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Showing posts from August, 2014

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 …