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Showing posts from 2014

Kissin' Antonio - Tom Tom Club

from the album Downtown Rockers (2012)

I hate it when an excellent song slips thru the cracks.

Such is the case with Kissin' Antonio by Tom Tom Club.  I just stumbled across this 2012 record yesterday and have been diggin' this tune constantly ever since.

The song features an inspired keyboard track over a great beat and groove by Chris & Tina.  I also dig the vocals.

There are elements of the bass line conjure up Love Shack era B-52s and the vocals give me a glimmer of Robert DeNiro's Waiting and Shy Boy era Bananarama.

How can't I dig this tune?

Click Here for a music video for Kissin' Antonio put together by the folks at RISD.

The Heartbeat Of The Ocean

I am in Kawaii today attending the memorial service for a friend who died far too young.  It will be a small affair on a beach with twenty or so people.  We will be grilling lobster, having cocktails, and then sprinkling her remains in the sea.  Just as she wished.

I have been asked to coordinate the music for the occasion.

Last night, I visited the beach.  It was a magnificent night with a full moon reflecting on the ocean, tropical clouds hanging in the sky as though they were borrowed from a movie set, and waves softly washing onto the shore.  There is a reason many consider this paradise.

I was joined by my friend's father.  He is most sad to lose his daughter.  We sat - not speaking much - staring at - and listening to - the sea.

"The ocean has a heartbeat" he said.  "I first experienced it as a teenager in Wales, but have heard it throughout my life."  We continued sitting there, listening to the heartbeat.

It's tempo is slow.  Slower than your own he…

O'Sullivan's Jukebox - David Ford

from the EP The Arrangement (2014)

Upon hearing the song O'Sullivan's Jukebox by David Ford, I became fascinated with the Irish Ballad and rejoiced in having a contemporary singer/songwriter embrace the genre head first.  It also helped me realize that - in part - it is the Irish balladry that endears me to bands like The Pogues and Black 47.

Then I looked up "Music of Ireland" on Wikipedia.  Well I'll be damned if The Pogues are never mentioned.  Oversight of oversights.  When mankind looks back on the music of our times, they will envy us for having walked the earth with The Pogues.  Can you imagine attending one of their early pub shows?  To stand there drenched in sweat, dancing to the rapture of this brilliant band.  It must have been joy like no other.

And Wikipedia doesn't list them under the Music of Ireland.  Damn the internet.

There is something in the music of Ireland that stirs something deep inside me.  This goes far beyond my drunken desire to R…

Hammond Eggs - Roy Bittan

from the album Out Of The Box (2014)

Let's give it up for The Professor !!!

Roy Bittan has spent the better part of the past 40 years as the pianist for the legendary E Street Band.  He has laid down some of the most memorable tracks in rock & roll.  When I think about Springsteen's Born To Run album, his fingers are all over the record.

Jungleland is always noted for Clarence Clemmon's sax solo, but the piano track underpins everything.  Think of other songs like Backstreets, Meeting Across The River, and legendary introduction to Thunder Road.  All those performances on one album.  Hair raising.

Lesser known - but also stellar - is his hand E work on albums by Dire Straits, Stevie Nicks, and Meat Loaf.  Hell, he even produced Lucinda Williams.

This week - at age 65 - he has released his first solo record, a collection of piano centric instrumentals.

My favorite song is Hammond Eggs.  The Hammond organ is not an instrument he is known to perform on, but man can he pla…

Indian Ocean - Frazey Ford

from the album Indian Ocean (2014)

To fully appreciate the splendor of Frazey Ford's latest album, Indian Ocean, you must first be familiar with her backstory.

The Canadian singer/songwriter hit the scene in 1999 as a member of the alternative country trio The Be Good Tanyas.  The band first came together playing at tree planting camps in British Columbia before gaining widespread popularity thru the inclusion of their songs on Showtime series The L Word and Weeds, as well as the AMC series Breaking Bad.

In 2010, she released her solo debut album Obediah.  The album contained songs with a chilling raw beauty.  Firecracker and Hey Little Mama are two of the finest alt-country songs of this decade.  I consider this record to be a minor masterpiece.

Indian Ocean is her second solo album.  Admirably, she has used this record as an opportunity to evolve her sound with an infusion of Memphis soul to her natural country sensibilities.  To accomplish this, she enlisted the Hi Rhythm Sectio…

It Never Was The Same - The Twilight Sad

from the album Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave (2014)

I spend lots of time in transit.  For me, it is most often air travel which I enjoy because it leaves me untethered from my telephone for a few hours.  This allows time to think.  Time to read.  Time to vegetate.

Music is a big part of my travel regiment.  Good tunes and good speakers create an aural cocoon that satisfies my soul.

Over the course of this year, I have found myself listening to mix tapes less and less frequently, instead seeking out longer-form sonic landscapes that can be found in well conceived albums.

The problem, of course, is that I am zigging while most of the music industry is zagging.  In a world measured in followers and downloads, why wouldn't a band focus on knocking the us dead in two minutes fifty-nine seconds rather than laboring to create an hour of substance?

For bands crafting complete albums, my noise-canceling coconut shells await.  One such band is The Twilight Sad.  Their a…

Johnny And Mary - Bryan Ferry

from the album Avonmore (2014)

A couple of days ago, I took a little time out of my preparations for an Asian leg of my never-ending tour to meet my friend, Richie Beans, at a local record store.  I needed something new to chill out to on the 26 hour trip to the Philippines.  I picked up Avonmore, the latest Bryan Ferry album.

Leaving the store, I popped it into my automobile's CD player and was most pleasantly surprised.  To a large extent it has magnificent tones and vibe of his best 1980's recordings.  I made it about 8 tracks in before getting home.

So, I was grooving to the record somewhere over the Aleutian Islands when I got to hear the closing track for the first time.  It was a cover of one of my favorite Robert Palmer tunes, Johnny And Mary.  The song features an bouncing beat and a staccato instrumentation that frames Bryan Ferry's incredible voice in a way I quite dig.

For this track, he collaborates with Scandinavian groove master Todd Terje.  The combination …

Fuckers - Savages

from the single Fuckers / Dream Baby Dream (2014)

Don't let the fuckers get you down
Don't let the fuckers get you down
Don't let the fuckers get you down

.. and so goes the central mantra to this ten minute live track from the best new rock and roll band of recent years.  Sage advise to absorb while driving 100 miles per hour down I-85.

I was privileged to see this band last year.  Every band member was stellar in her craft.  This is evident on this track.  The post-punk guitar tones are mind bending.  The driving bass line establishing the magnificent groove that is perfectly complimented by the impassioned drumming.  And then there are the vocals delivered by Jehnny Beth, rocks next superstar.

Yeah, they are that good.

Click Here to watch the video for Fuckers.

Acid To My Alkaline - Fujiya & Miyagi

from the album Artificial Sweeteners (2014)

I was recently binge watching Season One of Breaking Bad.  Somewhere around mid-season, I heard a song that completely blew me away.  I raced for my phone, opened Shazam, and soon learned that the song was Uh by the British electronic outfit Fujiya & Miyagi.

I digged this tune so much that I paused the marathon and started scouring the web for more.  Songs like Collarbone also blew me away.  Then I started looking for any 2014 releases.  I soon discovered the album Artificial Sweeteners.  The most popular song on the album is Vagaries Of Fashion, which I immediately downloaded.

However, there was one track title that fascinated me:  Acid To My Alkaline.  I had to hear this song.  I was wondering if I would feel neutral about it.  Fortunately, it left me saying "what the pH..."!

This song offers a great electric guitar track that offers a funk reminiscent of Talking Heads or The Bush Tetras.  The song also contains cool retro sy…

Superhero Disco (The Reflex Version) - Hackney Colliery Band

from the EP A Bit Of Common Decency (2014)

As a younger gigolo, I used to delight in playing the arcade game Asteroids.  You could usually find in the back of some seedy bar, my right palm on the trackball and my left index finger rapid firing at the ever approaching space rocks.  I was quite good at it.

The thing was that as you shot the larger asteroids, they would splinter into several smaller ones, each capable of destroying you (although you could obliterate the smallest of the ones).  Inevitably, you found yourself doomed.  However, as in all great games, there was an escape hatch: The Hyperspace Button.

Hitting the hyperspace button would instantly relocate you to a different part of the screen.  You may not be safe there, but at least you had a chance.

I wish I had a hyperspace button right now.  There sure is a bunch of stuff hurling my way these days and I wonder if I can keep shooting it down.  If only it were that easy...

However, it is possible to harness the power of mus…

Mama Was Right - Mungo's Hi Fi

from the EP Bike Rider (2014)

Back in June, I wrote for the first time about the Scottish reggae band Mungo's Hi Fi and their song Serious Time.  Since then, I continue to become captivated by their brand of retro-ska stylings.  The song Mama Was Right is currently in my heavy rotation.

In the true SoundSystem fashion, this record includes vocals by Marina P.  Back in 2008, they collaborated on the tune Divorce a L'italienne, which brings a Deborah Harry-esque spunk to a hard reggae beat.  Also check out her reworking of Nina Simone on Inna Summertime from her excellent 2013 album My Homeys.  These songs are favorites when my funky friends drop in for a visit.

It is interesting to me how much of the best reggae I listen to these days comes form places like Los Angeles and Glasgow.  Cause for some cool meditation.

Click Here to listen to Mama Was Right.

Stepchild - Jerry Lee Lewis

from the album Rock & Roll Time (2014)

I woke up at 2:15am this morning trying to meet a deadline for some folks in Europe.  I've got the espresso machine working double duty and my dog is giving me that "are we going fishing?" look.  At times like these, finding the right tunes is essential.

So I'm listening to the new Jerry Lee Lewis album.  That's right.  The Killer is still releasing great stuff at the age of 79.  It leaves me breathless.

I have been particularly digging the Stepchild, a cover of an obscure Bob Dylan tune.  It is a rockin'-ramblin' song.  The type you would expect to hear in some swampy backwater juke joint.  Jerry Lee sounds great.  I can't stop listening.

Also check out Here Comes That Rainbow Again, a slow ballad sung as a duet with Shelby Lynne.

Click Here to listen to a sample of Stepchild on iTunes.

Having a hard time staying away...

There are too many great new records that need to be written about.

I have been logging a bunch of windshield time these days listening to two CDs:  Acoustic Classics by Richard Thompson and Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone by Lucinda Williams.

Acoustic Classics has me completely mesmerized.  As you know, I believe that the two essential ingredients for a great record are songwriting and vocals.  When those two elements are present, everything else falls into place.  So, on this record, Richard Thompson records new versions of some of his finest tunes accompanied only by his acoustic guitar.

As I listen to the first few tracks, I become enveloped in the stripped down renditions of classics like Walking On A Wire and Wall Of Death.  They bring me back to nights in Bay Ridge and caution me to "beware of the bearded lady."

But with each track, I get more deeply entranced.  1952 Vincent Black Lightning gives me chills.  When James hands the keys to Red Molly on his death bed,…

Time To Change - The Brady Bunch Kids

from the television show The Brady Bunch (1972)

When I was in early grade school, our teacher assigned us to keep a record of how many hours of television we watched over the course of one week.  Mistaking this for a contest, I set out to be the winner.  After school, I would race home and turn on the tube.  After my mother sent me to bed, I would sneak downstairs and watch TV with the sound turned low until I fell asleep.  I was determined.

The next week, Ms. Gregory went around the room asking each of us to tell the class how many hours we watched.  Most were in the teens.  Maybe one guy broke thirty.  When they got to me I proudly announced triple digits.  My teacher was horrified.  What type of parents would abandon their child in front of the television for 100+ hours a week?  No wonder I grew up to be a media junkie.

Rather than be embarrassed, I am still proud of it.  I applied myself, and learned that success is measured by dedicating yourself to a goal, working hard, and seei…

Never Come Back Again - Soft Walls

from the album No Time (2014)

There is an old joke about two bulls standing at the top of a hill, looking down on a meadow of cows.  The younger bull wants to rush down the hill and have sex with one of them.  The older bull suggests a more patient approach.

It is often the same with music.  The punks behaved like young bulls, rushing straight into the song with the lyrics falling right behind.  As Dee Dee Ramone said "1-2-3-4."

As punk transitioned into goth and dark wave, bands like The Cure differentiated themselves with extended introductions.  These arrangements allowed listeners to be swept into the groove and immersed in the moment before Robert Smith's distinct vocal stylings took hold.  It was totally captivating.

Lately, I have found myself enamored with the space between the notes.  I have been thinking of music as "sculpted," starting out with every instrument playing an endless string of 1/16th notes, then having notes removed until the barest esse…

Sinner - Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens

from the album Cold World (2014)

Shortly before Barrack Obama ascended to the presidency, I was hanging out with two buddies in a bar along the Yellowstone River in the badlands of eastern Montana.  This was a rancher bar, that attracted people from a sixty mile radius.  The panelling was lined the heads of massive steer collected over the past hundred years.  It was stark and people drank hard liquor.

I stood out like a sore thumb, outshone only by my two friends, one from Brooklyn, one from Alabama.  Somehow, I wound up wasted and out of my shell.  There was a group of five or six ranch girls hanging out next to us.  I offered to buy drinks for whichever of them could give the best cattle call.  Each let loose in full-throated glory.

The best roar came from this four-foot-nine firecracker.  It even turned the heads mounted on the walls.  My god.

She soon became enthralled with Brooklyn.  She was gonna rope her a New York City buck.  Alabama inquired about her wedding ring.  She repl…

Me Likey - Trevor Jackson

from the single Me Likey (2014)

There are times when nothing is better than a silly song.  Me Likey by 17 year old actor-musician Trevor Jackson is a great example.  Check out these lyrics:

When you touch me here
You touch me there
You give me that stare
Me likey

You wanna go up
Me wanna go down
Well I can go down
Me likey

Me likey this
Me likey that
Me likey this
Me likey that

Over a simple hip hop vibe, these lyrics become very catchy.  And who doesn't want to hear someone singing Me Likey?

Click Here to listen to Me Likey.

The Ghost In You - Robyn Hitchcock

from the forthcoming album The Man Upstairs (2014)

Earlier this year, Richie Beans and I grabbed a few dates to take to a Robyn Hitchcock show in a small Atlanta club.  Unfortunately, this was the night of the Snowpocalypse, a slight storm causing that fine city to have a total traffic meltdown and embarrass itself before the world.  It was a Georgia psychobilly freakout.

However, for Richie Beans and myself, this was Robyn Hitchcock and there was no way we were going to miss the show.  I took mass transit which worked like a gem.  Richie got there early.  Way early.  Catch the soundcheck early.

In all, you could count the audience on your fingers and toes.

It was like being in a psychedelic coffeehouse somewhere near Ice Station Zebra.  And standing there - close enough to touch - was Robyn Hitchcock playing a bunch of new and old tunes.  The show included a cover of The Psychedelic Furs "The Ghost In You."  It was mind bending good.

He stripped the tune way down, turning i…

The Duke - The Shrine

from the album Bless Off (2014)

The Shrine are a band from Los Angeles who crank out one fine rocker after another.  The Duke is a song that channels Ozzy.  I dig that.

Built on a guitar riff, the song rises and falls with great dynamics.  Credit this to the drummer and bassist.  But really, this song is all about the vocals for me.  They sound like Ozzy.

So, dig the fuzz, dig the groove, and dig The Shrine.

Click Here to listen to The Shrine play The Duke on BandCamp.

The Bombay Twist - The Bombay Royale

from the album The Island Of Dr. Electrico (2014)

The Bombay Twist is a Bollywood take on classic '60s party tunes.  Do the mash potato, that kind of stuff.  It is performed by The Bombay Royale, a band from Melbourne, Australia that I am dying to check out.

Sitars, horns, and a beat that just won't quit.  Add to it an MC saying thing like "do the twist, like this" and a cackling woman and you are ready for your next psychedelic experience.  Enjoy.

Click Here to listen to the album version of The Bombay Twist which also appears on the Far Cry 4 video game soundtrack.

Hooch - Kelis

from the album Food (2014)

As I listen and write about music, the importance of a good bass player becomes increasingly evident to me.  They establish and maintain the groove, laying the foundation for other instruments to flourish.

Check out the bass line on Hooch by R&B and neo soul diva Kelis.  This is bass playing at its best.  Every note perfectly struck, giving off a round sound, never fretting out.  It allows the listener to enter the music and anticipate where it is heading.  It allows the horns the triumph.  It allows Kelis to croon.  It allows me to get my funk on.

Somewhere along the line, this song picks up the Memphis Stax thing.  The essence of soul...

Click Here to listen to Hooch.

Rainy Day Woman - Kat Edmonson

from the forthcoming album The Big Picture (2014)

There is nothing like a rainy day woman.  Someone you can chill out with, laugh, and just enjoy your time on this spinning stone.  Everyone should have one.  Bob Dylan had so many of them that they were numbered.  Over fifty at last count.

There are other great songs, like Rainy Day People by Gordon Lightfoot.  Seems that the idea of that person you can be happy spending downtime with with has a long thread.

Add to that list Rainy Day Woman by Kat Edmonson.  This song is offered from the point of view of the rainy day woman.  She is melancholy, wanting more, but not wanting it to end.  I can dig that.

This song is magnificently arranged and executed.  From the tip of the stick riding the cymbal, this song really has it all.  Violins, saxophones, incredible guitar tone, and a classic R&B groove.  This song could find itself on a James Bond soundtrack or a never-realized Amy Winehouse record.  I can't stop listening.

So, here is …

San Francisco - Stu Larsen

from the album Vagabond (2014)

Twice in by life, I had a dear friend move to San Francisco.  Both times it left me feeling empty.  These occurrences were over a decade apart and involved people from completely different universes.  Each ultimately left that magnificent city, bouncing around America, before settling far away from where either started or San Francisco.

That today they live in the same city and have become friends is nothing less than cosmic.  What type of forces drive such happenstance?

When I listen to the song San Francisco by Stu Larsen, I can't help but think of these two wonderful people.  I think about their personal journeys and how grateful I am to be a part of their lives.

The tender acoustic guitar, easy melody, and piano accents make reminiscing easy.  Check Stu Larsen out.  He is a gifted songwriter with a beautiful voice.

Click Here to watch Stu Larsen acoustically perform San Francisco for The Between Shows.

Click Here to listen to the album version of

Grizzly Bear - Angus & Julia Stone

from the forthcoming album Angus & Julia Stone (2014)

It seems that every few months, Angus and/or Julia Stone captivate me with a great new recording.  Surely this comes from the Australian sibling duo's considerable songwriting and musical talents, but it is also a credit to a product strategy that works.

For nearly fifty years, the accepted strategy has been for a performer to release an album every 12-18 months and tour relentlessly to squeeze every dollar in return of the investment.  This strategy greatly benefits larger, established acts but does not work in today's paradigm.

For new and rising bands, touring is expensive and the finances of being a small club troubadour allow only the youngest and most devoted musicians to participate.  However, the Internet allows bands to self promote at relatively low cost provided you have product.

Angus & Julia Stone release music as both a duo and individually.  This creates three interrelated entities to market and promo…

Where I'm From - Eels

from the album The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett (2014)

The other night I was sleepless.  I left my hotel and drove thru my ancestral hometown.  I past the old house, the houses of some friends, and Main Street.  Then I headed down a long, bumpy road with wetlands on either side until the road met the sea.

Once upon a time, there was a wall at this dead end.  People called it "The Wall", although it actually wasn't much of one.  In those days, there would be a half dozen cars parked on a summer night, partying and such.  But, on this night, I was alone.

The Wall once stood as a metaphor for me.  I always knew I would travel far away from this place and see the lights of Nairobi.  Sitting there, I could also see a distant lighthouse that forever symbolizes my father in my mind.  Metaphors were everywhere, but not a simile to be found.

As I turned around to head back, Eels came up on the new tune mix.  The song Where I'm From is quiet, melodic, and nostalgic.…

Here It Comes Again - The Amazing Snakeheads

from the album Amphetamine Ballads (2014)

Although we are never told what it is ... Here It Comes Again !!!

I dig how this tune by The Amazing Snakeheads simply repeats the title throughout, offering clues as to what it might be only in their musical treatment of the song.

It must be intense.  You can tell by the driving bass line that pulses mightily on each chord's root.  You can tell by the emphatic drumming and how the cymbals have a kind of dead ring to them.  You can tell by the way the guitar enters with chords announcing something special before ripping accents to compliment the vocals that are delivered with great rock dynamics.  You can tell by the synthesizer that sounds like Dr Frankenstein turning up the voltage to animate his monster.

I really wish I new what it was.  I keep hitting repeat but still can't tell.

Click Here to watch the official music video to Here It Comes Again.

Telefunken - Cosmic Gate & Jerome Isma-Ae

from the single Telefunken (2014)

Yesterday, I got back to my NY hotel room after yet another frustrating day.  I was scheduled to be in Denver this week, but was summoned here to deal with some unpleasantries.  Looking for a way to get numb, I put on a mix of new electronic releases.  Soon I was captivated by the hard trance of Cosmic Gate & Jerome Isma-Ae.

The song Telefunken has a driving edge that I really dig.  It is in the attack of the synthesizers and the ferocity of the beat.

As I listened, my mind turned to the name Cosmic Gate.  This stood as a metaphor for where I find myself these daze, dancing on the head of a pin waiting for the madness to slow down.  Robert Johnson found himself standing at the crossroads with a couple of clear options.  Mine are limited only by my imagination and values.

I am certain that I am not alone.  Speaking with my friends and such, many find themselves at the cosmic gate confronting nearly identical dilemmas.  I am one of many pin dancers …

Disco Fidel - Timothy Brownie

from the EP Buffalo Beat (2014)

I really dig the title to this electronic whammer jammer.  The visual image of Fidel Castro under the mirrorball - doing his best Tony Manero moves - makes me smile.  I just can't decide if he would look better in a white polyester suit or his best pressed uniform.  Either way for me.

This song is a serious jam.  Classified as electronic, this tune feats powerhouse horn arrangements and funked up bass that are not common in this genre.

The song is the masterwork of Timothy Brownie of Mexico.

Click Here to listen to the EP version of Disco Fidel.

8 Dogs 8 Banjos - Old Crow Medicine Show

from the album Remedy (2014)

Today I am venturing deeper into the deep south than anyone with my background should ever attempt.  This is going to require some acclimating.

Part of that process has me listening to some real shit kicking tunes.  Top of my list is 8 Dogs 8 Banjos by Old Crow Medicine Show.

This song is a hard romp of fiddles, banjos, guitars, and such.  The lyrics consist of repetitive calls and responses that ring like mantras.  Lines like "Eight Dogs, Eight Banjos", "Hot Coffee, Sweet Tea", "Good Lovin', Hard Times", "Green Rivers, Tall Trees", and "Corn Whiskey, Dirt Weed" tell me everything I need to know for this adventure.

Check this song out.  It earns its place with other great songs by Old Crow Medicine Show, like Wagon Wheel, Methamphetamine, and Caroline.

Click Here to listen to the album version of 8 Dogs 8 Banjos.

Click Here to watch Ketch & Critter from the band performing 8 Dogs 8 Banjos live.

Sing, Flip, & Twist - Smooth Beans

from the single Sing, Flip, & Twist (2014)

I really dig the song Sing, Flip, & Twist by the Spanish reggae band Smooth Beans.

This song has a great retro-Jamanian feel straight from the 1960's.  The call and response vocals are splendid.  So are the easy rhythm and keyboards.

This song puts a smile on my face and serves as a reminder to relax, take it easy, and not let other people drag you down.  This is particularly valuable on a Monday morning.

Click Here to watch the music video for Sing, Flip, & Twist.

Smalltown Boy Reprise - Jimmy Somerville

from the single Smalltown Boy (2014)

Jimmy Somerville is the former lead singer of the 80's band Bronski Beat.  Celebrating the song's 30th anniversary, he has released a new, stripped down, live version of this classic tune.  His website states:

"June 2014 marks a very special anniversary - 30 years since the release of Smalltown Boy.  Originally released in 1984, the song addressed key issues in the 1980's LGBT culture, and brought homosexuality and homophobia into the pop mainstream.  The song deals with loneliness, rejection by family and society and also being bullied because of supposed differences.  The song has been and continues to be an inspiration to many people."

On this new version, Jimmy Somerville's voice is incredible.  I really dig listening to him hit those crazy high notes over a simple piano accompaniment.  It gives me chills.

Thanks to my friend Theresa for bringing this song to my attention.

Click Here to watch Jimmy Somerville perform Sma…

Dbf - Eno • Hyde

from the album High Life (2014)

Remain In Light by Talking Heads is one of my favorite end-to-end albums of all time.  When you put it up against the other great records of 1980 - like The Clash's London Calling or Bruce Springsteen's The River - it stands apart in its ambition and impact.

The melding of African Polyrhythms, New Wave Instrumentation, and an impeccable sense of groove introduced westerners to the contagious meter of the Afrobeat stylings of legends like Fela Kuti.  This  was six years before Paul Simon recorded Graceland.

The producer of Remain In Light was Brian Eno.  Earlier this month, he released the album High Life with Karl Hyde from the British electronic group Underground.  The album's title is a reference to the Western African fusion of jazz laced pop genre commonly called "highlife".

My favorite track is Dbf.  This is most likely because the guitars, percussion, and groove remind me so much of Remain In Light.  Take a listen.  You'll…

Time Longer Than Rope - Neville Staple

from the album Ska Crazy! (2014)

No other music has the effect on me that Ska does.  Simply put, it makes me happy.

Neville Staple is one of Ska's most beloved characters.  The former toastmaster for The Specials and essential member of The Fun Boy Three is nothing less than a legend.  When I see him, I smile.  When I hear him, I dance.

Now at 59, he has had a series of strokes resulting from a nasty car accident.  But that hasn't stopped him from releasing a great new album.  My favorite tune is Track One, a cover of Prince Buster's Time Longer Than Rope.  The beat.  The guitar strum.  The piano accents.  The horns.  The bass line.  All splendid.

But this song is really all about Neville Staple.  His voice brings me back to a time and place that was carefree and wild.  I wish Neville Staple well and hope he continues to recover.  I also thank him for being part of the soundtrack to my life.

Click Here to listen to a preview of Time Longer Than Rope on iTunes.

Never Been Properly Loved - Chain & The Gang

from the album Minimal Rock N Roll (2014)

Bands rehearse.  Hours and hours.  Week after week.  Year after year.

This is particularly painful for the bass player.  His job is to establish and maintain the groove.  During rehearsals, the bass player will play the same line for 45 minutes at a time while guitarists, drummers, and vocalists experiment.  This is not fair.

When the groove is challenging, as in funk or disco, the bass players left hand begins to cramp.  Laying a pinkie on a fret becomes a herculean task.  Bass players suffer their art.

As I listen to Chain & The Gang play Never Been Properly Loved, I think of the bass player laying down his line.  How many times did they rehearse this song?  How many times did the bass player repeat the line.

Fortunately, it produced great results.  The drumming fully integrates with the groove to form an excellent rhythm section.  The tone of the guitar - particularly the lead - is inspired.  The harmonies - or are they dual vocals? - a…

All Over Me - The Rich Hands

from the album Out Of My Head (2014)

The Rich Hands are a rock and roll band from San Antonio, Texas.  Their latest album - Out Of My Head - is one of this year's most pleasant surprises with a vibe that conjure up blasts from the past like The Del Fuegos and Scruffy The Cat while also carrying a T. Rex and Replacements vibe.  One song - No Harm Blues - even has a keyboard intro reminiscent of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone.

My favorite track is the opener, All Over Me.  The fuzzed out, overdriven guitars.  The emphatic drumming.  The booming bass.  This is three-piece power pop heaven with a keyboard track thrown in.

The songwriting is sharp and the vocals are euphemistic.  It is hard not to drive the car a little faster or turn the stereo a little louder when listening to this tune.

This is a great tune to cleanse your musical pallet.

Click Here to preview All Over Me on iTunes.

Early In The Morning - Idiot Glee

from the album Four (2014)

Did you party too hard last night?  Looking to find yourself the hair of the dog and a few eggs before hitting the beach and blender for Day Three of your holiday death march?  Would any album sound better than Nilsson Schmilsson right about now?

If so, you need to check out great cover of Early In The Morning by Idiot Glee.  This Lexington, Kentucky band captures the burnt out vibe of Harry Nilsson's classic while adding a trippy garage edge that is modern and hip.

For any vocalist to take on Harry, you must have supreme confidence.  Think of Mariah Carey tackling Without You.  James Friley pulls it off.  He fearlessly displays his vocal range taking Harry on straight.  That takes balls.

Behind him the band sounds fantastic, giving off something of a Velvet Underground stank.  The bass, guitar, and drums all make it sound loose while actually playing quite tight.  I particularly dig the way they sound after the breakdown.  Makes me want to jam.

Click Her…

Love This Time - Guantanamo Baywatch

from the single Surf 'n' Turf (2014)

Roll into the fifth with a marvelous little surf number from the splendidly named Guantanamo Baywatch.

Vintage sound abounds on the tune Love This Time.  Crunchy rhythm and maximum reverb lead guitar.  A bass line that would compel Frankie and Annette to shake it.  A drummer surfing the hi-hat and ride.  This is fun stuff.  Summertime in America.

So, let it all go and get your summer groove on with Guantanamo Baywatch.

Click Here to watch the official music video to Love This Time.

Gimme Something Good - Ryan Adams

from the forthcoming album Ryan Adams (2014)

Americans want the same two things as everyone else:  to be loved and to feel secure.  Our pursuit of these comforts is colored by our idealistic naivety, sense of justice, and belief that hard work is ultimately rewarded.  We are fragile and we are strong.  We are optimists and dreamers, even when we suffer.

When I listen to Ryan Adams sing, I hear all these qualities emanating from the soulful tone of his glorious voice.  Songs like When The Stars Go Blue and his cover of Oasis' Wonderwall give me chills.  There are inner secrets in his tone and vibrato that are revealed with every listen.  To me, the American Spirit can be found in Ryan Adams' voice.

So how fitting that he close this week to release a teaser track from his forthcoming, self-titled album?

The song Gimme Something Good is something of a sun-drenched rocker that Don Henley might have released one summer long ago.  You hear it in the guitars, the keyboards, and the d…

Reload - Stéphane Pompougnac

from the album Bloody French (2014)

The Hôtel Costes is a Paris hotel with rooms starting at a lofty €500 per night.  It is a trendy spot best known for its bar and courtyard café.  In 1997, Stéphane Pompougnac became the hotel's resident DJ after establishing a fine reputation for himself in the city's discothèques.  Two years later he began releasing mix CDs of the music he played at the hotel.  Over the next twelve years, he released 15 Hôtel Costes discs.

These collections represent a treasure trove of incredible music.  Thanks to Stéphane Pompougnac I have been introduced to dozens of artists I may have never have otherwise discovered.  His aesthetic and song selections have inspired me.  Without him, I doubt this blog would exist.

Earlier this year, he released the album Bloody French, featuring the song Reload.  I can't get enough of this tune.  Each sound is perfect.  The drum beat.  The synthesizers.  The bass.

Above this Raphaëlle Audin sings with her magnificent…

Crucial Stepper - Digid

from the EP Crucial Stepper (2014)

When was the last time you cranked your stereo to some cosmic dub stepper music?  You know, when the music is so loud that the the groove rattles your bones.  Well, if it has been awhile, here is your chance.

Digid is a young dub stepper from Belgium who records for the excellent Portuguese label Cubiculo Records.  The song Crucial Stepper really resonates with me.  I dig the slower than expected tempo that creates space to appreciate the individual tracks in their full glory.  Each of these tracks marries tone and restrained performance.  Collectively, it allows the song to hook you on many levels.  Particularly when played loud.

I am most fond of the instrumental "raw version".  But do yourself a favor and check out the vocal version featuring Brazilian Junior Dread.  Also check out the Alpha Steppa remix.

Sometimes when I listen to this song I am reminded of some of the lesser played dubs on Sandinista! That is a very good thing.

Click He…

1,2,3,4 - Autoramas & B'Negão

from the EP AutoBoogie (2014)

Autoramas are a garage/surf band from Río de Janeiro.  Their 2011 instrumental cover version of New Order's Blue Monday is one of my favorite songs in recent years.  I have been eagerly waiting for this band to release some new music for me to sink my ears into ever since.

This spring they released the EP AutoBoogie.  My favorite of its four songs is 1,2,3,4.  This tune features that same, incredible guitar tone as Blue Monday.  When I wrote about them in 2012, I described that tone as the sound of insects drilling into your teeth.  That still applies.  So does the stellar drumming and bass playing.

Of course, the person who turned counting to four into an art form was Dee Dee Ramone.  I am not sure if Dee Dee was the inspiration for this song, but I hope so.  If nothing else, this song kicked me into listening to the Ramones Rocket To Russia album.  That might just be the greatest album ever.

Click Here to watch Autoramas perform 1,2,3,4 live and then…

Lonely Life - Dick Diver

from the forthcoming single/EP Fruits & Flowers (2014)

Coloured Stone are an Aboriginal band from the Koonibba Mission in southern Australia.  Their music is a wonderful mix of reggae, ska, funk, and rock with a cool aboriginal vibe.  Their 1984 song Black Boy remains their high water mark despite producing three decades of high-calibre, original music.

I dig that the Australian indie-rock outfit Dick Diver has covered Coloured Stone on their upcoming release, Fruits & Flowers.  This act brings increased attention to a great band.

The song Lonely Life has a pop americana vibe sounding like it could have been written on the back of a Greyhound crossing Wyoming on a fall day.  I dig the country twang, the strum of the acoustic guitar, and the harmonies.  I also like the effect of the steel drum sounding instrument (that may even be a steel drum).

If you are not familiar with Dick Diver, do yourself a favor and check them out.  Their 2013 album Calendar Days was amongst my favori…

Take Away These Early Grave Blues - Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

from the album Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything (2014)

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra are an experimental rock band from Montreal, Canada with a firm foundation in hardcore bands, with Black Flag, Minutemen, and Minor Threat as influences.

Guitarist Efrim Menuck also cites the influence of Deerhoof, stating "there's a way to unreal a melody so its the oddest sounding thing in the world that we're always excited whenever we can even hint at it."

Take Away These Early Grave Blues is a song that achieves melodic hooks and threads woven in a discordant grunted out drone.  Listen to it several times and you realize it is a different type of pop tune.  Really.

In particular, I dig the drum beat and vocals most.  The beat is the centerpiece of this song with its pounding toms matching the vocals in repeating "Take away these, take away these" that creates the foundation for all the other cacophony.

Give this tune a shot.

Click Here to listen to…

Why? - Ginger Baker

from the album Why? (2014)

A friend of mine has a t-shirt that reads "I may be old, but I got to see all the cool bands."  This shirt had the odd effect of making me wish I was older.  You know, Woodstock old.  If only I could have seen The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience,  or The Beatles.  Guess I'm not old enough.

Cream is another band that I wish I had caught live.  By the time I was hanging out in hippie dens - harmonizing "I Feel Free" with my barefoot, incense burning, tie-dye wearing, tambourine rattlin' sisters and brothers - they had gone their separate ways.

Ginger Baker took the road less traveled.  After Cream and Blind Faith, he followed the beat of his own eclectic drum to Africa, playing with the immortal Fela Kuti.  He also drummed for Public Image Ltd, Jeff Beck, Bill Frisell, and on Paul McCartney's Band On The Run album.

At seventy-four, he continues his journey playing daredevil jazz in a band that does not allow chords. Thats rig…

I'm A Man - James Skelly & The Intenders

from the album Love Undercover (2014)

James Skelly & The Intenders are a Liverpool band that released their debut album earlier this month.    Listening to just how tight their perform, I am guessing they have spent years honing their craft in local bars, and such.

I dig their song I'm A Man from the opening mariachi horns.  The drumming and piano tracks join the horns in carrying the tune.  The drums offer that steady snare beat with subtle variations that shift the song confidently thru the arrangement.  The piano adds a rollicking American bounce to the vibe before delivering a great solo.

I also dig the lyrics, particularly the chorus:

You can work me to the bone
Try to turn my heart to stone
But I'm a man
And you'll never take my soul

It is exciting to have a first listen from such an accomplished new band.

Click Here to listen to I'm A Man.

No Justice No Peace - Roy Davis Jr.

from the album Destroy & Rebuild (2014)

Chicago house musician Roy Davis Jr. has laid down a cool, lounge vibe with the tune No Justice No Peace.  The craftsmanship of this song is expectantly stellar, as Roy Davis Jr. is also an accomplished producer working with artists including Seal, Patti LaBelle, Mary J. Blige, and Daft Punk's music label.

But what really turns me on is the application of a protest theme to this musical genre.  When I hear this song, I immediately think of Peter Tosh singing "I don't want no peace.  I want equal rights and justice" or "Have you ever been to jail for justice" by Peter, Paul, & Mary.

However here it is simply spoken.  No emotion, just four words:  no justice no peace.  No need to get angry or rile people up.  This song says "This is who we are.  Real people who aren't going to take any shit."  It is just a stated fact.  I dig that.

Click Here to listen to a segment of No Justice No Peace on SoundClo…

I Try To Talk To You - Hercules and Love Affair

from the album The Feast Of The Broken Heart (2014)

My greatest blogging regret to date is not writing about the song GMF by John Grant.  It was amongst the songs I absolutely digged most in 2013.

The initial reason for this omission was that GMF stands for "Greatest Mother Fucker."  When I started this blog, I wrote down some guiding principles for my voice and two of them were to avoid songs about drug use and profanity-laced songs.  The latter excluded GMF.

As the year wore on, I began to introduce profanity and dropped a few drug innuendoes (much to the rebuke of my funky friends).  Still I did not write about this song.  I am not sure why.  I wrote entries on it several times but never hit "publish."  When I look back at my Top 25 of 2013 list, this song would clearly have made the cut.

Hercules and Love Affair are a NYC collective headed by DJ Andrew Butler, who - according to Wikipedia - "began his musical career at 15, DJing in a Denver leather bar run…

Disco Hi-Life - Orlando Julius

from the reissued album Disco Hi-Life (2014)

I really dig the latest wave of Afrobeat music that is gaining global popularity.  Over the past year, I have caught great Afrobeat shows in London, San Francisco, and NYC.  I love how people lose themselves in the groove.

In the 1970's there was another Arfobeat wave that originated in Nigeria.  It was best represented by musicians like Fela Kuti.  This music was inherently African with western genres injected.  However, there were artists - like Orlando Julius - who infused larger doses of soul and R&B into their music.

Disco Hi-Life is a reissue of a 1978 record.  This record stands at the intersection of Disco and Afrobeat.  It is amazingly catchy.

It is wonderful to see the lost records of african musicians - like Orlando Julius and William Omeador - finding new audiences nearly 40 years after there initial release.  I hope it serves as inspiration to today's musicians to explore the intersections of great groove music.

Click…

Lighthouse - Ziggy Marley

from the album Fly Rasta (2014)

Not far from my ancestral home, a lighthouse has stood for a few hundred years.

As a kid, my father used to take me there to walk around the dunes and sandy road.  At certain times of the year, we would count migratory birds for the Audubon Society.  He loved being there with his family.

In the years since his death, that lighthouse has become very special to me both for the memories and as a metaphor for the man I admire most.  So the song Lighthouse by Ziggy Marley strikes a heartfelt chord for me.  The song is sung to his siblings while also containing a message to his deceased father.  I particularly dig the chorus:

I'm holding up the fire
Lighting up the sky
Like a lighthouse on the ocean
Bring you home alright

As someone who carries the torch for a great man, I get it.

Click Here to listen to the album version of Lighthouse.

Click Here to watch Lighthouse performed live.

Long Legged Blonde Memphis - Margot & The Nuclear So and So's

from the album Slingshot To Heaven (2014)

The song Long Legged Blonde Memphis has been bouncing around my brain for the past few months.  This song has gotten its hooks into me more than any other song released so far this year.  It is a simple, catchy, indie rock song with a pop sensibility.

Why are songs like this an exception?  Why can't seasoned songwriters crank out tunes like this every hour?  It just seems too easy.

At its core, this song has a very catchy chorus.  But it consists of the same three or four chords that you find in tens of thousands of tunes across the genre.  The verse consists of a five note pattern that almost anyone can pick up a guitar and play.  The drum beat and bass line are inherently simple.  This just isn't that hard.

If you take it another level down, you find strong visual imagery (long legged blonde), magnificent tone (particularly the guitar), a tempo that is not too rushed (a sign of maturity), and a smoldering vocal performance that reson…

Eliza - Peter Murphy

from the album Lion (2014)

Last Thursday night, I had the good fortune to guest host on The Fuzz Factory with Brett Callero on SCAD Atlanta Radio.  This was a high honor for me as this has long stood as my favorite internet radio show.

The theme for that evening's show was Girls of Summer with each song containing a female name.  I came prepared to contribute (with a little help from my friend, Richie Beans) but found it hard to add value to the steady rockin' vibe of this well considered broadcast.

Perhaps my best contribution was the song Eliza from Peter Murphy's latest album, Lion.  This song was the perfect next track to Molly's Chamber by Kings of Leon.  This song's hard edge, with guitars reminiscent of dental work and an MG-42 like rhythm section, sounded magnificent.  Topping it off was the beauty of Peter Murphy's voice.  He has amazed me with every release since his Bauhaus days.

Join me in celebrating the triumph of internet radio.  It is that speci…

IMF - Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

from the album A Long Way To The Beginning (2014)

The intersection of protest and song is likely as old as mankind itself.  It bonds us and gives power to everyday people.

One the greatest - and most overlooked - protest singers of the 20th century was Fela Kuti.  This Nigerian bandleader gave voice to the people of West Africa against the corruption and theft by their governments and elites.  He was to afrobeat what Bob Marley was to reggae.

Today, his youngest son - Seun - leads his father's great band Egypt 80 and carries the banner for social change thru music.  Last month, he helped arrange street protests against the inaction of the Nigerian government to combat Boko Haram and the kidnapping of 270 schoolgirls.  The protests were met by tear gas.

Nowhere is the power of his music - and the tradition of his father - better captured than on the song IMF.  A blistering condemnation of the International Monetary Fund (International Mother Fuckers) this song features mighty horns…

Hey Mr. Grey - Bob Mould

from the album Beauty & Ruin (2014)

In my opinion, there is no purer rock & roll ensemble than the power trio.  Bass, guitar, and drums.  In this configuration, each instrumentalist has great responsibility and freedom allowing them to find the ultimate form of expression.

The drummer's job is to establish the beat and maintain the beat.  The bassist establishes the groove and maintains the groove.  The guitarist provides the rhythm and color.  Within this framework, they are free to experiment without interference from other musicians.

The great power trios make this look easy.  Think of Cream or The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  The Who.  The Ramones.  ZZ Top.  Their sounds are so full and unique.

Bob Mould is a master of the power trio.  Husker Dü and Sugar are legendary.   But even in his solo work, he has put together great power trios.  His latest band includes Jason Narducy on bass and Jon Wurster on drums.  Together, these three musicians create a monster sound that ec…

Serious Time - Mungo's Hi Fi

from the album Serious Time (2014)

I dig the spirit of Jamaican Sound System culture.  In this setting, MCs, DJs, and engineers collaborate to create reggae, ska, and rocksteady music.  This approach results in creativity, experimentation, and discovery.  What's not to dig?

Mungo's Hi Fi have established the sound system culture in their hometown of Glasgow, Scotland.  This ever morphing collaborative has found a wildly receptive audience across the UK and Europe.  Their latest album, Serious Time, is one of the best cover-to-cover reggae recordings I have heard in some time.  It is the perfect soundtrack for your next barbecue.

The title track is a real stand out.  The retro-reggae-ska vibe is complete a cool horn riff that locks me in.  From this foundation, the vocals can really shine.  I dig both the make and female performances.  I also like the central lyric:

These are serious time
You'd better mind when your walk
Where you walk
Who your walking with

Try this song with a…

Just Can't Win - Lee Fields & The Expressions

from the album Emma Jean (2014)

A few nights ago, I partied into the wee hours with a group of my funky friends.  It was an intoxicating night with booze, pretty women, and musical instruments always within arms reach. Nothing like watching friends dance beneath the stars to a mandolin waltz being played on a front porch by neighborhood musicians to remind you why the south is so special.

Somewhere around 2AM, someone began playing Hall & Oates.  I think it was an extension of a discussion about their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Soon, people were singing Sara Smile and a bunch of their other soulful classics.

I woke up the next afternoon, thinking about Hall, Oates, and the sweet soul of Philadelphia.  I put on the Delfonics and lost myself in their sound.  Man, I dig it.

Fast forward to this morning.  I woke up at 4am to start another leg of my never ending tour.  Before heading to the airport, I had the good sense to download the new album by Lee Fields & T…

Silver Timothy - Damien Jurado

from the album Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son (2014)

Here is a great psychedelic tune to start off your surreal week.

I really dig the vibe to this tune.  Always a fan of the more acoustic elements of psychedelia, this song features acoustic guitar, flute, and subdued lead vocals.  These are counterbalanced by some stellar drumming, synthesizers, grooving bass, a wicked lead guitar, and trippy vocals.

This is the first working Monday of your own, personal, summer of love.

Click Here to watch the official music video for Silver Timothy.

Rubberband Lazer - Chocolate Puma

from the single Rubberband Lazer (2014)

After spending the better part of a lifetime preparing myself for the Rubberband Man, I never thought to prepare myself for the Rubberband Lazer.  As any boy scout will tell you, this is a recipe for disaster.

Chocolate Puma - a dutch house duo, sometimes better known as The Good Men or Zki & Dobre - drop the dope on this one.  Big beats, funky synths, and a bass line that sounds like the aliens are landing on the roof of the club.  Do yourself a favor and check this out on your most booming speakers and prepare to let loose.  It will make your monkey explode.

Be prepared...

Click Here to listen to Rubberband Lazer.

Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good - Haunted Hearts

from the album Initiation (2014)

Haunted Hearts are a band consisting of the husband & wife garage rockers Brandon Welchez (Crocodiles) and Dee Dee Penny (Dum Dum Girls).  The song I dig most on their debut album, Initiation,  is Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good.

The song has fuzzed out guitars that - along with a driving drum beat - create a burned out, wall of noise that reminds me of a motorcycle imitating a motor boat.  This is the same kind of vibe that first attracted me to the Jesus & Mary Chain.

From this foundation, wonderfully intertwined vocals create a serpentine creature that I cannot help but lose myself in.  The song contains the memorable line:

It's alright
You can tie me up
If I can tie you down

I also really dig the descending keyboard riff that helps bring a friendly, pop sensibility to the tune and the clean guitar lead.  This is a well crafted, well performed song.

Click Here to listen to Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feel…

A Place With No Name - Michael Jackson

from the album XSCAPE (2014)

Michael Jackson was a musical genius.  I would have loved to have the opportunity to spend some time with him, talking and listening to music.  What songs did he dig?  Who inspired him?  What would he make of my dance moves?

Well, on this month's release of previously unreleased material there lays an insightful clue.  The record includes a 1983 recording of a song titled A Place With No Name.  On this song, Michael draws from the classic America song A Horse With No Name for inspiration.  Listen to the synth riff that establishes the verse.  Listen to the drum accents.  Then listen to the vocal line and the lyric.

Michael Jackson discovered America !!!

The chorus, however, is all Michael.  Soaring pop with magnificent backing vocals and production.  Then back into the familiar verse, sounding more like Michael the second time around.  But then comes the crowning glory when Michael sings "la la la, la la-la-la la, la-la la, la la," putting hi…

Looking For Real Love - Hollie Cook

from the single Looking For Real Love (2014)

In a few hours, I start the next installment of my never ending tour with a flight to NYC.  I purchased the ticket too late and an relegated to a middle seat.  Good tunes will be essential for me to find a little zen.  It should work (unless the jackass in front of me reclines their seat).

No doubt my mix will include Looking For A Real Love by Hollie Cook.  When we last checked in on Ms. Cook, she was shadow kissing us from her balcony.  Ever on the prowl, this year her search for a true romance continues.

I dig this song for the way the reggae groove and orchestration play off of each other.  Couple with that Hollie Cook's smooth and sweet vocals and I am in heaven.

The orchestrated reggae really turns me on.  It mixes well with a wide variety of grooves, allowing for transitions from disco to ska is a seamless party oneness.  Perfect for middle seat bliss.

Click Here to watch the official music video for Looking For Real Love.

Click He…

Every Time The Sun Comes Up - Sharon Van Etten

from the album Are We There (2014)

The sun came up this morning.  I am in trouble.

Passion and hard work are not always enough.  Sometimes you need more.  Where does it come from?  How do you lift your beautiful vision to the point of being sustainable?  Did anyone ever tell you it would be this difficult?

Thoughts like these envelop my brain when I listen to the last song on Sharon Van Etten's fine new record.  The tempo is slow.  The crack of the snare is definitive.  Her vocals positively remind me of singers from Lucinda Williams to Johnette Napolitano.  I really dig the doubled vocals of the chorus singing "Even when the sun comes up, I'm in trouble."

I dig songs with lots of space.  They let your mind fill in the gaps, which is one of music's great powers.  Only wish my own mind was in a less dark place.

Click Here to listen to Every Time The Sun Comes Up on SoundCloud.

Food For Clouds - The Brian Jonestown Massacre

from the album Revelation (2014)

When I first heard Food For Clouds, my mind wandered to this crazy place where I was in an elevator at a posh boutique hotel on some outpost of civilization.  The music sounds like a a bizarro mix of The Cure and Muzak.  As I step out into the lobby, there is the most eclectic mix of people imaginable.  The scene was complete with a bow tie wearing llama who spoke my name in a mix of llama and spanish.  Spangllama he calls it.

Someone hands me a drink.  It is most likely local rum with ample amounts of lime and coconut.  I dig how the glass rim was dipped in agave nectar and rolled in coconut flakes.  Yummy.

But this drink has much more to offer.  It takes me on a psychedelic journey where the Canals of Venice meet the Himalayas in a Dali skyscape.

Thanks to The Brian Jonestown Massacre for creating one of my favorite musical experiences of 2014.

Click Here to listen to the album version of Food For Clouds.

Click Here to watch Food For Clouds performed l…

Tangerine Girl - Asher Roth

from the album RetroHash (2014)

Once upon a time, I was drinking at The Loft on Division Street.  Along the way my less-than-funky friends headed back to their respective corners of the City of the Big Shoulders (thanks for that one, Uncle Carl).  But my two funkier friends closed the joint with me.  As the lights got bright and the stools went up, this chick with desire in her eyes asked me if my friends and I wanted to join a couple of her friends back at her place to party.

"Yes."

Her apartment was in a high rise overlooking Lake Michigan.  The view was spectacular.  I was assigned to concoct a flask full of flavorful shots while the chick put on her stereo.  She dropped the needle on Led Zeppelin III. The Immigrant Song got everyone going, and by the time Tangerine came up, the girls were dancing this crazy hippy jig.  One of them kept bouncing a titty on the top of my friend's head.  He looked like a lava lamp.

They kept playing Tangerine, slamming shots, and taking…

Ride In The City - Funky Fat

from the EP Ride In The City (2014)

As spring slowly turns to summer, what can be better than putting the top down on a warm night and taking a Ride In The City?  Particularly when you are cruising with your funky friends and Funky Fat is laying down the groove.

Tripping to the beat past the tall buildings.  Checking out the folks on foot coin' their city thing.  Pulling into The Righteous Room, slamming a few, then back to the ride before hitting a music club.  This is why we do all the other stuff.

Funky Fat is the perfect groove for these times.  Check him out.

Click Here to listen to Ride In The City.