Posts

Showing posts from June, 2012
Dear Believer - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
Here (2012)

I have undertaken two major initiatives - one personal, one professional - that are weighing heavy on my mind.  I believe passionately in both and have dedicated myself toward making them a success.  In each endeavor, I am most fortunate to have wonderful people who share the vision and have personally sacrificed to help bring it to fruition.  Unfortunately, the chances of either succeeding seem more remote today than ever.  I feel guilty for bringing these people on journeys that may not have happy endings.  Still they continue to sacrifice, as I do, because they believe.  The power of the human spirit inspires me.

The song Dear Believer by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros has been a source of encouragement during this time.  The song's chorus has become a mantra in my mind:

Paradise, has its hunter
Call me blind, call me fool
I don't mind chasing thunder
I say reaching for Heaven is what I'm on Earth to do

Face To The Highway - Tom Waits
Bad As Me (2011)

I flew into Los Angeles yesterday.  Too many time zones and too much on my mind, I woke up in the wee hours and took a rented Crown Vic for a ride.  I'm attracted to the darker sides of LA.  Nothing to do with swimming pools and movie stars, a lot to do with the seedy bars where Charles Bukowski once roamed.  I passed a mexican club with three ambulances out front.  Rough night.  And as usual, these roads lead me to Tom Waits.

I love Tom Waits for the power of his lyrical imagery.  When he says "Hang On Saint Christopher", I am there in the car.  When he says "the crack of the pool balls / neon buzzin' ", I am there in the bar.  Bad As Me marks his first studio album in seven years.  It is worth the wait.

Face To The Highway has a real effect on me.  The simple verses detail a world full of things that lure men to their command: "The ocean wants a sailor / The gun wants a hand / The money wants a spender …
Blue Monday - Autoramas
Musica Crocante (2011)

I have a long standing fantasy of strolling down a Rio de Janeiro beach, checking out the scenery, and taking an occasional swim in the sweet blue water.  Later that afternoon, I drop into a beach bar where the band is laying down a cool bossa nova groove.  The singer is a beautiful, young Brazilian girl who flashes a secret smile, looks me in the eyes, and sings Corcovado with the tenderness that Jobim always intended.  Melt my heart.

Autoramas provides me with a different fantasy.  They are a garage/surf band from Rio that makes me want to head into a back alley bar, chug a cheap beer, and watch this explosive group pound out their instrumental cover of the 80's New Order classic Blue Monday in bone-chilling, three-piece triumph.  Melt my brain.

It starts with the song's familiar drum introduction played on a real drum kit.  Enter the guitar riff, add the bass, and off they go.  I would love to learn how the guitarist gets that …
Foolish Pride - The Dropsteppers
Get Up In It! (2011)

Songs about fools always resonate with me.  I've played the Fool In The Rain, the Fool For The City, and A Fool For Your Stockings more than I care to admit.  But more than any situational fool, I have all too often let my Foolish Pride get the best of me.  Oh, Foolish Me.

Foolish Pride is a song I've been recently digging from Minneapolis ska outfit The Dropsteppers.  A hornless ska band, The Dropsteppers rely on a a superbly steady beat, hook-you-in-the-mouth bass grooves, and tight rhythm guitar to form their sound.  Layer this with well-crafted lyrical melodies and perfectly placed keyboards and let the fun begin.  I recommend it.

Take it from a Fool Who Knows.


Shadow Kissing - Hollie Cook
Hollie Cook (2011)

Shadow kissing is a sweet game.  Two people align themselves to give the appearance that their shadows are kissing.  Try it some time.  Give it a voyeuristic spin, mix in a London-styled reggae vibe, and you have this little gem from Hollie Cook.

Hollie is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and Culture Club backing vocalist Jeni.  Boy George is her godfather.  How could she miss?

The production by Prince Fatty is stellar.  It has a retro Studio One sound that reminds me of good times walking around Brixton with my lady friend.  Check it out.  It is a nice way to roll into summer.

El Poder Emborracha - Desorden Publico

from the album Los Contrarios (2011)

Once upon a time, a group of friends and I went to the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee to see the ska movie Dance Craze.  It was as close to "the rapture" as I've ever come.  People dancing in the aisles, dancing on the stage, cheering each other on in total bliss.  It was incredible.  Each genre of music has its own vibe, but ska remains special to me for the way it makes me feel and for bringing me back to that crazy night.

Desorden Publico is a Venezuelan ska band.  They blow me away.  I like hearing ska sung in spanish.  I probably have The Clash to thank for it.  There are two english-sung covers on the album: City Of The Dead by the Clash and It Must Be Love by Madness, but the band's original spanish-sung songs are what really shine on this record.

El Poder Emborracha is my personal favorite.  With a hard driving beat pumped up by a solid horn section and lounge singer vocals, I was instantly hooked.  The title roughly transla…

Rise In the Sun - FM Laeti

from the album It Will All Come Around (2011)

FM Laeti is a Paris-based R&B Soul Singer.  I recently came across her and have been hooked ever since. The entire album is stunning.  Woven in her vocals are shades of modern vocalists, like India Arie and Amy Winehouse, and classic vocalists, such as Nina Simone and Billy Holiday.  The production is slick and modern.  It is commercial while remaining true to her talent.

There are three songs that I particularly dig on this album: Rise In the Sun, It Will All Come Around, and Gimme Love And Truth.  Rise In The Sun is the single.  It has that intangible something that makes a hit record.  I am not sure if it is the beat, the groove, the vocals, the arrangement, the production, or the understated Caribbean vibe that highlights her Guadeloupe roots.  Probably all of the above.

One of my favorite lines comes from the Stevie Wonder song Sir Duke that describes a hit record by saying "you can tell right away its got the A when the peop…