Thursday, May 31, 2018


May 1, 2018
"Deja Vu" performed by Roger Waters
"Just Dumb Enough To Try" performed by Father John Misty-WSPC PREMIERE
"Living With Myself" performed by Jonathan Wilson-WSPC PREMIERE
"Catch My Breath" performed by Elise Trouw
"Dream Brother" (live) performed by Jeff Buckley

May 3, 2018
"Middle Man" performed by Living Colour
"One Big Mob" performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"The Past Recedes" performed by John Frusciante
"La Villa Strangiato" (live 1978) performed by Rush
"Song Of The Wind" (live) performed by Santana

May 4, 2018
"Hatfield 1980" performed by Everything But The Girl
"Sketches Of Pain" performed by Tears For Fears
"Smooth Operator" performed by Meshell Nedegeocello-WSPC PREMIERE
"Finding Peace Of Mind" (live) performed by Kainalu
"Ohio" (live Boston 1971) performed by Crosby Stills Nash & Young

May 6, 2018
"This Is America" performed by Childish Gambino-WSPC PREMIERE
"Burn" (live looping version) performed by Elise Trouw

"Saturday" (from "Saturday Night Live") performed by Childish Gambino-WSPC PREMIERE

May 7, 2018
"Manic Monday" performed by The Bangles
"Feel Like Makin' Love" performed by D'Angelo
"Love Song" (live at the Variety Playhouse) performed by Sara Bareilles

"Juicy Socks" performed by Cherry Glazerr-WSPC PREMIERE
"Starla" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins

May 8, 2018
"Soaring and Boring" performed by Plush
"I Zimbra" performed by Talking Heads
"Pleasure Dome" performed by Van Halen
"Children Of The  Ghetto" performed by Phillip Bailey
"I Believe (When I Fall In Love)" performed by Stevie Wonder

May 9, 2018
"Faced To Face Me" performed by Skyline Sounds
"Transplanting" performed by Skyline Sounds

May 10, 2018
"Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" performed by The Monkees
"Tomorrow Comes Today" performed by Gorillaz
"Tomorrow" performed by Paul McCartney and Wings
"Tomorrow" performed by Joe Walsh
"A Better Tomorrow" performed by Wu Tang Clan

"Glam Slam"
"I Wish U Heaven"
"Alphabet St."

May 11, 2018
"It's Enough" performed by Lenny Kravitz-WSPC PREMIERE
"Hi Hello" performed by Johnny Marr-WSPC PREMIERE

Khruangbin LIVE Pitchfork set!!!

May 12, 2018
"Congratulations" performed by  Cliff Richard
"Good Times" performed by Chic
"Get Lucky" performed by Daft Punk
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" performed by Michael Jackson
"Congratulations" performed by MGMT

May 13, 2018
"Mama" performed by Lunch Money Lewis
"Make Your Mama Happy" performed by Prince
"Hey Mama" performed by Kanye West
"Dear Mama" performed by 2Pac
"Thinking Of You" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"I Love My Mama" performed by Snoop Dogg
"I'll Always Love My Mama" performed by The Intruders

"Me & Me (To Bury My Parents"/Look Ma No Hands" performed by Andre 3000-WSPC PREMIERE

May 14, 2018
"Four Out Of Five" (live on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon") performed by Arctic Monkeys-WSPC PREMIERE
"Follow The Leader" performed by Foxygen
"Love Is The Drug" performed by Roxy Music
"Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down" performed by Scott Weiland
"Alabama Song" performed by The Doors
"Bring Me The Disco King" performed by David Bowie

May 15, 2018
"The Carpet Crawlers" performed by Genesis
"Do I Wanna Know?" performed by Arctic Monkeys
"Dross" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"I Can't Stand It" performed by The Velvet Underground
"Here Come The Warm Jets" performed by Brian Eno

May 16, 2018

"I'm Waiting For The Day"
"That's Not Me"
"Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)"

May 17, 2018
"God Break Down The Door" performed by Nine Inch Nails-WSPC PREMIERE
"Bubblin'" performed by Anderson. Paak-WSPC PREMIERE
"Run's House" performed by Run-DMC
"Domesticated" performed by Queens Of The Stone Age
"Hell's Bells" performed by Bill Bruford

May 18, 2018
"Unloved Children" performed by Todd Rundgren
"The Day Will Be Mine" (live) performed by Sloan-WSPC PREMIERE
"I Will Not Apologize" performed by The Roots
"Eat The Elephant" performed by A Perfect Circle-WSPC PREMIERE
"Americans" performed by Janelle Monae-WSPC PREMIERE

Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL LIVE JUNE 1, 2014
"The Promise" performed by Chris Cornell

May 20, 2018
"Radio Free Europe" performed by R.E.M.
"Behind My Camel" performed by The Police
"Only Over You" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"Prisoner" performed by Ryan Adams
"My Hero" performed by Foo Fighters

Khruangbin performing live at the 2016 Otis Mountain Get Down

May 21, 2018
"Secret Society" performed by Utopia

"Vicious Streak" performed by New Order
"Sister" performed by Tracey Thorn with Corinne Bailey Rae-WSPC PREMIERE
"Walk The Walk" performed by Gaz Coombes-WSPC PREMIERE
"The Captain" performed by The Flaming Lips-WSPC PREMIERE
"Desert Horse" performed by Melody's Echo Chamber-WSPC PREMIERE

May 22, 2018
"Many The Miles" (live Houseboat performance) performed by Sara Bareilles
"Call My Name" performed by Prince
"Fantastic Voyage" (live "Reality Tour") performed by David Bowie

"Everybody Knows That You're Insane" performed by Queens Of The Stone Age
"Generals And Majors" performed by XTC
"Fly On The Windscreen" performed by Depeche Mode
"Palms To The Sky" (Jet City Stream Session) performed by Reignwolf
"The Ocean" performed by Led Zeppelin

May 24, 2018
"Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
"Runaround" performed by Van Halen
"No Fear" performed by Fishbone
"Evan Finds The Third Room" (live) performed by Khruangbin-WSPC PREMIERE
"Variations" performed by Madlib
"The Embassy" performed by Mos Def

May 25, 2018
"Aspects" performed by Paul Weller-WSPC PREMIERE
"August Twelve" (live) performed by Khruangbin
"Low" performed by Lenny Kravitz-WSPC PREMIERE
"Medicaid Fraud Dogg" performed by Parliament-WSPC PREMIERE

"Lost Children" performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

May 28, 2018


"Daniel" performed by Elton John
"Drum + Fife" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"The Unknown Soldier" (live at the Hollywood Bowl) performed by The Doors
"March To The Witch's Castle" performed by Funkadelic
"Machine Gun" (live) performed by Jimi Hendrix with Band Of Gypsies

May 29, 2018
"Afraid Of Love" performed by Toto
"Don't Say No" performed by Billy Squier
"Not Your Kind Of People" performed by Garbage

May 30, 2018
"Why Can't We Be Friends" performed by War
"Why Can't We Live Together" performed by Timmy Thomas
"Share The Land" performed by The Guess Who

May 31, 2018
"Bonzo's Montreaux" performed by Led Zeppelin

"Humility" performed by Gorillaz-WSPC PREMIERE
"Lake Zurich" performed by Gorillaz-WSPC PREMIERE
"Mantra" performed by Dave Grohl, Joshua Homme and Trent Reznor
Finale Jam Live-performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Friday Morning" performed by Khruangbin-WSPC PREMIERE

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


1. "Over And Over And Over" performed by Jack White
2. "No Reply" performed by The Beatles
3. "Vow" performed by Garbage
4. "A Woman's Wisdom" performed by Wild Nothing
5. "Empty Ring" performed by Paul Weller
6. "Virginia Plain" performed by Roxy Music
7. "New Town Velocity" performed by Johnny Marr
8. "The Zephyr Song" performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers
9. "It's Not That Easy" performed by Nazz
10."S.O.S." performed by ABBA
11."Lady Picture Show" performed by Stone Temple Pilots
12."Man Out Of Time" performed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
13. "Sunless Saturday" performed by Fishbone

MAY 9, 2018
1. "Glances Part II"
2. "In The Middle"
3. "Dimensions" (acoustic LIVE in the studio)
4. "Nightmares In Real Time" (WORLD PREMIERE--acoustic LIVE in the studio)

1. "Meet Me Halfway There" performed by Cowboy Winter
2. "Faced To Face Me" performed by Skyline Sounds
3. "The Hedonist" performed by Gentle Brontosaurus
4. "Jupiter" performed by The German Art Students
5. "Nostalgia" performed by Modern Mod
6. "Not To You" performed by Squarewave
7. "Swig" performed by Trophy Dad
8. "New Religion" performed by Anna Wang
9. "Houseboat" performed by Slow Pulp
10."New Song" performed by Post Social
11."Folds Like Origami" performed by Kainalu

1. "Give Blood" performed by Pete Townshend
2. "I'm On Fire" performed by The Dwight Twilley Band
3. "Time & Space" performed by Flesh For Lulu
4. "The Evil Has Landed" performed by Queens Of The Stone Age
5. "Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell" performed by The Flaming Lips
6. "Turn My Way" performed by New Order with Billy Corgan
7. "Lady and Man" performed by Khruangbin
8. "Four Out Of Five" performed by Arctic Monkeys
9. "Kingdom Come" performed by David Bowie
10."Queen" performed by Tracey Thorn

1. "Fields Of Joy" performed by Lenny Kravitz
2. "I Should Care" performed by The Sea And Cake
3  "Catch" performed by The Cure
4. "Strangers" performed by The Kinks
5. "Burning Bar" performed by Tangerine Dream
6. "99.9 F" performed by Suzanne Vega
7. "Changeling/Transmission" performed by DJ Shadow
8. "New Grass" performed by Talk Talk
9. "Walk It Down" performed by Talking Heads
10."Tenderness" performed by General Public

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Released September 1, 1977
Released May 3, 1988
Released April 20, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC: First things first...this is the very sort of album cover that I would have given a wide berth in my childhood record store visits as its pure malevolence feels threatening enough to break free from mere image not horrifying three dimensional life. It is grotesque and then some, but given the subject matter the music is wrestling with, the image becomes more and more relevant, fitting and downright honest than it may first seem.

The return of A Perfect Circle has been long awaited and then some as their fourth album, "Eat The Elephant" now arrives a full 14 years after the band's third album "Emotive" (released November 1, 2004), a collection of politically themed protest cover songs. In essence, and despite the decade plus distance apart from each other, "Eat The Elephant," from its title to its cover image and of course, the songs themselves, strongly feels like the sequel to "Emotive." But this time instead of transforming the lyrics and songs from other artists into the APC aesthetic, the band is now providing their own furiously idiosyncratic words to speak to our terrifying times.

Written and performed (almost) entirely singer/lyricist Maynard James Keenan and multi-instrumentalist Billy Howerdel, A Perfect  Circle's "Eat The Elephant" dials down the flamethrower alt-metal riffs of the band's earlier works but the overall sound and effect is no less voluminous as we are enveloped in the band's trademark post-prog rock theatrics and especially, Howerdel's waterfall guitar heroics. Even so, and most appropriately, the album is considerably mournful, contemplative, and heavy hearted as if we, and the band, are sitting at our front row seats to the end of existence...and all at our own hands.

The tale of the tunes are all there in the song titles. "Disillusioned," "The Contrarian," "The Doomed," and the considerably sorrowful "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish" front load the album, setting the plate for the Last Supper. While tracks like "Delicious," "Feathers," "By And Down The River," the booming atmospherics of "Get The Lead Out," and the human vs. machine hybrid of "Hourglass" provide some sense of spiritual deliverance...or perhaps an acceptance of the inevitable but not without one hell of a fight. 

As grim as the album is, it cannot go without notice that you will hear an elegantly arranged, produced and performed work that showcases the band's evolution and maturity starring Maynard James Keenen delivering what may be his finest vocals to date singing his most compassionate, humane set of lyrics.

And if the world is burning itself up into ashes, then please allow this especially empathetic yet ferocious music surround us along the way.
Released April 27, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC: As with the latest album from A  Perfect Circle, if there has been anything remotely positive about the most recent Presidential election is that much of our art has become more galvanized and overt in its sense of protest. Joining in the music of resistance is Janelle Monae's dynamic third full length release, "Dirty Computer."

While I have always have been intrigued by this particular artist, I had never really been terribly compelled to pick up one of her albums. Not for any reason, I have to tell you. But, after having seen two of her striking recent music videos, including the proudly vagina themed  "PYNK," I just knew that NOW was the time to check her out!

Eschewing with her on-going album conceptual themes starring her symbolic android alter-ego, Janelle Monae drives "Dirty Computer" with the tale of her personal evolution which has culminated with a newfound sense of social, political, racial and sexual awakening in an America whose level of prejudice, racism, sexism and intolerance has been unleashed and emboldened by a certain #45. Thankfully, Monae delivers a powerful pushback copiously filled beyond the brim with an arsenal of couplets so quotable that I could easily see her lyrics written across a sea of protest signs within the most revolutionary marches.

Take this set from the track "Screwed":
"See, if everything is sex
Except sex, which is power
You know, power is just sex
You screw me and I'll screw you too"

Or this one moment from the explosive "Django Jane":
"We gon' start a motherfuckin' pussy riot
Or we gon'  have to put 'em on a pussy diet..."

Or this portion from the album's roof raising finale "Americans";
"Seventy-nine cent to your dollar
All that bullshit from white-collars
You see my color before my vision
Sometimes I wonder if you were blind
Would it help you make a better decision?

Over and again, Monae conceives of stanzas upon stanzas that you will instantly hit "rewind" to hear them all over again, for they are all that forceful and as militant in their feminist (and for that matter...humanist) presentation. Yet, instead of what could  have been an album filled with nothing but proselytizing slogans, Monae has ensured that "Dirty Computer" is over-flowing in melodies so rich you can bathe within them and a variety of grooves and beats propulsive enough to dare you to stop moving, all the while being held together by the crystalline clarity of Janelle Monae's spectacular singing and rapping.

While the album contains superb support from the likes of Jon Brion and Brian Wilson (yes...that Brian Wilson) and certainly is largely influenced by Stevie Wonder (who makes a cameo appearance) and the late, great, artist 4ever known as Prince (who befriended Monae and advised her during the writing and making of the album before his passing, "Dirty Computer" is unquestionably, entirely and uncompromisingly the artistic vision of Janelle Monae from end to end. Returning to the Prince comparisons, it is an album that feels as if she has adopted Prince's party under the mushroom cloud aesthetic of "1999," merged that with the unrepentant female empowerment messages of "P. Control" and fused it all into a vibrantly personal and beautifully seamless song suite like Prince's "Lovesexy" (released May 10, 1988) and magically, created a singular work that exists as her personal manifesto upon her journey towards self-acceptance and ascension.

"I'm NOT America's nightmare. I am the American dream!!!!" Monae sings early in the album and it is truly impossible to proclaim otherwise as you experience her outstanding album.
Released March 2, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC:  One of my favorite singers of all time hands down.

As one half of the classic British alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl, Tracy Thorn has long rapturously graced my ears and heart through the deep, rich soul of her voice which has the glorious ability to convey oceans of emotions even when she may sound as if she is not necessarily "doing" very much vocally. But that is precisely the gift of a GREAT singer. Not everyone can (or should) be Aretha Franklin or Mary J. Blige, for instance, as too many singers in the 21st century feel this incessant need to essentially invent syllables and stretch their vocal chords to stratospheric ranges in order to sing a song--all the while never attaining any sense of truth, even while glass is shattering all around them and us

Yet, Ms. Thorn is a rarity, so eternally beloved by me, but admittedly after EBTG's unofficial fade out in 2000, I lost track of her (as well as her husband and former bandmate Ben Watt). So, it is with great thanks to the NPR series "Fresh Air With Terry Gross" which featured a terrific recent interview with Ms. Thorn that I am happily able to rekindle this particular flame via her fifth solo album entitled "Record."

Now, as I am unaware of what the bulk of her solo material actually sounds like, I am able to say that "Record" either continues or returns Tracey Thorn to the dance floor, where she blissfully morphed into a disco queen during EBTG's final years. Now, at the age of 55, Thorn triumphantly places herself under the mirrorball once more with 9 stellar tracks that conceptually flow between a variety of uniquely female insights regarding the romance vs. reality of Motherhood ("Babies"), a nostalgic look at when she first began to rock ("Guitar"), an ode to leaving the nest ("Go"),  a rallying cry against misogynistic ideals in the music industry ("Air"), the superior soul contained within female solidarity ("Sister"), plus even more self-described "feminist bangers."

With her songwriting pen as sharply empathetic and perceptive as ever, and armed with a singing voice now deepened after menopause, Tracey Thorn's latest is a celebratory affair with the chronicles of her life, making "Record" exist as nothing less than a vibrant audio diary.

NEW 2018 MUSIC: Once again...sometimes MUSIC CHOOSES YOU!!!

In the case of the band Khruangbin, the Houston, Texas based trio made up of guitarist Mark Speer, bassist Laura Lee and drummer Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson Jr. ,  I never knew even one solitary thing about the band--let alone their existence-- until I finally clicked upon this one insistent link that keep appearing persistently in the side of my You Tube feed, a full, nearly 60 minute live performance presented by Pitchfork. It was as if the music knew something that I did not but once I did click upon the link, I was just blown away and I KNEW that I had to get their album.

And so, here we are with "Con Todo El Mundo," (which I have read translates as "With All The World") the band's second full length release and for me, it is already safely snug upon my favorite album releases of 2018. Despite possessing a musical aesthetic the band has adopted being described as "Thai funk," Khruangbin completely defies genre descriptions as their specialized, and mostly instrumental, brand contains elements of psychedelia, hip-hop, soul, surf and what one might find upon a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack merged with Middle Eastern flourishes.

Running a seamless 10 tracks, "Con Todo El Mundo" is a fully intoxicating, immersive and often downright sexy experience that simultaneously makes you want to get up and groove while blissfully spacing out. Propelled by Laura Lee's stellar deep bass and "DJ" Johnson Jr.s' richly subtle drum rhythms, which suggest an especially relaxed Questlove, Mark Speer's stunning, shape shifting, luxuriously liquid guitar heroics will unquestionably caress you all over while also conjuring up rightful comparisons to the likes of  Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, Carlos Santana, David Gilmour and Stevie Ray Vaughan as his playing is indeed that confident, versatile, inventive and imaginative.

Trust me...even if you have difficulty pronouncing the band's name, you can now spell it, therefore being able to easily find it for you will indeed want this one in your collection as it is a work that you can easily place upon repeat and lose yourself inside of it endlessly.
Released May 11, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC: I think I was getting this band confused with Vampire Weekend, but for whatever reasons, I had also not heard one song or note by Arctic Monkeys, perhaps feeling that maybe this band would not necessarily be for me. Yet recently, I became intrigued...

From articles I have read in the music press, band leader/singer/songwriter/guitarist Alex Turner, struggling with a bout of writer's block, began trying to compose upon a piano he received for his 30th birthday--an avenue in which he had not tried to write songs before. The result opened up a floodgate, which initially confused his bandmates but was soon embraced and has now been fully revealed in a head spinning science fiction concept album in which Turner stars as some sort of sleazy interstellar lounge singer at the titular locale of the album performing a luxurious song cycle that openly evokes the sound and vision of the late, eternally great David Bowie.

An odd album to be sure, of course and featuring a sonic palate that suggests an equally odd hybrid of Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane merged with Bowie's late period gem "Bring Me The Disco King," Arctic Monkeys' latest release may not be the best place for new listeners to begin with to introduce themselves to the band. Yet even so, this is indeed what has happened to me. Without question, I am having a tremendous time drowning in the ocean of melodies, while hanging on for dear life with the cavalcade of lyrics, and let me tell you, the mid-album track "Four Out Of Five" is an unquestionable grand slam.

Whether this excursion makes sense of not, or if the concept is successful or not feels somehow irrelevant when the songs themselves are as strong as these, making for an album experience that is fun to dig deeply into.

You know, it may even be another one of the year's best releases...
Released August 27, 2001
Released March 24, 1986

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The time is almost here again!

It has been nearly two full years since we least heard from the band Post Social, the Madison, WI based quartet featuring Shannon Connor (vocals, guitar), Mitch Deitz (vocals, guitar), Sam Galligan (bass guitar) and Brendan Manley (drums), as real world responsibilities from college, day jobs and tenures in additional bands have occupied a tremendous amount of their time. While more than understandable, the wait for new material is thankfully almost over.

Courtesy of the band's official Facebook page, Post Social began releasing a few teasers since March of this year. First, was the announcement that a new album would be arriving this summer with the first live performances of 2018 arriving even sooner. In April, we were given a shot of the following image: a potential final track listing!
And finally, within the previous week, we have been graced with the album cover and the official title, which is indeed "MAJOR CONGRATS." At this time, the album is being mastered, finalized and prepared for what will hopefully be a June 2018 release.

With this exciting news and activity, I felt that it was time to reach out to the band and see if I could possibly gather a bit of a preview. Gladly, Shannon Connor responded with answers to some questions I have about album #4 from Post Social.

SYNESTHESIA: Shannon, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. Now, it has been nearly two years since the release of Post Social's third album "Casablanca." Can you speak to the extended time away and how did it feel once writing and recording began again in earnest?
SHANNON: Well, with the election and life in general, the end of 2016 was really weird and draining for everyone. Not to say that we stopped because of that. But, we were kind of worn down a bit already and it was good to have some time away.

It was a weird time writing this one because it started out as Mitch and I writing songs on our won mostly. Eventually, we whipped tings into shape as a band but it was different from every other time we've written songs together for sure.

SYNESTHESIA: I understand that the band made a return to an official recording studio for this album, something you have not done since your debut release. Why did you wish to record in this fashion after recording albums #2 and #3 at home on your own?
SHANNON: Returning to the studio was just something we were ready to do after home recording because it was a change of pace. But I also thought it woud be good to get an outside perspective again and agree to let somebody else do the mixing so that we wouldn't have as much of a personal stake in it, which can lead to arguments and then, nobody gets what the want. That's how it work sot sometimes doing your own production.

SYNESTHESIA: And who is working with you this time?
SHANNON: Ricky Riemer of Science Of Sound...he is the GOAT!!

SYNESTHESIA: What perspective, specifically, did Ricky bring to the band this time around?
SHANNON: Ricky didn't impose is will on us at all but he knew where we were trying to take the songs and it was important to have somebody besides ourselves who's confident in what we're doing.

SYNESTHESIA: How do you think the songs differ, if at all, this time around with the material being written separately? And was the recording easier for the band this time around being in the studio setting?
SHANNON: In terms of how things differ from previous albums, I think the biggest thing is that the usual roles we have were switched around a lot. We wrote parts on different instruments. For some of the early writing and rehearsing, there were songs I was drumming on and Brendan was playing guitar. I ended up recording the bass on a few songs and drumming on one. Brendan plays guitar on a few of the recordings and plays bass on one. We also brought in people outside of the band to play on the album.

Recording was easier for sure even though it was hard work getting the takes sometimes, just because we knew what we wanted and we knew how to get what we wanted this time.

SYNESTHESIA: Did the "musical chairs" aspect flow easily, cause friction or create something else altogether?
SHANNON: Switching things around happened pretty naturally and made things fresher from a songwriting perspective.

SYNESTHESIA: Now that the album is being finalized, how is the band feeling? What might us fans expect?
SHANNON: I don't know what to tell people to expect! But I would say that it's a good album to play really loud for the most part.

SYNESTHESIA: Are there tracks that you are especially excited for listeners to hear and for you to perform live?
SHANNON: Everything!!! Seriously!

SYNESTHESIA: I saw that Javi Reyes of the band Post Animal recently commented upon the Post Social Facebook page with the statement, "Fire is coming, folks!" Would you agree to that?
SHANNON: Absolutely!

SYNESTHESIA: Oh last thing. What is the significance of the album title?
SHANNON: I will keep my lips sealed on that.

Fair enough...and regardless, I. AM. READY.

(left to right: Sam Galligan, Brendan Manley, Mitch Dietz, Shannon Connor)

Saturday, May 12, 2018



It was sometime deep in the middle of the night during the drought afflicted Chicago summer of 1988 when the lightning struck--not actual but metaphorical and for the purposes of this posting, musical, of course.

For whatever reasons that I am unable to remember after all of this time, I was awake at the aforementioned time, perhaps I was writing, perhaps not, but the television was indeed on and the channel was placed upon MTV, a station that I was just beginning to be obsessed with as the city of Chicago had then recently been wired for cable television, thus making it possible to finally see what those in the suburbs had access to for years prior.

Anyhow, I will never remember the VJ who introduced this clip but I will never forget the feeling when I saw it. The music itself was a ferocious roar with a guitar riff and rhythmic force that, to my ears, instantly reminded me of the pummeling swagger of Led Zeppelin.  Believe me, I was hooked instantly. But it was when I saw the members of the band, that is when the lightning hit. For when I saw them, I felt supremely lifted. I felt...vindication.

The song was "Middle Man." The band was Living Colour.
On May 3rd, Living Colour's debut album "Vivid" reached its 30th anniversary, a milestone that I felt necessary to acknowledge upon Synesthesia as its impact, both musical and cultural, seized me tremendously when I was 19 years old and the pride I feel that its presence and influence has only continued to reverberate over these past three decades.

Living Colour's "Vivid," an album of vibrant, vivacious fury, propelled by formidable performances from the band, which at that time consisted of Guitarist Vernon Reid, Bassist Muzz Skillings, Vocalist Corey Glover and Drummer Will Calhoun (Bassist Doug Wimbish has long since taken over for Skillings who departed the band in 1992), and the mountainous production by Ed Stasium. It is truly one of the very best debut releases I have ever heard as it is a body slamming gut punch of take-no-prisoners hard rock, and also serves a seamless musical amalgamation of punk, rap, power pop, soul, jazz, funk, blues, fusion and heavy metal, all of which is armed with a searing political/social commentary as presented through the distinctive and unapologetic lens of the Black experience.

As this album opens with a quotation as delivered by none other than Malcolm X, Living Colour immediately signaled that this album was going to be markedly different experience for the hard rock  genre while also delivering the sonic boom. After the first track, which is none other than the still relevant and revelatory blitzkrieg that is "Cult Of Personality," the album tackled provocative subject matter with purposefulness and purity. Racial paranoia ("Funny Vibe"), drug abuse ("Desperate People"), gentrification ("Open Letter (To A Landlord)" ) and the painfully distinct lines that divide the realities of Black and White America ("Which Way To America").

And somehow, the band also found ways to include a high school hallways bop ("I Want To Know"), a booming hp-hop drums via a vague country-western sad song ("Broken Hearts"), jaunty African rhythms ("Glamour Boys"), a roaring Talking Heads cover ("Memories Can't Wait") and even their own James Brown influenced theme song ("What's Your Favorite Color?").

For me, it was not solely the experience of hearing a great album that  soared my spirit. Or really even the fact that these superior musicians, it could be argued, operated from more of a jazz perspective than rock, so to speak with their jaw dropping agility and flexibility with merging and blurring a variety of musical genres to create a sound that was uniquely their own on their very first time at bat.

It was the sight, and therefore, the reality of bearing witness to these four Black men daring to play the very music that we are not supposed to be playing regardless of the greater reality that we, as Black people, created every music genre represented upon "Vivid," especially rock and roll. Living Colour showcased their inherent right to play this music and in doing so, they gave Black people like myself  a venue to rightfully and righteously claim our inherent right to listen to this music. Additionally, the existence of Living Colour rightfully and righteously challenged both White and Black radio, and therefore White and Black listeners in regards to understanding precisely what Black music could even be!

With throwing down such a titanic gauntlet, Living Colour's debut served as  nothing less than vindication for me--a then 19 year old Black teenager/college student who worshiped rock and roll, played rock and roll drums and just did not wish to explain to anyone, anywhere at any time of why I love this music and how my Blackness would always exist no matter what I listened to. For that, my gratitude towards this band (and for that matter, Fishbone) is bottomless as the proverbial doors and windows they gloriously smashed allowed me the avenue to take a  greater confidence in myself as I continued to build my worldview.

And now, 30 years later in 2018, Living Colour thankfully still exists and they remain as vibrant and as...ahem...vivid as ever. That being said, I am honestly unsure as to how perceptions have changed or unchanged regarding the concept of Black people playing hard rock, but Living Colour's continued presence keeps the conversation alive as well as providing and delivering staggering, blistering, unforgiving rock and roll for the ages.

If you have never heard "Vivid," now is the time. If you haven't heard it in some time, it is now time to re-visit it. And when you do...without question or hesitation...PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!!!!