After the Beatles dissolved their partnership in 1970, “Quiet Beatle” George Harrison could finally stand on his own artistically and personally. Throughout his life, he was sometimes a study in contradictions: while he immersed himself in spirituality, he occasionally used drugs, and struggled with marital fidelity. He celebrated simple pleasures such as gardening, yet remained fascinated with motor racing and lived at a lavish estate. While George came across as extremely serious and shy in interviews, he reveled in absurd humor and funded Monty Python's controversial film Life of Brian. Any endeavor to capture this complex, ingenious artist is daunting,
May 2012 Archives
Martin Scorsese takes on a huge challenge: condensing a complicated life into only three and a half hours.
An adventurous jazz vocal record.
Bohemian is the result of the musical relationship between pianist Yoonseung Chon and singer Cathy Segal-Garcia. The two came together as many musical relationships do, with a series of meetings and encounters through the Los Angeles scene. With Cho heading back to Korea, the decision was made to get the pair into the studio to document the bond in the form of an album. As jazz vocal records go, Bohemian is an interesting one. It is minimalistic without feeling small, with Cho’s keys and Segal-Garcia’s adventurous vocals trading exchanges throughout the dozen songs. It also boasts a sense of exploration,
A promise kept tonight...
It's the last night in Germany for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and the big story in Berlin tonight is the tour premiere of "Save My Love," first officially released on the 2-CD The Promise released as part of the Darkness On The Edge Of Townreissue. Little Steve Van Zandt has been swearing up and down songs from The Promise would be played on the Wrecking Ball tour but they have been scarce. We got one tonight and it's among my favorites from that set. Here's to hoping there's more where that came from… The show opened with "When I Leave Berlin," apparently a cover
You’re almost more disappointed in people for liking it than in the song itself.
“Macarena” is thoroughly bizarre. Well, more to the point the Macarena, the dance that goes along with the song by Los Del Rio, is bizarre, and I suppose even more to the point the fact that it became such a prevalent fad is what really, truly baffles me. Why this song? Why this dance? And, for that matter, why anything? I mean, for starters, this song is in Spanish for large portions of it, including its title and the chorus. Granted, America is, to coin a phrase, a cultural melting pot (feel free to use that) but it is also
The ex-Beatle's classic second solo album is the latest in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection.
When Paul and Linda McCartney released Ram in 1971 — the only album credited to both of them — it didn’t meet with the warmest of reviews from critics or McCartney’s former band mates in the Beatles. Fans of McCartney’s pop master craftsmanship in the Beatles were puzzled by the rough, unfinished quality of his first solo album, McCartney, and when Ram was more of the same, it was too much for some to take. As for the Beatles, Ram was written at the height of McCartney’s feud with ex-songwriting partner John Lennon, who believed many of the songs (correctly
New music from Rhett Miller's upcoming solo record The Dreamer.
My unyielding affection for Rhett Miller is the worst. kept. secret. ever. here at Blinded by Sound. I’m a girl that loves singer-songwriters, and Rhett’s voice is a favorite amongst favorites. So you can imagine my excitement now that we are just a week away from the release of Miller’s newest solo record, The Dreamer. And in anticipation of The Dreamer, we are given some delicious Rhett goodness to tide us over until the real thing arrives. First up is a video of Miller at the American Songwriter office singing “Lost Without You,” which he co-wrote with Ben Kweller. In
Southern rock supergroup makes solid first effort...
Royal Southern Brotherhood is a new supergroup comprised of bluesman Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, and Devon Allman along with drummer Yonrico Scott and bassist Charlie Wooton and their self-titled debut has already started making major inroads on the Billboard charts in the early weeks after its international release. The three principles share vocal duties with Zito and Allman handling lead guitar chores throughout. The bandname and talents involved are a good indication of the sound of the 12-song album; this is Southern rock with a heavy blues and Allman Brothers Band influence. Many have tried to create or re-create that
Addition by subtraction and one pretty sweet suite...
The E Street Band look to rebound from calamity in Cologne with their headlining set at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands tonight. This set being part of a festival, it comes in several songs lighter than recent stadium shows on the European leg of the tour. It's too much to expect a complete recovery, then, from last night's debacle but it's a step in the right direction. This abbreviated set actually improves on things because they didn't play the turds; it was addition by subtraction. Not only that but look at this stretch: "Spirit In The Night," "Because The
The dance classic represents disco's peak and decline, but also soars due to the singer's impressive vocal talents.
Thank God It's Friday was a forgettable movie cashing in on the disco craze. The awful 1978 Saturday Night Fever ripoff is a footnote in film history, otherwise known for starring future stars Jeff Goldblum, Debra Winger, and eventual Berlin lead singer Terry Nunn. But when Donna Summer, playing an aspiring singer, steps onto the fictional disco's stage to belt out a new song, she officially steals the entire movie. And what a song it was: "Last Dance," a track that became a disco anthem and won the 1979 Oscar for best original song. Summer's recent death reminds us that
Someone should go to jail for this...
It had to end some time, didn't it? These setlists have gotten long, epic, and filled with good time rockers and a few surprises. There was nowhere to go but down after a great show in Frankfurt on this Wrecking Ball tour and we found the brickwall in Cologne, Germany tonight. I'm going to dish out plenty of blame for Bruce for this but we're going to start with the real enemy: BruceFan. With great power comes great responsibility, something BruceFan fails to grasp at nearly every turn. These sign requests were a golden opportunity to goad Springsteen into playing songs he
A killer metal act that would benefit from a more succinct attack.
Based in Vancouver by way of West Auckland, West of Hell hammers down influences from Iron Maiden to Judas Priest on their Spiral Empire. The band’s debut is a rock-solid compendium of 80s metal clichés mixed with just a touch of West Coast flavour. It is a devilishly fun piece of work, as a result, cementing these cats as a band to watch for years to come. West of Hell originated as an instrumental band in New Zealand. Bassist Jordan Kemp, drummer Andrew Hulme and guitarists Sean Parkinson and Ivan Vrdoljak drew critical acclaim and local notice after relocating to
2nd Annual Blue Star Blues Festival to support BlueStarConnection will be on TV this fall...
The 2nd Annual Blue Star Blues Festival (coming up on Aug 4th, 2012 at beautiful Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado) has been chosen as a filming location for a new fall series called Randy Scott: Chasing the Dream. MAV-TV will be on-location in Littleton, capturing Randy’s performance and some revelry surrounding the festival. Randy won the Guitar Center "King of the Blues" title in 2010. On December 8, 2011, Scott was signed by Steve Vai‘s label, Favored Nations. He is also been named "Best Upcoming Blues Artist 2012" on Ameriblues.com. Headliners for the festival include major award winners and some
Nearly 3 1/2 hours and 30 songs tonight in Germany...
You best have worn some sensible shoes if you were in Frankfurt tonight with the E Street Band! Bruce Springsteen has been reaching back to the days of yore on this European stretch and tonight's setlist clocked in at nearly 3 1/2 hours and 30 songs. Can you dig that? I knew that you could! Let's take a look at the particulars… I love the three-song stretch early in the show of "My City Of Ruins," "Spirit In The Night," and "E Street Shuffle." There is another strong trio with "Youngstown," "Darkness On The Edge Of Town," and "Johnny 99"
Making her debut with I Love, singer/songwriter Cristina Morrison proves to be a performer with potential. She is a skilled vocalist and has certainly studied the craft, but there are moments where it feels as though she’s holding back somewhat and that keeps this record from sticking as much as it should. Morrison is an American Academy of Dramatic Arts grad and a well-travelled individual. She’s assembled a top-notch band for I Love, including the likes of composer/arranger/saxophonist Christian Hidrobo (Morrison’s longtime colleague and “partner in crime”), trumpeter Walter Szymanski, pianist Steve Einerson, bassists Marcus McLaurine and Alex Alvear, and
Is there anywhere to go beyond perfection?
Albert King's masterpiece I'll Play The Blues for you was released in 1972; it was great then, receiving stellar reviews and yielding hit singles and it's still great 40 years later and that's really the point: very few of us in the market for this re-issue are hearing the album for the first time. We can air guitar to each of Albert's relentless stream of glorious licks, sway with the horn section, and stomp to the funk-laden rhythms because most of us already know these songs by heart. You don't need anyone to tell you it's good because you already know it's
I got acquainted with MTV's Hive Live broadcast this past week when Garbage played a fantastic set on the show, which I was able to stream from home. I'm not being that guy when I said I didn't realize MTV was still in the music business but I honestly had no idea this show existed. Not only does the show exist, but they brought Garbage in to play. Guess what? They also brought in my NewMusicalObsession Gary Clark Jr. to cut a couple songs. Have I mentioned I'm going to see Gary in Nashville on June 10? This is another rendition of
War and peace with the neighbors.
I am not, by nature, a violent man. I avoid confrontation - even petty ones - pretty much anytime I can. I've lived in a variety of places - houses, apartments, tiny hovels - over the years and have had my fair share of obnoxious neighbors. Whenever they get too loud I simply suck it up, and curse quietly to myself. I never say anything. I never call the cops. I just hope they'll move out, or maybe die quietly in their sleep (if they ever go to sleep.) Until now. A few months back we had some new neighbors
The latest video from the 'Wrecking Ball' LP...
There were trailers and teasers yesterday on Twitter and Facebook and today Bruce Springsteen officially releases a video for "Rocky Ground," one of the songs on his latest LP Wrecking Ball, and a song that has led off most encores on his current tour. The "Rocky Ground" video follows the video for "Death To My Hometown," which featured live performance footage and current/former Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. I've spent countless happy hours listening to Springsteen (and a few I wish I could have back along the way) and never once did I listen to one of his albums
Are they serious?
Before embarking on this quest, I had never really, truly listened to the lyrics to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” Now that I have, I would like to say for starters: Holy crap. I managed to read this song in two (very, very) different ways. In one way, this song is a scathing satire, and for that at least interesting. In the other way, it is a creepy, repulsive, and misogynistic song. Allow me to explore both options. First, and more palatably, the notion that the song is satirical. The “Barbie Girl” in question is a reference to the well known doll
A metal act blessed with an intelligent sense of melody.
Based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, Allegaeon is a metal act blessed with an intelligent sense of melody. The band still brings its death metal chops to the table, but behind the wall of growls and scowls is a divine musical foundation that comes largely because of guitarist Greg Burgess’ classical background. Burgess, along with guitarist Ryan Glisan, forms the core of Allegaeon and makes up the best parts of Formshifter. Vocalist Ezra Haynes is a presence worth paying attention to and bassist Corey Archuleta holds it down, but this record is mostly about the guitars. The band currently finds
Pianist Steve Kuhn and bassist Steve Swallow first played the title track of the new ECM album Wisteria together back in the early 60’s. At the time, both were members of Art Farmer’s band, who wrote the tune. The two have played together a number of times in the intervening decades, and have a warm rapport. The third member of the Wisteria trio is drummer Joey Baron, who appeared on Kuhn’s 2009 Mostly Coltrane project. Wisteria represents the first recording of this trio, and it is a great example of three musicians playing at the top of their form. Of
Garbage return from a 7-year hiatus sounding as amazing as the day we first met them...
Garbage wasn't the first to blend big, fuzzed guitars and electronic beats and loops but they created their own template and one listen to their first album in seven years, Not Your Kind Of People reminds us they have something special and unique; it reminds us why we fell in love with them in the first place. Their construction -- three accomplished producers and a frontwoman who connects with audiences by exuding ferocity, confidence, and vulnerability -- pop hooks, and songcraft set them apart from imitators and successors alike. Some bands take time away, never to be heard from again. Absence seems
Did you hear a winner?
Here we are, folks, the American Idol finale pitting vocal powerhouse Jessica Sanchez against growly, face-contorting Phillip Phillips. In an action packed 60-minute show we get three songs from them both (Simon Fuller’s choice, Contestant’s favorite song from over the course of the season, and Winner’s Song). Jessica starts us off with “I Have Nothing” by the great Whitney Houston which has the judges visibly salivating but leaves me cold as she often does. It was clearly not the right song fit for her. Phillip gets “Stand By Me” and while the judges didn’t say anything about his performance, they
May 22 New CDs: Garbage, Haley Reinhart, Kris Allen, McCartney, Albert King, Tedeschi Trucks, Bonamassa, Great White, John Mayer
Huge week of new releases and hot new reissues...
This week's New Music Tuesday is an optical illusion. You're going to skim what looks like a really long list of new CDs heading for music stores this week but that's not true: there's only one new album coming out this week and I've been yammering on about it no end for months now. Garbage is back with their first new album in seven years. It's called Not Your Kind Of People but it is definitely your kind of album if you have any sense at all. Shirley Manson & Co. are back to reclaim the title and I'll be damned if they haven't
Season 8 winner Kris Allen shares his vision on his sophomore album.
Kris Allen shocked the American Idol world when he came from nowhere to defeat Adam Lambert in Season 8. His self-titled debut album went on to sell over 300,000 copies and Kris has garnered over 3.1 million digital downloads, the ninth most of any American Idol alumn. Kris now returns with his sophomore release, Thank You Camellia, on RCA Records. The title refers to a home he shared with his Arkansas friends while living in LA. Kris also co-wrote every song on the album. "Better With You" kicks off the album. It is much more pop than I expected, but the
American Idol Finalist Haley Reinhart Talks Debut LP 'Listen Up!' in BlindedBySound Exclusive Interview
The Season 10 American Idol finalist got what she worked for on her debut LP, Listen Up.
Haley Reinhart had pretty much gotten used to rehearsing and recording songs at a whirlwind pace last year while performing on American Idol as well as on the Idol Live! concert tour that followed. However, when it came time to begin work on her debut album, Listen Up! (out today on 19/Interscope), she didn't want to rush it—and she let her label know. Reinhart remembers, "I told them, 'I want to wait ‘til after the tour to write part of my first album. You guys are giving me the experience of a lifetime, the opportunity of a lifetime. So
A 2-CD retrospective aimed at introducing the British bandleader to an American audience.
British bandleader, trombonist and bassist, Chris Barber is a legend on that side of the pond. Since the 1950s, he’s been a prominent name on the jazz scene, as well as a well-known blues and gospel player. He’s played alongside many of the greats and was a founding director of the legendary Marquee Club, but he’s not that well known in America. Chris Barber – Memories Of My Trip intends to rectify that. A two-CD anthology, Memories covers Barber’s impressive 60-year career. The discs are arranged thematically, with disc one covering blues, jazz and gospel while disc two focuses on
No tour premieres but a different set than Barcelona 1...
A few days late on this one but something still worth discussing so we get into it today, that being the second of two E Street Band shows in Barcelona on the ongoing Spanish leg of the Wrecking Ball tour. The first night featured tour premieres while the second didn't but the two were sufficiently different from one another and we can let the debate begin about which was better. The set opens with "Night" from Born To Run, which is actually one of the lesser played cuts from that album. "Spirit In The Night" and "E Street Shuffle" is a tough to
A rising star burns bright on the big stage...
Meteoric rises, hype, and great expectations are nothing new in the world of music but the internet has changed how it happens and altered the speed. We weren't the first but BlindedBySound discovered the boundless talent of Gary Clark Jr. That bandwagon was small and growing when we heard his Bright Lights EP and there is now a fevered pitch of anticipation for the first full-length LP he'll release at his new label home of Warner Brothers, tentatively scheduled for this fall. This train is gathering but there is still plenty of room and we are here to fan the flames and
Sheffield's Audiolub label has uncovered another gem...
The Sheffield-based Audiobulb label are known for being the home of “exploratory electronic music,“ including a wide variety of electroacoustic artists. The trio who call themselves The Hole Punch Generation’s music is more in line with the world of three-minute radio-ready songs. Consequently, The Hole Punch Generation’s self-titled album represents a departure of sorts for the label. But never let it be said that Audiobulb’s David Newman does not have a good ear, for this set contains some great tunes. The record is certainly programmed well, for one of the finest tracks on it was chosen as the opener. “Don’t
So this is deathgrind...
With a name like Cattle Decapitation, you have to know you’re probably not getting smooth jazz. Monolith of Inhumanity is the San Diego “deathgrind” outfit’s seventh full length release and it is a blistering, grisly blast of metal malice. Relentless in its brutality and caustic in its lack of respect for humanity, this record is not for the queasy. Songs are punctuated by gruesome sound effects and jacked up by “vocalist” Travis Ryan’s flexible cache of barks, yelps, shouts, rumbles, and hellacious noises. The band certainly boasts a technical prowess to go with the evil presence it unleashes through the
Blues Music Award-winning artist returns with new album...
Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls will follow up his 2011 album Memphis Still Got Soul on June 19 when he releases Soul Survivor through Catfood Records. Memphis Still Got Soul garnered multiple nominations for Rawls at last month's 33rd Blues Music Awards and he is wasting no time following it up with this latest record. The 10-track Soul Survivor features nine originals, penned mostly by Rawls and producer Bob Trenchard. The tenth song is once again a tribute to Rawls' mentor, soul legend O.V. Wright. Rawls often records one of his former boss' songs and this time he puts his
The Showdown Is Set...
Here we are kids, the time we find out who will be duking out in the American Idol finale next Tuesday, and while any matchup is almost unbearable to think of with these three I greatly prefer any scenario involving Joshua Ledet. Is that happening tonight? Not a snowball’s chance in hell, kids. Now we get to the part of the show where mentor Jimmy Iovine tells us what he really thought of last night’s performances. Joshua Ledet is called down first and Jimmy says Joshua had a good night last night but wouldn’t have given him a standing ovation
29-song show filled with standard fare and a couple surprises...
Bruce Springsteen treated the Barcelona fans to an epic, marathon 29-song set tonight as his Wrecking Ball tour heads continues its European trek. The 29-song show tonight is by far the longest of the tour and included two tour premieres and one big surprise. The first half of the set felt like a mashup of the current tour and the Reunion Tour from 1999-00 with songs like "Youngstown," "Murder, Inc" and tonight's tour premiere of "You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)" all played in close proximity to one another. The length of the show actually harkens back to those days
Forget The X-Factor, the winner of this season will be a non-factor
We’re finally down to our Top 3 finalists vying for that American Idol title and new Ford car not to mention recording contract. None of that guarantees any modicum of success (just ask Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen, Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard). Now, now I know they all (except LDW) have had success “in their own way” but they are usually relegated to flash in the pan status. Not winning seems to be where the real prize is with these shows. In the last two weeks we’ve said goodbye to Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh who both overstayed their welcomes
Palatable pop rap - and not much else.
As far as radio-ready pop rap goes, B.o.B’s second record is pretty decent fare. Strange Clouds has all of the markings of a hit, including a wide array of guest stars and melodic, offhand tracks good for summer cruising and spring clubbing. As the follow-up to B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, Strange Clouds is about what fans have come to expect. That record featured edible tracks like “Airplanes” and “Nothin’ on You,” both of which featured big name guest spots. This album packs similar singles and will enjoy similar success, but there’s nothing here that sets Bobby Ray
Death metal meets deathcore and creates a big slab of awesome.
On their third release, Demonocracy, Arizona death metal outfit Job for a Cowboy wastes little time and goes straight for the jugular. Backed by a somewhat reordered line-up and a mound of impressive guitar solos, the latest release is a nourishing hunk of metal. Genre fiddlers may find that Demonocracy bridges the gap, so to speak, between the realms of deathcore and death metal. Indeed, there are elements of both genres packed in the record. Guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro exchange electrifying barbs throughout the record, showing their technical sides with winding, careening solos taken straight from death metal’s
When music becomes movement...
There are many great minds who experience music with an ear for the intellectual and technical, focusing on intonation, time signature changes, key changes, theoretical analysis of composition, and tracing the roots of influence. Some readers find that sort of thing dry- not me. I've learned enough to dabble in those waters by reading that kind of explanation and find the science behind the art fascinating. I could get sopout my Jazz-English dictionary and give a rudimentary explanation of what's happening and how it's being done. I could also give you the Dick Clark American Bandstand"It's got a good beat but
Strongman and Soulstack prove the indie roots scene is doing just fine ...
Two recent indie CD’s from Toronto and area-based artists show just how strong and diverse the Canadian roots scene is... Steve Strongman (based in Hamilton, Ontario) steps up with his first acoustic offering, an all-original outing (with co-writing credits to producer Rob Szabo on seven tracks). While the structures and overall instrumental palette are familiar enough, Strongman’s passionate performances and superior songs raise this one well above the pack. Strongman’s gritty, true-to-life compositions avoid trite repetition of tired clichés, and while he’s established a reputation as a hard-hitting electric guitarist, his acoustic work is nothing short of revelatory. About half
Talk about a 1-hit blunder...
Billy Ray Cyrus could have been a pop culture footnote, and there would have been no shame in that. Were he just “That guy who sang Achy Breaky Heart” people might snicker at remembering that song, or perhaps laughed at the image of his ridiculous mullet. Maybe they would have done both. Still, that’s not exactly a tarnished legacy as a musician or a human being. He could have just folded into the morass of musicians who flickered in our collective conscious and was gone and, honestly, he would have been more successful than most musicians could ever hope to
The hard rocking debut from Australia's newest import.
Australian import Laura Wilde’s debut album, Sold My Soul mixes hard-charging, Joan Jett-influenced rockers that betray the singer/guitarist’s young age of 22. People have started to take notice. Wilde recently landed the opening slot on Ted Nugent’s tour and she certainly holds her own. The album opens with the sounds of a motorcycle revving before slamming into the up-tempo rocker, “All Alone.” Wilde delivers a cutting solo over the punk-inspired track. A multi-instrumentalist, Wilde did all the vocals, guitar, bass and drums on the album. The title track features a sleazy riff that recalls the glam rock era of the
Tour premieres and TOUR PREMIERES in Las Palmas...
This looked like it was going to be a total tirefire tonight from the half empty stadium through the first eight songs. I was already filling out the forms and the accident reports and while it didn't quite turn out to be an instant classic, there were a few surprises in Las Palmas and the set list registers as being at least mildly interesting. We get to talk about the difference between tour premieres and tour premieres tonight. "Two Hearts" and "Working on the Highway" both made their first appearance on theWrecking Ball tour; talk about two trains that are never late. We
a masterful performance by one of the great musicians of our time
Hungarian cellist Miklos Perenyi studied at the Franz Lizst at the Academy of Music in Budapest, and has recorded with Andras Schiff, Denes Varjon, and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. He even studied with Pablo Casals in the mid-sixties. Perenyi’s first solo outing with the ECM label contains a fascinating mix of some of the finest cello suites ever written. The composers and their compositions are as follows; Benjamin Britten: Third Cello Suite op. 87, Johann Sebastian Bach: Suite VI D-Major BWV 1012, and Gyorgy Ligeti: Sonata. In Perenyi’s hands, these three unrelated pieces work together to form a suite of
Between the Covers: Schools Out! Featuring covers by Soul Asylum, Old & in the Way, Nanci Griffith, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and James Taylor
School is over, my wife is home and we're ready to have some fun.
My wife teaches French and literature at a university. This past semester she taught a metric butt-load of classes including one night class that lasted until 8:30 in the PM. Her normal day included being at the office from about 8 in the morning to 5 or 6 in the evening. She'd come home, have supper, play with our daughter for an hour or so and then get back to work grading papers, writing tests, or preparing for the next day. She worked her little arse off every day which also meant I was crazy busy cooking, cleaning and taking
It's the next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways, It's still rock and roll to me.
Back when I was in junior high school and developing music tastes that were separate from what was force-fed to me through the speakers of the radio in my parent's car, I discovered Billy Joel. My introduction wasn't the album that carried this song, but 52nd Street (the previous release). Songs like "My Life"' and "Until the Night" turned me on to passion and rebellion in music, but it was the song "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and the album it was featured on, Glass Houses, that solidified it for me. The song will always have a special
Grammy-winning classic with controversial history gets repackaged...
Paul Simon's Grammy-winning classic album Graceland celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year and as is the trend these days, it's being re-issued June 5 in deluxe formats to mark the occasion. For most people, the most memorable things about Graceland are the video for "Call Me Al" featuring Chevy Chase and the controversial decision Simon made by recording part of the album in South Africa during the country's brutally oppressive apartheid regime. The CD/DVD edition of the album has been remastered and includes the song with the iconic video as well as the classic "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her
A long and winding road that leads to very little...
Bruce Springsteen kicked off the European leg of his Wrecking Ball tour in Sevilla, Spain and according to reports you could have swung a wrecking ball in some areas of the venue and not hit a soul. It turns out those not in attendance didn't miss much. The setlist for tonight's show was unremarkable, heavy on songs from Born In The USA. That doesn't mean it didn't have its highlights it did but the "wow" moment just didn't happen despite this being a 27-song show. Put differently there were a whole lot of "wow" moments as in: "Wow, is he serious with this?" The
File under where are they now: Birmingham's Wayne made a record in 2002, then vanished.
It's been 10 years since Birmingham's Wayne released their debut record Music on Plastic. And I'm betting you probably still haven't heard of it. Well, technically it was their debut record, their best record, their last record, and well - you guessed it - their only record. And despite a set of tours supporting acts like John Mayer, the Tragically Hip, and Five for Fighting, Wayne basically disappeared from the music scene leaving fans wondering what happened to these Alabama boys. A long time fan of Music on Plastic, I managed to see Wayne twice before they made their grand
Lovely - but a little too lovely.
Melissa Stylianou’s Silent Movie is a pristine, well-produced, beautifully performed record – and that’s the problem. Indeed, that’s the problem with a lot of today’s vocal jazz artists. The incessant focus on tradition, on getting things “right,” typically obstructs any emotional journey the singer can take with a piece and performances feel more like aerobics than connections. Make no mistake about it, Stylianou can sing. The Brooklyn resident certainly has the musical pedigree, having performed a five-year-long Friday night gig at the Rex Hotel in Toronto and a run over three years at the 55 Bar in New York. Silent
Few surprises as power couple Tedeschi-Trucks owns the night in Memphis...
Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and their Tedeschi Trucks Band were the big winners at the 33rd Blues Music Awards in Memphis last night, to the surprise of almost no one. Derek Trucks won Guitarist Of The Year for the third consecutive year, Susan Tedeschi was selected as Contemporary Blues Artist-Female Of The Year, Tedeschi Trucks Band won Band Of The Year, and their album Revelator was named Album Of The Year. Tab Benoit and Ruthie Foster were also multiple winners with Foster earning the Koko Taylor Best Traditional Artist-Female award as well as DVD Of The Year for Live
Diverse, fascinating, and intuitive...
Santigold shows up in so many places that it can be hard to believe that Master of My Make-Believe is just her second album. The new record affirms why she’s featured on tracks from the Beastie Boys, Kanye West, M.I.A., GZA, and many others. It also displays her formidable song-writing chops. The follow-up to her sublime debut, Santogold, is a varied mix of styles and influences, but Santi White’s thread runs through the entire thing. This is her record and her musical journey, gathered and sewn together from her punk days in Stiffed and her days opening for the likes
We learn more about the making of Brandi Carlile's upcoming release, Bear Creek
Our obsession with the new Brandi Carlile record continues. We've already given you our thoughts on Bear Creek, which is set for release on June 5th. Now we thought we'd give you some additional information on how the record was made - and how you can get your hands on some pretty cool pre-order items. As fans, we usually spend time reading all about how a record was made before actually getting to hear it. But when the oh-so-kind folks at Columbia Records sent us an advance copy of Bear Creek, all research was thrown aside to make room for
Ozzy, Geezer, and Iommi are also hard at work on new material...
Yet another Black Sabbath compilation is coming our way this year when Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath is released June 5. The 14-track compilation covers the Ozzy Osbourne years and includes what I imagine is a pretty predictable group of songs despite the band's lack of actual "hits" in the radio sense. Sabbath fans know which songs are the classics and while they might disagree on some of the deeper album cuts, the foundation of the band's enduring legacy and popularity is built on songs like "Paranoid," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," and "War Pigs." All three of those songs
Quiet recordings from The Quiet One are a must for Harrison and Beatle fans alike...
I was happy with George Harrison's Early Takes Vol. 1 before I'd heard a note because I adore George Harrison and because, as the title implies, this collection of previously unreleased songs culled from Harrison's vault is only the beginning. This collection was released in conjunction with the home video release of Martin Scorsese's Harrison documentary Living In The Material World and many of these tracks are featured in the film while others weren't. The film examines Harrison's entire career, before and after The Beatles, which might help explain why this set doesn't focus on a particular period. I'd love
A hit that really missed...
Will Smith is a huge movie star, one of the biggest of his era. He owes it mostly to his charisma and the fact he’s managed to put himself in projects with big marketing machines behind them, but there is no doubt that he is in and of himself a draw. Plus, it’s not like he’s a bad actor or anything. He’s solid in drama, and he does lighter fare very well, where he can play off that aforementioned charisma and crack wise while punching aliens in the face. Of course, before he was Will Smith the movie star he
Enter the groove.
With their fourth studio album, Dead Set on Living, Toronto’s Cancer Bats have unlocked a hellacious groove monster. The record is certainly still caked in the band’s hardcore chops, but things are more expectant and more groove-oriented. While Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones was a pretty dark affair, Dead Set on Living is almost the answer to the pessimism. Make no mistake about it, the Bats haven’t gone all sunshiny and hyper. But there is a decidedly jubilant edge to these tunes, for the most part, and the album is the better for it. When vocalist Liam Cormier announced that
Simply one of the greatest jazz concerts of all time.
I came of musical age in the mid-seventies, during the time of Boston, Peter Frampton, and Foreigner. I worshipped at the altar of The Beatles and Stones as well, since we were already being force-fed the idea that Boomer classic rock was the only music that had ever really mattered. Still, I had to believe that there was more out there than what I was hearing on the radio. Thus began my ongoing quest for alternatives, which began with jazz. Weather Report and even Spyro Gyra were ok, but I knew that the real stuff was buried somewhere in the
Monk sets the tone for hard-bop in stone with this performance.
The Thelonious Monk Quartet’s Misterioso was recorded during their landmark 1958 engagement at the Five Spot Café in New York. The Quartet featured some of the heaviest hitters in jazz at the time, in addition to the genius piano of Monk, the group included Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass), and Roy Haynes (drums). This recording virtually defined the direction Monk’s music would follow for the rest of his career. All but one of the compositions here were written by Monk, and they display his willingness to experiment with the form in heretofore unprecedented ways. The die is cast
New CD Releases for Tueday May 8, 2012...
We have a new supergroup in our midst as Royal Southern Brotherhood releases their self-titled debut this week. Bluesman Mike Zito has teamed with Cyril Neville and Devon Allman to form this new band and they're already on the road promoting the album. We've got the lowdown on their summer itinerary as well as a way for you to download a free song from the record if you want a sample before you buy. Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before! is a collection of rarities and demos from Barenaked Ladies covering their Reprise years (which is the majority and
Postcards from the edge...
First impressions are powerful but are so often, at best, incomplete and at worst completely wrong. My introduction to Anders Osborne came by seeing his name and album American Patchwork take up residence on the Blues Radio charts. Let's do some math together: if you saw an artist whose record was on the blues chart, you might conclude the artist was a blues artist and said record was a blues record. Being wrong is nothing new to me but it was a good thing where Anders Osborne and American Patchwork were concerned because it reinforced a truth I often need to relearn: labels are
A Damn Good Time from the quintessential bar band
They’ve been called “America’s Bar Band,” and after over thirty years of relentless touring, there’s little doubt The Nighthawks deserve the name. Though Mark Wenner is the only founding member left, the band’s sound is genuinely road-hardened, and has remained remarkably consistent through the years. A mix of hardcore blues and roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll (and pretty much anything else that fits), The Nighthawks are a true ‘what you see is what you get’ band. There are no big-name guests, no fancy production or studio wizardry - just lean, muscular music, driven by squalling harmonica and stinging guitar, anchored by
A posthumous celebration of a harmonica master
Gary Primich left us all too soon, taken by an accidental drug overdose in 2007 at the age of 49. (Ironically, his final recording was called Riding The Dark Horse). Just A Little Bit More, clearly a labor of love steered by Gary’s father Jack, collects tracks released on several different labels between 1994 and 2006, as well as some he recorded with his friend and sometime employer, Omar Kent Dykes. Indeed, the disc is subtitled ‘with Omar Dykes,’ and it’s thanks to Dykes that there are seven previously unreleased tracks included that, a few technical glitches aside, stand up
Recently, a red headed woman burst into my life.
Tight skirt, strawberry hair Tell me what you got, baby, waiting under there Big green eyes that look like, son, They can see every cheap thing that you ever done Recently, a red headed woman burst into my life. Well, okay, that's not completely true. I've been living with Monique for quite some time. If we're going for complete honesty, I created her. But it was the cover artist (Taria A. Reed) for my soon-to-be released novel, Fairyproof, that took the description I'd written and gave her a face. It doesn't give too much away to say that when
Truly one of the most “on” musicians one can come across...
With Yesterday & Today, fans of the remarkable Toots Thielemans will enjoy a rare treat. The double album is packed with rarities and all sorts of coveted goodies, from Thielemans’ earliest performances to a record-closing duet that puts the 89-year-old alongside keyboardist Kenny Werner for a little magic. Now known mostly as one hell of a harmonica player and a whistler, the Belgian jazz legend is also an incredible guitarist. This collection displays the multiple prongs of his work, from early recordings from 1946 to jams in the 1980s, 1990s and beyond. The fun opens with “Jazz Band Ball,” a
Seattle's Brandi Carlile mixes genres and dazzling harmonies on her new record, 'Bear Creek'
Following a weekend where music lovers everywhere could use a little good news, we are excited to say we've found some. Bear Creek, the fourth studio record from Seattle's Brandi Carlile, is a stunning collection of tunes from one of the most dynamic voices making music today. Set for release on June 5th, Bear Creek shows us one thing clearly: When it comes to genre, you can't put Brandi in a corner. From country-inspired tunes like "Keep Your Heart Young" and "Hard Way Home," to the piano laden "That Wasn't Me," to the raucous and rowdy "Raise Hell," to the
A NWOBHM band returns at last.
Ah, what might have been. Angel Witch, formed in the midst of the famed New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, first entered the fray in 1977 as a band called Lucifer. After some member departures and replacements, the band eventually renamed themselves Angel Witch and signed a record deal. A self-titled record emerged to some fanfare in 1980, but that didn’t settle down the band’s line-up issues. Indeed, if anything stopped Angel Witch from becoming a household name like other NWOBHM era bands, it was the fact that they couldn’t keep their shit straight. Guitarist and vocalist Kevin Heybourne
Worlds so far apart it all seemed to make sense...
I felt my heart sink when I saw Adam Yauch was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday, knowing it was only a short time ago he was diagnosed with cancer. The many ways in which the world has changed in my lifetime still sometimes takes me by surprise. I held out hope he was trending because it was his birthday or for some stupid, random, Twitter reason. To my dismay, I learned gossip web site TMZ was reporting he passed away. I held out hope this was a tasteless internet hoax and TMZ had jumped the gun; it wouldn't be
Coldplay Joins Tributes To Beasties Boys' Adam Yauch, Performs "Fight For Your Right To Party" At Hollywood Bowl (Video)
Coldplay join R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Luscious Jackson, Barrett Martin in paying tribute to fallen musician Adam Yauch...
Tributes have been swirling around the internet from fans, friends, and admirers of Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch, who lost his battle with cancer May 4, 2012, just weeks after his band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, including Coldplay. It's hard to imagine a wild, exuberant party anthem like "Fight For Your Right To Party" becoming an elegiac, poignant tribute but that's part of the earnest charm of a band like Coldplay. The band are currently on tour promoting their Mylo Xyloto album and at their show at the Hollywood Bowl, Chris Martin led his
Make some noise if you're with me!
Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch is dead at 47. As I sit here to write this “tribute” of sorts up, I still am in disbelief. Everyone has their “where were you when you heard” moment in their lives regarding national disasters, death of great people and tragic world events. For this one I was walking in my front door when I got the TMZ alert on my BlackBerry that said simply ‘’Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch dead at 47.” I sat down in my big armchair and haven’t moved for nearly an hour. Not MCA, not my favorite Beastie, not the
Evans' first post-Scott LaFaro Trio recording.
Most jazz afficionados would agree that the Bill Evans Trio of 1959-1961, which featured Evans (piano), Paul Motian (drums), and Scott LaFaro (bass.) was one of the finest in the music’s storied history. Their Waltz for Debbie (1961) is a cornerstone of Evans’ catalog, as is Sunday at the Village Vanguard. Both were recorded at the same Vanguard date, and show the remarkable empathy these three musicians shared. LaFaro’s death in an auto accident later that year was a huge loss, and affected Evans particularly hard. He took some time off, and Moonbeams represents the first post-LaFaro Trio recording. As
It hasn't been Idol's most exciting season but the drama is ratcheting up as we get near the end...
So here we are, American Idol watchers, with only five left vying to be your next American Idol, boy how time flies when you’re having fun. I know it seems I’ve been MIA since Erika Van Pelt left us at Top Ten elimination but, no my friends, alas, I was there! I cried when Heejun Han left, laughed like a maniac when Deandre Brackensick finally left us and felt a little angry and elated when Colton Dixon left two weeks ago and nothing but angry with no elation when Elise Testone was the bottom vote getter last week. Tonight’s theme
The rarities come out as the Wrecking Ball Tour comes to an end...
Hells holy acre, boys and girls, the last show of the first leg of Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball World Tour was a barnburner that rivals the Masterpiece in Motown and just might take the title as the set of the first leg. I wouldn't have believed something like this would be possible when he opened with "No Surrender." I might have been tempted to leave right then and there- but I wouldn't have because even when I get discouraged and disgruntled, I still have the faith in Bruce. Tonight, faith was rewarded. "Bishop Danced" is a Springsteen rarity first officially released on Tracks box set going
Did the video kill the song or did Linda Perry?
I’m just going to get this out of the way before I get to the song: 4 Non Blondes is a lousy name for a band even if it delivers what it promises (though it also appears that at the time all four members of the band had died hair). Of course, in the end what is most important is that a band sounds good, but if you have a ridiculous or otherwise poor quality band name, it can easily act as a blockade to people who might like your music. I believe in a simple approach to naming a
Hilton's American Impressions certainly stand out on jazz’s unfortunate parcel of uniformity.
With her 14th album as a leader, pianist and composer Lisa Hilton explores the “bridge” between improvised and composed music. American Impressions is designed from the top to bottom as an examination of American music, with influences from Gershwin to Green Day serving as the indelible foundation for Hilton’s work. She is joined by J.D. Allen (tenor saxophone), Larry Grenadier (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums). In working with the same group she worked with on Underground, Hilton set out immediately with that essential sense of familiarity. The awareness of the players is apparent from the outset of album opener “Too
Norwegian jazz pianist Jon Balke formed Batagraf in 2002, who have a fascinating approach. They are percussion based, with the addition of poetic element, and Balke’s own keyboards. Batagraf’s mission is a basic one, a weave of drum grooves and words, commented on by the occasional piano interlude. Speaking of Batagraf‘s style, Jon says, "Drumming is speaking and language is a miracle, in all its manifestations.” We last heard from Jon Balke on the wonderful collaboration he did with Amina Aloui, titled Siwan, on the ECM label. Say & Play is his latest ECM release, with Batagraf, and it
A drastic departure that still 'Feels Like Home...'
Norah Jones collaborated with noted pop/rock producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton on the Rome "soundtrack" album and the sparks that flew during those sessions led to him working with her on Broken Little Hearts and all the rules for Norah Jones records past have been cast aside and nothing is off limits, not even her voice. I was open to and excited about the new sonic paintbox Danger Mouse would bring with him because I am obsessed with "Seasons Trees" from Rome. I didn't expect Norah's voice to be treated like one more instrument in the mix to be manipulated and I wasn't happy
New Music Tuesday 5/1/2012
I don't know why a person might want to shake a stick at a lot of something but that would seem to be the social convention regarding the number of excellent, exciting, and/or noteworthy releases this week. Let us begin, as all things should, with Norah Jones. Norah's new record Little Broken Hearts is a sonic departure from her earlier work but not so much that longtime fans should be alienated by the different approach. You can stream the first single "Happy Pills" and see its video (two words: shower scene) and Jones has already announced summer tour plans. Only