The Friday Five: September 30, 2011

On the sixth day of every week, Michael Parr shuffles through his library to bring you five random tracks.

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a 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:

Sleep With One Eye Open” by Chris Thile & Michael Daves (from Sleep With One Eye Open, 2011)

I kind of hate it when the first time I hear a tune is during the Friday Five. For one, I usually sit and scratch my head about what to write about it. Sure, I could give my visceral reaction, but I hesitate. The other thing is I rarely circle back to the record to listen to the rest of it.

“Seamus” by Pink Floyd (from Meddle, 1971)

Bluesy little ditty from Roger, David, and the boys. My dog started sniffing around the desk, trying to figure out where the dogs she was hearing were.

Slow and Easy (a.k.a. Lawless Mike)” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet (from Time Further Out, 1961)

Not on the original track list for Time Further Out, this mid-tempo shuffle was included in the 1996 reissue.

Crucial” by New Edition (from Hits, 2004)

“No my name isn’t Janet… ” oh, wait, wrong song. The Flyte Tyme crew’s signature sound is all over this late ’80s hit.

Skin Ticket” by Slipknot (from Iowa, 2001)

While I don’t listen to as much metal as I once did, I still dabble here and there. Slipknot is by far the heaviest thing I can stand.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Girls! Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Sometimes an album comes along that covers you like a warm blanket. There’s no rhyme or reason to it really, it just feels right. You carry it around with you, playing it every chance you get. It’s not just a connection to one or two good songs, it’s a connection to the whole body of work. Every song seems to hit you in a good place, and every listen is a fresh adventure.

Sometimes that feeling doesn’t kick in until you’ve listened to an album a bunch of times (an example this year: My Morning Jacket’s Circuital). But other times, it’s immediate. And when it’s completely unexpected – my God, it’s such a rush.

It happened to me today with a new album called Father, Son, Holy Ghost by San Francisco’s Girls. A couple of years ago, I became enamored by one of their songs, “Laura”, and had the good fortune to catch part of their set at the ’09 ACL Festival. It’s a song that still pops into my head from time to time, including this morning. Then, I saw they had a new album out, and I clicked Play (on Rdio). And I really haven’t stopped since.

Beautiful melodies. Shades of the Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd… Summery pop interspersed occasionally with an edge, but never losing its luster and beauty – all from the mind of singer/guitarist Christopher Owens.

Believe it or not, you’ll fall in love with songs called “Vomit” and “Die”. And the lead single and album opener “Honey Bunny” sucks you right in.

I’ve been listening to this record for less than 12 hours, and already it’s one of my highlights of 2011.

Here’s the official video for “Honey Bunny”, featuring Christopher and his real life girlfriend, Hannah Hunt. He channels Prince with his black belly shirt (the “Kiss” video), and MJ with his “The Way You Make Me Feel” gestures. I’ve also been reading that the video (and the band itself) takes inspiration from Ariel Pink – who I’ve heard of but know pretty much nothing about. Perhaps I shall explore.

BUY: Father, Son, Holy Ghost

And please, stick around, click play, and listen to “Vomit”…

While you’re at it, here’s the 2009 song that put Girls on my radar: “Laura”:

The Friday Five: September 23, 2011

On the sixth day of every week, Michael Parr shuffles through his library to bring you five random tracks.

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a 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:

Snaggletooth” by Motörhead (from No Remorse, 2001)

It’s too damn early for Lemmy. Thankfully, Motörhead tunes tend to be on the short side.

Before You Were Born” by Toad the Wet Sprocket (from 1992-09-16: Fox Theater, Boulder, CO, USA, 1992)

This is from an excellent soundboard recording of an equally quality performance by Toad. Save for, of course, when Glen flubs the second line.

Mighty Mighty” by Earth, Wind & Fire (from The Eternal Dance, 1992)

I’ve been listening to a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire lately.

“I Believe” by Chicago (from Chicago 18, 1986)

I spent the entire song waiting for a key change that didn’t happen.

Traffic” by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (from Brainbloodvolume, 1995)

Brainbloodvolume is a criminally overlooked record.

What’s on your shuffle today?

My Morning Jacket – Smokin’ From Shootin’ at ACL

Here’s My Morning Jacket performing “Smokin From Shootin” at last weekend’s ACL Festival. MMJ have just announced a set of tour dates with both Band of Horses and Delta Spirit – basically my wet dream of a show. But alas, Phoenix, Arizona is once again not on the radar. So I’ll need to live through amazing live HD clips like this. Gotta love the age we’re living in when anyone anywhere can share the live experience… it ain’t the real thing, but it’s as close as you can get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCqhOqeeyb0&w=560&h=315

Cults at ACL

I couldn’t make it to ACL this past weekend, but thanks to the Youtube webcast, I caught a number of acts from the comfort of my office chair. One of the bands new to me was Cults, who performed on Friday. Led by singer Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion, they have sort of a 60’s girl group meets indie pop/electronic vibe.

“Oh My God” really got my attention. A definite earworm, but the good kind…

Visit: CultsCultsCults.com

Buy: Cults

The Friday Five: September 16, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a 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:

“Class Act” by James Hunter (from The Hard Way, 2008)

Whoa! Where the hell has this been hiding? I’ve had this on my hard drive for a few weeks—courtesy of Jeff Giles—but hadn’t had the chance to listen to it. I’m going to have to go back after the Five is done and listen to the rest of this.

Mixed Nuts” by DJ Krush (from Krush, 1995)

This is the second week that a musical segue showed up in the second slot. Boo!

Runaround” by Van Halen (from The Best of Both Worlds, 2004)

Now this is more like it! I remember burning out not one, but two copies of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge when it initially came out. For me, this track is the closest that Van Hagar got to sounding like Van Halen, with the breakdown recalling the tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendo of “Panama,” and the infectious main riff recalling any one of Eddie’s early rockers. Shit, I’m hitting repeat on this one.

Best Friend” by The Drums (from The Drums, 2010)

I’m calling this one a ‘jaunty, feel good tune!’

True Love Ways” by Peter & Gordon (from Top of the Pops 1965, 2007)

What an odd way to finish off the Five. With that, onto the weekend!

What’s on your shuffle today?

Morris Day and the Time, or, How I Made Peace With a Fake Jerome

Shame on me. I should’ve known better. But now I know: “Morris Day & the Time” is not the same thing as “The Time“.

A few weeks back, a local Old School radio station, Mega 104.3, threw itself a 10th birthday party at one of the cool, retro venues in town, Phoenix’s Celebrity Theater. The bill: 70’s R&B outfit GQ, disco/funk/jazz group Brick, and the evening’s headliner, Morris Day and the Time.

Morris Day and the Time? Hell yeah I’m going! So in the days leading up to the big night, I’m checking out the “Original” Time’s Facebook page and wondering why they’re not plugging their gig in Phoenix. I’m reading their tweets, and notice no chatter at all about any upcoming gigs (if you’re following them, you see approximately 2-3 tweets a day about their new album to be released this fall – ad nauseam, day after day with no details).

But still I don’t connect the dots. I meet up with my friend Jen and head to the Celebrity Theater excited as all hell to see Jimmy, Terry, Jesse, Morris, Jellybean, Monte, and maybe even ol’ Jerome.

So we were close to the stage (which is in the round, by the way, rotating slowly clockwise & counter-clockwise), about 6 rows back. First, GQ was introduced. Out walked a single solitary man – “Mr. Q”, I soon found out – aka Emmanuel Rahiem LeBlanc. He played guitar and sang a short set of his hits along to a full backing track. Interesting, and I came away thinking, “Man, you gotta hand it to Mr. Q for having the balls to keep the GQ thing going on his own.”

Next up: Brick. Most of you have heard “Dazz” I’m sure. Here…

And Brick killed it! They were great. The star of the show was without a doubt Mr. Jimmy Brown – singing, dancing, and alternating flawlessly between sax, trumpet, and flute. He’s gotta be in his mid to late 60’s, and he just won over the crowd from the first song. It was a Disco Jazz Funk workout – great stuff, and completely unexpected. Jimmy Brown: a consummate showman.

So after Brick tore it up, the mood was just right when Morris Day and the Time were introduced, and out walked the boys in the band.

“Huh”, I thought, “that doesn’t look like Jesse..”
“Okay, that looks like Jellybean.”
“Well, that’s not Jimmy Jam.”
“And that’s definitely not Terry Lewis on bass.”
“That looks like Monte on keys.”

My “A-ha” or “What the fu–” moment came when a short chubby guy in a hat came out with a mirror, playing the part of valet. A fake Jerome!! Nooooo!!

The immediate feeling was disappointment. I felt like I was watching a Vegas tribute act, where each member tried to resemble the originals. Yeah, Morris came out and they launched into “Cool” and “Wild & Loose”, but it just didn’t feel right. It seriously took me 20-30 minutes before I loosened up and accepted “Morris Day and the Time”, and got back into the spirit of the night. The rest of the crowd didn’t seem to mind a bit. There was crazy Morris Day, after all, working his 30 year old schtick in the flesh.

Granted, it was good to see drummer Jellybean Johnson. It was good to see keyboardist Monte Moir. Obviously it was fun to see Morris sing those great songs: “Jerk Out”, “Jungle Love”, “The Bird”, “777-9311”, “The Walk”. And no disrespect to the musicians either, including bass player Ricky “Freeze” Smith and guitarist Tori Ruffin.

But I was led to believe I was gonna see the real thing.

It turns out I didn’t do my homework. A couple of my Prince peeps on Twitter acknowledged that Morris regularly tours with this band as “Morris Day and the Time”. And one of my buds, Mr. Popblerd, was right when he remarked that it’s bad for the brand.

So buyer beware. Morris Day and the Time is not The Time, or, rather, The Original Time Band – I mean The Original 7ven. Confusing, I know – but when you’ve worked for Prince, everything’s complicated.

You’ll have a good time with Morris Day and the Time. You just need to make your peace with a fake Jerome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02inZ3wy-Qo&w=480&h=390

The Friday Five: September 9, 2011

On the sixth day of every week, Michael Parr shuffles through his library to bring you five random tracks.

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a 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:

Darling, I Hum Our Song” by Martha and The Vandellas (from The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 3: 1963, 2005)

There is nothing like a bluesy torch song to kick off the Friday Five. A few weeks back I mentioned the most intimidating set in my collection was The Complete Stax-Volt Singles: 1959-1968. I have to recant, and give that title to The Complete Motown Singles.

Final Count of the Collision Between Us and the Damned” by Public Enemy (from Fear of a Black Planet, 1994)

Damn segues!

“Under the Gun” by Schleprock (from (America’s) Dirty Little Secret, 1996)

ANGST! ANGER! ANARCHY! CORPORATE SPONSORS! Schleprock’s dirty little secret was the fact that they were Atlantic Records’ last grasp at the mid ’90s punk revival.

Wolfman’s Brother” by Phish (from 2004-06-19: Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA, 2004)

For as much Phish as I have in my library, I’m not intimately familiar with it all. The good thing about this is I’m always discovering new jams. This one is a greasy slice of funk, featuring a great bit of sparring between Trey and Mike.

Deep River Woman” by Lionel Richie (from Dancing on the Ceiling, 1986)

I’m really not sure what to say about this. Lionel, for all his R&B and Pop leanings loves him some country music. Case in point: “Deep River Woman”; which blends Lionel’s smooth vocal with the equally polished harmonies of Alabama.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Lenny’s New One

The big surprise of the last week or so is how much I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Lenny Kravitz’s new album, Black And White America. Lenny holed himself up on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, stayed alone on the beach in an Airstream trailer for a couple of years, and emerged with a funk / soul / rock n roll tour de force of an album.

The tune that caught on immediately was “Liquid Jesus” – a 70’s Mayfield / Gaye soul feel, and despite the initial oddity of the title, it had me singing along by the second chorus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwHXaL67NnI&w=420&h=345

This album got me to thinking… Lenny Kravitz has been churning ’em out since Let Love Rule in 1989. And instead of reinventing himself over the years, he’s stayed solid and consistent. Rock, funk, soul in that laid back but powerful Lenny way…

Great album.