Posts

Showing posts from May, 2014

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.

The Odds - Jake Bugg

from the EP Messed Up Kids (2014)

In 2013, Jake Bugg released a debut album that restored my faith in rock and roll.  The song Lightning Bolt became an instant favorite, evoking legends like Gene Vincent and Bob Dylan while exploding with youth and energy.  The song is a modern classic.

On his latest EP, he heads down a slightly folkier path while maintaining his energy level.  Think Bob Dylan meets Oasis.  My favorite track on the record is The Odds.  With a rambling rockabilly kick and a Highway 61 inspired vocal styling, this song makes me drive a little faster and want to join his band.  It is earnest and inspired.

Hard to believe he is 20 years old.

Click Here to listen to The Odds.

Benz Friendz (Whatchutola) - Future

from the album Honest (2014)

The two rappers on Benz Friendz effectively lament on their dissatisfaction for materialistic women with expectations of luxury automobiles and sets forth an altruistic argument for driving a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser over a brand new Bentley.

These rappers are Future and André 3000.  What I really dig about this song is the fun, bouncing beat and how it reminds me of Outkast more than any André or Big Boi song of the past several years.

There are few rappers who can make me smile like André 3000.  And on this song, there are so many lines I dig that I can't stop listening.  I see that André 300 and Big Boi are hang in' out on Metropolitan Parkway getting ready for Coachella and other shows.  I can't wait.

Click Here to listen to Benz Friendz (Whatchutola).

Coffee Pot - Big Sam's Funky Nation

from the album Evolution (2014)

Physical attraction is awesome.

You see hundreds of people every day of your life.  Then there is that someone who, with just a glance, can turn your knees to jello and leave you speaking like you have a size 14 tongue in a size 6 mouth.

If that physical attraction is mutual, then it gets really crazy.  You get your swagger step kickin'.  You wanna lay down the boogie.  You start talking nasty nonsense, like "She's hot.  Hot like a coffee pot."

If you know where I'm coming from, then you need to listen to the latest groove from Big Sam's Funky Nation.  I dig everything about it.  The guitars, the vocals, the horns, the bass & drums, and - of course - the line "She's hot.  Hot like a coffee pot."

So why not fire up the kettle, think about that special person, and dance around the house singing this ode to enamorment.  I sure will.

Click Here to listen to a sample of Coffee Pot on iTunes.

Black Sheep - Natalie Merchant

from the album Natalie Merchant (2014)

Natalie Merchant targets a more sophisticated listener than I.  That said, her arrangements are so well crafted, her voice so lush, her ability to find the intersection of great production and great performance so uncanny; that I always take the time to give her a spin.

Black Sheep is a smoky rhumba, where baritone sax and clarinet serpentine with a magnificently clean-toned guitar to create a noir vibe that I find captivating.

As I listen, I imagine myself in a basement jazz club - something like the Village Vanguard - drinking hard cocktails with a lady friend, satisfying the two drink minimum with our first order.  As she takes the stage with her ensemble of weathered troubadours, the crowd is eating from her hand, she is both matriarch and tourtured artist.  Her voice reigns above all else.

I hung out on my back deck last night listening to this record and select songs from In My Tribe.  The line that connects them is inspired.

Click Here to lis…

A House Is A Home - Ben Harper & Ellen Harper

from the album Childhood Home (2014)

I owe my love of music to my mom.  As far back as I can remember, she was singing Beatles songs to me.  Love Me Do.  I Want To Hold Your Hand.  Octopus Garden. Yellow Submarine.  All You Need Is Love.  She was awesome.

As time wore on, she started listening to my albums.  I recall coming home from the beach during one college break to find her vacuuming to Exodus by Bob Marley.  When she saw the surprise on my face, she smiled and said "We're jamming."  To this day, a simple drive in the car turns into some kind of sing-a-long.  God, I love her.

Just in time for Mother's Day, Ben Harper has released an album of folk tunes with his mom, Ellen.  How cool is that?  For generations, the family has operated a Folk Music Center & Museum they founded in Claremont, California.  No doubt this provided Ben with the backdrop required to produce such a stirring catalogue of music.

Their album leads off with a song titled A House Is A Home

Let's Get Drunk & Get It On - Old 97's

from the album Most Messed Up (2014)

I just got home from yet another installment of my never-ending tour.  What an odd trip this has been.  At least I still have my integrity intact.

Somewhere along the way, I found myself at a party in Dumont, Colorado listening to the great Jack Yoder play in the cow punk outfit Ol' Hickory.  Great time.  Left me craving raunchy guitar rock with a tuba bass line and a punk sensibility.

This line of desire led me straight to the new album by Old 97's, the alt-country guitar gods of Dallas, Texas.  For twenty years, they have been providing their brand of aural delight to discerning listeners. Their new album is a bucketload of great tunes.  Of them, I am particularly digging Let's Get Drunk & Get It On.

The Jimmy Buffet meets Marvin Gaye theme really resonates with this gigolo.  Change the word "whiskey" to "tequila" and the "cheap hotel on the interstate" to the "kissing rock" and I might have…

I Keep It To Myself - Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey

from the album Going Back Home (2014)

I dig Wilko.

Life is meant to be lived, and Wilko Johnson gives a prime example of how to do it right.  In January 2013, Wilko was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given "months" to live.  Refusing to undergo chemotherapy, he has lived the life loved, most recently recording an album with the almighty Roger Daltrey.

For those unfamiliar, Wilko Johnson is best known for his time in the 1970's British pub band Dr. Feelgood.  He later played in Ian Dury and The Blockheads.

Paul Weller once said: "Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he is right up there.  And there are a lot of people who'll say the same.  I can hear Wilko in lots of places.  It's some legacy."

In more recent years, he is known as the mute executioner on the series Game Of Thrones.

What I love about Wilko Johnson is that he keeps doing his thing.  It is evidenced on the song I Keep It to Myself with Roger Daltrey.  A long time W…

Fever On The Bayou - Rodney Crowell

front the album Tarpaper Sky (2014)

I woke up last night in the wee hours, slightly before the sailors start walking home, with a strange desire to listen to Bob Seger.  The last time this happened was ... never.  I started playing all the hits.  Night Moves, Like a Rock, Katmandu, Against The Wind.  Then the 1982 song Shame On the Moon came on.  It captivated me.  This song had a different vibe.  It was not the driving Detroit undercurrent of the other songs, but rather a relaxed feel that might remind you of a moonlit southern lake.

A little research uncovered that this song was written by Rodney Crowell.  I first became aware of him when I heard the song Sex & Gasoline, with the catch line "This mean old world runs on sex and gasoline", back in 2008.  Then his songs started popping up everywhere I turned and I became enchanted.  He stood in the long line of great Texas songwriters, crafting tunes as iconic as that state's shape.

After hearing Shame On The Moon, I …

Iuka - The Secret Sisters

from the album Put Your Needle Down (2014)

I have always been drawn to songs that contain an element of wit.  Clever songwriting is an art form that I simply cannot get enough of.  Unfortunately, it seems to be fairly uncommon these days.  Where is the double entendre, the suggestive innuendo, the snarky play on words?

The Secret Sisters are a country duo from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  Their latest release is titled Put Your Needle Down, which plays off of an amusing double meaning.  However, it is their song Iuka that has really tickled my fancy.

When I first came across the song, the font led me to believe that this was a cover version of the Susan Vega classic, Luka.  Instead, the song's title refers to the city of Iuka, Mississippi.  Blame it on a simple twist of font?  No.

The song's theme centers on domestic violence and child abuse, just like Luka.  How fucking clever !!!  I tip my hat to these women.

I also dig the song.  It starts with a slow groove and tambourine that…