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Month: July 2009

The Friday Five: July 31, 2009

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Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

Nickleback – “How You Remind Me” (from Silver Side Up, 2001)

I don’t know that I would say that I am a Nickleback fan. Truthfully, I am not even sure that I would say that I care for them at all, yet looming in my library is not one but three records by the band. Not quite heavy enough to be considered metal, and far too mainstream to be alternative Nickleback found a home on Top 40 radio and became the new millennium’s answer to Def Leppard. Seriously, putting these guys in the studio with Robert John “Mutt” Lange could yield the best selling record since Thriller. Wait… he produced their latest record. Somehow, I don’t own it.

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – “Lush Life” (from John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, 1963)

Coltrane and Hartman’s relationship began in the late 1940s while doing stints in Dizzy Gillespie‘s band. The story behind “Lush Life’ goes like this, Coltrane and Hartman had decided on 10 songs for the album, but en route to the studio they heard Nat King Cole on the radio performing “Lush Life”, and Hartman immediately decided that song had to be included on the record. For me, this record stands as quite possibly one of the most romantic albums in recording history. Hartman’s syrupy baritone… Trane’s tenor vocal delivery… this is the real deal. If you’ve not had the pleasure of hearing this recording I implore to you click the link and pick it up, you’ll be glad you did.

Nice & Smooth – “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” (from Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed, 1991)

The best hip-hop gives you a view into a world that you may otherwise not have access to. As a white kid growing up in upstate New York I was taken by the tales of the struggles of inner-city life. This particular track has always been a favorite, with it’s sample lifted from Tracy Chapman‘s somber “Fast Car” it embodied the hopelessness of dealing with addiction.

Young MC – “Bust a Move” (mp3) (from Stone Cold Rhymin’, 1989)

Okay, you’ve got the tune, here’s the video, commence with the booty shaking… Let’s have some action! Let’s have some asses wigglin’… I want some perfection! Bwaa-ha!

311 – “Love Song” (mp3) (from 50 First Dates, 2004)

Over 36,000 songs in my library… and this is the second time that 311‘s take on The Cure’s classic “Love Song” has made an appearance on The Friday Five in the last six months (no less). Let’s see what I had to say last time it shuffled up

On occasion a cover song reimagines the original to such a point that it becomes its own unique entity (see John Cale’s “Hallelujah” and Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower”) and far surpasses the original. This is one of those cases. As much as I love the original, 311’s sun-drenched take on The Cure track captures the essence for me.

Yep, I’d say that again. Oh, wait, I just did! I swear I’m a lazy bastard sometimes… but my guilt is to your benefit as I’m including a bonus track for your evil downloading pleasure! Here is a classic extended remix from a 1989 promo. The Cure – “Love Song (extended remix)” (mp3)

Okay, I’ve shown you mine… you know what to do!

David Gray, “Fugitive”

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David Gray has managed to exist just outside of my listening radar, crossing over here and there. What has always struck me is the depth of soul that he is able to breathe into every tune I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. That soul is abundant in the first single off his upcoming release Draw the Line due out September 22nd. Titled “Fugitive”, Gray says the image of Saddam Hussein being pulled out his spider hole inspired in part the lyrics for the song. The result is a striking and moving bit of singer-songwriter heaven which I’m sure will get many spins in the coming month and has me looking forward to the coming release.

For a peek behind the curtain Gray has shared this bit of film during the recording process:

Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace

<div><div id=”c_s013FX69FvjCtpXOHcInsUnsw==”><div class=”ilike_content”> <ul class=”song_list_preview” style=”list-style:none;”> <li style=”overflow:hidden;”><a class=”song_play_btn” title=”Fugitive” href=”http://www.ilike.com/artist/David+Gray/track/Fugitive”>Fugitive</a> by <a href=”http://www.ilike.com/artist/David+Gray/David+Gray”>David Gray</a></li> </ul> </div>  </div><script src=’http://www.ilike.com/api/s?c=1&amp;k=s013FX69FvjCtpXOHcInsUnsw%3D%3D’></script><div id=”ilike_s013FX69FvjCtpXOHcInsUnsw==”><div style=”border-top:1px solid #dddddd;padding-top:5px;font-size:smaller;”>More <a href=’http://www.ilike.com/artist/David+Gray’>David Gray</a> music on <a href=’http://www.ilike.com/’>iLike</a></div></div></div>

On Tour: Works Progress Administration

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The music collective known as Works Progress Administration is heading out on tour to support their self-titled debut, which is to be released on September 15th.

At the core of Works Progress Administration (or WPA, for short) is the trio of ‘Founding Directors’ Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket), Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek, Fiction Family) and Luke Bulla (Jerry Douglas Band, Lyle Lovett). In addition to the base is the group of ‘Executive Board Members’ consisting of Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Bill Frizell), Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello and the Imposters). The collective explains the origin of their name…

Works Progress Administration takes its name from FDR’s 1939 New Deal initiative, which put millions to work making buildings, bridges, theater, art and music. The original WPA was rooted in the values of community and creativity, and helped to keep the fire of human dignity burning through the darkest years of the Great Imposters.

Eschewing the usual “supergroup” clichés, WPA appears to be a truly community driven project with collaboration at every level. Vocal duties are shared across the board with each core member contributing lead vocals. The lead-off track “Always Have My Love” is an catchy uptempo number featuring Phillips lead vocals and layers upon layers of fiddles and pedal steel that give the track a depth that can sometimes be lacking in modern Bluegrass / Alt-Country recordings.

You can download “Always Have My Love” at the groups official site for the price of an email address (link)

Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace | on Facebook | on Twitter

Click through for the groups tour dates…

Dead Weather + Diplo

dw

A pair of rhetorical questions:

1. When does Jack White sleep?
2. When will he create a project that I don’t like?

Jack White‘s latest project has our man behind the kit and on vocals, fellow Raconteur Jack Lawrence, Kills singer Alison Mosshart and Queen of the Stone Age Dean Fertita. Due to my ongoing obsession with Jack White, the Dead Weather’s debut, Horehound was one of my most anticipated releases of 2009, and it doesn’t disappoint. Frankly, I have yet to be disappointed by any of Jack White’s projects. Sure, some are better than others, but overall he’s a fairly consistent dude.

After one spin, I can tell you this – it rocks. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard White play drums before, and he does a pretty stellar job. The music is fairly straightforward rock, though some tracks veer into bluesy terrain, all solidly executed.

The group’s first single, “Treat Me Like Your Mother” comes with a video directed by Jonathan Glazer:

The tune also received the remix treatment from Diplo (who is responsible for another of my faves this year, Major Lazer). The seemingly disparate styles of the band’s music and Diplo’s production style actually make for a pretty great marriage:

Check out the Dead Weather:
Official Website

Buy Horehound:
Amazon

A Nudge in the Right Direction

Get out of the car long hair!

Editor’s Note: Feels like it’s been a dogs age since the last time I posted some nudges. Here’s what’s got…

  • nyctaper has a stellar soundboard recording of Built to Spill‘s July 19, 2009 show at Maxwell’s (link)
  • Stereogum shares SPIN’s 20 Greatest Albums Of 2009 … So Far, discuss among yourselves (link)
  • Yewknee‘s Summer Mix Series is in full swing and briming with excellent mixes from every end of the spectrum. Something for everyone (link)
  • This week’s guest Fiver Matt Wardlaw over at Addicted to Vinyl brings three unlikely mash-up’s to light. Whatever you do, do not miss the last one (link)
  • Ken Shane over at Popdose digs deep into the crates and comes back with a look at Jimi Hendrix‘s “Electric Ladyland” (link)
  • Speaking of Popdose I’ll be joining Jeff Giles and Jason Hare on Friday for what is sure to be a memorable evening (link)

The Boss Rolls on – debuting 10 songs in just 2 shows

While I enjoy some much needed vacation time – away from work, and away from staying current on ol’ Ickmusic, I had to pass on some gems from Bruce’s European tour. On July 21st and 23rd, the Italian cities of Turino and Udine got treated to some really special shows, where 10 songs made their tour debuts (six in Torino, four in Udine). You can check out my tour tracker for the details, but here are a couple highlights.

First off, “Drive All Night” is in my top 3 all-time Boss tunes, and the folks in Torino got to hear it from the E Street Band for the first time since 1981 2008. [Correction: “Drive All Night” made an appearance on the Magic Tour, see the comments]

“Drive All Night” | July 21st | Torino, Italy

And then there’s the definitive Boss song. The tune that lifted his icon status to a whole new level – “Born in the U.S.A.”. We’ve heard the darker acoustic version over the years, but I’m not aware of the full-band album version rearing its head very often. Cool to see (and a great quality video!).

“Born in the U.S.A.” | July 23rd | Udine, Italy

The Friday Five: July 24, 2009

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Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

Editor’s Note: I’m packing up and heading out early this morning to head to Hershey to see Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews Band tonight. In my absence Matt from Addicted to Vinyl has agreed to fill-in… see ya’ll next week!

Thanks Michael!

I want to start off this edition of the Five by paying tribute to one of Michael’s picks last week – “So Little Kindness” by Huey Lewis & The News. That sucker is proof positive that Huey and the boys still are, and will always be, the coolest. You’ll find that one on Time Flies….The Best of Huey Lewis & The News, if you missed it, but you can also find it on Plan B, their latest studio album to date, and one that comes highly recommended by yours truly.

On with this week’s Five!

Elizabeth and the Catapult – “The Hang Up” (from Taller Children, 2009)

We’ve got a venue here in Cleveland called The Winchester that is a wonderful place to see live music, and a place that you can always count on seeing someone cool in addition to whoever you came out to see. For those that love discovering music, (and isn’t that why we’re all here?) The Winchester is a godsend. I was out for the evening to see Greg Laswell, and also Elizabeth and the Catapult who were on the bill in the opening slot. I had heard the name, definitely was curious to see the band, and instantly became very happy that I had made an effort to get there early. I hope that Verve/Forecast has the horsepower to get this band some exposure, because with the right promotion, I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about Elizabeth and the Catapult in the next year.

Greg Laswell
– “High and Low” (from Through Toledo, 2006)

Prior to this week’s show, I didn’t own any of Greg Laswell’s stuff, something that very quickly changed after the show. “High and Low” was one of those songs that I instantly remembered liking from when I saw Laswell earlier this year. As someone that really loves sad and dreary songs, “High and Low” is one of the better sad songs I’ve heard in a long time.

Go-Go’s – “Beneath The Blue Sky” (from Talk Show, 1984)

I’ve been talking lots about The Go-Go’s and Jane Wiedlin in the past week with a good friend of mine, who apparently loves The Go-Go’s just a little bit more than I do – as demonstrated by her Go-Go’s inspired email address. Talk Show is arguably the best known album in the Go-Go’s catalog, and yet it is one of the only ones that is out of print. What’s up with that? It’s been on CD at least twice – the original issue, and a mid-90s reissue that quickly went out of print. Insert massive amounts of music fan regret here – I had the reissue, and sold it at some point when I needed money for a car repair job. Little did I know that they were planning to yank it from the store shelves. This is one of my favorite albums from the 80s, although truthfully, I’m more of a Bangles fan.

Rick Springfield – “Oblivious” (from Venus in Overdrive, 2008)

Snicker all that you want, but Rick Springfield has put out some great albums over the years – Living in Oz is probably my favorite from back in the day, and towards the end of the 80s, he dropped Rock of Life, another classic that not enough people heard. The good news is that he’s still making albums that are worth hearing, as recently as last year’s Venus in Overdrive. I never got around to writing about this one for my own site, but I really enjoyed the album a lot. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to it, and this one caught me by surprise on shuffle. Springfield has written some wonderfully dark songs that capture the essence of the inner romantic turmoil that one often faces. This is probably one of his best recent songs in that category. On a side note, I haven’t heard Springfield’s newest release, My Precious Little One. I guess I’m not quite ready to hear Rick singing kid tunes. Maybe next week? We’ll see.

Def Leppard – “Stand Up (Kick Love In Motion” (from Adrenalize, 1992)

While reading a Def Leppard show review earlier this week, I had to snicker at the following comment from one of the readers:

Onto Poison, I don’t like that they had to hold back as to not upstage Def. How could you not let Bret out on the catwalk to do Every Rose?

Answer: They’re probably worried that he’ll hurt himself. I like the Poison hits (which I grew up with) as much as anyone else, but the thought of those serious musicians in Poison “holding back” is comical. By the way, I’ve heard from several people (and it’s mentioned in the review above) that Bret’s voice is pretty roached this summer. That’s kind of a bummer, because Poison do put on a fun show normally, and it sounds like the shows this summer have been average at best.

Speaking of average, I’ve always been a big Def Leppard fan and it bums me out that Joe Elliott just can’t cut it live these days vocally. Sure, he was never the greatest singer, but you could always count on a great live show from Def Lep, and that’s unfortunately no longer the case. I did see them live in 2002 on the X tour, and they kicked ass. On that tour, they were opening most nights with the entire first side of High n’ Dry, which was just as awesome as it sounds like it would be. After that, I saw them a couple more times, including a tour with Journey, who with newly recruited lead singer Jeff Scott Soto, blew the Leps off the stage on a nightly basis.

Adrenalize is the last Def Leppard album that I really enjoyed, and it still gets a good amount of play even now in my world. On a related note, I do highly recommend the new deluxe edition of Pyromania, which has a kick ass second disc featuring a full live show from ’83. And as one that has had that live show on boot for years, it is a classic, let me tell you!

What’s on your shuffle? Thanks to Michael and Pete for the opportunity to guest here today on the Five!

Something like that, right? Is that what you want?

“Daddy, what’s stream of consciousness?”

My nine year old daughter was in the back seat of our minivan as we were heading home from summer day camp and laid yet another way beyond her age question on me. For a moment, my thoughts went back to when she was four years old and asked me if George Bush was a Christian. And if he was, why would he send people to kill other people if it was murder and breaking one of the Ten Commandments? I think Jean Piaget, developmental psychologist of the early and middle 20th Century, was rolling in his grave to hear a four year old express a question dripping with formal operational thought.

I actually could’ve used Piaget in answering not only the question from five years ago, but the current one that had piqued her curiosity.

“Why do want to know, hon?” I asked her.

“Well, we were talking about rap music today at camp and one of the counselors said that rap was cool because it was like stream of consciousness. So I want to know what that is.”

So, I spent the next few minutes explaining to her what it meant…how random thoughts can be strung together in a seemingly related way to express a thought or mood. Or both.

“Let’s listen to a song like that.”

I knew she’d make this request and I had the perfect one in mind…the Song of the Summer of 2009.

American Sam Spiegel (aka Squeak Spiegel) and Brazilian Ze Gonzales (aka Zegon) came together in 2007 to create a massively cool indie hip hop band called N.A.S.A. No, it’s not your father’s space agency but actually North America-South America…a sisterhood and brotherhood of unity that, quite frankly, our country could really use right now. All of their music reflects this mood quite wonderfully.

On February 17, 2009, the duo released The Spirit of Apollo. There are several great tracks on this record as well as a collection of guest stars like David Byrne, John Frusciante, Tom Waits, Santogold, George Clinton, and a wide variety of rappers and hip hop artists.

The track that really grabbed me, and officially became OCD (Obssesive Compulsive Disorder) song #1 of 2009 (review of OCD #2 to appear here soon) – and what I played for my daughter to illustrate the beauty of stream of consciousness – was “Strange Enough”, featuring the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Wu Tang Clan), Fatlip, and the seriously stunning on several levels Karen O (lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). What an absolute fucking corker of a song!

I think I have played this track every day at least once since it came out in February and, for whatever reason, it has become synonymous with this summer. Virtually everyone I have played it for has downloaded it. It’s rhythm is tight. The mood is intense and the lyrics are just plain cool. “Freak show pantie lover…but I’m getting too old for this like Danny Glover” or “Wild boy cowboy entertainer…insane…Purple Rainer”(special shout out to our Prince loving host of this site) are just two examples of how much fun this song is.

And Karen O’s bit is mega fucking cool. Towards the end of her rap, which is essentially the chorus of the song, she breaks down and giggles, asking Squeak and Zegon, who were presumably in the control room while she did her part…

“Something like that, right? Is that what you want?”

To which, the reply from Fatlip is:

“Perfect.”

No shit. Track of the Summer. Period. Heck, it might even be the Song of the Year but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still have five months left of 2009. And there is this track (serendipity!) on the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album…

Hear: Strange Enough (mp3)

Buy: Spirit of Apollo

Visit: N.A.S.A. Official Site | MySpace

The Friday Five: July 17, 2009

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Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

Raphael Saadiq – “Never Give You Up” (feat. Stevie Wonder & CJ Hilton)(from The Way I See It, 2008)

Raphael Saadiq took Neo-Soul to a whole new level with this record. Classic soul with a killer Stevie harmonica solo.

Huey Lewis & The News – “So Little Kindness” (from Time Flies… The Best of Huey Lewis & The News, 1996)

Everyone’s favorite little bar band and the subject of the latest installment of Rock Court over at Popdose (link)

Prince – “Dig U Better Dead” (from Chaos and Disorder, 1996)

Not my favorite, but one of the better tracks from this lackluster effort.

Fall Out Boy
– “What a Catch, Donnie” (from Folie à Deux, 2008)

Patrick Stump does his best Elvis Costello, only to be trumped by the man himself making an appearance.

Guns N’ Roses – “Paradise City” (from Appetite for Destruction, 1987)

Nice way to tie it up!

What next on your shuffle today?