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Month: November 2008

Ickmusic’s “Black Friday” Five: November 28, 2008

If you are a minority of one, the shuffle is the shuffle.

Now that everyone has slept off their L-tryptophan induced coma and quite possibly spent the morning hunting down the best deal on the latest greatest gizmo it’s time to relax and what better way to do that than with a shuffle through some tunes. And in celebration of the day, we’re limiting the results to only tunes with the word “Black” in them.

For those who have not joined in the Five, here’s how it works: … I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five with a bit of insight for each track.

Then it’s your turn! Just share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments and see what your fellow readers are listening to as well.

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Weather Report – Black Market (from 8:30)

An absolutely masterful live performance highlighting the genius of Joe Zawinul, Peter Erskine, the brilliant Wayne Shorter and the incomparable Jaco Pastorius. Jaco’s bass percolates along the afro beat rhythm as Shorter blows hard bop lines that are out of this world.

2. Metallica – Fade to Black (from Ride the Lightning)

It has always been my theory that the entire Black Album is a vein attempt to capture what the band did in what is easily one of the bands most significant tunes. From the opening movement to the fade it is Metallica at their best.

3. AC/DC – Back in Black (from Back in Black)

Classic.

4. Pearl JamBlack (mp3) (from Ten)

This is easily one of my favorite songs from the 90’s period. Eddie Vedder is a master of conveying the depths of the human condition and this is by far one of his finest moments.  Up for grabs is the classic MTV Unplugged version.

5. Prince – Black Sweat (from 3121)

This is as close to the funk as he’s come in ages.

What’s saving you from long lines and aggressive shoppers?

The Happiest of Turkey Days to You

Happy Thansgiving to all. Enjoy your turkey dinners (you fellow carnivores out there). When the tryptophan kicks in after the meal, and it’s clearly nap time, why not treat your family to some Led Zeppelin – lullaby style?

Ah, but does tryptophan make you drowsy? Let’s consult Wikipedia, because we all believe everything we read on WIkipedia…

One widely-held belief is that heavy consumption of turkey meat (as for example in a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast) results in drowsiness, which has been attributed to high levels of tryptophan contained in turkey. While turkey does contain high levels of tryptophan, the amount is comparable to that contained in most other meats. Furthermore, postprandial Thanksgiving sedation may have more to do with what is consumed along with the turkey, in particular carbohydrates and alcohol, rather than the turkey itself. This is demonstrated in a popular episode of the sitcom “Seinfeld” when characters of the show drug a woman using turkey and alcohol in order to play with her toy collection.

Postprandial Thanksgiving sedation“! Remember those three words, and impress your family & friends around the dinner table!

Rockabye BabyThank You (mp3)

Rockabye BabyKashmir (mp3)

I think you just found your sweet-ass (or smart-ass) stocking stuffer for someone. Click the cover to check it out on Amazon…

Reggae Riddims, Red Stripe, and Ryan

I’ve been in a pretty deep reggae phase lately, branching out and exploring some artists I’m less familiar with: Jacob Miller, the Congos, Bunny Wailer, the Gladiators… if you ever want to get lost and explore some reggae, go to Last.fm and start up Bunny Wailer Radio, or Culture Radio, or Jacob Miller Radio. Then grab a Red Stripe (or a Guinness), sit back, and enjoy.

The CongosCongoman (mp3) – from Heart of the Congos

Jacob MillerShakey Girl (mp3) – from Collector’s Classics

Have you guys & gals seen Three Sheets yet? It’s already 3 seasons old, but I just started watching a few weeks ago. Zane Lamprey is the brilliant & hilarious host, and he has the enviable job of traveling from country to country, exploring local drinking culture (often followed the morning after by  finding the best local hangover remedy). It’s such a great show, and will have you laughing out loud no more than 3 minutes in.

Check out the Jamaica episode of Three Sheets here on Hulu.com. You’ll find out why Guinness is just as popular with the locals as Red Stripe. Trust me, it’s worth your while.

By the way, the channel that hosts Three Sheets, MOJO HD, will be going off the air on December 1st. Worry not, though, Three Sheets will be picked up somewhere, it’s just not clear where yet. Meanwhile you can catch up on all the episodes online for free at Hulu. And if you flip on Mojo today, you’ll land right in the middle of a Three Sheets Marathon. Cheers!

So the other day, I was flipping through my HD channels and came across a show called Music in High Places on Palladia. This episode featured Ryan Adams in Jamaica. Now, I’ve always been a distant admirer of Ryan Adams. I have a few of his records, both solo and with the Cardinals (and I need to get the Whiskeytown albums). But I can feel myself being drawn more and more into his music.

This performance of “Firecracker” on the show was my highlight. I’ve been playing the hell out of this YouTube video since…

All the Ways I Want You (A YouTube Debut)

While the wife and kids were away at a Saturday afternoon birthday party, dad got some peace & quiet. And when there’s tranquility in the house, I often pull out the guitar. Except this time, I pressed the record button. Lucky you!

I’m an amateur on the guitar, but I do enjoy playing. And one of the earliest songs I learned is an all- time favorite of mine: Bruce Cockburn’s “All the Ways I Want You”. Like I said on the YouTube page, I’m now one of “those guys”.

So what the hell, here it is…

Stream the Dream

Last Sunday night, “Working on a Dream” showed up on Sunday Night Football in heavily butchered form. Well now on New York’s Q104 web site, you can hear the song streaming in all its glory. Stream it here.

Dream Baby Dream – Speaking of dreams, for anyone who saw or heard anything from Bruce’s Devils & Dust tour a few years back, you’re familiar with his cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream”. It was a haunting and beautiful finale to many of the D&D shows – just Bruce and his pump organ.

Recently released on the Blast First Petite label is a 3 song EP that features one of Bruce’s live versions, one live Suicide version, and “Mr. Ray” by NYC’s Beat the Devil. I’m not sure what the connection is with Beat the Devil. Beats the devil out of me. Anyone?

Click the album cover to check out the EP on Amazon.

Tom Jones – “The Hitter”: And speaking of Devils & Dust, Tom Jones covers “The Hitter” on his new album which comes out this Tuesday in the U.S. Listen to part of it on the handy widget below. Mr. Jones hath set forth a different arrangement! Interesting…

Ickmusic’s (late) Friday Five, November 21st, 2008

Michael-el-el-el-el!!   *looking around*

MICHAEL-EL-EL-EL!!!

Well folks, Michael is AWOL this Friday, so although it’s late, I shall post my own Friday Five on behalf of Michael since we’ve had this feature going for about a bajillion weeks in a row.  Here’s what’s shuffling on my faithful Mac tonight…

1. “Young Turks” – Rod Stewart. from Tonight I’m Yours: A great piece of early 80’s pop from Mr. Stewart.

2. “God Knows What I Want” – Moodswings, from Psychedelicatessen: the first two Moodswings albums are high on my list of favorites. Total chill music, a lot of ambient instrumental stuff, interspersed with some beautiful vocals like on this tune.

3. “Brownie Hawkeye” – Jason Collett, from Idols of Exile: I don’t listen to Jason enough. Always enjoy the indie-pop stuff he has to offer.

4. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” – Elvis Presley, from Elvis: 30 #1 Hits: Perfection. Timeless.

5. “One Step Up” – Bruce Springsteen, from Love, Tears & Mystery: this is a great compilation from Bruce’s Devils & Dust tour. This one’s from August 3rd, 2005 (my 25th, I mean 35th birthday).

Your turn!!  What’s shufflin’ in your corner of the world?

The Woes of Satellite Radio

Eek! I thought I was getting such a bargain when I bought a bunch of Sirius stock a few years ago at $2.50 a share. I watched in delight as it rose to almost $8.00 after Howard Stern signed on. Well, it’s 2008, the economy is in the shitter, Sirius is now SiriusXM, and do you care to guess what the stock closed at today? $5.00? $3.00? $1.00?

Right, try $0.16. That’s s-i-x-t-e-e-n cents.

I’m starting to wonder if I’ll hear anything on my receiver when I start my truck six months from now. I’m wondering if this downward spiral can ever make a significant rebound.

Maybe it only truly appeals to a certain segment of society, primarily music lovin’ geeks like me. I LOVE my SiriusXM Satellite radio!! Granted, I’m sort of pissed about some recent consolidations of “redundant” stations that eliminated two of my favorites – Backspin and Sirius Disorder – but the selection of music (commercial-free) is so far better than terrestrial radio that you can’t even make the comparison.

I’m surprised satellite radio isn’t a lot more popular than it is. But given the economy, the availability of music on the internet (iTunes, music discovery sites like Last.fm, Pandora, and Rhapsody), music on smart phones, and the looming collapse of the U.S. auto industry – well, things ain’t looking so bright for SiriusXM.

Me? I’ll be subscribed until Satellite Radio is six feet under. Sorry, I need my variety of music. I need another way to discover new music. And dammit all, I need my Howard Stern!

You guys and gals are music lovin’ fools like me. Who can’t live without their satellite radio? Who could give a rat’s behind?

Sirius XM at 17 cents – look out below – Nov. 19, 2008 (CNN Money)

More Prince Ramblings

I just read this short, what seems to be rather abbreviated piece in the New Yorker. Claire Hoffman was invited over to Prince’s 30,000 sq ft mansion in Beverly Park to chat over carrot soup. It got me once again to thinking about the purple man, so bear with me and my stream of consciousness typing…

As Prince has aged, he’s undergone some significant transformations. He’s always been someone who has changed styles with seemingly every album. The quiet, pompadoured lust king of Purple Rain, the 60’s psychedelic from Around the World in a Day; the outgoing, smiling, short-do’d comedian from Parade, and on and on.

In the 90’s, I watched in a sort of curious fascination as he changed his name to a unpronounceable symbol. The music still grabbed me though. The Gold Experience, Chaos and Disorder, Emancipation – I still ate it all up.

Since Prince joined up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier in the 00’s, he still has managed to pump out some music that I enjoy – I can enjoy parts of The Rainbow Children, Musicology, 3121 and even Planet Earth.

But it’s not the same.

I guess I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m most enthralled with the Prince of the 80’s – the prolific wunderkind that produced, arranged, composed and performed music that was wholly original, groundbreaking, and off the wall… Sex, God, straight, gay, starfish, coffee, Head, cab drivers, tambourines, banana daiquiris at Christmas time, dirty minds, strange relationships, squirrel meat (uh! don’t try it), revolutionary rock & roll, girls & boys, old friends 4 sale…

Fast forward to 2008 – Prince performing at exclusive rooftop gigs for $1000 a head; changing the lyrics of his song “Sexuality” – an affirmation of complete individual freedom – now to be known only as “Spirituality”; chasing after web sites for posting his image; and not even maintaining his own web site, or offering any sort of presence on the web to connect with the people who have supported him all these years.

“I can’t understand all the things people say”, Prince sang in “Controversy”, “Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?”

Who was that guy? What was he all about? No one knew, not even Prince – and man was it fun to go along on that ride with him.

And in this interview, we get this gem, from the man who has spent his entire adult life blurring the lines between male and female, straight and gay:

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”

I’m not ready to jump off the train, mind you. I’ll always be interested in what he’s doing, and will always shell out the money when it comes time to buy albums or concert tickets (but sorry, no perfumes or coffee table books). But clearly, our paths have diverged. And nor do I want for Prince to ever return to the Prince of days past. I mean, we don’t need a 50 year old Prince jumping around stage in bikini briefs and leg warmers – no thank you very much.

I guess all my ranting and rambling here is a chance for me to affirm to myself that we’re all getting older, people change, and some things are just gone forever.

This Prince is gone forever…

“Outlaw Pete” and Other Songs – New Boss Album Due January 27th

Fresh off the heavily edited debut of his song “Working on a Dream” during last night’s Sunday Night Football half time on NBC (almost in the “why even bother” category, imho), there is great news from the East this morning… a new Boss album, a release date, and a track listing!

Much to my delight, a song named “Outlaw Pete” leads off the album! I’m glad Bruce finally took the time to sit down and capture my essence. It’s an honor really, and I look forward to hearing it.

So mark your calendars. It’s January 27th, the Tuesday before the Super Bowl – where we’ll all watch Bruce and the E Street Band tear it up during the half time performance. The title of the album is ‘Working on a Dream’, and has 12 new tracks and 2 bonus tracks. Here’s the listing…

1. Outlaw Pete
2. My Lucky Day
3. Working on a Dream
4. Queen of the Supermarket
5. What Love Can Do
6. This Life
7. Good Eye
8. Tomorrow Never Knows
9. Life Itself
10. Kingdom of Days
11. Surprise, Surprise
12. The Last Carnival

Bonus tracks:
The Wrestler
A Night with the Jersey Devil

Life = Good.

BruceSpringsteen.net

More info from the press release…

Bruce Springsteen’s new album “Working on a Dream” has been set for a January 27 release on Columbia Records. “Working on a Dream” was recorded with the E Street Band and features twelve new Springsteen compositions plus two bonus tracks. It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O’Brien, who produced and mixed the album…..

…Bruce Springsteen said, “Towards the end of recording ‘Magic,’ excited by the return to pop production sounds, I continued writing. When my friend producer Brendan O’Brien heard the new songs, he said, ‘Let’s keep going.’ Over the course of the next year, that’s just what we did, recording with the E Street Band during the breaks on last year’s tour. I hope ‘Working on a Dream’ has caught the energy of the band fresh off the road from some of the most exciting shows we’ve ever done. All the songs were written quickly, we usually used one of our first few takes, and we all had a blast making this one from beginning to end.”

“Working on a Dream” is Bruce Springsteen’s twenty-fourth album and was recorded and mixed at Southern Tracks in Atlanta, GA with additional recording in New York City, Los Angeles, and New Jersey.