Friday, October 28, 2016

Hate I Don't Love You - Hopetoun Brown

from the album Look So Good (2016)

Since the turn of the millennium, I have increasingly become a connoisseur of music from New Zealand and Australia.  It started for me way before that, when I first heard Split Enz, but really picked up steam after having the opportunity to live and work in Sydney for three months in 2000.

During that time, I was on a live music tear, checking out bands most every night, always thinking "they sound familiar in an odd sort of way."

Today, I spend a fair amount of time going back and trying to discover great New Zealand and Australia bands from the past that never made it to my little corner of the world.

One such band was Supergroove, a '90s Auckland band that underpinned their modern rock sensibilities with a tinge of infectious R&B.

Hopetoun Brown consists of Tim Stewart and Nick Atkinson, the two horn players from Supergroove.  20 years later, they are laying down a funky vibe that I totally dig.

 I am particularly into the tune Hate I Don't Love You, featuring Tami Neilson and Finn Scholes of the Carnivorous Plant Society.  Something about the keys and vocals.

Click Here to listen to Hate I Don't Love You.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Manipulator - Elephant Stone

from the album Ship Of Fools (2016)

20th century Indie Rock from Montreal.  This song should strike a chord with those who once dared to be different, or at least listened to alternative 90's radio.  You know who you are.

The straight four beat.  The chorus, complete with a "come on" thrown in.  The guitar hook.  The celebratory background vocal interlude followed by a stuttering pulse that leads into a breakdown.  Then return of the steady four, followed by another "come on."

Doesn't this take you back to Lido Boulevard?

Doesn't this scream for the mirror ball to return to your rear view mirror?

Come on...

Click Here to listen to Manipulator.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Roadie Man - The Pretenders

from the album Alone (2016)

Chrissie Hynde and company are back with Alone, their first album in eight years.

Thus far, the song I am digging is Roadie Man.  This song (about roadies) in centered around a bouncing, soulful groove that easily hooks the listener.  Over this, Chrissie Hynde delivers her vocals against the counterpoint of a Farfisa organ.  These two instruments play marvelously off of one another.

Add some groovy guitar, tight drumming, and a delightfully simple bass line and you've really got something.  Lines like "What happens on the bus, stays on the bus" don't hurt either.

Click Here to listen to Roadie Man.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Shine On Rainy Day - Brett Cobb

from the album Shine On Rainy Day (2016)

Once upon a time, my father and I took a drive down the backroads of Georgia, visiting historic towns like Plains and Andersonville.  At the time, I thought trips like this would continue forever.  Little did I know this was the last one.

One of the places we rolled through was Ellaville, a one street light town of less than 2,000 people.  I think of how happy my dad was to be riding with his son, and how somehow this old man from Brooklyn knew more about these tiny southern towns than you could ever learn in a book.  He was amazing.

Well, Brett Cobb comes from Ellaville.  He writes beautiful country songs that strike a very tender, very real place in my heart.  It is hard to listen to them without thinking about my dad.  I wish he was still here.

Ain't it funny how a little thunder
Make a man start to wonder
Should he swim or just go under

Ain't it funny how you learn to pray
When your blue skies all turn grey
When there's nothing left to say
Shine on rainy day

The magic of Brett Cobb's music is in its feel.  Everything is subtle.  Every instrument hanging back, helping guide the vocals without stealing their light.  Everything thoughtful.  The drummer's ride cymbal actually sounds like rain.

My dad had a similar approach towards raising a son.

Click Here to listen to Shine On Rainy Day.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Are You Lost In The World Like Me? - Moby & The Void Pacific Choir

from the album These Systems Are Failing (2016)

Moby's latest album - with the Void Pacific Choir - is one of the most unexpected musical joys of 2016.  These Systems Are Failing is a collection of twelve amped-up, synched-up tracks that take the listener back to the best of the 1980s, while still delivering a modern, relevant edge.

Are You Lost In The World Like Me? is the most accessible of these tracks.  Brooding baritone verses couple with choruses of soaring harmonies all laid out over pulsing synth grooves.  Meanwhile the lyrics contain social commentary on these strange times.

Do yourself a favor and check out the entire record.

Click Here to watch the official video to Are You Lost In The World Like Me?  I really dig it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

If I Didn't Have Your Love - Leonard Cohen

from the album You Want It Darker (2016)

With the release of You Want It Darker, his splendid new album, the 82 year-old singer songwriter advised that this would be his last recording.  At first, I was profoundly sad and felt as though I had lost a part of my own soul.  Then I thought of the timelessness of some of his songs and felt magnificently uplifted.

His song Hallelujah will still be sung long after everyone now living is dead.

There is one song on this final album that has particularly grabbed me.  It is a love song titled If I Didn't Have Your Love.  After a lifetime of loving, what does a master say when he closes the book?  He is sweet.  He is pure.  And he makes a point that nothing really matters without love.

Here is the closing verse:

If the sun would lose its light
And we lived in endless night
And there was nothing left that you could feel
If the sea were sand alone
And the flowers made of stone
And noone that you hurt could ever heal
Well that's how broken I would be
What my life would seem to be
If I didn't have your love to make it real

God bless Leonard Cohen.

Click Here to listen to If I Didn't Have Your Love.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chuck Berry's 90th Birthday Gift...

A New Album Coming In 2017

This Tuesday marked Chuck Berry's 90th birthday.  On this occasion, the rock and roll legend announced that he will be releasing a record of new, original material on Dualtone Records in 2017.

This will be his first release in 38 years.  In a message to his wife, Toddy, he said "I'm growing old.  I've worked on this record a long time.  Now I can hang up my shoes."

According to is son, the album will consist of a wide spectrum of hard-driving rockers to soulful songs.

I dig this beyond words.

Click Here to listen to Chuck Berry's greatest hits.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sonicology - The Laurels

from the album Sonicology (2016)

Psychedelic Shoegaze from Sydney, The Laurels lay down a great vibe of layered vocals, funky guitars, grooving base, and a steady beat.

On their latest album, I am digging the title track, Sonicology.  Thick in sounds and textures, this song is underpinned with a beat and groove that form a foundation for the sonic journey.  Dig the background tones, recalling far away places, like Manchester.

But it keeps coming back to that bass line.  That groove.  Mighty.

Click Here to watch the official video to Sonicology.

Click Here to stream the entire album.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Putin - Randy Newman

from the single Putin (2016)

Here is a fun song to start your weak.  The great Randy Newman sings about Vladimir Putin with all the same wit and wonder that he once sang about Short People.

Hmmm.  Maybe this is a sequel.

Click Here to listen to Putin.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Saro - The Westerlies

from the album The Westerlies (2016)

The Westerlies are a brass quartet from NYC consisting of two trumpets and two trombones.  They are also childhood friends from the Seattle area.

Their music is thoughtful and inspiring, stirring the spirit and raising the bar on great American Music.

Take a listen to Saro, an incredible track from their self-titled album.

this is excellent stuff.

Click Here to listen to Saro.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I Can't Believe I Found You In That Town - Mike Doughty

from the album The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns (2016)

What is it about the country vibe that attracts artists from diverse genres to dive in, often with great results?

I think of Ray Charles singing Hank Williams tunes and The Beatles singing songs like What Goes On.  The British artists I cut my teeth on all wrote and recorded country songs.  Elvis Costello's Almost Blue album, Squeeze singing Labelled With Love, and countless Nick Lowe songs that would ultimately be covered Johnny Cash.  Hell, even Jethro Tull covered Ghost Riders.

Now, Mike Doughty has jumped into the fray.  After rising to prominence in NYC - he was the doorman at The Knitting Factory before founding the band Soul Coughing - he moved to Nashville in 2015, releasing last year's record Stellar Motel.

This year, on The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns, he delivers a magnificent and varied collection of songs that stay true to his big city sensibility.  My current favorite though is the country-tinged I Can't Believe I Found You In That Town.

The galloping beat, the heart-strung lyrics, the twang of the guitar.  Nashville is a better place with Mike Doughty in it.  Perhaps with rent prices in NYC being what they are, more artists will join him.

Click Here to watch the official video to I Can't Believe I Found You In That Town.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Home I Left - Sean Hayes

from the album Low Light (2016)

Those more astute readers of this blog know that I have great appreciation for California singer-songwriter Sean Hayes.  I find his songs to be magnificently crafted and his performance to strike a nerve.  I share them whenever possible.

This morning, I stumbled across this home video of him playing the song Home I Left up in the Sonoma Mountains north of San Francisco.  Something about it keeps me watching.

This autobiographical song details his moving from North Carolina to San Francisco, at the age of 20, and then to Sonoma County to raise a family at age 40.  It is about home and family.  I dig that.

The song is also now appearing on a TV Spot for HomeGoods.

Click Here to watch the low-fi video of Sean Hayes singing Home I Left in the Sonoma Mountains.

Click Here to listen to the version of Home I Left from his latest album, Low Light.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Got To Give It Up - Brian Culbertson

from the album Funk! (2016)

Put the goats in their pens and get funky!!!

The his Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for his album Funk!, Los Angeles-based smooth jazzer Brian Culbertson wrote, "If you love funk like I do, you know there's no other music like it.  It makes you feel good, makes you laugh, dance, sing along and pretty much get down!  I am creating a throwback, old-school funkadelic record in the style of P-Funk meets Prince."

Those lofty goals were accomplished with a fabulous record.  I've heard nothing quite like it this year.

The song I'm digging is Got To Give It Up, a cover of the classic Marvin Gaye tune.  It is all about the groove, with plenty of musical embellishments overlaid, including some incredible keyboards, guitars, and saxophone.

This album is full of great jams, for your car or you next funky dance party!

Click Here to listen to Brian Culbertson cover Marvin Gay's Got To Give It Up.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Scum - Goat Girl

front the single Scum (2016)

The website Northern Transmissions describes this newcomer group of four South London young women as "The Pixies meets Courtney Barnett meets The Fall meets The Raincoats."  I get that.

I dig the song Scum for the way the barbed-out vocal line lays over the guitar riff.  I also dig he simple vibe created by the rhythm section.

I always enjoy a band's first statement to the world.  Can't wait to hear where they take it from here...

Click Here to listen to Scum.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Alarms - Goat

front the album Requiem (2016)

Following up from yesterday's post, here is another song from Goat's new album.

On Alarms, we are treated to sounds that were not included on Try My Robe.  The male and female voices in the verses recall The Mama's and The Papas.  The intertwining of the percussion (savor the vibra-slap) with the eastern guitar stylings takes me on a psychedelic journey.  The electric guitar lead is equally enjoying.

Goat.  Dig 'em.

Click Here to listen to Alarms.