News for July 2011
I was fortunate enough to have seen the very last Young People’s Concert conducted by the maestro back in 1972. As you can see from this video Lenny was an emotional and flamboyant conductor. Here is one of his best pieces of music, the Overture to the 1956 musical “Candide” based on the story by Voltaire.
Edited: July 30th, 2011
This 1969 instrumental is practically ground zero for all of Rap and Hip Hop tracks. It’s the essence of songs like this Allen Toussaint-produced classic that informs the genre with its groove and beats. The Meters were formed by Aaron Neville as a backing band for some of New Orleans’ greatest acts like Chris Kenner and Lee Dorsey.
Edited: July 29th, 2011
Wow! It doesn’t get any better than this…and it never gets old! Probably the greatest musical to ever hit the Broadway stage. Bernstein’s modern Jazz score is inventive and cutting edge…and about as good as it gets!
Edited: July 29th, 2011
Drawing on Soul, Gospel, Big Band and the Blues, Bobby Bland has one of the most expressive voices in R’n’B. The meat of his recorded output was released on the Duke record label between 1952 and 1972. This 1961 classic later became a staple of Grateful Dead shows in the capable hands of “Pigpen” Ron McKernan.
Edited: July 28th, 2011
Before “The Girl From Ipanema” and Bossa Nova there was Hard Bop and “Mosquito Knees” for Stan Getz as evidence by this 1951 recording from Storyville in Boston. This version of the Quintet featured the guitar work of Jimmy Raney with Al Haig on piano, Teddy Kotick on bass and Tiny Kahn on drums. Listen to that mosquito fly…
Edited: July 27th, 2011
Here’s an instance where an artist cribs from his own back catalog and creates another hit. Miller would revisit the riff on this 1969 song from his album “Brave New World” again in 1976 for “Fly Like An Eagle” and take it to new heights. The bass and backing vocal duties on this track are handled by Paul Ramon, an alias Paul McCartney would occasionally use.
Edited: July 26th, 2011
I recently discovered this talented trio featuring John Stanier, the drummer from Helmet. They were on the bill at Pitchfork this year, and although I missed their set, I really like their latest album called “Gloss Drop.” Most of the record is instrumental featuring the muted guitar/organ sound you hear on this track.
Edited: July 25th, 2011
Another great track from the “Stiff Records Box Set!” Roogalator was one of the first Stiff releases in 1976 and was right in line with the other “Pub Rock” releases they dealt in during the early days of the label. Danny Adler hailed from Cincinnati and was a rare American amongst a sea of Brits. He also was a member of Elephant’s Memory for a short time.
Edited: July 24th, 2011
Another gem from the Stiff Records Box Set is the 1979 original version of this song that would later become a hit for Tracey Ullman in 1982. Kirsty MacColl wrote the song and in her hands it was much slower and more mature sounding. It’s funny how a pure pop nugget like this was categorized as “New Wave” music just because of the label it was released by…
Edited: July 23rd, 2011
Recently listened to my Stiff Records box set from back in the day. They were the British Punk and New Wave label that first signed the likes of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, Lene Lovich, Rachel Sweet, Devo and Madness. Not bad for a mid-70s upstart on a shoestring budget. This one is by Wreckless Eric and was featured in the film “Stranger Than Fiction.”
Edited: July 22nd, 2011
After releasing her most challenging album, “Mingus” in 1979, Mitchell took to the road with an all-star band featuring Pat Metheney (guitar), Jaco Pastorious (bass), Don Alias (drums), Lyle Mays (keyboards) and Michael Brecker (saxophone). Here’s a clip of Joni performing this standard from “Shadows And Light” originally found on her 1976 album “Hejira.”
Edited: July 21st, 2011
Their latest album, “w h o k i l l,” is hands-down the best I’ve heard all year. Here’s one from the first album “Bird Brains” that shows how Merrill Garbus performs creating loops upon loops of her voice and drums. Too bad she doesn’t break out the ukulele on this one. Go see them if you get the chance!
Edited: July 20th, 2011
Another highlight of last weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival was the return of North Carolina’s Superchunk. Fiercely independent, the Chunk began in 1989 by releasing records on their own Merge label. Not only does Superchunk still prevail on their latest album, “Majesty Shredding,” but the label has thrived over the years giving us some amazing music by other artists.
Edited: July 19th, 2011
I’ve got to admit that I came late to the Cut Copy party seeing them for the first time last night at Pitchfork. What I saw was a band tapping into a deep well of ’80s dance music…and we, the audience, ate it up! Even though Duran Duran is still together, the spirit of classic Duran Duran live in Cut Copy on this track from their latest album “Zonoscope.”
Edited: July 18th, 2011
Classic Rock is alive and well in the form of Fleet Foxes an amalgam of CSN, Simon & Garfunkel, America and The Beach Boys. Saw them tonight for the third time since 2008 at Pitchfork Music Festival where they have now achieved headliner status…and still sound as good as ever. One of the few hipster bands today that actually write songs with melodies.
Edited: July 17th, 2011
It was great to see the reunited GBV together again on stage at the Pitchfork Music Festival this evening. They opened their set with this track from the classic 1994 album “Bee Thousand” where Robert Pollard and company tap into their inner British Invasion. Pollard was his usual loose-limbed inebriated self…and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Edited: July 15th, 2011
When I first heard this song as the theme to HBO’s now-defunct series “How To Make It In America,” I thought it was a long lost song by Gil Scott-Heron. Turns out it was Los Angeles born neo-soul singer Aloe Blacc, and the song was from his latest record “Good Things.” Check out some of his “Ol’ Blacc Magic!”
Edited: July 15th, 2011
Over the years he’s gone from junkie to downright upstanding. We’ve seen him Bluegrass, honky tonkin’ and rockin’ out. We’ve read his poetry and short stories. We’ve even watched him on HBO in “The Wire” and on
“Treme.” The self-named “Hard-Core Troubadour” still has much to offer like this one from his latest album “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.”
Edited: July 14th, 2011
One of the acts I’m looking forward to seeing this weekend at the Pitchfork Music Festival is tUnE-yArDs. What started out as a free-download solo project for Merrill Garbus of the band Sister Suvi, has turned into her full time gig. This song is from her latest album “w h o k i l l.” Check out the compelling video that accompanies it.
Edited: July 13th, 2011
Reggae doesn’t get any smoother than this signature classic by the artist who Bob Marley once proclaimed the best Reggae singer in the world. This is the original 1972 version that Brown rerecorded, released and brought to the charts again in 1979 the year he succumbed to a drug related death.
Edited: July 12th, 2011
The 1989 album “Rei Momo” found David Byrne dabbling in the music of Latin America. He put together a band featuring such luminaries as Willie Colon, Arto Lindsay, Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco and did a memorable run of shows at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. This song is a “Pagode” which is also a subgenre of samba. Funny thing about David Byrne is no matter what type of music he sticks his toes into, it still comes out sounding like David Byrne.
Edited: July 11th, 2011
Most people my age know this song as recorded by Terry Jacks. Word was in the 1970s that ol’ Terry knew he was going to die when he recorded this song. It’s not the truth…and he’s still alive! Jacks was also behind the hit “Which Way You Going Billy” which he recorded with his wife under the name The Poppy Family…but I digress. Here’s the Kingston Trio’s version from their 1964 album “Time To Think.”
Edited: July 9th, 2011
Sure they sound just like MGMT…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since they’re just as good as they are. First saw this band perform on Jay Leno a few months ago and really liked this song. I soon found I wasn’t alone and it’s a well-deserved big hit. Looking forward to seeing them at Lollapalooza this year too!
Edited: July 8th, 2011
I’m taking my kids to the Vans Warped Tour tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing Gym Class Heroes, 3OH!3, Against Me!, D.R.U.G.S. and many of the other bands that I’ve never heard of before. Should be some good people watching too. This track cracks me up and I also like the video. Take that, Supertramp!
Edited: July 8th, 2011
Song Of The Day – “Surf Medley” by Junior Brown
One of the highlights of any Junior Brown show is when he launches into the “Surf Medley” on his “guit-steel,” a double-necked guitar/steel guitar he invented. He can be seen touring the country regularly with the lovely Miss Tanya Rae, his wife, by his side on rhythm guitar. Hearing him is one thing…seeing him is outta sight!
Edited: July 7th, 2011
Originally known as Dodobird, The Dodos are a duo hailing from San Francisco comprised of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber.
Long is an adept rhythm guitarist and Kroeber can be seen banging on garbage cans as well as his drum kit in concert. They’ve augmented the band with vibraphone and vocals by Neko Case. This track comes from their fourth album “No Color.”
Edited: July 6th, 2011
Before going on to form Kid Creole and The Coconuts, August Darnell established himself with this 1976 disco era outfit. Their fusion of 1930s Cab Calloway-inspired big band sound and state-of-the-art disco resulted in this top-30 hit.
Edited: July 5th, 2011
Not patriotic in the least…but certainly high in the lexicon of Independence Day songs. Best line: “But when they light up our town I think what a waste of gunpowder and sky.” Hey, I’m as patriotic as most people…but this song from the 1993 album “Whatever” reigns supreme!
Edited: July 4th, 2011
From the 2009 album that keeps on giving called “Merriweather Post Pavilion.” I can’t wait to see them as a headliner at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in a few weeks here in Chicago. I know many Collective fans don’t like it when I compare them to Yes…but listen for yourself…
Edited: July 3rd, 2011
They should have been much bigger than they were. Karl Walinger ex of The Waterboys struck out on his own, and while he did find fame this album holds up much better than most from the class of 1986. Don’t let the dated production values fool you, there’s real artistry here!
Edited: July 2nd, 2011