The Friday Five: March 30, 2012

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:

“Every Day I Have the Blues” by Count Basie (from Verve Jazz Masters 2, 1994)

You know, despite the title, this number swings like mad. I’m not sure I’d swing so hard if I had the blues everyday. Memphis Slim sure didn’t write it this way.

“Got Me Under Pressure” by ZZ Top (from Greatest Hits, 1992)

Driving beat; thumping bass line; Berry-esque boogie–yep, it’s a by-the-numbers ZZ Top hit.

“Hot Thing (dub version)” by Prince (from 12″ Archive 2.0, 2001)

Makes me long for the days when Prince would put out singles stuffed to the gills with b-sides and remixes.

“Kit (What’s the Scoop)” by Slick Rick (from The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, 1988)

Rick the Ruler! I wore out at least two copies of this cassette back in the day.

“Dancing Nancies” Dave Matthews Band (from 1995-02-25: DMBLive: Lafayette College-Allan Kirby Field House, Easton, PA, 2010)

This is a pretty subdued version of the DMB live staple.

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: March 2, 2012

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:

“Nice Guys” by We Are Scientists (from Barbara, 2010)

I love tripping over songs that I forgot about. Ironically, the music blogosphere completely forgot about We Are Scientists by the time this release came out, which is a damn shame as it contains some of their strongest songs.

“The Stars of Track and Field” by Belle and Sebastian (from If You’re Feeling Sinister, 1996)

Oh, the toothache! Now with 90% more trumpet!

I kid, because I care. I stumbled onto Belle and Sebastian during my stint working at a record store in the mid-’90s. Yes, an actual record store.

“Long Kiss Goodnight” by The Notorious B.I.G. (from Life After Death, 1997)

Goddammit, Diddy is one annoying motherfucker.

“Leave in Silence (longer)” by Depeche Mode (from A Broken Frame, 1982)

Just lovely.

“Granny” by Dave Matthews Band (from Warehouse 8, Volume 3, 2007)

“Love! Baby!” Nothing like wrapping up another Friday Five with a little bit of love. To quote my friend Dennis, “Hope you all hear something good this weekend!”

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: February 11, 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:

Editor’s Note: Another busy Friday for the Five, but fear not … once the dust settles, I’ll be back to drop some thoughts behind the five tunes that found their way to my ears this morning. — MP

“Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen (from Live at Wembley ‘86, 1992)

“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. (from In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003, 2003)

“We Want Some P***y” by The 2 Live Crew (from The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are, 1986)

“Money (That’s What I Want)” by The Beatles (from With The Beatles, 1963)

“Crush” by Dave Matthews Band (from Before These Crowded Streets, 1998)

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: March 26, 2010

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.

Editor’s Note: I want to take just a moment to thank Rob Smith for filling in for me last week. I strongly recommend checking out his series Death by Power Ballad, over at Popdose. He is a huge influence on my writing style, and truth be told, I was honored to have him cover for me. Now, onto this week’s five! – Michael

The Five:

“Spoon” by Dave Matthews Band (from Before These Crowded Streets, 1998)

Before These Crowded Streets remains my favorite record by Dave Matthews Band. It has a dynamic that I think that the band has been chasing ever since its release, and has only come close to with their most recent release Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King. “Spoon” is the record’s final cut, and features Alanis Morissette on vocals, Bela Fleck on Banjo. The lyrics find Dave contemplating God himself in a cup of coffee. Alanis delivers the knockout, third verse:

From time to time
Minutes and hours
Some move ahead while
Some lag behind
It’s like the balloon that
Rise and then vanish
This drop of hope
That falls from his eyes

“The Idea of You” by Dave Matthews Band (from 2008-08-26: DMB Live Trax, Volume 14, 2009)

More DMB? I’ll take it! This recording is from the final show saxophonist LeRoi Moore performed with the band before the ATV accident that lead to his death. The tune is an unreleased gem that the band has played multiple incarnations of in the last few years. Matthews’ has mentioned on numerous occasions that the track is about his unrequited crush on a childhood babysitter. I’ve maintained since the first time I heard it in 2006, that if they released this as a single it would be just a big of a “hit” as “Crash (Into Me).” The band shelved this song for the 2009 tour, and it’s uncertain if it will resurface, but here’s hoping it does.

“A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles (from A Hard Day’s Night, 1964)

Now that the second – or was it the third – wave of Beatlemania has settled down a bit, I’ve been spending some quality time with each of the remastered records individually. A Hard Day’s Night is the record that I seem to come back to most often, likely driven by my love of the title track and only furthered by its association with the film of the same name. I’ve watch the movie at least three or four times in the last six months, as it seems to pop up on VH1 Classic or Palladia at least once a month.

“Momma’s Boy” by Chromeo (from Fancy Footwork, 2008)

I love Chromeo. That’s it.

“Perfection” by Run D.M.C. (from Raising Hell, 1986)

Back in the day, my friend Ducky and I – yes, we called him Ducky – would learn and recite the rhymes from this record. This one I always rocked a little extra hard, if only for the following:

I got a funky fresh (car) with the funky fresh (bar)
I’m a funky fresh (star) and I’m up to (par)

Now that I’ve embarrassed myself, I think I’ll go ahead and ask the question:

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: January 15, 2010

On the sixth day of every week, Michael Parr hits the 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, 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.

Editor’s Note: Due to a recent hard drive crash, my library is a bit compromised at the moment. Today’s five comes courtesy of my iPod which, not surprisingly, has some holiday music that was skipped along the way.

The Five:

1. “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel (from Greatest Hits, Volume I & Volume II, 1985)

2. “Twice as Hard” by The Black Crowes (from Shake Your Money Maker, 1990)

3. “Cousin Mary (alternate take)” by John Coltrane (from Giant Steps, 1960)

4. “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates (from Greatest Hits: Rock ‘n Soul, Part 1, 1983)

5. “Burning Down the House” by Dave Matthews Band (from 2008-08-09: DMB Live Trax, Volume 15: Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI, USA, 2009)

What’s on your shuffle today?

Dave Matthews Band: Live @ The Beacon Theater

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Tonight Dave Matthews Band will celebrate the release of their new record Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King with an intimate show at the historic Beacon Theater in New York. The show will be broadcast live beginning at 9:00 PM EST on the Fuse network as well as online over at Hulu. Through a twist of fate (and the amazing detective skills of my better half) I will be in attendance tonight and will be sure to post a full review of the show as well as the new album in the coming days.

You can listen to the Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King in its entirety over at Pandora.

Buy Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King: Amazon

Austin City Limits 2009 Lineup Announced

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If you’ve been hiding under a rock for fear of contracting the Swine Flu, you might have missed the lineup announcement for this year’s installment of the Austin City Limits festival (Official Link) – and it looks to be a hell of a lineup. They are clearly going for a certain demographic (which I am fairly certain that I belong to), and at $185 for a 3-day Pass it comes in less per-day than seeing any of the headliners solo. The festival takes place October 2-4, 2009 at Zilker Park in Austin, TX.

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The Friday Five: April 24, 2009

I want that shuffle, not excuses.

For those who have not joined in the Friday Five here is all you need to know; each Friday 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 more the merrier!

The Five:

“Love Song” by 311 (from 50 First Dates)

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.

Love Left Us Strangers” (mp3) by Space Needle (from The Moray Eels Eat the Space Needle)

In the late 90’s I worked for a little record store in upstate New York. Anders Parker of Space Needle (and Varnaline) was a former employee and this record was the soundtrack to the winter of 1997.

“Song That Jane Likes” by Dave Matthews Band (from Remember Two Things)

“I’ve got a little sister named Jane and this is the ‘Song That Jane Likes’…”

Like It Is” (mp3) by The Damnwells (from One Last Century)

Easily a contender for one of my favorite records of 2009, this one came at the recommendation of Jeff from Popdose and it’s been in constant rotation ever since. If you like what you hear you can download the entire record (legally) from the band’s official website (and really it’s free, so why wouldn’t you download it?)

Don’t Get Me Wrong” (mp3) by Lily Allen (from Radio 1: Established 1967)

Sometimes the song just fits. I don’t think that I’ve exposed my deep seated hatred of The Pretenders on Ickmusic yet. Despite that I absolutely adore this reading of their 1986 classic. Miss Allen adds her signature ska-lite lilt to the tune while staying spot on in her rendition of Chrissie Hynde‘s delivery.

Tag! You’re it… what’s the soundtrack to your afternoon?

Review: Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden

Where's The Dave?

Photo: John Waters

“Who starts a tour at Madison Square Garden?”

Apparently when you are Dave Matthews Band, the answer is, well, you. Returning to the last venue the band played at the close of their 2008 tour, the band kick started their 2009 tour with a set that could really only be described as epic. There was a definite underlying theme to the night celebrating both the release of their upcoming album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, and the life and spirit of LeRoi Moore, whose presence was definitely felt throughout the evening.

Before I get too far into the main event, I’ve got to give some love to Philadelphia’s Legendary Roots Crew. Folks that follow Questlove on twitter know that Tuesday was a busy day for the band running from their ‘day job’ at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to The Garden and then to their weekly gig at Highline. My wife Christine and I met up with some friends and fellow DMB fans before the show for drinks and dinner, and it was Questlove’s tweet that let us know it was time to head over. Still dressed in their late night gear the band absolutely killed it, wasting not a single second to silence or typical between song banter. From Led Zeppelin to R&B to Hip-Hop the group did not miss a beat blending it all into a tasty gumbo. Highlights for me came at guitarists Captain Kirk Douglas’ take on Cody ChestnuTT‘s “The Seed (2.0)” hook, Black Thought’s absolute mastery on the mic and percussionist Frankie Knuckles leading the band through dance routines Jerome Benton-style.

You Too Can Have A Dave Like Mine.

Photo: John Waters

Seated behind the stage we could clearly view the activity taking place as the road crew set up the curtains and prepped the stage. Dave sauntered out and pumped his fists jumping up and down for those of us who could see him and the band warmed up the intro to “Don’t Drink the Water” from their 1998 classic Before These Crowded Streets. For as many times as I’ve heard “Don’t Drink the Water” (and this marks the third consecutive time I’ve heard it as a show opener) it never wears. The “This Land is Your Land” tag elicited a roar from the crowd as he used Woody Guthrie‘s words to supplement his own toasting the “New York Island”. Following closely was the tour staple “Corn Bread”, a salacious little bit of country fried funk that inspired Dave to choreograph his own brand of dance to a fury that I’ve not seen since James Brown sat in with the band a few years back. The band launched into the first of three new tracks from Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, “Funny the Way It Is” (which had been released for free earlier in the day) to an audience already singing back to them.

The first sign that this was not to be just another tour kick-off was the appearance of “Raven” from Busted Stuff which has not been performed by the band since 2006. Building on the momentum the band tore through an amped up version of “You Might Die Trying” from 2005’s Stand Up. Guitarist Tim Reynolds delivered his exclusive brand of fret board gymnastics and made it look easy. The second debut came with the mid-tempo “Spaceman” which juxtaposed Dave’s scat like vocals against a gently rolling groove. This one definitely has potential…

I’m not all there, I’m a faithful sinner
I might get lost, but I’ll be home for dinner
If God don’t like me, he can hand me to hell

Not coming home till the good day’s gone
Working as hard, as the day is long
Working men watch me, when I get home

“Dancing Nancies” from the bands label debut Under the Table and Dreaming segued nicely into “Pig” both of which prominently featured violinist Boyd Tinsley‘s soulful violin. I’m not certain if Boyd’s new violin is a more traditional build than his original custom model, but its tone was sweeter and harmonic and his turns driving the ship were all the better for it. As the crew brought an additional microphone onto the stage Dave welcomed Gregg Allman (who just “happened to be in town”) up to run through the classic “Melissa” with Gregg and Dave trading verses.

On any other night this would be a showstopper, but the night was young and far from being over. After running through old school fan favorites “Recently”, and the sadly ironic “So Damn Lucky” the band switched gears for the dark “#27”. Dave introduced the final new track of the evening with a tribute to the bands fallen member LeRoi Moore with the emotional and decidedly heavy “Why I Am”.

Still here dancing with the Groogrux king
Will be drinking big whiskey, while we dance and sing
When my story ends, it’s gonna end with him
Heaven or hell, I’m going there with the Groogrux king

From there the band turned up the tempo with a killer version of the anathematic “Ants Marching”. At moments I could not tell you who was louder, the band or the crowd the 20,000 strong sang along every single word. Almost certain that the set was ending the band surprised me by launching into a powerful “#41” featuring saxophonist Jeff Coffin‘s first step into the spotlight of the night. His solo was delivered with such ferocity that it was almost as if he were blowing The Garden down himself. The “Sojourn of Arjuna” interpolation with Coffin and Rashawn Ross on trumpet adds a new twist to the classic and Reynolds again lends soaring leads to the mix of the 17-plus minutes of jamming.

At the close I said to myself that if they ended the show here I’d be happy, but as notes faded the familiar strum of “Two Step” brought the crowd to an absolute frenzy. The entire band traded measures with each and every member showcasing their immense talent. Starting with a restrained but powerful lead by bassist Stefan Lessard and wrapping with 4 plus minutes of percussive bliss courtesy of Carter Beauford, the band kept it going for nearly another 20 minutes before leaving the stage for a quick breather. Dave returned with Tim, Carter and Rashawn for the touching “Sister”, and the rest of the band came back to close the set with the joyful “Tripping Billies”.

As Christine and I made our way back to Grand Central in the pouring rain, we commented to each other on just how extraordinary a show we just witnessed, and quickly rattled back and forth our highlights. It was an emotional experience seeing the band without LeRoi, but it was clear that this night was a celebration of his life, his songs, and his spirit that the band is clearly carrying forward with them.

Good to the Last Dave.

Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden

New York, New York

April 14, 2009

Set List:

Don’t Drink the Water
Cornbread
Funny the Way It Is
Raven
You Might Die Trying
Spaceman
Dancing Nancies
Pig
Melissa (w/Gregg Allman)
Recently
So Damn Lucky
#27
Why I Am
Ants Marching
#41
Two Step
Encore:
Sister
Tripping Billies

Bonus Video!

*It’s not great, but it’s something…

Dave Matthews Band – Funny the Way It Is (live) (YouTube)

Pre-Order Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King: Amazon

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

The Friday Five: April 3, 2009

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For those who have not joined in the Friday Five here is all you need to know; each Friday 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 more the merrier!

The Five:

“Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” by Beastie Boys (from Paul’s Boutique)

20 years ago this was ground-breaking and it stills sounds just a fresh. One of the archetypes for the rap-rock and nü-metal of the 90’s, this is just one of the many reasons Paul’s Boutique will always be, for me, the B-Boys magnum opus.

“Alfie” by Lily Allen (from Alright, Still)

Lily embarked on her US tour earlier this week in support of her latest It’s Not Me, It’s You. This is one of my favorite tracks off her debut; it’s sprightly and cheeky with a melody that will stick with you for days.

“Us and Them” by Pink Floyd (from Dark Side of the Moon)

It’s a rainy day here in the northeast and this track fits the grey day perfectly. I don’t visit the Pink Floyd in my collection nearly enough.

“Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA (from Gold: Greatest Hits)

No comment.

“Busted Stuff” by Dave Matthews Band (from Busted Stuff)

I’ve been looking for an excuse to share this…

I’ve not been so geeked out to over 60 seconds of music in ages (go to about 1:05 to hear the tunes). The new record is going to slay. Hearing Roi‘s cadence, so clear, strong and vital blowing into some of the funkiest sounds the band has produced in the last 18 years put my arm hairs on end.

It’s your turn, what’s getting you through this afternoon?