September 2013 Archives

Samantha Fish - 'Black Wind Howlin' A Sophomore Sensation

Samantha Fish is bold, brash, and outstanding on 'Black Wind Howlin'
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Samantha Fish follows her Blues Music Award-winning debut Runaway with the spirited, energetic, contemporary blues-rock of Black Wind Howlin'. Her gifts as a vocalist and guitarist were evident on her debut and they are even stronger this second time out but the real leap forward is in the songwriting. Runaway had excellent songs but also a bit of filler. The material on Black Wind Howlin' is far more consistent lyrically as well as in their construction. She kicks off the set with "Miles To Go," which is yet another song about a musician's life on the road. It's a tired
If ever there were a band whose career deserves a thorough examination, it is Wire. With Read & Burn, author Wilson Neate has delivered that, and much more. It is a book I have been waiting a long time for, and had pretty much given up hope of ever seeing. I have read a lot of rock biographies over the years, and this is one of the few that truly does justice to the group at hand. In chapter one, "Four People in a Book," Neate introduces us to Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar),

Blu-ray Review: Bryan Ferry - Live in Lyon Deluxe Edition

The legendary Roxy Music frontman delivers an excellent solo Blu-ray
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As both a member of Roxy Music and as a solo artist, Bryan Ferry has carved out a four decade (and counting) musical career that blends elements of everything from the pre rock 'n roll era to blues to soul to rock and the avant-garde. With not only his original material, but also with well-chosen covers (ready mades as he calls them), he has managed to create a sound that is uniquely his. It's a testament to his talents that his covers often sound as if he had written them himself. While on tour in 2011 for his album, Olympia,

Music Review: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - The Ellington Suites (Pablo 40th Anniversary Edition)

The reissue of perhaps the rarest album in the world.
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As part of the 40th anniversary of Pablo Records, the Concord Music Group have been reissuing select classics from their catalog. The Ellington Suites by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra is among the latest batch, and contains one of the rarest, and most beautiful musical suites I have ever heard. I am speaking of the "Queen's Suite," which was composed and recorded in 1959 for Queen Elizabeth II. Ellington pressed a single vinyl copy of it, presented it to the Queen, then destroyed the acetate. I have heard of single pressings before, done as artistic statements, but never of anything on this level.

DeepSoul: Maurice White - "I Need You"

The Earth, Wind & Fire founder may be best known for hits like "Shining Star," but his brief solo career contains hidden gems like this ballad.
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Maurice White may be best known as the founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire.  What some fans may not remember, however, is that he launched a solo career in the mid-eighties that produced three moderately successful singles.  One such song, "I Need You," showcases his powerful voice and stands as an underrated soul ballad. After Earth, Wind and Fire released their 1983 album Electric Universe, the group found themselves at a crossroads.  They had experimented with the emerging synth-funk sound, and met with mixed critical and commercial results.  While the single "Magnetic" received airplay, the album fell short of EWF's
I don't know what it is about ones high school years that suddenly makes music more meaningful to everyone, but it does.  It seems universal that whenever we reach a certain age, right around 15 or so that music stops being something thats just played in the background, something that is sang along to and enjoyed but utterly disposable to something more real, more personal, more substantial.  For most, it seems, the music that we poured ourselves into during those years are the only songs that really matter the rest of our lives.  Oldies and classic rock stations are built

Nick Moss Launches Kickstarter Campaign For 'Time Ain't Free', Due Spring 2014

Nick Moss turns to fans for help to launch 10th record 'Time Ain't Free'
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Nick Moss launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for his 10th CD Time Ain't Free, slated for a spring 2014 release. The Time Ain't Free campaign includes 14 different pledge points with a bevy of premium goodies in addition to the record itself, which is the follow up to Moss' 2011 outing Here I Am. Here I Am was the first to feature guitarist/vocalist Michael Ledbetter. Moss and Ledbetter filmed a video discussing Led's increasing role in the band, the recording of Time Ain't Free, their excitement at bringing fans into the process of releasing the new album,

Hit Parade: Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball"

Lost in her antics and the hysteria that followed is a pretty good song from Miley Cyrus...
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Well, here we are. After a couple weeks of Katy Perry's grrrrl power anthem (and shout out to boxing references) "Roar" being atop the charts, Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" is the number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. Now I've got to deal with this nonsense. What have I gotten myself in to? I've never heard a Miley Cyrus song, although I certainly have heard a bunch of inane stuff in recent months because she is very popular on the internets. I listen to the Girls in Hoodies podcast, and they love her. I've made my thoughts on Billy

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Live in Athens 1987

The last night of the legendary So tour comes to Blu-ray.
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In 1987, Peter Gabriel was at the height of his powers both artistically and commercially. His most recent studio album, So, had turned him into a mega star with its critically acclaimed songs and groundbreaking music videos. The last night of the tour, a 1987 stop in Athens, Greece, was filmed and released in edited form on VHS as POV. Fast forward 25 years to the present to find that So was yet another classic album to get the super deluxe treatment, this time including a DVD of the entire Athens show as a bonus. Now the entire show --
Seattle rock and roll will always be romantic and magical for me. I lived in the city just before the city and its roster of talent launched its groundbreaking assault on the mainstream and was of the right age and mindset to be caught up in the onslaught even if I hadn't sipped from those native waters. I was also of the right age that I spent many years immersed in the spectacle that was '80s metal and witnessed the changing of the guard as a slew of bands from Seattle and elsewhere ushered out the old and rolled in

DeepSoul: McFadden and Whitehead - "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"

Sometimes a disco track can mean more than just dancing all night long, as proven in this 1979 Philly Soul classic.
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During the 1970s, much of disco was just about dancing all night long.  One song, however, signified more than just getting down; instead, it became an unofficial anthem for civil rights.  McFadden and Whitehead's hit "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" certainly had a great beat, but its lyrics uplifted and empowered listeners as well. While the duo may go down in history as "one hit wonders," they composed some of the biggest hits of the Philly Soul era.  Although Gene McFadden and John Whitehead began as performers--they were members of the Epsilons, an Otis Redding-managed group, and later changed their
History was made in the Nation's oldest city Saturday night when Mumford and Sons finished their Gentlemen of the Road tour in St. Augustine, FL. When it was announced that GOTR would make it's final stop in the small coastal town, it was the biggest thing to happen to the city since Ponce De Leon stepped foot upon its Florida shores 500 years ago. As Mumford says: "where you invest your love, you invest your life." And I've invested a lot of my life and my love in St. Augustine. It's the town of my alma matter, my beloved Flagler College. Its
Though there are audio recordings of just about every note the Grateful Dead ever played there is very limited video coverage of them playing live.  This is especially true of their early, seminal years from the late sixties to the early seventies.  As a collector I'd heard about the Sunshine Daydream video bootleg for ages and ages and how incredible it was.  It would be years before I managed to get a copy of it, but man was it worth the wait.Recorded just after their fabled tour of Europe in 1972 Sunshine Daydream captures the dead at the height of
The fact that there are not tons of Pantera books lining the shelves is surprising to me. Their story is truly unique, and the December 8, 2004 murder of Dimebag Darrel while onstage with Damageplan provides an awful finality to the tale. As the cliché goes, you just can't make this stuff up. As author Neil Daniels notes in Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell, only Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott by Zac Crain (2009) which is really the story of

Friday We're In Love (With The Cure): Burn

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Josh and I like to switch it up sometimes and instead of picking two separate songs, we write on the same one. This week we've selected "Burn" which is best known off 1997's The Crow soundtrack. Personally I think the entire movie should have been set to a score by The Cure. I can't think of a better band to encompass the damp, dark, somber, morose mood of the film, which is exacerbated by the fact the emerging young star Brandon Lee died during filming. HEATHER  Driving bass and birdlike screeching start us off on this adventure that quickly amps

DeepSoul: Evelyn "Champagne" King - "Betcha She Don't Love You"

A seventies disco star transitions into funky soul with this underrated classic.
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It's hard to believe that Evelyn "Champagne" King was just 17 years old when her smash "Shame" was released in 1977.  Possessing a voice far beyond her years, King and her powerful pipes graced that disco classic as well as several 80s R&B jams.  Today, she is known not only for "Shame" but for her 1982 comeback "Love Come Down."  But the followup single, "Betcha She Don't Love You," proved just as strong.  Her brand of smoothed-over funk hit just at the right time in the early 1980s, as the song  peaked at number two on the R&B charts.  
Its musical confession time.  Outside of London Calling I don't know The Clash at all.  I hadn't even listened to London Calling until a few years ago.  The thing is I love that album, it has become one of my all-time favorite rock records of all time. Yet for some reason I've never bothered with the rest of their catalog.  There is no reasoning for that.  Its similar to why I never listened to London Calling until relatively recently - I just hadn't.  I expect the other albums to be good, I expect I'll enjoy them very much, yet I

Book Review: JAMerica: The History of the Jam Band and Festival Scenes by Peter Conners

Peter Connors explores the world of jam bands and the jam band culture by talking to those closest to it...
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A genuine grassroots musical movement appeared in the 1990's that was virtually ignored by the mainstream for most of the decade. It came to be called the "jam band" scene, and while everybody associated with it hates the term, it stuck. JAMerica: The History of the Jam Band and Festival Scenes by Peter Connors is the first jam band book I have ever seen, and it is long overdue. While Phish are probably the most famous jam band, there are many more. Some other fairly well-known groups include Widespread Panic, The Dave Matthews Band, and Blues Traveler. There are also

The National Make Magic At Nashville's Ryman Auditorium As 'TWFM' Tour Resumes

The National deliver a command performance in their return to Ryman Auditorium...
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The National returned to historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last night and once again delivered an intense, astonishing performance featuring 10 of the 13 tracks from their latest album Trouble Will Find Me as well as staples from prior albums, including the tour debut of "Lucky You." Last night was my fifth National show and am still a little surprised each time how well their brand of music translates live. They're not a guitar-driven band with virtuoso licks and their frontman looks more like a Russian Lit. professor at a small liberal arts college than a lead singer but there

CD Review: Songs From Scandal - Music For Gladiators

Twelve classic soul tracks make for a fine soundtrack to Scandal.
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On the television series, Scandal, Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope, a character loosely based on former George Bush press aide, Judy Smith. Like Smith, who represented the likes of Monica Lewinsky and Chandra Levy, among others, Pope is a crisis management person for the elite, making sure their dirty laundry never gets aired. The very nature of her business leads to much drama in Pope's life and, as such, a powerful soundtrack is in order to really bring the show to life. The Stax label has released Songs From Scandal -- Music For Gladiators, a strong collection of soul classics

Hit Parade: Katy Perry - "Roar"

Katy Perry's "Roar" isn't the worst #1 of 2013...
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While most people like to believe the world is a beautiful, redeemable place and that, all in all, things are going to be alright. In truth, the world is a brutal morass that we sink ever deeper into until we receive the sweet release of death. War. Famine. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." This is reality, chumps. For 12 weeks, 12 god damn weeks, that song was at the top of the charts. That's three months! This is not why we can't have nice things, it is why we don't have nice things. However, for the first time in far too

DeepSoul: Cherrelle - "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On"

The underrated R&B singer delivers a feminist message in a funky, tuneful way.
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Last week's DeepSoul spotlighted the 80s R&B vocalist Alexander O'Neal, so this time the focus turns to frequent duet partner Cherrelle.  The two have been permanently linked ever since their 1986 classic jam "Saturday Love," although both experienced success apart as well as together.  Cherrelle's light, breathy vocals graced early Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis productions, most notably the funky "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On."   Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Cheryl Norton and her family spent summers in Detroit.  In the 1970s she met bassist/singer Michael Henderson (also known for his collaborations with Phyllis Hyman); he
Does it date me to say I took Typing 1 & 2 in high school?  What if I say the first class used actual typewriters?  The second year we actually used computers and learned how to do basic data processing and create various office type documents.  I've lost most of those skills (and some of them have disappeared from offices too) but I remember the classes fondly.  For about a month in one of the classes me and a mystery person began scrawling the lyrics to Nine Inch Nails "Head Like a Hole" on the big wooden desks we worked