Saturday, May 31, 2014
"(When You) Call Me" performed by The Style Council
"The Agony and the Ecstasy" performed by Smokey Robinson
"You Beat Me To The Punch" performed by Mary Wells
"Good Thing" performed by Paul Revere and the Raiders
"Love My Way" performed by The Psychedelic Furs
"Virginia Plain" performed by Roxy Music
"Fascination Street" performed by The Cure
"Lovers On The Run" performed by Echo and the Bunneymen-WSPC PREMIERE
"Ziggy Stardust" (demo version) performed by David Bowie
"Bullet In The Brain" performed by The Black Keys-WSPC PREMIERE
"Misfit Love" performed by Queens Of The Stone Age
"A Passage to Bankok" performed by Rush
"Indiscipline" performed by King Crimson
"Occam's Razor" performed by Frank Zappa
May 2, 2014
"The Levels" performed by Ben Watt with David Gilmor-WSPC PREMIERE
"Freakout/Starry Eyes" performed by LCD Soundsystem
"The Perfect Kiss (extended version)" performed by New Order
"Music: Response" performed by The Chemical Brothers
"Sunset (Bird Of Prey)" performed by Fatboy Slim
"Tears" performed by Frankie Knuckles
May 3, 2014
"Chevy Van" performed by Sammy Johns
"Precious And Few" performed by Climax
"Crystal Blue Persuasion" performed by Tommy James and the Shondells
"On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" performed by The Peddlers
"Easier Said Than Done" performed by The Essex
BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO JAMES BROWN
"Talking Loud And Saying Nothing"
"Get On The Good Foot"
"There Was A Time"
"I Can't Stand It (When You Touch Me)"
"If You Don't Give A Doggone About It"
"Make It Funky"
"The Belle Of St. Mark" performed by Shelia E.
"Open Letter (To A Landlord)" performed by Living Colour
"Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On" performed by Funkadelic
"Somebody's Watching You" performed by Sly and the Family Stone
"Verbal Penetration" performed by Jesse Johnson
May 4, 2014
30TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE TO "SIXTEEN CANDLES"
"Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry" performed by Darlene Love
"Kajagoogoo" performed by Kajagoogoo
"Hang Up The Phone" performed by Annie Golden
"Ring Me Up" performed by The DiVinyls
"Wild Sex (In The Working Class)" performed by Oingo Boingo
"Growing Pains" performed by Tim Finn
"Whistle Down The Wind" performed by Nick Heyward
"True" performed by Spandau Ballet
"If You Were Here" performed by The Thompson Twins
May 5, 2014
"Girls Talk" performed by Garbage with Brody Dalle-WSPC PREMIERE
"Vomit" performed by Girls
"How I Know" performed by Toro Y Moi
"Way You Walk" performed by Papas Fritas
"Parklife" performed by Blur
"Dogs" performed by Pink Floyd
May 8, 2014
"Going For The One" performed by Yes
"Miss You In My Life" performed by The Belle Brigade-WSPC PREMIERE
"Pavlov's Bell" performed by Aimee Mann
"Honesty Is No Excuse" performed by Thin Lizzy
"Desert Trip" performed by Jonathan Wilson
"A Beautiful Song" performed by Nazz
"Take This Job And Shove It" performed by Johnny Paycheck
"A Million Miles Away" performed by David Byrne
"Maggie's Farm" performed by Grateful Dead
"Calling It Quits" performed by Aimee Mann
May 9, 2014
"Cliche" performed by Todd Rundgren
"My Old School" performed by Steely Dan
"Another Park, Another Sunday" performed by The Doobie Brothers
"You're No Good" performed by Linda Rondstadt
"Empty Heart" performed by The Rolling Stones
"Only In Dreams" performed by Weezer
"You Or No One" performed by Chrissie Hynde-WSPC PREMIERE
"Far From An Answer" performed by Papas Fritas
"Still Fighting It" performed by Ben Folds
"Night Train" performed by Steve Winwood
"Growing Up" performed by Peter Gabriel
May 10, 2014
FEATURED ARTIST: BIG STAR
"I'm In Love With A Girl"
"I Am The Cosmos" performed by Chris Bell
"Speed Of Sound" performed by Chris Bell
"Give Me Another Chance"
'Telescope" performed by Kawehi-WSPC PREMIERE
WSPC HAPPY 54TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO BONO
all songs performed by U2
"Two Hearts Beat As One"
"All I Want Is You"
"Bullet The Blue Sky"
"Please" (live 1997)
"Moment Of Surrender"
May 11, 2014
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
"Mother May I" performed by The Brides Of Funkenstein
"Always On The Run" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"Hey Mama" performed by Kanye West
"Dear Mama" performed by 2Pac
"Mama Said" performed by The Shirelles
"Julia" performed by The Beatles
"For Martha" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Mother Necessity--Schoolhouse Rock"
"Nobody Loves Me But My Mother" performed by B.B. King
"I'll Always Love My Mama" performed by The Intruders
"Sorry Mama" performed by The Apollas
"Treat Your Mother Right" performed by MR. T!!!!!!!
FEATURED ARTIST: EAGLES
"I Can't Tell You Why"
"King Of Hollywood"
"Too Many Hands"
"Walk Away" (live)
May 13, 2014
HAPPY 64TH BIRTHDAY TO STEVIE WONDER TRIBUTE
"Fingertips Parts 1 & 2"
"Knocks Me Off My Feet"
"Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"
"You Haven't Done Nothin'"
"If You Really Love Me"
"Do I Do"
"Signed. Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)"
"Uptight (Everything's Alrght)"
May 14, 2014
"Over And Over" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"All Kinds Of Time" performed by Fountains Of Wayne
"Sad Professor" performed by R.E.M.
"Overnight Job" performed by Mike Rutherford
"Over And Over" performed by Joe Walsh
May 15, 2014
"5:15" performed by The Who
"Other Arms" performed by Robert Plant
"Thru These Walls" performed by Phil Collins
"Wanted Man" performed by Ratt
"Ace Of Spades" performed by Motorhead
"Sheer Heart Attack" performed by Queen
"Prefabricated" performed by Trust
"Surrender" performed by Cheap Trick
May 16, 2014
"The Wind" performed by Cat Stevens
"S.O.S." performed by ABBA
"Raspberry Beret" performed by Hindu Love Gods
"Consolers Of The Lonely" performed by The Raconteurs
"Ms. Jackson" performed by OutKast
"Let Me Blow Ya Mind" performed by Eve with Gwen Stefani
"Creep" performed by TLC
May 17, 2014
"Graduation Day" performed by The Beach Boys
"Here's Where The Story Ends" performed by The Sundays
"Moving On" performed by James-WSPC PREMIERE
"Goodbye" performed by Paul Stanley
"Photograph" performed by Ringo Starr
"Friends" performed by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
"Farewell" performed by Bob Dylan
"Congratulations" performed by MGMT
"Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" performed by Baz Luhrmann
"Making Plans For Nigel" performed by XTC
"Crooked Crown" performed by The Anniversary
"Love Action (I Believe In Love)" performed by Human League
"Who's That Girl" performed by Eurythmics
"Prom Theme" performed by Fountains Of Wayne
"Goodbye Goodbye" performed by Oingo Boingo
May 18, 2014
"Cecil Taylor" performed by Jonathan Wilson
"4+20" performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
"Bitter Creek" performed by Eagles
"Mood For A Day" performed by Yes
"A Horse With No Name" performed by America
"In The Wake Of Poseidon" performed by King Crimson
"Hummingbird" performed by Seals and Crofts
"Strangers" performed by The Kinks
"Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters" performed by Elton John
"Ain't Gonna Come 'Til I'm Ready" performed by World Party
"One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)" performed by Wilco
May 19, 2014
HAPPY 69TH BIRTHDAY TO PETE TOWNSHEND
"Pure And Easy"
"Sea And Sand"
"Stop Hurting People"
"Second Hand Love"
"A Friend Is A Friend"
"Gonna Get Ya"
"No Way Out (However Much I Booze)"
May 21, 2014
"Two Fine Lovers" performed by Sean Lennon
"Parachute" performed by Sean Lennon
"Xanadu" performed by The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger-WSPC PREMIERE
"Girl" performed by Papas Fritas
"It's Not That Easy" (alternate Todd Rundgren lead vocal) performed by Nazz
"Never" performed by The Roots-WSPC PREMIERE
"Exit Music (For A Film)" performed by Radiohead
"Set The Ray To Jerry" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Is It True?" performed by Eagles
"Animal" performed by R.E.M.
"Weight Of Love" performed by The Black Keys-WSPC PREMIERE
"Move With The Season" performed by Temples-WSPC PREMIERE
"Half Full Glass Of Wine" (live 2013-Coachella) performed by Tame Impala
"D'You Know What I Mean?" performed by Oasis
"Bandoliers" performed by Them Crooked Vultures
May 22, 2014
"Union Of The Snake" performed by Duran Duran
"Murderess" performed by The Power Station
"Flesh Wound" performed by Robert Palmer
"Take It Easy" performed by Andy Taylor
"Goodbye Is Forever" performed by Arcadia
"All You Need Is Now" performed by Duran Duran
May 23, 2014
"Don't Fear The Reaper" performed by Blue Oyster Cult
"Carry On Wayward Son" performed by Kansas
"Jessica" performed by The Allman Brothers
"Mr. X" performed by Ultravox
"Dominion" performed by Tangerine Dream
"Hostiles" performed by Damon Albarn-WSPC PREMIERE
"Kids With Guns" performed by Gorillaz
"Fall In Love" performed by Flying Lotus
May 24, 2014
"Can't Get Used To Losing You" performed by The English Beat
"Kids In America" performed by Kim Wilde
"In Your Room" performed by The Bangles
"Smile On" performed by Dee-Lite
"Soncheynne" performed by P.M. Dawn
"Black Maria" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Black Cow" performed by Steely Dan
"Black" performed by Pearl Jam
"Black Tambourine" performed by Beck
"Black Swan" performed by Thom Yorke
"Black Flowers" performed by Fishbone
May 26, 2014
MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE
"I Can't Write Left Handed" performed by Bill Withers
"The Unknown Soldier" performed by The Doors
"Volunteers" performed by Jefferson Airplane
"Bring 'Em Home" performed by Pete Seeger
"The Big Parade" performed by 10,000 Maniacs
"Civil War" performed by Guns N' Roses
"One" performed by Metallica
"I Can't Write Left Handed" performed by John Legend and The Roots
"The Fiddle And The Drum" performed by Joni Mitchell
"Blue Lamp" performed by Stevie Nicks
"Sugar" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"Lose Myself" performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
"The Width Of A Circle" performed by David Bowie
"Ife" performed by Miles Davis
BIG STAR/CHRIS BELL SET
"Life Is White"
"The Ballad Of El Goodo"
"Motel Blues" (demo)
"Speed Of Sound" performed by Chris Bell
"My Life Is Right"
"What's Going Ahn"
"Don't Lie To Me"
"Thank You Friends"
"Make A Scene"
"Though I Know She Lied"
May 27, 2014
"Raindrops + Sunshowers" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Waiting For The Flood" performed by Love And Rockets
"Here Comes The Flood" performed by Peter Gabriel
"Rainy Night In Georgia" performed by Ray Charles
"Texas Flood" performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan
"Couldn't Stand The Weather" (live) performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan
"Happy When It Rains" performed by The Jesus And Mary Chain
"Only Happy When It Rains" performed by Garbage
"Rain" performed by The Cult
"Rain" performed by The Beatles
"The Rain" performed by Oran "Juice" Jones
May 28, 2014
DR. MAYA ANGELOU R.I.P.
"Love Liberates"-MAYA ANGELOU
"Killing Me Softly"performed by Youngblood Brass Band
May 29, 2014
"30 Rock" performed by Pomplamoose-WSPC PREMIERE
"Itchykoo Park" performed by The Small Faces
"See Emily Play" performed by Pink Floyd
"Poor Paul Getty" performed by The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger-WSPC PREMIERE
"The W.A.N.D." performed by The Flaming Lips
"I Am The Walrus" performed by The Beatles
"Baby Let's Swing/The Last Thing You Said/Don't Tie My Hands" performed by Todd Rundgren
May 30, 2014
"The Chain" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"Looking For Love" performed by The Cars
"On The Way"performed by Paul McCartney
"Every Breath You Take" performed by The Police
"Gimmie All Your Lovin' " performed by ZZ Top
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" from the motion picture "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heats Club Band"
"Sister Havana" performed by Urge Overkill
"It's Up To You Now" performed by The Black Keys-WSPC PREMIERE
"Renegades Of Funk" performed by Rage Against The Machine
"Busy Doin' Nothing" performed by The Beach Boys
"Late In The Day" performed by Supergrass
"Message From The Country" performed by The Move
"The Seven Rays" performed by Utopia
"Likely To Use Something" performed by The Belle Brigade-WSPC PREMIERE
May 31, 2014
"Girls" performed by Dwight Twilley
"Ecstasy" performed by The Raspberries
"Making Flippy Floppy" performed by Talking Heads
"Going To California" performed by Led Zeppelin
"Get Me Some" performed by Weezer
"Smoke Detector" performed by Rilo Kiley
"Private Life" performed by Pretenders
"Big Black Car" performed by Big Star
"Fucked Me Right Up" performed by Sean Hayes
"Saturday Night" performed by Eagles
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Released September 16, 1991
-Technically, I began listening to this album during the last couple of days in April as the weather in Madison. remained cold, gloomy and filled with rain, rain, rain. When I heard this album for the very first time at some point during the early 190's, I was working at the University Book Store. While on a break, I had my headphones with me on a Springtime rainy morning/afternoon, and I sat in a small room of the church that was attached to the bookstore and I just found myself mesmerized by the music as it merged itself with the imagery of the falling rain. The music of this album is nearly indescribable as it could be some amalgam of art rock and jazz but truly sounding like neither genre at all. It is music of its own universe, that is alternately and even simultaneously peaceful, arcane and even atonal and always artful. And somehow, I have forever the music of this album with the sights and the feelings that arrive with rainy Spring days.
Released February 1963
-I also listened to this during those final days of April and mostly in my classsroom as I just needed to have something calming to permeate the intense vibes that were being transmitted into the atmosphere by the children who were really being affected by the barometric pressure or whatever else that happened to be making our days increasingly stressful. The album begins with the classic piece "In A Sentimental Mood," a song that I have known for much of my life but never knew who performed it until the night, perhaps three years ago, when I heard the song on WORT-FM community radio and I immediately called the station t find out who performed the track. Once I knew the answer, I raced out not long after that and bought this album.
Released October 15, 2013
-I may have expressed this to you before but here I am again: I have noticed that the older I get, the further back in time my musical tastes seem to sway. With "Fanfare," the second official album from singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wilson delivers the goods on both counts.
I purchased this album late last Fall and entirely based upon the vehement suggestion by my friend Steve Manley, owner of B-Side Records. Before that time, I had never heard anything about Jonathan Wilson let alone his music. And I have to say that I cannot thank Steve enough for pointing me in this direction. Truth be told, I wished to have written about this album at that time but I was experiencing serious technical difficulties that made it impossible for me to do so as I was without computer. But here I am now with the information that I hope will sway all of you to possibly seek this album out.
As I hinted, "Fanfare" is an album that hearkens back to musical eras of the past, most specifically the early 1970's, yet it simultaneously is an album that could only have been created in the 21st century. Wilson's musical palate clearly owes itself to the early '70s counter-culture rock heroes merged with that sleepy, druggy, psychedelic California cowboy sound. Along with the elements of country rock, you will easily hear over the 78 minute album bits and snatches of pop, soul, funk as well as drum fills that sound as if they are being played by Phil Collins and guitar licks that sound as if they are being played by the late Curtis Mayfield and the late Jerry Garcia. While he works with a full band and is joined on the album by the likes of David Crosby and Graham Nash, Jonathan Wilson often plays every instrument and sings every note himself, fully displaying not only his immense talents but his seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the last 40 years or so of rock music effortlessly and making the music function as a most heartfelt personal statement.
As the entirety of "Fanfare" fits snugly onto one CD, think of this album as one of those great double albums as this is a completely sprawling experience that is designed for you to lose yourself inside of for a while. Go to YouTube and check out some songs for yourself to try it out. "Fanfare" is a trip well worth taking.
Released October 27, 2009
-Speaking of Curtis Mayfield and double albums, "Verbal Penetration Volumes One And Two" from Jesse Johnson, formerly of The Time and guitarist extraordinaire, was the album gravitated towards next this month and it was truly a pleasure as I had not listened to it in quite some time. Despite the longevity of Johnson's career, he has often been a bit lost in the shadows, albeit an extremely large one created by Prince, as Johnson was once a key member of the Paisley Park universe. But aside from his solo releases prior to this one, plus his vast session work (he is supposedly upon D'Angelo's long awaited third album and did play alongside him during D's recent concert tours), it has admittedly been difficult for him to truly carve out his signature sound and musical identity. On this album, Johnson succeeds greatly.
Alongside the slow jams, love songs and surprising, striking instrumentals ("Merciful" and "Ali Vs. Frazier" are especially evocative), Jesse Johnson crafts a robust political vision celebrating and encouraging the self-empowerment and self-respect of African Americans, especially as we have been subject to various forms of self-degradation within our own art forms. In addition to the title track, we are blessed with songs like "Slave 2 R Freedom," "Propaganda," "U & I R We R Us," and "Don't Throw Yourself Away," all of which evoke the progressive musical spirit of Curtis Mayfield, the elegance of Duke Ellington and certainly the swagger and iconography of Prince, and those songs are just on the first disc!
And then, there is Johnson's absolutely jaw dropping guitar playing, which you will have just buckets of throughout the entirety of the double album. From crafting a complete work that is filled with enlightenment that will often dare you to not move to the infectious rhythms or dare you to not have your mind blown apart by the guitar heroics, Jesse Johnson has fully come inot his own on this release and it feels as if he is just getting himself started.
Released September 8, 2009
-My conflicts with the world of hip-hop could fuel months and months of material on this site and my issues with the mere presence of Jay-Z, and what I have felt him to possibly represent, could also be folly for much of that material. But, truth be told, I have not really heard very much of his massive amount of music to really give him a fair shake or to at least come at the topic of his persona with any sense of true knowledge. Oddly enough, and through a true sense of serendipity, a friend loaned me a copy of this album and much to my surprise not only did I enjoy it greatly, I was surprised with how musical it actually is as I was just expecting the same old tired mechanical beats with the same old tired boastings laid on top.
Released June 15, 1989
-My re-introduction to Nirvana continued this month with an album I actually had never heard before, their debut release.
Released November 1995
-This listening was inspired by listening to Mann's current project, The Both, her partnership with musician/songwriter Ted Leo.
-Truth be told, I am not very well versed in the musical language of jazz. Like my Father, I have embraced Miles Davis as being one of the greatest musicians to ever have walked the planet as he was truly one of those rare artists that changed the musical landscape so profoundly that he music he made could not be classified as anything other than "Miles Davis music."
All of that being said, and completely unlike my Father, I have very scant knowledge of the musicians that he firmly believes have been national treasures and should be as well known and as highly regarded as someone like Paul McCartney due to the virtuosity and dynamism of their skill, craft and artistic triumphs. I now also agree with him--especially as I really should have a greater knowledge of an art form that was created by African-Americans, for if we do not nurture our own art, then who will?
So, on one cold, rainy morning, I dug this out of my persona archives and gave it a listen while on my drive to school, trying to familiarize myself with a musical figure that has indeed been so highly celebrated.
Released December 8, 1976
-I have had a posting about this album inside of me for so many years and perhaps I will write it one day. But for now, let me just say that I dug this album out as I was watching the excellent documentary "The History Of The Eagles," and preparing to write a review of it for Savage Cinema. It was, and remains, this band's top to bottom masterpiece.
Released May 10, 1994
-For whatever reasons, I do no tend to think of myself as being a big fan of Weezer but somehow six of their albums have ended up in my collection. I particularly love their third self titled album, what is now referred to as "The Red Album" (released June 3, 2008) but you know, their debut album really is something special.
I decided to listen to this album again after many, many years after I read that their debut album was released this month 20 years ago. Again stunned that this much time has indeed passed by, I dug this album out and realized that it is about as perfect of a debut album as any group could have as the identity of the band feels fully formed as well as leader Rivers Cuomo's songwriting. Produced by Ric Ocasek, every single song on the album, which includes the now classics "Buddy Holly" and "Undone (The Sweater Song)" plus the slashing, spectacular eight minute closing "Only In Dreams," is stellar.
Released May 17, 1965
-I decided to listen to this album after I played the title track on day on WSPC. Some short time after that day, I listened to that title track repeatedly and then, the entire wonderful album. It is amazing to me how in any style of music that the images on the album jacket and the actual themes contained within the music seem to perfectly match the actual music that you are hearing. This album is no exception as the music just sounds like you are gliding on the water.
"HOLE IN THE WORLD" (single)
Released July 15, 2003
Once writing the review for that aforementioned Eagles documentary was in earnest, I began listening to everything I had by the band, including this gospel tinged single release...
"LONG ROAD OUT OF EDEN"
Released October 30, 2007
Released October 30, 2007
...and also what may be their final recordings, this (mostly) terrific double album, an experience I really feel hit the high notes (especially the 10 minute title track) throughout the second half as the first half is much more ballad heavy.
Released March 18, 1985
-It was a cold dark rainy day once again and I simply had a desire to hear something more atmospheric and without lyrics. This album has been a part of my life since my teen years and everytime I hear it, it is like re-visiting with an old moody friend.
Released March 7, 2000
-How did I never hear of this band???? With special thanks to the WSUM-FM radio program "The Study Lounge," I heard a song by this band while driving on my way home from work. After seeing/hearing some more tracks via You Tube, I finally purchased this album and what a gem it is!! It just sits perfectly within my musical wheelhouse as this album is a collection of heavily melodic tracks with boy/girl vocal harmonies that are as studio slick as Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, as sugary sweet as The Partridge Family and The Archies and as wonderfully well written as XTC. It has been in HEAVY ROTATION throughout the month and now I gots to get their other albums!!
Released May 14, 2002
-This album, I believe Weezer's fourth, just kind of called to me one day and it just impressed me with how heavy of an album it is and how effectively Rivers Cuomo can shred that guitar. I wish that I could get a better handle on this band as sometimes I am not certain as to how seriously I should take them or how seriously they take themselves. Maybe it's just in the name, which always sounds to close to "Weasel" to me.
"ON THE BORDER" EAGLES Released March 22, 1974
"The History Of The Eagles" inspired me to go backwards even further into the band's discography and listen to the albums that arrived before the classic greatest hits compilation. Listening to both of these albums made me realize just how skilled they were from the very beginning and man, do those vocals just glisten!
Released February 21, 1992
-This month, I watched the excellent documentary "Big Star: Noting Can Hurt Me," and of course, I was inspired to return to the albums that are truly listening mainstays, including the solo work of Big Star founder Chris Bell.
If you have never heard this work, I cannot even begin to urge you enough to seek it out as this collection of elegantly composed, produced and performed songs deeply pre-figure what would arrive in the alternative music scene of the 1980's and 1990's and even the "emo scene" in the early 2000's. These songs are garage rock, psychedelic, power pop selections that house a true and palpable emotional fragility that powerfully displays Bell's heart and soul within every single sound. And the more I listen to it, how I wish that Bell, who died from a car crash in 1978, were here today and somehow on social media, just so I could be one of many, many voices to tell him that all of his hard work certainly mattered in the world and none of it was released to the world in vain.
Released March 7, 2011
-R.E.M. has long cited Big Star as a major influence upon their work and career and of course, I was then inspired to go back and listen to this band who called it a day in 2011, not terribly long after releasing this album--their final album. I actually have not listened to this album since it was released so the songs all felt to be terrifically fresh when I placed it into the CD player again. And what a final statement it actually is as it is an album with purpose as well as a certain strength and vitality, two aspects that has been somewhat missing in the band's final years, or to be fairer, sadly muted or overly produced. This album, in retrospect sounds less like a return to form but more like a victory lap for a musical job so very well executed and with complete integrity.
"RADIO CITY" BIG STAR Released February 1974
-There is nothing more that I really need to say abut "#1 Record"," especially since I have already written an entire posting abut that album last year. Anyhow, the CD version that I have (and I think the only one that is available) is one where Big Star's first two albums are together on one CD. Granted, "#1 Record" is just so masterful that I have tended to not really give "Radio City" nearly as much attention. So, these days, even as I was pouring over the debut album again and again, I made myself focus on "Radio City" even ore than I already have and in doing so, it is almost like hearing a new album.
Now understanding that Chris Bell was the true architect of the band's sound on their debut album, it is great to hear Alex Chilton fully take the reins over the material thus demonstrating not only his superior talents but also how closely he and Chris Bell were matched in the first place. The track "What's Going Ahn" has really planted itself into my brain, forcing me to listen t it again and again.
Released June 1970
-There was something about listening to Big Star that struck a chord within my musical memories and made me dig out Todd Rundgren's first solo album, on which he sings every note and plays essentially every single instrument (including horns and strings), except for the bass and the drums, which he would soon take over for himself just two albums later. It is such a pretty, glorious album and just a mere calling card for the musical adventures that would follow over the next 40 years.
Released May 16, 1978
-Yes, this is the album that features the classic "Life's Been Good" but I have to say that for many, many years, this full album has been one of my "go-to" Spring albums. The sequencing of the album's first side is especially perfect and one that always pushes me t hear all five songs over and again, hence the album's opening track "Over And Over." Just peaceful, pastoral, great vocals and melodies and harmonics. It is an album that feels like life opening itself up again...
CROSBY, STILLS & NASH
Released May 29, 1969
-This was a no brainer for me. Once I saw that this album was released 45 years ago on this date, I simply took it to the classroom and listened to it with the kids all afternoon! 'Nuff said!!
Where will the music take me next month? Watch this space and keep your dial tuned into WSPC!!
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Produced by James Bagshaw
Released February 5, 2014
-Let me see if this description will be able to set the scene...
I want for you to imagine that you are in a room, seated or laying down upon a couch and you are beginning to doze off, despite any bits of ambient sounds in the room (people chattering, television playing, radio on, etc...). When you find yourself somewhere in that in-between state of waking and dreaming, when you are still somewhat aware f your surroundings but are just about to fall into sleep, and those aforementioned ambient sounds begin to form an echo inside of your consciousness, then that's is what it is like to listen to "Sun Structures," the debut album from Temples.
I first heard this band while driving across town and listening to the student radio station WSUM-FM, and I was immediately struck by the band's late 1960's vibe which possessed a highly melodic song structure but left ample room for the band to delve into the type of audio psychedelics that gave me the feeling that I described to you in the above paragraph. Intrigued, I hopped on down to B-Side Records for a copy of the album and was taken in supremely.
The little I have read about this band has indeed classified them in close musical proximity to the wonderful Tame Impala. But where Tame Impala proudly flows through the wormhole with a rainbow of colors that sends my synesthesia into overdrive, Temples' sonic vision is decidedly muted. Think less "Penny Lane" and more London underground nightclubs where the rhythm sections can only be described as "groovy."
The album's opening track "Shelter Song," immediately sets the scene with its terrific call and response vocals and a groove that demands that you shimmy along. From there, and through songs like the appropriately titled "Mesmerise," the swaying "Move With The Season," the blues stomp of "A Question Isn't Answered," Temples' "Sun Structures" delivered strongly composed and performed songs that remained grounded just enough for the psychedelic atmospherics to phase into and out of the proceedings without actually taking them over and leading you into a complete dreamworld. I think that, and as with my opening description, you will feel as if you are somewhere in between waking and dreaming-a hazy state of consciousness that will undoubtedly conjure up images of hourglass shaped, go-go boots wearing female silhouettes dancing around the room with spinning spirals floating all around.
THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER
Produced by The G.O.A.S.T.T.
Released April 29, 2014
"I have no right to play music as John Lennon's son and just wing it."
Those words were expressed by Sean Lennon in a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine and I strongly feel that one would be extremely hard pressed to try and accuse Lennon of embarking upon a music career by exploiting the memory of his Father for his own artistic gains. In fact, I would actually commend him for the way that he has forged his musical travels as Sean Lennon has charted a most unorthodox creative path. Beginning with the release of his gentle, subtle and surprisingly diverse debut album "Into The Sun" (released May 19, 1998), which was followed by his second album (and accompanying short film) "Friendly Fire " (released October 3, 2006), which was an exquisitely painful song cycle of romance, love, jealousy, loss and regret. In addition, Sean Lennon has occupied himself as a producer and film score composer as well as performing and recording alongside Cibo Matto and even his Mother, Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band.
Within all of these activities, Sean Lennon has proudly, yet very quietly, carved out his own territory, zigging where everyone else may be zagging, so to speak. And to some extent, that ability, sense of integrity and idiosyncratic display would most definitely signal Sean Lennon is indeed honoring the artistic legacy of both of his parents. And now we arrive with The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger (heretofore referenced as The G.O.A.S.T.T.), Lennon's musical partnership with Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Where their first album (which I have not heard) is reportedly more acoustic, "Midnight Sun," their second album, is a supersonic blast of electronic rock power and dense psychedelia which takes the listener on a ride straight down the rabbit hole. Hopefully you will be able to find your way back out!
While Sean Lennon's indeed working under the frame work of the strangely and extravagantly named band, "Midnight Sun" almost find him embracing his heritage in a way he hasn't quite expressed in the past. Just look at any images of him now on-line or on any of the band's recent television appearances and you will see that Lennon looks eerily just like his Father circa 1968/1969 Beatles. However, on a musical level, "Midnight Sun," on which Lennon and Muhl share songwriting and vocal duties and Lennon plays nearly all of the instruments, the songs are (again) less "Penny Lane" or even "Strawberry Fields Forever" and much more like Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd or even The Flaming Lips (with whom Lennon has collaborated) in their more expansive moments. And still, all of the songs are enormously tuneful and decidedly not presented as art for art's sake.
From the boom of the appropriately titled opening selection "Too Deep," to the magic carpet rides of "Xanadu" and "Animals," the lounge pop and vaguely hip-hop influenced "Johannesburg," to even more expansive prog-rock visions of "Last Call" and the highly Floyd-ian "Moth To A Flame," The G.O.A.S.T.T. have delivered a wonderful soundtrack to fuel all of your mysterious Arabian nights, real and imagined. And for me, this album certainly gave my synesthesia a real workout!!
Where Sean Lennon heads from here is anyone's guess and after this success, which I feel is his best release to date, I am ready for whatever he dreams up next.
THE BLACK KEYSProduced by Danger Mouse and The Black Keys
Released May 13, 2014
In the opening moments of "Turn Blue," the eighth album by the bluesy duo The Black Keys, which consists of Dan Auerbach (guitars,vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums and percussion), you may feel as if you have dropped into a lost outtake from the sessions of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon," most specifically, that album's gloriously relaxed and spaced out groove entitled "Breathe." But then, instead of gliding peacefully, Auerbach's bitter lyrics are augmented by his guitar playing, which begins a slow burn into a sonic explosion that progresses for nearly seven full minutes leaving ashes in its wake. Here is where The Black Keys have greeted us on their first album in three years: a state of emotional debilitation and the process of reconstruction.
Where their previous album "El Camino" (released December 6, 2011) almost felt like their version of Motown, with glittery, shiny, soulfully propulsive tracks that almost sounded like an album of first rate singles, "Turn Blue" is the headphone concept album. Collaborating again with producer Danger Mouse, who functions as the band's un-official third member, The Black Keys take us on what is possibly their most personal statement, especially as so many of the songs and lyrical content explore the complex and fragile inner terrain of Auerbach who underwent a painful divorce, that has obviously left him disillusioned as well as being a devoted single Father to his daughter.
With "Bullet In The Brain, "Year In Review," the Bo Diddley influenced "It's Up To You Know," "Waiting On Words" and the deep bass driven funk of "10 Lovers" among the album's 11 tracks, "Turn Blue" is a moody, murky affair that grows in power with each listen. While the scrappy, garage rock sound of their earliest releases has been replaced by an expansive sonic display that incorporates a sheen not terribly unlike this year's Broken Bells album (also produced by Danger Mouse), please do not let the lushness fool you, especially upon the disco/New Wave influenced first single "Fever." The romantic and psychological anguish is deep inside of each and every groove. "Turn Blue" is The Black Keys' "Blood On The Tracks."
Thursday, May 8, 2014
THE MUSIC OF 2014: PART TWO featuring new albums by THE BELLE BRIGADE, THE BOTH, PIXIES and DAMON ALBARN
THE BELLE BRIGADE
produced by The Belle Brigade and Shawn Everett
Released March 25, 2014
The Synesthesia mantra is forever and always is a variation of "Music chooses you." With regards to The Belle Brigade, I discovered this band (or better yet, they found me) when I was casually venturing around a large bookstore and I happened to catch the strains of the music playing though the overhead store speakers that sounded vaguely like Fleetwood Mac...but not quite. Song after song played until I could just not take it anymore and I walked into the Music Department to inquire about the identity of this band. I purchased the debut album "The Belle Brigade" (released April 19, 2011) right then and there and completely fell in love their perfectly realized pop music that ventured into country influenced rock, as well as that vaguely Everly Brothers/Fleetwood Mac/"California" sound and all filtered through the glistening vocal harmonies .
The Belle Brigade consists of the sister/brother duo of Barbara Gruska (Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Keyboards) and Ethan Gruska (Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards) and believe me, these two are a musical force to be reckoned with as well as being a blast of the freshest of musical air in an increasingly synthetic and plastic musical landscape. For their second album, The Belle Brigade have consciously tempered the more polished qualities of their debut release to create an album that is darker, more melancholic, sonically edgier and defiantly left of center yet produced and performed with an inventive exuberance that is joyous and completely infectious.
From the propulsive opening track "Ashes," the beautifully pensive "Miss You In My Life," the somewhat zydeco influenced "Not The One You Want," the almost New Wave influenced "When Everything Was What It Was," to the turbulently urgent "Likely To Use Something" (which contains a chord progression that reminded me slightly of The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic") among the remainder of the album's tracks, The Belle Brigade have crafted music that is eccentric and eclectic, an approach which makes the band's musical reference points, influences and inspirations much more difficult to identify while simultaneously revealing the full personality of The Belle Brigade in an even stronger fashion than their debut.
Sticking with the Fleetwood Mac comparative metaphors, think of it this way: If The Belle Brigade's first album was like Fleetwood Mac circa the glossy hit making "Rumours"/"Mirage" era, then think of their second album as being the sort of left-of-center release Lindsey Buckingham would craft while away from the band. The Belle Brigade's "Just Because" is a unconventional, unorthodox headphone album that wears its heartfelt idiosyncrasies on its sleeve completely without losing any of their shimmering pop sheen. And with an album where every song is centered around Barbara and Ethan Gruska's seamless vocal harmonies, you will be singing along with them on the very first listen.
produced by Paul Bryan
Released April 15, 2014
For as much as I love Aimee Mann--and believe me, I LOVE Aimee Mann--I have to admit that her last few albums, which have included the concept album "The Forgotten Arm" (released May 3, 2005), "@#%&*! Smilers" (released June 3, 2008) and "Charmer" (released September 18, 2012), while solid, have been somewhat stagnant. I guess that I have been feeling like her songs, regardless of how stunningly well written they are, have remained stuck in the same languid mid-tempo melancholic groove for perhaps a bit too long. While that style is indeed her specialty, I have to say that I was missing some of the fire of her earlier albums or even moreso, if the songs were going to remain within that languid, mid-tempo melancholic groove, then where was that unmistakable emotional sweep in the melodies and the lyrics that could just flatten me, like throughout her darkest and most devastating album "Lost In Space" (released August 27, 2002), for instance.
For now, it seems that creative rejuvenation is in order as we have "The Both," the self-titled debut album featuring Mann's songwriting/performing collaboration with singer/songwriter/guitarist Ted Leo. I am happy to say that the album is precisely the shot in the arm and kick in the pants that Aimee Mann has needed as she sounds invigorated and completely refreshed bouncing ideas back and forth with Leo, her bass guitar playing swirling around Leo's fiery guitar leads and like The Belle Brigade, their voices blending together with striking harmony.
With The Both, what you will hear is no frills rock and roll. No concepts or grandiose themes. Just first rate songwriting combined with the blast of hearing two musical forces combining their talents so gleefully. With an approach that sounds more like Mann's first two solo albums, the Jon Brion produced "Whatever" (released May 11, 1993) and "I'm With Stupid" (released November 1995), "The Both" is a collection of guitar driven yet literate power pop that showcases the gifts of...ahem..both Mann and Leo superbly.
The songs, which include "The Gambler," "Milwaukee," "The Prisoner," a cover version of Thin Lizzy's "Honesty Is No Excuse" plus seven more originals, are all eloquent, exuberant and tailor made for the Spring season. So, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of The Both and open those car windows!
Produced by Gil Norton
Released April 29, 2014
Last November, I offered the following observations and feelings regarding the return of the Pixies as a recording musical entity:
"To all of those people who feel that the new material pales in comparison to their past body of work, then fine. Just listen to those albums then if the Pixies are just not making music for you anymore. No harm, no foul. But to agonize over how it is not "the same" anymore or that they are now officially not a "real band" just because a core, original member is no longer part of the proceedings, is just pointless. First of all, OF COURSE it's not "the same"!!! It could NEVER be "the same" because these people are just not the same people they were 25 years ago and to expect them to be exactly the same as human beings, songwriters and musicians is unthinkable. Beyond that, I would ask those people to ask themselves exactly what do they wish for the Pixies to be? Do they really want them to be forever trapped inside of a bubble of nostalgia and hating each other in the process just for you? Or do you want them to keep pushing forwards if they are to exist at all?"
You already know how I feel in regards to the future of the Pixies and with "Indie Cindy,"" the band's first proper album of new material in over 20 years, I am unrepentantly and most enthusiastically going against the grain as seen throughout the internet regarding this album and proclaim it to being of the best rock releases of 2014...period.
Collecting all of the material from the sporadically released set of vinyl/digital EPs, re-contextualizing the running order of the tracks and even sightly tweaking one of the songs, "Indie Cindy" is a beast of an album that I actually feel would be regarded highly if it were made by any other band but the Pixies. Nostalgia is an even greater beast and I think this is what the band is up against regarding its future. But to them, I wish for the Pixies to keep doing what they are currently doing and to keep finding that impetus to create new material instead of travelling the world and trolling for easy money via past glories. This album, I sincerely hope, is a signal for things to come.
I have already profiled the first two EPs releases on this site (in November 2013 and January 2014, respectively) and now, the tracks that make up "EP3" (March 24, 2014) have joined the ranks. The murderous "Silver Snail," the alternative rock candyfloss of "Ring The Bell," the nearly euphoric "Jamie Bravo," and finally, that slightly tweaked roar of "Bagboy" comprise the remainder of the new Pixies material and now fully combined, "Indie Cindy" is precisely the type of rock album that I have been craving, a work that is designed to be blasted from the best and loudest speakers and one that I really believe that we should regard in celebration. This is not the work of a band that is now old, tired and irrelevant. This is the sound of renewal and wherever "Indie Cindy" leads, I will follow.
Produced by Richard Russell
Released April 29, 2014
"We're everyday robots on our phones," observes Damon Albarn at the very start of his debut solo album, a haunting, introspective work that I have found myself listening to on continuous loops as the experience has continuously proven itself to be intoxicating and sumptuous.
Albarn's musical "journeyman" spirit has been in evidence for over 20 years as his activities in Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Rocket Juice & the Moon and all of his additional excursions into African textures and Chinese operas can greatly attest. To my ears, he has often reminded me of the wild diversity found in the music of The Clash, especially when they released their epic and wildly diverse triple album "Sandanista!" (released December 12, 1980) and furthermore when both former Clash bandmates expanded their respective musical palates to even wider effect as Mick Jones formed Big Audio Dynamite and the late Joe Strummer formulated increasingly expansive solo work alongside The Mescaleros.
With Damon Albarn's latest release, that similar musically restless spirit is paramount as he has devised of a collection of songs where the seemingly disparate elements of ukuleles, string sections, synthetic beats, acoustic guitars and steel drums can occur harmoniously. If there is any sort of a leaping off point for Albarn's "Everyday Robots" in terms of its sonic presentation and overall mood, I would say that you could find the seeds in the Gorillaz track "Hong Kong," a slowly enveloping track you can find on the compilation album "D-Sides" (released November 19, 2007).
Damon Albarn's "Everyday Robots" is a sparse, somber and atmospheric album about displacement,as the album's opening moments contain the sampled voice of comic performer Lord Buckley exclaiming, "They didn't know where they was going, but they knew where they was, wasn't it." With songs featuring "Hostiles," "You And Me," "Photographs (You Are Taking Now)," and "The History Of A Cheating Heart," Albarn explores displacement with oneself, technology, society, geography and even on the particularly excellent track "Hollow Pounds," a displacement with time itself.
Damon Albarn has utilized "Everyday Robots" to create an album that functions as his most personal statement and it is as soulful as it is solemn. It projects an earned world weariness, the kind that arrives with middle age as we are trying to reconcile our upbringing, our present and the tenuous nature of the future. "Everyday Robots" is music for this precise moment. Like Albarn sings on the album, "If you're lonely, press play." And I think that you will do just that over and over again.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Feast or famine, as the saying goes. Feast or famine. With regards to music, I am currently in the throes of a veritable feast indeed!
Throughout my life there have been more times than I could ever possibly recount to you when I have been longing for new music to listen to but the landscape has been barren and then, before I even know it, there is a windfall of new music all demanding my attention, of which I am only too happy to dive into and of course I also wish that I had even more time to just dive into it all completely uninterrupted. As of this time, I am in the midst of a windfall of new 2014 released material that I am just pouring through and am also just itching to share my thoughts with you about all of them.
My hopes and dreams for this month on Synesthesia is to be able to provide for you a few new postings entirely devoted to the music of 2014. I don't want to spill any further details than that at this time as I hope for them all to be surprises for you. But, in addition to those upcoming postings, I have already begun this month's installment of the brand new "Now Playing In The Savage Jukebox" series as that will indeed be the feature that has the potential to be forever on-going.
So...without any further hesitation, I shall return to this new collection of magical musical material and I will be back to you shortly!
And so, until we meet next, keep your dial tuned into WSPC and as always...