As a dad always on the lookout for quality, fun music I can share with my kids (not to mention non-explicit), I love stumbling across songs like “I Could Be Anything.” Yep, the Violent Femmes are still alive and kicking with original members Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie. They’ve had a hiatus or two over the years, but earlier this year they release their ninth studio album, We Can Do Anything (their first in 15 years). It’s full of that signature sound we’re all familiar from their smash debut album back in ol’ 1983 (e.g. listen to Memory).
But there’s also this: the tale of King Bongo the dragon slayer. Fun for the whole family…
There’s the loss of so many important musicians these past few months. In the pop/rock realm, we mourn the passings of David Bowie and Glenn Frey. And others like Maurice White, Lemmy Kilmister, and a teen obsession near and dear to my heart: Denise Matthews, aka Vanity. Her nearly unclothed posters and magazine pages (Black Beat!) adorned my teenage-era bedroom walls (along with Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson and his merry band of Minneapolis musicmakers). My favorite:
In the music streaming world, my service of choice, Rdio, filed for bankruptcy and signed off by year’s end. I (and my close friends and family who used it) considered it the best one of the bunch – the clean, intuitive interface, the organization of songs, artists, and albums, and most importantly, the social side of it. Rdio allowed you to follow other users, whether friends or artists or brands, and get a view into what they were listening to and adding to their collection. Spotify is the only other service I can find that features any social integration, and it’s far inferior to what Rdio offered. No marketing though, and that ultimately killed Rdio. R.I.P.!
So with Rdio’s demise, I’ve gone all in with Apple Music. I have so many local files in my iTunes that have been uploaded to the Apple Music cloud, that it just made sense. People complain of its bugs and bloat, but frankly, I’m used to it. Also, you can bring your whole family on board for only $15.99 per month for everyone. I’m hoping they integrate some sort of social feature where users can follow each other. The “Connect” area is perfect for it (and so under-utilized currently).
I’ve jumped in and out of Google Play Music as well (currently signed up). I like the web and mobile interfaces, and I have it as an app on my Sony TV (although they need to work on that interface – when you’re listening to a song/album, all you see on the screen is a giant picture of the artist or album – no artist/album/song info at all. And sometimes, say with the Pogues, for example, you just don’t want Shane MacGowan’s giant mug staring at back at you).
As far as new tunes go, I stumbled across L.A. musician Julia Holter. She offers up an otherworldly, laid back, orchestral/indie vibe that I really like. The best of the bunch is “Lucette Stranded on the Island” from her most recent album, Have You In My Wilderness which you should listen to now.. it’s mesmerizing.
I also recently read John Lydon‘s autobiography, Anger is an Energy. Never Mind The Bollocks has always been a top shelf album for me, but believe it or not, I never jumped into John’s follow up (and current) band Public Image Ltd. Reading through the book and listening along as I go, discovering new P.I.L. tunes in the process, has been a fun ride. John’s as obnoxious and provoking as ever, and I like what I hear. Their newer stuff in the 2010’s is strong too. You can get a good feel for the band in this 2013 set from Glastonbury:
Any new music I should be hearing? Please recommend…