Thursday, June 30, 2016


June 1, 2016
"Acknowledgement" performed by John Coltrane
"Askim" performed by Kamasi Wasington
"Turiya And Ramakrishna" performed by Alice Coltrane
"Afro Blue" performed by Mongo Santamaria
"All Blues" performed by Miles Davis

June 2, 2016
"This Old Heart Of Mine" performed by The Isley Brothers
"Give Me Just A Little More Time" performed by The Chairmen Of The Board
"Back Stabbers" performed by The O'Jays
"Smiley Faces" performed by Gnarls Barkley
"Oh Girl" performed by Raphael Saadiq

"Pain" performed by De La Soul featuring Snoop Dogg-WSPC PREMIERE
"I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind" performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
"Wild Is The Wind" performed by Nina Simone
"Sex" performed by Prince
"Properties Of Propaganda" performed by Fishbone

June 3, 2016
"Summer Soft" performed by Stevie Wonder
"Love Love Love" performed by Donny Hathaway
"You Got Me" performed by The Roots with Jill Scott

"Cult Of Personality" performed by Living Colour
"Shut 'Em Down" performed by Public Enemy
"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" performed by Gil Scott-Heron
"The Charade" (live 2015) performed by D'Angelo and the Vanguard
"A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" performed by The Staple Singers
January 17, 1942-June 3, 2016

Rest In Power
June 4, 2016

"For The Good Times" performed by Al Green
"Got To Give It Up" performed by Marvin Gaye
"You Got The Love" performed by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
"I Want You Back" performed by The Jackson 5
"Forget Me Nots" performed by Patrice Rushen

"Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad" performed by Prince

June 5, 2016
"Summertime" performed by Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan
"Twisted Blues" performed by Wes Montgomery
"Ain't It Funky Now" performed by Grant Green

"We R So Strong" performed by Jesse Johnson
"Heaven At Once" performed by Kool And The Gang
"Purple" performed by Shuggie Otis
"Shine On" performed by Eric Bibb
"Love & Hate" performed by Michael Kiwanuka-WSPC PREMIERE

"Gigolos Get Lonely Too" performed by The Time

June 6, 2016
"Monday Morning Blues" performed by Mississippi John Hurt
"Black Ghost Blues" performed by Lightnin' Hopkins
"Walkin' Blues" performed by Son House
"My Heavy Road" performed by Big Mama Thornton
"Walking The Backstreets" performed by Koko Taylor

"Other Side Of The Game" performed by Erykah Badu
"Gettin' In The Way" performed by Jill Scott
"Don't Mess With My Man" performed by Lucy Pearl
"Creep" performed by TLC
"If I Was Your Girlfriend" (from the "Sign O' The Times" film) performed by Prince
BORN JUNE 7, 1958
June 7, 2016
"The Love We Make" (live Montreux 2013) performed with 3RDEYEGIRL
"Pop Life"
"Glam Slam"
"Thieves In The Temple"
"I Wanna Be Your Lover"
"A Love Bizarre" (live 1985) performed with Shelia E. and the Revolution

"Head" (live 1986) performed with The Revolution
"Freaks On This Side" performed with The New Power Generation
"Beautiful Strange"
"There's Others Here With Us" (unreleased)
"Colonized Mind"

"Take Me With U"
"I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" (live from the "Sign O' The Times" movie)
"Le Grind"
"Last  December"

June 8, 2016
"To Love Somebody" performed by Roberta Flack
"Ain't No Way" performed by Aretha Franklin
"Nothing Can Change This Love" performed by Sam Cooke
"I Got Dreams To Remember" performed by Otis Redding
"Don't You Want To Stay" performed by Bill Withers

June 9, 2016
"Maybe The Last Time" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)" performed by De La Soul
"Concrete Schoolyard" performed by Jurassic 5
"Regulate" performed by Warren  G. with Nate Dogg
"Get Ready" performed by The Temptations

June 10, 2016
"It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" performed by G.C. Cameron

"mellow jam" performed by Jimi Hendrix
"Radio People" performed by Zapp
"Pimpers Paradise" performed by Bob Marley
"Drop The Pilot" performed by Joan Armatrading
"Pain" performed by Chaka Khan
"Never Can Say Goodbye" performed by The Jackson 5

June 11, 2016

"High On Sunshine" performed by The Commodores
"Wild Flower" performed by The New Birth
"In The Rain" performed by The Dramatics
"Neither One Of Us" performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips
"Me And Mrs. Jones" performed by Billy Paul
"Going Out Of My Head" performed by Little Anthony and the Imperials
"Didn't I Blow Your Mind?" performed by The Delfonics

"Brand New Step" performed by Angelo Moore and the Brand New Step-WSPC PREMIERE

"Black Flowers" (live AFROPUNK FEST 2014) performed by D'Angelo with Questlove and Angelo Moore
"Dead Hands" (live AFROPUNK FEST 2013) performed by The Skins
"Fool For You" (live AFROPUNK FEST 2014) performed by Alice Smith
"Free As You Wanna Be" (live AFROPUNK FEST 2013) performed by Unlocking The Truth
"What You Don't Do"/"Unstoppable"/"Forget" (live NPR TINY DESK CONCERT) performed by Lianne LaHavas

June 12, 2016
"Blk Girl Soldier" performed by Jamila Woods
"Electric Lady" performed by Janelle Monae
"Mmmm Hmmmm" performed by Flying Lotus with Thundercat
"Them Changes" performed by Thundercat
"Swimming Pools (Drank)" performed by Kendrick Lamar
"We Got To Have Peace" performed by Curtis Mayfield
"Love's In Need Of Love Today" performed by Stevie Wonder
"Love...Hate" performed by Fishbone

June 13, 2016
"Chain Reaction" performed by Diana Ross
"Burn Rubber On Me" performed by The Gap Band
"Skin I'm In" performed by Sly and the Family Stone
"Release Yourself" (live on "Soul Train") performed by Graham Central Station
"Got To Be Enough" (live on "Soul Train") performed by Con Funk Shun

"Love Chant" performed by Charles Mingus
"Afro-Desia" performed by Lonnie Smith
"Ghetto Funk" performed by Boris Gardiner and The Happening
"F.U.N.K." performed by Betty Davis
"Ain't No Use" performed by The Meters

June 14, 2016
"Yellow Jacket" performed by Shaun Martin
"Compared To What" performed by Les McCann and Eddie Harris
"(Falling Like) Dominoes" performed by Donald Byrd

"Rise Up" (live on Austin City Limits) performed by Andra Day-WSPC PREMIERE

"They Say" performed by Common with Kanye West and John Legend
"8 Million Stories" performed by A Tribe Called Quest
"Worst Comes To Worst" performed by Dilated Peoples
"In Common" performed by Alicia Keys-WSPC PREMIERE
"Crush" performed by Yuna with Usher
"Maxine" performed by John Legend

June 15, 2016
"On The Radio" performed by Donna Summer
"Let The Music Play" performed by Barry White
"Be OK" performed by Chrisette Michele
"Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days)" performed by Monica
"Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" performed by Stevie Wonder

June 16, 2016
"Seems So Long" performed by Stevie Wonder
"Our Love" performed by Gary Clark Jr.
"More Love" performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
"It's A Shame" performed by The Spinners

"Trouble" performed by TV On The Radio
"Great Blacks" performed by Georgia Anne Muldrow
"The Beautiful Struggle" performed by Talib Kweli
"Rising Down" performed by The Roots
"Lunatic" performed by Bilal
"Ghetto Walkin'" performed by Miles Davis & Robert Glasper with Bilal-WSPC PREMIERE

June 17, 2016
"Let The Good Times Roll" performed by Louis Jordan
"Crossroad" performed by Robert Johnson
"Sweet Sixteen" performed by B.B. King
"I Wish He Didn't' Trust Me So Much" performed by Bobby Womack
"Cry Together" performed by The O'Jays
May 19, 1970-June 17, 2016
Rest In Power
"I'll Be Waiting For You" performed by P.M. Dawn
"Distant Land" performed by Madlib
"Fall In Love" performed by Slum Village
"I'm Leaving" performed by Mos Def
"Classic" performed by DJ Premier featuring Rakim, Nas and KRS-ONE

June 18, 2016

"There'll Never Be" performed by Switch
"Superfly" performed by Curtis Mayfield
"Nothing From Nothing" performed by Billy Preston
"Ain't Gone Hurt Nobody" performed by Brick
"Skin Tight" performed by Ohio Players
"Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" performed by B.T. Express

"Eleanor Rigby" performed by Ray Charles
"Little Green Apples" performed by Pearl Bailey
"The Very Thought Of You" performed by Nancy Wilson
"I Apologize" performed by Billy Eckstine
"Never Gonna Give You Up" performed by Jerry Butler
"Black Coffee" performed by Sarah Vaughan
"I'll Be Seeing You" performed by Billie Holliday

June 19, 2016

Set 1: Miles Davis

"Flamenco Sketches"
"Someday My Prince Will Come"
"All Of You"

Set 2
"St. Thomas" performed by Sonny Rollins
"Blue Bossa" performed by Dexter Gordon
"Misty" performed by Stan Getz
"Caroline No" performed by Charles Lloyd

June 20, 2016
"Witness 4 The Prosecution" (unreleased) performed by Prince
"Here Comes The Judge" performed by Peter Tosh
"Judge Dread" performed by Prince Buster
"Your Honor" performed by Pluto Shervington
"She Got Papers On Me" performed by Richard "Dimples" Fields

"Sail On" performed by The Commodores
"Charlie Brown" performed by The Coasters
"God Bless The Child" performed by Eric Dolphy

June 21, 2016
Morning exercises with Hanah Jon Taylor

"Got To Be There" performed by The Jackson 5
"Wake Up" performed by John Legend and The Roots
"I Hope That We Can Be Together Soon" performed by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
"We Go A Long Way Back" performed by Bloodstone
"Lake By The Ocean" performed by Maxwell-WSPC PREMIERE

June 22, 2016
"Rainy Night In Georgia" performed by David Ruffin
"Bold Soul Sister" performed by Tina Turner
"Piece Of My Heart" performed by Erma Franklin
"I've Been Loving You Too Long" performed by Etta James
"Engine #9" performed by Wilson Pickett

June 23, 2016
"Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" performed by Marvin Gaye
"Africa Talks To You 'The Asphalt Jungle'" performed by Sly and the Family Stone
"1000 Deaths" performed by D'Angelo and the Vanguard
"So Many Millions" performed by Fishbone
"Black Rage" (live 2014) performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
"Sign O' The Times" performed by Prince

"ICEBreaker" performed by Public Enemy
"Auslander" performed by Living Colour
"I Against I" performed by Bad Brains
"Jack Of Spades" performed by Boogie Down Productions
"Suzi Wants To Be A Rock Star" performed by Professor Griff and the Last Asiatic Disciples

June 24, 2016
"Summer Breeze" performed by The Isley Brothers
"I Believe In You (You Believe In Me)" performed by Johnnie Taylor
"Goin' Through School And Love" performed by Raydio
"Keep Your Head To The Sky" performed by Earth, Wind & Fire
"Children Of The Ghetto" performed by Phillip Bailey


April 19, 1944-June 24, 2016
Rest In Power
"Flashlight" performed by Parliament
"Dr. Funkenstein" performed by Parliament
"Insurance Man For The Funk" performed by Bernie Worrell

"Pray My Soul" performed by Axiom Funk--Eddie Hazel (guitar) & Bernie Worrell (organ)

June 25, 2016

"Love's Train" performed by Con Funk Shun
"I'm Going By The Stars In Your Eyes" performed by The Dramatics
"Shoe Shoe Shine" performed by The Dynamic Superiors
"Love Jones" performed by Brighter Side Of Darkness
"I Bet He Don't Love You" performed by The Intruders
"Just Because He Wants To Make Love" performed by The Moments

"The Beautiful Ones"
"I Would Die 4 U"
"Computer Blue" (original extended demo version)
August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009
7th Anniversary-Rest In Power
"They Don't Care About Us"
"(I Can't Make It) Another Day" with Lenny Kravitz
"Scream" with Janet Jackson
"Blood On The Dance Floor"
"Come Together"

"Ice Cream Castles" performed by The Time

June 26, 2016
"Lazy River" performed by The Mills Brothers
"Spectrum" performed by Billy Cobham
"Silver Hollow" performed by Jack DeJohnette's New Directions
"Seven" performed by Cindy Blackman
Lenny Kravitz with Cindy Blackman & Trombone Shorty LIVE New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2015

June 27, 2016
Shelia E.'s tribute to Prince at the 2016 BET Awards
"Highway 13" performed by John Lee Hooker
"Your Funeral And My Trial" performed by Sonny Boy Williamson
"Got To Move" performed by Elmore James
"Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home" (live Austin City Limits 1992) performed by Albert Collins

"Metamorpheus" performed by Sanada Maitreya-WSPC PREMIERE

June 28, 2016
"Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow" performed by Funkadelic
"Maiysha (So Long)" performed by Miles Davis and Robert Glasper with Erykah Badu-WSPC PREMIERE

"Louder Than A Bomb" performed by Public Enemy
"Black Man's Cry" performed by Fela Kuti
"Revolution/Strange Fruit" performed by Nina Simone
"Strange Fruit" (live) performed by India.Arie
"Alright" performed by Kendrick Lamar

June 29, 2016
"Smile Please" performed by Stevie Wonder
"The Edge Of A Dream" performed by Minnie Ripperton
"Black And White America" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"You Don't Know Like I Know" performed by The Bar-Kays
"You're Gonna Need Me" performed by Dionne Warwick
"Season Of The Witch" performed by Lou Rawls

June 30, 2016
"A Change Is Gonna Come" performed by Sam Cooke
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" performed by Aretha Franklin
"Simply Beautiful" performed by Al Green
"Mind Power" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Shine" (live) performed by John Legend and The Roots
"Black (1st Movement of Black, Brown & Beige)" performed by Duke Ellington

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


1. "Musicology" performed by Prince
2. "Verbal Penetration" performed by Jesse Johnson
3. "Fopp" performed by Ohio Players
4. "I Am Love" performed by The Jackson 5
5. "Shout" performed by The Isley Brothers
6. "Power Of Soul" performed by Jimi Hendrix
7. "Super Stupid" performed by Funkadelic
8. "Straight Cold Player" performed by Lenny Kravitz
9. "Sure Hope You Mean It" performed by Raphael Saadiq
10."Love...Hate" performed by Fishbone

1. "Goodbye" performed by Paul Stanley
2. "The First Day Of Summer" performed by Tony Carey
3. "Steve Vai Boyfriend" performed by The German Art Students
4. "Don't Give Up" performed by Washed Out
5. "Addison" performed by Trophy Dad
6. "You Were So Warm" performed by The Dwight Twilley Band
7. "Feel You" performed by Julia Holter
8. "One Diamond, One Heart" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
9. "Take Care" performed by James Iha
10."Everything But You" performed by Wendy & Lisa
11."Poster Boy" performed by Post Social
12."Say We'll Meet Again" performed by Lindsey Buckingham

JUNE 15, 2016

1. "Penitentiary Philosophy" performed by Erykah Badu
2. "Charity Case" performed by Gnarls Barkley
3. "Casa Bey" performed by Mos Def
4. "Superwoman" performed by Stevie Wonder
5. "Compared To What" performed by Roberta Flack
6. "Comet, Come To Me" performed by Meshell Ndegeocello
7. "Black Satin" performed by Miles Davis
8. "Computer Love" performed by Zapp
9. "Keep On Keeping On" performed by Curtis Mayfield

1. "I Saw The Light" performed by Todd Rundgren
2 "The Waiting Game" performed by Todd Rundgren
3. "TV Is King" performed by The Tubes
4. "New Language" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
5. "Set Me Free" performed by Utopia
6. "Earn Enough For Us" performed by XTC
7. "Cliche" performed by Todd Rundgen
8. "Hello It's Me" performed by Nazz
9. "War Baby Son Of Zorro" performed by Hall & Oates
10."Stress" performed by Bourgeois Tagg
11."Fahrenheit 451" performed by Utopia
12."Just One Victory" performed by Todd Rundgren

JUNE 29, 2016
1. "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose" performed by JAMES BROWN
2. "Quadrant 4" performed by Billy Cobham
3. "Pride" performed by Living Colour
4. "Castillian Blue" performed by Terence Trent D'Arby
5. "Stranger In Moscow" performed by Michael Jackson
6. "You Can Leave, But It Will Cost You" performed by Marvin Gaye
7. "I Can't Get Next To You" performed by Al Green
8. "Open The Door" performed by Otis Redding
9. "Another Life" performed by D'Angelo and the Vanguard

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Released May 27, 2016
NEW 2016 MUSIC: An imaginary band. The "pre-fab four." I don't really care what pejorative one woud wish to hurl at Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz and the late Davy Jones, collectively and forever known as The Monkees, but this band was the very first band that I ever loved and therefore, became obsessed with. No lie. No shame or apology either.

Now that the BAND has reached their 50th anniversary (!), all of us who have loved The Monkees have received the finest gift that they could have ever given to us: "Good Times," a new album, presumably a final effort due to their ages, yet one that is as jaunty, infectious, instantly accessible and as joyous as the classic material we all know and love from their iconic television series.

Beautifully produced by Fountains Of Wayne/Ivy/Tinted Wndows member Adam Schlesinger who weaves a sonic palate that sounds as if we are hearing the next logical album from the 1960's material, "Good Times!" is frontloaded with breezy sun drenched pop music from world class songwriters like Andy Partridge, Rivers Cuomo, and the late Harry Nilsson, and nearly every song is performed with the expert and trademark vocal gusto of Dolenz. Yet, by the gorgeous Ben Gibbard composition "Me And Magdelena," which features absolutely blissful harmonized vocals by both Dolenz and Nesmith, "Good Times!" only grows in power as the selections written by Carole King, Neil Diamond and even one contribution each from Nesmith and Tork, all become reflective, wistful, and sumptuously bittersweet without ever growing cloying or maudlin. All of The Monkees remain in terrific voice and skill and what a lift it is to hear the choirboy voice of the sadly departed Davy Jones again in a cleaned up and unreleased recording from 1967.

The Monkees' "Good Times!" fully lives up to its title and is honestly one of the loveliest releases of 2016.
Released May 14, 2002
Released May 21, 1996
Released May 27, 2016
NEW 2016 MUSIC: Released as a companion album to the soundtrack to Don Cheadle's wildly audacious film "Miles Ahead," which explores the turbulent inner world of the iconic Miles Davis during his five year self-imposed exile from music during the late 1970's. Idiosyncratic pianist Robert Glasper was tapped to score the film, which then led to this equally audacious project on which Glasper, collaborating with prominent figures like Bilal, Erykah Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Ledisi, Hiatus Kaiyote and even Stevie Wonder, has fully re-interpreted classic Miles Davis recordings and compositions, and the effect is often as forward thinking as it is hypnotizing.

In attempting to forge a unique path for this album, Glasper, working with his collaborators plus the original multi-track recordings from Davis' own sessions, "Everything Is Beautiful" evokes an exploratory spirit that seeks to transcend any and all music genres to solely exist as "Miles Davis Music," which means, the music created for this project could have originated as much from the sound of Davis' trumpet, a section of a beat or melody from an earlier composition, or as often depicted, the sound and tenor of Davis' unmistakable raspy voice. In doing so, Glasper continues to chart his own decidedly and unapologetically individualistic path, which itself merges jazz, hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk and even ambient, making this album a provocative meeting of musical minds and spirits.
Released December 15, 1978
Released July 15, 2007
Released June 16, 1992
Released June 1, 2016
NEW 2016 MUSIC: If I possessed a magic wand and if I were able to wave it, one of the wishes that I would bestow would be to grant the collective of young Madison musicians that I have encountered over the past year and a half some sense of financial security, their own personal studio where they could record at will and the notoriety that I feel that these hard working individuals truly deserve as their respective talents are increasingly evident and impressive.

At this time, both Post Social and Dash Hounds are each preparing themselves to open the floodgates with the release of all new material. In addition are their friends and collaborators in the bands Trophy Dad and Barbara Hans, who have joined forces to release a split single in anticipation of their respective new albums, and on first listen, it is clear that each band has richly raised their games.

With "Addison," Trophy Dad has crafted an absolute stunner. Running just shy of six minutes, the band delivers an aching, romantic that opens quietly with a lone piano and some surreal sound effects before settling itself into a slowly chugging guitar groove fronted by bassist/singer Abby Sherman's gorgeous voice, which is augmented by guitarist/singer Jordan Zamansky's striking baritone vocals. Before long, as the emotions move from simmer to boil, guitars explode, drums bash and pop and by song's end, the band concludes with on a glorious grace note that will undoubtedly shatter your heart.

Trophy Dad's Sherman and Zamansky, alongside guitarist Henry Stoehr and drummer Justin Huber, have created a epic that to my ears felt like Fleetwood Mac's "Silver Springs" tinged with the aggression of The Replacements' most emotionally turbulent and naked songs, thus making the band a unit to keep a strictly close eye upon as the release of their first full length album grows nearer. With "Addison," Trophy Dad has more than proven they've got the goods. Now, all you need to do is find out for yourselves.

With "Bundt Cakes," Barbara Hans, the trio of drummer Teddy Matthews, bassist/singer Alex Leeds and also guitarist/singer Henry Stoehr, deliver a punchy slice of left-of-center power pop which features melodics and a vocal hook that is instantly catchy to the point of becoming addictive. I just found it impossible to not be completely swayed by the song's overall bouncy groove yet, as they demonstrated strongly upon their terrific EP "Slow Pulp" (released June 8, 2015), Barbara Hans is a band that thrives on the unpredictable and just when you think you have a song of their's figured out, the sonic curve balls come flying. "Bundt Cakes" is no exception, again proving that this is a band fearless with mixing styles, genres and time signatures and all the while sounding so disarmingly gleeful in the process.

For this single, I highly urge you to visit either the Trophy Dad or Barbara Hans Bandcamp pages and snatch this great music up!!!

Released June 25, 1984

Friday, June 24, 2016



Duke Erickson: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Synthesizers
Shirley Manson: Vocals, Guitar
Steve Marker: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Synthesizers
Butch Vig: Drums, Programming, Synthesizers

Eric Avory: Bass Guitar on "Empty," "Blackout," "Magnetized," "We Never Tell," "So We Can Stay Alive" and "Amends"
Justin Meldal-Johnson: Bass Guitar on "Night Drive Loneliness" and "Even Though Our Love Is Doomed"

Written, Arranged, Performed and Produced by Garbage
Released June 10, 2016

I have to keep reminding myself of how old the members of Garbage actually are.

Where frontwoman extraordinaire Shirley Manson at age 49 is very close to my own age, it amazes me to think that guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker is 57, drummer Butch Vig is 60 and guitarist/keyboardist Duke Erickson is the oldest member at 65. I make this observation not for any ageist reasons but for the fact that the music Garbage has delivered for over 20 years now, feels so of the moment and sonic zeitgeist--and therefore, so very youthful--as they have consistently created music I imagine thundering in headphones down the high school hallways as well as the trendiest and underground night clubs. It has felt to me that Garbage has spent their career cultivating a Bowie-esque persona (for Manson definitely, as well as for the band as an entity), that aside from some sneak peeks here and there within the songs themselves (that is, if one ONLY knew the band through the songs, albums and videos), we have never really had a strong sense of who the members are as real world human beings.

The eponymously titled debut album (released August 15, 1995) gave birth to the character of the "Supervixen" where "Version 2.0" (released May 11, 1998), was as advertised, an updated saga fleshing out the character and how she viewed herself and the world. Where "Beautiful Garbage" (released October 1, 2001), offered a more melancholy and pop driven detour, "Bleed Like Me" (released April 11, 2005) and "Not Your Kind Of People" (released May 14, 2012) both arrived with a metallic roar that presented the band as invincible warriors of our increasingly divisive socio/political landscape as well as on the dance floors, nightclubs and rock shows.

With the arrival of the band's sixth album "Strange Little Birds," I was honestly surprised and even taken aback. For all of the state of the art power and muscle of the music, the album is a moodier, often quieter yet no less emotionally intense affair, featuring the band at their most introspective, vulnerable and often fragile, which in and of itself displays a different kind of strength, the very kind that arrives with aging, a greater consciousness of one's impending mortality and the knowledge that arrives with both.

"Strange Little Birds" begins with the crying sounds of despondent keyboards instantly setting a scene of sorrow and woe for the album's opening track "Sometimes."  After a brief moment of silence, we hear not much more than electronically enhanced percussive sounds, perhaps suggesting a jagged heartbeat as Shirley Manson begins to sing the following:

"sometimes i'd rather take a beating
sometimes i'd rather take a punch
i learn more when I am bleeding
you knock me down and i get up

sometimes i need to forgive you 
sometimes i want to destroy
sometimes i know it was not your fault 
but i blame you anyway"

What struck me most about this opening to the album is the fact that every Garbage album to date has begun with a veritable pile driver of a song. Regarding "Sometimes," you wait for the full attack of the music to arrive, yet for the entirety of the song's near three minutes, that very attack never arrives, making the song work not so much as a prelude but as a fully pregnant pause. All tension and no release.

With the next tracks, the booming "Empty" and the approaching seven minute stunner "Blackout," the full Garbage attack arrives but they only add to the inner tension and turbulence of "Sometimes." Again offering no sense of release, the former addresses the constant battle against one's ever present inner demons unfortunately to no avail and the latter confronts the reality of one (or all of us) growing increasingly numb by bottling emotions to uphold false public personas instead of revealing the greater and uglier truths about ourselves.

"Strange Little Birds" then continues with essentially a suite of slower paced songs that are more cinematic and dramatically enveloping in tone rather explosive. "If I Lost You," featuring strong multi-tracked vocal harmonies by Manson, deals with emotional dependence and paralysis where the self explanatory "Night Drive Loneliness" extols the beauty found in self-imposed solitude where the only emotional support is found through sad songs.

Dark romance unfolds in the stirring "Even Though Our Love Is Doomed," where Manson, possibly echoing the star crossed youths of "#1 Crush" now deep into middle age yet still together, addresses the evolving nature of love as we age, questioning its validity and virility. "Can you love me for what I've become," she asks. "Love me for what I said I would not become."   While she contemplates ending the romance primarily out of the fear that they will become "dead to life...dulled to extinction...lost in dreams" and "sleepwalking," the answers always return to the core of the mater:

"you're the only thing worth fighting for
you're the only thing worth dying for"

During the album's final third, "Strange Little Birds" begins to build significantly upwards in volume and a power that becomes nearly orgasmic. The pulsing buzzsaw that is the erotically aching "Magnetized," echoes 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" while displaying the internal dangers when crossing emotional red lights for forbidden fruit. With the pounding "We Never Tell" and the roaring, slashing, six minute scorcher "So We Can Stay Alive" (which sounds like a live in concert, pre-encore closing number if I've ever heard one), the band raises their collective fists as they howl into the abyss of mortality, ensuring that this foursome will no go into that sweet goodnight quietly.

The penultimate "Teaching Little  Fingers To Play" brings the album to its uneasy resolution. Echoing both earlier Garbage tracks "Fix Me Now" and "When I  Grow Up," the song traces hard truths about growing up, growing older and therefore, choosing to accept or reject life's changes.

"nothing ever stays the same
youth and beauty don't remain
the wise they say 'adapt or die'
if you don't grow, you'll calcify
but you're too scared to try

i'm all grown up
no one around to fix me now
i'm doing it my own way
i'm changing things up
like i'm teaching little fingers to play"

"Amends" marks the album's brooding finale as it confronts the difficult nature of forgiveness, whether towards one who has wronged you or even to oneself. For six minutes, Garbage delivers their third dark epic within the full album, as Butch Vig's drums grow more emphatic, both Steve Marker and Duke Erickson's guitars wind and claw their respective ways around each other as Shirley Manson intones the words "I don't know you" over and over into the sonic storm and beyond.

To my great surprise, Garbage's "Strange Little Birds" is decidedly and defiantly not an album that reaches out and grabs you. It insinuates itself into you, kind of like a sonic and thematic twin to The Flaming Lips' "The Terror" (released April 1, 2013). The process of the "Strange Little Birds" experience is one that may take several listens as this is quite a different kind of album from the band as the emphasis is not necessarily upon the layers upon layers of sound, the aggressive beats, the sexual dominance and dance floor sweat.

With this album, the layers upon layers of sound remain but are presented in a much more cinematic style, as if Garbage had released their own film score to an imaginary motion picture. In fact, as I listened to the album my first few spins, I often found myself reminding myself that I was not actually listening to Trent Reznor, as "Strange Little Birds" happens to carry a sonic palate and presentation not terribly far removed from what we could hear upon either a Nine Inch Nails album or Reznor film score with his collaborator Atticus Ross.

Yes, nuance plays a considerably larger role within the music throughout the album with the prevalence to keyboards and synthesizers providing the musical bedrock rather than the guitars and tape loops. Several songs even contain a more stripped down approach, especially with Vig's drums, thus giving the music some breathing space.

But unlike a Nine Inch Nails album, which can often feel to be savagely interior, Garbage remains populist and therefore, communal. For as grim as "Strange Little Birds" often is, Garbage remain gracious, sympathetic hosts to all of us who love them because it has always felt that they love all of us in return and openly so. We are all changing and aging together and this tempestuous song cycle showcases the band taking us all by the hand as we walk into our collective futures together, for it is happening to every single one of us.

When you decide to take the plunge into the world of Garbage's "Strange Little Birds," you will not only receive an artistic work that remains as forward thinking and a relevant as every other album within the band's discography. You may find yourself startled by the moody, challenging complexity that firmly demonstrates that the story of Garbage is far from completed.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


MAY 29, 2016

I don't care what the place actually looked like after we all happily staggered out of the High Noon Saloon after the incendiary performance by the legendary Fishbone, supported by both Downtown Brown and Andy Frasco and the U.N. To the untrained eye, everything seemed to be in order. But in truth, on this night, the music reduced the establishment to ashes!!!

To me, there is simply not even one solitary reason as to why the band Fishbone should not be on top of the world. Yes, there are reasons, from record label industry woes to internal band tensions and personnel changes plus a host of other turbulent issues as detailed in the excellent documentary film from 2011 entitled "Everyday Sunshine: The Story Of Fishbone" (and reviewed upon my Savage Cinema blogsite in the April 2012 section). 

But even so, other long established and iconic bands have weathered even worse storms and have either maintained or emerged in even more powerful positions--whether deserved or not. It is my vehement opinion that Fishbone is not only of the GREAT bands but one that honestly deserves any and every accolade they have ever received as their idiosyncratic and innovative amalgamation of punk rock, soul, funk, jazz. R&B, hip-hop, reggae, ska and gospel remains second to none. And on a more personal note, and despite how many words I write, there will never be enough words to fully express how powerful it is to me that this band who creates this music so unorthodox and uncompromising is made up of a collective of brilliant, boldly brazen and Black men whose socio/political outlook ran in tandem with my own worldview, this giving me a sense of courage and community.

My relationship with Fishbone has been so paramount to my life ever since I first heard the band at the age of 16 in 1985 very late at night on Chicago's Finest Rock station WXRT-FM. with their inaugural, mushroom cloud augmented rallying cry, "Party At Ground Zero."  The band was with me throughout high school, my college years and long beyond. I lost track of them and reunited with them and to this day, my allegiance remains profoundly steadfast. So, when the news arrived that Fishbone would arrive in my fair city in a practically tiny venue for a price so low that it would almost be offensive to a band of this legend in my mind, it was not simply a no-brainer that I had to see them for the very first time in my life. It was an imperative duty.

It felt to be more than fitting to arrive at the High Noon Saloon on this early Sunday evening with the sunshine beaming downwards through the slowly travelling clouds that were depositing a light stream of raindrops as I walked through the parking lot. Immediately upon my arrival, and seeing that I was unable to enter the establishment due to a message upon the door stating that the soundcheck was still occurring, I met up with a High Noon "Will Call" staffer who checked my name off of the ticket list and gave me my wristband for the night. Mere moments afterwards, as my eyes drifted towards the indoor bar, the doors opened and the very first of three amazing pre-concert moments occurred. Holding the door for a few exiting bar patrons and then walking outdoors himself was none other than the figure of Fishbone bassist/co-founder John Norwood Fisher! 

Typically, when I have ever happened to see some individual of a certain notoriety in public, I perform mental double and triple takes before convincing myself that I am indeed seeing who I think that I am seeing. In this case, there was no question, The lopsided baseball cap. The long, graying braided beard. The dark glasses. It was Norwood without question and there he was, causally sitting at an outdoor table with no one around him. No, I did not take a photo as that would have been painfully obvious. And also no, I did not approach him regardless of how much I wanted to just have a quick moment to thank him for alll that he has given musically. But, truth be told...I was scared. I didn't wish to bother him or disturb whatever pre-show headspace he happened to be existing in. And as I moseyed around, I watched Norwood rise from his table wit earbuds firmly in place and he walked right past me towards the parking lot, never to be seen again by my eyes until hours later at showtime.

The second amazing event before entering is more of a humorous one, something that fully is indicative of living life in Madison, WI as a Black man attending a concert with a predominantly White audience. As I stood outside and causally paced around, finally perching myself near the doors as I leaned against a wall and window ledge, I had the feeling that I was being watched. I soon realized that some patrons were looking at me in the same way that I was looking at Norwood: these people thought that I was a member of Fishbone!! I only know this for certain as I was asked on three different occasions (twice more indoors) and I also overheard a conversation by a couple standing next to me, to which I politely informed them, "No, I'm not with the band." 

To me, it was more than hilarious because when you consider the completely unorthodox nature of the band's appearance, I, by comparison, was much more conservatively dressed. Long black button down shirt with t-shirt underneath, blue jeans and my ever present baseball cap. That's it. Not one thing about me that screams "ROCK STAR!" and most definitely nothing that suggests that I could be a member of Fishbone, aside from my race and even my age as I am of the approximate same age as the band members. So, word to the wise, if you happen to see me at a concert starring Black musicians...I'm here to see the show, not be in the show. 

The third, and best, pre-concert moment arrived the moment I set foot inside the club once the doors opened. Standing right at the merchandise table next to the front doors and even arranging the T-shirts, DVDs and CDs was none other than Fishbone lead singer/saxophonist, one of the most dynamic frontmen to grace the stage, Angelo Moore!!!! 

Dear readers, the man was so close I nearly bumped into him as he checked prices and set items in place. Learning my lesson from just minutes ago with Norwood outdoors, this time, I just simply said, "Angelo?" He looked at me to which I just kept going. "This is truly an honor! I have been with you since that very first EP."
     "The first EP?" he questioned, to which I replied in the affirmative. "Man...that was...'84, '85?"
     "I was 16," I said. "I've been a fan since that very first time I ever heard you. And I've followed you ever since. I've never seen you live yet. This is my first time. But, I've been there from the beginning."
   And then, he flashed me his trademark Cheshire Cat smile and asked my name. I told him and we shook hands firmly. Figuring that I had taken up enough of his time, I wished him a good show and he shook my hand again. I stood back, completely amazed as I watched him take a couple of brief photos with more fans and off he went backstage. No, I do not have a photo with him and I guess I have very minor regrets about that. But, having had that moment was more than I could have asked for and I did not wish to over-indulge. 
Before showtime and after the first opening band Downtown Brown had finished their soundcheck, I spent my time just wandering the place, having a quick drink and staking out my preferred place for the night--the lip of the front of the stage's left side--and having a nice conversation with Randy Ballwahn, my friend, drummer of Madison's The German Art Students and the host/DJ of WSUM FM's weekly Friday morning broadcast "Freak Scene Radio."  
By 8:30 p.m. as the show was clearly beginning to get itself started, I stood near the stage right next to what I assumed were Angelo Moore's arsenal of saxophones (later to be fully confirmed to be correct), anxious for what the night would bring. What I received was nearly four hours worth of molten lava funk, rock and soul filled with the glorious, fun and freak filled fury and sweat on stage and in the audience.
photo courtesy of THIS MEANS WAR

Donic Chronic: Drums, Backing Vocals
Neebo: Lead Vocals, Guitars
Ronstown: Bass Guitar

The first accolade that I must bestow upon Fishbone is the fact that they undeniably know how to pick their opening acts as both bands served to represent the certain musical stew and allegiance to the punk, the funk and unapologetic glee with which they all raised and waved their respective freak flags. 

Downtown Brown perfectly set the stage with 30 wild minutes of controlled chaos and superior musicianship and it made perfect sense that Norwood Fisher has taken the 15 year veteran Detroit, MI act under his wing in the studio as Producer. The band's aesthetic, as riotously fronted by the exuberantly energetic Neebo on athletically blistering lead guitar, contains snatches of Frank Zappa, Primus and Funkadelic with the agile rhythm section of liquid bassist Ronstown and drummer Donic Chronic in perfect lockstep, even though all three members were whirling dervishes of relentless motion and musical flexibility. 

As I previously stated, this was an act of controlled chaos, as their showmanship never upstaged their musicianship, as evidenced by their stupendous tribute to Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson with their reverential cover of the iconic "Purple Rain" featuring a surprise guest appearance from Angelo Moore assisting greatly in full gospel flourish on lead vocals. (And I must add that after Angelo left the stage and zipped through the audience to other regions of the Saloon, he gave me a solid pat on the shoulder as he passed by!!)
photo courtesy of THIS MEANS WAR

Andy Frasco: Lead Vocals, Piano, Organ, Keyboards
Andee Avila: Drums, Percuission, Vocals
Ernie Chang: Saxophone
Shawn Eckles: Guitar, Vocals
Matt Owen: Tuba
Supa Man: Bass Guitar

Continuing with the Prince analogies, the night's second act was so spectacular, they nearly threatened to upstage the main act, just as The Time often did during classic early 1980's opening act tours with Prince and the Revolution 

Andy Frasco and the U.N. provided a dynamic set that also fully served the night's musical agenda of raucous celebration with a gumbo of musical influences and genres, stunning musical chops from the entire band and a propulsive energy that never let up for a second. As evidenced by the band's name, this was a multi-ethnic sextet whose collective of racial heritages informed the music they valiantly performed. 
With the boisterous and barefoot Frasco as the vibrant center of the virtuoso musical cyclone the band created, we were all treated to extended, downright relentless, Zappa-esque jams that spun from New Orleans styled dixieland jazz, traditional Jewish music, punk rock, hip-hop, funk, soul and rock and roll and great sing-a-longs like the exuberantly bluesy "Stop Fuckin' Around," the boogie woogie of "Smokin' Dope 'N Rock 'N Roll" which featured band vocals as crisp and clear as the Eagles and the volcanic "Struggle," during which band members propelled themselves from the stage to perform musical duels within the audience, which was left brilliantly dazzled and enraptured, blazed and amazed. 

And truthfully, by the time the band launched into their rampaging cover of Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name," Andy Frasco and the U.N. had the entirety of the High Noon Saloon completely in the collective palms of their hands. 
John Norwood Fisher: Bass Guitar, Vocals
"Dirty" Walter A. Kibby II: Trumpet, Vocals
Angelo Moore: Lead Vocals, Saxophones, Theremin
Jay Armant: Trombone, Vocals
Rocky George: Guitar
Paul Hampton: Keyboards
John Steward: Drums

It was sometime after 10:30 p.m. when the evening's main act took to the stage and we could not have been any more ready!

Adorned in boiler suits complete with the band's trademark logo and member names (Yes, I want one!), and the arrival of Angelo Moore fully decorated in an outfit that suggested equal parts Dead End Kids/Zoot Suit/Blaxploitation pimp strut, Fishbone began the main event with a series of their mroe recent selections including "Forever Moore," "Shank N' Go Nuttz," and "Behind Closed Doors" from the album  "Still Stuck In Your Throat" (released April 24, 2007) and the title track from the "Crazy Glue" EP (released October 11, 2011)

While all of the selections were enthusiastically performed, it felt as if the band may have been holding back just a taste. But, remember, Fishbone is a band of seasoned musicians, a group with a 30 yea legacy. These figures are masters at the game and very soon, we all realized that the band had played us right into their collective hands like the greatest of prize fighters drawing in their opponents, ready to slam 'em for the knock out that would inevitably arrive.

For us, that knock out punch arrived powerfully with the classic "Ma And Pa" from the band's eternal "Truth And Soul" (released September 13, 1988). Beginning with trombonist Jay Armant's flying stage dive into the audience, Fishbone fully exploded to life and never let up for the remainder of their nearly two hour performance, as Moore's increasingly sweat drenched body movements and exemplary stage presence fully matched and served the rapid acceleration of the music itself. 
While the gruffly imposing "Dirty" Walter A. Kibby II prowled the stage and Norwood Fisher remain focused and stoic, Angelo Moore danced, jerked, glided, stood on the lip of the stage, interacted with the audience and also stage dived into the hands and arms of the night's sold out crowd. 

He additionally and repeatedly raced on and off stage to grab the proper saxophone for the correct song and seemingly, each moment, as Fishbone roared through newer material like "Let Dem Ho's Fight," "Whipper Snapper" and a ferocious cover of Sublime's "Date Rape" as well as classic material like the mountainous bass driven showcase "Bonin' In The Boneyard," the warp speed ska of "Skankin' To The Beat," the splendid ode to the voluptuous females "Cholly," the ferocious "Alcoholic" and its inebriated twin "Beer Gut" and the incendiary political outbursts of "Pray To The Junkiemaker," "Freddie's Dead" and "Sunless Saturday" plus even more that demanded that we keep ourselves moving, jumping, dancing and sweating!!!

Now, as for me, I am typically of the sort to just stand by the stage and remain the entranced observer but even so, the rhythms and excitement made that impossible as I was unable to be that passive. Fishbone vigorously grabbed me by my collars and made me jump into the increased melee that seemed to make the High Noon Salon transform itself into a massive bouncy house! Everywhere I looked, bodies were in motion--jumping up and falling down over and over again with a gleefulness that sprinted to the edge of music driven madness.
What this night delivered to me was yet another opportunity to see musical heroes in action. To witness Fishbone at this stage in their existence. For a band who has already given us one of the best calling card debut releases I have heard to also delivering one of the best albums of the 1980's and even three of the finest of the 1990's, I was indeed lost in the glory of seeing HEROES up close and personal. To that end, Fishbone proved themselves to be a band of 2016 and not exist solely as a nostalgia act. While the set list was evenly split between newer and classic material, the show truly brought the newer material up front, definitely and defiantly illustrating how Fishbone has remained current and passionately relevant, despite their diminished presence in the pop culture lexicon. 
It should be noted that Fishbone has endured many personnel changes over the years as only three of the original band members remain. But this night also presented to me the newer members of the band as full inheritors of the legacy as well as being the soldiers to keep the flame burning brightly. I stood almost under the towering guitarist Rocky George whose impressive Afro surrounded his cranium like the perfect funk halo. The sheer dexterity of the material certainly displayed the malleability of his spine-tinging six string fireworks. Drummer John Steward powerfully and superbly claimed the throne behind the kits, no small feat considering the massive shoes the formidable original and departed drummer/co-founder Fish left behind.      

Yes, there were technical glitches throughout the band's performance this night, from Moore's microphone issues, to a sound mix that was not as clear as the opening act's (despite standing at the front of the stage, I could not hear Paul Hampton's keyboards whatsoever). Even so, Fishbone was unstoppable, still fighting the powers that be and pushing against the grain as they continue charting their own unrepentant path. These are the true sons of Funkadelic and the godfathers of The Roots, a band whose legacy and longevity should not only be embraced but profoundly revered as Fishbone redefined what it means to be "original" and "one of a kind" repeatedly. 

And trust me, if there were people in attendance that night who didn't previously know the truth and soul of Fishbone, EVERYBODY knew it by night's end
After the final encore of "Everyday Sunshine" and "Party At Ground Zero" left us all in exhausted puddles, I found myself willed to the opposite side of the stage were "Dirty" Walter A Kibby II still stood. I reached out and he grabbed my hand, offering me a warm smile in return. "30 years!!!" I shouted. "30 years!!! I have been with you 30 years!!! Keep going!!"
     Walter then clasped both of his hands around mine, shook strongly and offered a deeply intoned "My brother!" 
That was all that needed to be said! 

All photos by Scott Collins except where indicated

Wednesday, June 1, 2016



What is "Black music"? In effect, I think that question could be probed even deeper, ultimately transforming itself into the musical question asked by none other than Funkadelic so long ago when they mused, "What is soul?"

For me, Black music, while indeed tied to the artists of color who create and generate the material we listen to, I guess that I could also probe deeper and suggest that Black music is an entity that surrounds us, envelopes us, sustains us and I do mean, "us" as in the collective "us" of humanity itself. If Black music is woven into the fabric of our nation, then, it is woven into the fabric of our overall existence as human beings. And if that is so, then should we not celebrate an aspect of our very own life force?

Black Music Month has now become a tradition of my mythical radio station of WSPC as I, now for the fifth year, will use this month to celebrate these artists of color whose legacies have surrounded, enveloped and sustained me for the entirety of my life. These artists tie directly into my own heritage certainly but even moreso, I want to take the month as I would take any journey into a record store: utilize this period as a month of discovery.

I am no expert to any degree regarding the wealth of musicians, singers, songwriters, composers and producers who have given the best of themselves within their art for all of us and I am often stunned with how much I don't know. That these world class artists are not as universally known as say someone like...Paul McCartney, for example. Yes, as Prince once sang, "Everybody can't be on top," and this realization is not based within race. But, it is a sad state of affairs with how little we all actually know about those who have contributed their all to this life force that has surrounded, enveloped and sustained us.

So, for the month of June, I will do as I have done for the past four years, flood my Facebook feed with WSPC sets culled from You Tube and all featuring Black artists from top to bottom. Now, that I am so fortunate to have my own real world radio show on WVMO FM, I will use three of the five Wednesdays of the month to have 60 minute sets also spotlighting Black artists. My mind is already racing with what I know I will play but also with what I am hoping to discover in the process.

Should you all choose to join me on this journey, just remember to turn that volume up and.....

...PLAY LOUD!!!!!!