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Showing posts from September, 2012

The Descent - Bob Mould

from the album Silver Age (2012)

Once upon a time, I had some friends who were crazy about Husker Du.  To them, the album Zen Arcade was the equivalent to Sgt. Pepper.  I must confess that I did not understand why.

Years later, I caught a Sugar concert at The Roxy in Atlanta with my neighbor Tony.  That is when I finally got it.  The energy and unpretentiousness that Bob Mould brought to the stage made an inveterate connection, unlocking inner frustration, and transforming it into a euphoric release. I probably dropped eight pounds dancing that night.

I have never had such a strong reaction to a performance before or since.

The Descent from Bob Mould's latest album, Silver Age, evokes the spirit of that night.  I cannot listen to this song loud enough, or drive fast enough when I hear it on the highway.  It is hard rock and roll at its finest.  The ringing power chords, the full-tilt drumming, the pulsing bass guitar, and Bob Mould's "shouting in key" vocals make a ra…

Soon After Midnight - Bob Dylan

from the album Tempest (2012)

Have you ever found it difficult to express your love for someone in writing?  Why is it so hard?  It doesn't matter if its a love letter, a poem, or a note in a greeting card, but when you sit down to compose the right words to describe your most heartfelt feelings, the results make you realize just how inarticulate you are.

Bob Dylan is arguably the greatest living lyricist in western music. Even he finds it difficult, as he infers in the first verse of Soon After Midnight from his new album:

I'm searching of phrases
To sing your praises
I need to tell someone
It's soon after midnight
And my day has just begun

So rather than charge straight up the hill, Bob decides to show the many textures of love by singing about various partners like Holly who took his money, Charlotte the Harlot who dresses in scarlet, and Mary who dresses in mink.  In the end, he circles back to the song's recipient with:

It's now or never
More than ever
When I met you,…

Live And Die - The Avett Brothers

from the album The Carpenter (2012)

Music Midtown is an Atlanta music festival that is a perennial favorite of mine.  Last night, I got to see a bunch of great bands - Foo Fighters, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, T.I., and Van Hunt - but the performance that really knocked me out was The Avett Brothers.  When we were waiting for the set to start, this dude asked my lady friend if she ever saw them live, when she said "no" he replied "well get ready, this is your new favorite band."  I suspect he was right.

The Avett Brothers lay down a rockin' bluegrass vibe from North Carolina.  They hit the stage with energy and joy, looked good, and connected with the large crowd.  Their songs celebrated love and family.  When the audience sang along with the catchy, intelligible lyrics, I found myself reflecting on the meaning of the words, thinking of the people I love - past and present - and wished they were all there to share the moment.

They played lots of great stuf…

Black Venom - The Budos Band

from the album The Budos Band III (2010)

The best time to listen to Ethiopian Soul Music is when your chillin' with your Ethiopian Soul Friends.  The obvious way to make these friends is to catch a flight to Addis Ababa and start mingling. However, that is not really necessary.  Ethiopian Soul Music can be readily found in many cities, like Boston, New York, and DC.  It is joyous music that attracts a pretty cool mosaic of followers.

The first wave fully blossomed in 1969, by taking a foundation of African polyrhythms, adding a scoop of Fela, a little James Brown, a pinch of 60's American Soul, and generous heap of unbridled Ethiopian happiness together to create a wonderful sound that has stood the test of time.  Check out Ethiopian Groove on iTunes Essentials for a great sampling.

The current wave has added elements commonly found at jam festivals: hippies with congas, wayward horn players, and a few guys who don't wear shoes.  The music is all about establishing and mai…

Sad Vacation - The Dandy Warhols

from the album This Machine (2012)

I enjoy listening to Internet radio.  The selection of music is broader and better than I find on the airwaves, and invariably I stumble across something I really dig.

My favorite show is The Fuzz Factory with Brett Callero on the Savannah College of Art & Design - Atlanta web station.  I really appreciate the approach Brett takes in crafting each installment.  A musical guide, he leads you along a rugged trail of great songs that sound great together, woven in thoughtful themes, and sprinkled with dry wit and smirky innuendo.  It is the modern equivalent to what you may have heard forty years ago, driving a U-Haul across Upstate New York in the wee hours of the morning.

Sad Vacation is a song by The Dandy Warhols that I first heard on The Fuzz Factory.  The song opens with a driving bass groove, supported by a steady beat and raunchy feedback.  Soon the song builds into Dark Wave heaven as guitars and keyboards create a sonic double-helix with se…

You Me Love Bullets - The Bombay Royale

from the album You Me Love Bullets (2012)

In the first thirty seconds, this song hits you with a wild circus of surf cacophony: a thundering tom-tom beat, guitars with maximum reverb, pumping spy-theme keyboards, and mexican-styled horns in blazing glory.  I strap myself in for something special, and then enter a man and woman singing in Hindi.  Where am I?  Did somebody put something in my drink?  I hope I don't start seeing midgets.

No.  I'm listening to The Bombay Royale.  This band from Melbourne, Australia describe themselves perfectly:

"The magic and mayhem of vintage Bollywood collides in spectacular fashion with a dizzying blend of Tarantino-esque surf, wild disco, flamboyant theatrics, swirls of kaleidoscopic colour, outrageous costumes and utterly irresistible dance moves that sweep entire crowds off their feet."

What a great live show these guys must put on.  I checked out their tour schedule and they were playing in Tasmania.  Perfect.  I envision this ban…

What Did the Hippie Have In His Bag? - Cornershop

from the album Urban Turban (2012)

I just arrived in Amsterdam for a week.  I love this city.  It surrounds you with art and beauty that is wrapped in a relaxed vibe of diverse people living their lives and getting along.  I dig it.

Walking along a canal, music can be heard coming from the bars, the coffee shops, the falafel stands, and the street musicians.  It lures you in.  It is enchanting.

So I'm bopping around with this catchy world-pop tune from Cornershop bouncing around my brain.  I don't mind it at all.  It seems like the song was written for this place.  The cheery beat, the happy synthesizer, the lyrical imagery, the school kids singing along, and the east-meets-west sensibility all make me feel good.

What did the hippie have in his bag? ... it's unknown.

Click Here to view the video.

Justine - Julia Stone

from the album By The Horns (2012)

Justine is a new song by Australian Singer / Songwriter Julia Stone that I really dig.  Whether together or solo,  both Julia and her brother Angus continually deliver music that really resonates with me.

The tone of Julia Stone's voice has an ability to evoke emotions that combine with her songwriting skills to produce splendid results. This song is about yearning to be somewhere away from your current pressures, where you can live life on your own terms, with someone you care for.  The song's repeated refrain "I want to live with you in California" makes me think of my own desires.  The honesty in her voice connects this song to things that I long for. Few singers have this power.

Julia's new band sound great.

Click Hereto see them perform Justine live.

Click Here for Part One an excellent interview with Julia.  Hope you enjoy.