

Off their latest album, I am enamored with the song Eléctrico.  For me, it all starts with the three-note patterns that form the bass groove.  They completely hook me.  From there, the layering of synths, guitar, and latin instrumentation over a d…

Funny How Time Flies - Terrace Martin Presents The Pollyseeds

from the album Sounds Of Crenshaw, Vol. 1 (2017)

As the last Uber scuttled off with straggling party guests, I settled in on the front porch with my trusted four-legged companion Karma Jean (The Dance Machine), poured some Fireball over ice, and took in the sounds of the city.

Cole Porter had been bouncing around my brain all night. Tell me which is dreamier, Arcadia or Bohemia?  I started opening gifts.  Mostly booze and music.  Next, I unwrapped a book by Allen Ginsburg, collecting his lectures on the Beats.  I held the answer.

Winding down, I threw on Sounds Of Crenshaw, Vol. 1, the latest record by LA's Terrace Martin that introduces his new band: The Pollyseeds.  The vibe was perfect for my late night urban chill.  Rooted in jazz with hip-hop and R&B undertones, the grooves were deep and hypnotic.  His sax solos magnificently understated.

Saxophones and cities...

Throughout the party, people kept asking how old I was.  I am never one to retreat from saying the number, but…

King Tide And The Sunny Day Flood - Billy Bragg

from the single King Tide And The Sunny Day Flood (2017)

What better way to start your morning than with a tweet announcing a new Billy Bragg single?

That is how I woke up.  Now, I am bouncing between my computer and the espresso machine, listening, as my favorite protest singer croons for Mother Earth.

Here are the lyrics:

Wouldn't it be wonderful
If we could save the world and all
Simply by collecting up
Tin cans and empty bottles

We all want to believe it's true
But it don't matter what you do
So long as we continue to
Burn our way through fossils

Now it should come as no surprise
To learn about the ocean's rise
Polar caps are melting
With every year that the planet warms

Now people have to understand
We're gonna feel it far inland
It's gonna shift the seasons
And super charge the storms

King Tide is a coming
King Tide is a coming
King Tide is a coming
Bringing flooding on a sunny day

King Tide is a coming
Can't you hear the melt waters running
King Tide is a coming
Gonna sweep…

Paper Cowboy - Margo Price

from the EP Weakness (2017)

From a business perspective, Nashville is an amazing product enterprise.  It has built an enduring brand that connects with its customers, earning a loyalty that spans generations, while driving insane revenues and profits for those at the top of the heap.  They are the Johnson & Johnson of music.

Like Coca-Cola, Nashville has a secret recipe that works.  Unlike Coca-Cola (think New Coke), they have been prudent enough not to mess with success.

Nashville is a product factory.  Songwriters who understand the winning framework, endlessly working within it, gently pulling levers looking for something that connects and sells.  Musicians who are masters of their tone and technique, who get into the studio - or up on a stage - and knock it out every time.  Producers and Engineers who are expert in what a hit record "sounds" like and in how to capture that sound.  Lastly, the vocalists.  They are the stars.  The face of the brand.  They are sweet.  T…

Count Your Blessings - The Como Mamas

from the album Move Upstairs (2017)

When Thomas Edison first introduced electric light to the world, its power plants could only illuminate over short distances.  As a result, populated urban centers - like New York and Paris - became electrified while more rural locations remained in darkness.

Imagine the awe and excitement of seeing the lights of a city for the first time.

Radio provided a similar experience.  Early transmitters provided coverage of a relatively small radius, limiting their deployments to more densely populated urban centers.  However, as the technology matured, the transmitters expanded their range to include rural communities.

Imagine the awe and excitement of having music broadcast into your home for the first time.

The Como Mamas take their name from their small hometown of Como, Mississippi.  As girls, they were introduced to great music by the booming radio transmitter of WDIA in Memphis.  It was here that they absorbed the music of icons, like Elvis and Areth…

Gigolo A Go Go - Episode 7

Is there anything sexier than French Pop?  Mini-Skirts and Go-Go Boots.  Imagine yourself back in the 60's, jet setting with a Tom Collins in your hand.  Smiling at the flight attendants in those fabulous uniforms.  Aaaah.  What happened?  Damn hippies.

This mix takes a look at fifty years of French Pop.  Of course, you will find later grooves from Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg - along with a classic by Bridgette Bardot - but you will also find newer bands like La Femme, Stereolab, and The Limiñanas, the Bryan Ferry-esque stylings of Françios Veléry, the 70's pronto-punk of Plastic Bertrand, and a slew of other goodies.

Hope you dig it.

Here is the playlist:

It's Time To Wake Up 2023 by La Femme

J'aime Regarder Les Filles by Patrick Coutin

Pour Un Flirt Avec Toi by Jane Birkin & Christophe Miossec

Don Quichotte (No Están Aqui) by Magazine 60

Paris Latino by Bandolero

Margerine Melodie by Stereolab

Donne Donne by Nanette Workman

The Train Creep A-Loopin' by The Limi…

Shiver And Shake - Ryan Adams

from there album Prisoner (2017)

She sat across the table, a glass of wine in her hand.  Behind her, streams of taxi cabs created a kinetic backdrop, yet all I saw were those eyes, that smile.  As she spoke, time melted, and my head finally caught up with my heart.  "I love you."

As we left the restaurant, I never felt closer.  She asked me to kiss her.  Soon after, she got in her car and drove off.  I stood on the street a while, hoping she would return, but this was her goodbye.

Was Shiver And Shake written from me to her, or her to me?  I am never quite sure.

I first heard this song while driving along an interstate, my head full of wine, in the blue light before dawn.  I must have hit repeat four dozen times.  Is this really our song?  Our destiny?

The next day, I put the record away, but dusted it off today.  It is quite a tune.

As I listen, so many tender memories circle around my head.  Yet in the final scene, she still rides off into the night, as I stand - wanting -…

If We Were Vampires - Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

from the album The Nashville Sound (2017)

I have always been an optimist.  It serves me well.  But lately, I realize that time will likely run out before I realize some closely held dreams and desires.  The regret haunts me.

Jason Isbell is one of a few artists whose music regularly hits me where I am most vulnerable.  I love and hate him for it.

On his latest record, the song If We Were Vampires strikes a raw nerve.  It is a love song about life being too short.  In the chorus, he sings:

Its knowing that this can't go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we'll get forty years together
But one day I'll be gone
Or one day you'll be gone

In the final verse, he offers the payoff:

If we were vampires and death were a joke
We'd go out on the sidewalk and smoke

If only we were...

Click Here to listen to If We Were Vampires.