October 2013 Archives

DeepSoul: Switch - "There'll Never Be"

DeepSoul uncovers a hidden treasure from the heyday of Ohio funk.
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Ohio produced some quality funk bands in the 1970s, most notably groups such as the Ohio Players, the Dazz Band, Lakeside, and innumerable others.  One lesser known--but still talented--band, Switch, produced some late 1970s R&B classics including "I Call Your Name" (not the Beatles song) and "Love Over and Over Again."  Their 1978 hit, "There'll Never Be," best exemplifies the Switch sound: horns, jazz-tinged chord changes, and tight harmonies.  While the act broke up in 1984, their biggest hit continues to earn radio airplay and stands as a hidden '70s gem. While an Ohio band, Switch's best years occurred on
There is a bargain store very near where I live that I just love going to. It is one of those places that scours the universe for store closings and buy-out deals and they buy huge quantities of the randomness stuff and then resale it to the public at a mark-up.  They sell a little bit of everything - from clothes to furniture to toys and electronics.  But you never know what they are going to have on any given day.  Everything is marked down and the longer the items stay on the shelves the cheaper they get.They also typically

Review: Aaron Parks - Arborescence

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Aaron Parks' previous album Invisible Cinema was a collection of vignettes created and performed to construct scenes from films unmade, providing the tension and sonic textures to allow the listener to imagine their own visuals. Arborescence, his 2013 release, takes that approach a step further with a thematic series of compositions centered around trees, forests, and nature. The 11 pieces are solo piano compositions with infrequent, barely audible wordless vocalizations buried in the mix, all of which are more about ambiance, emotion, and atmosphere than complex key signatures, adventurous arrangements, or intellectual experiments. Fans of more demanding jazz may not

Blu-ray Review: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

The most complete version of this legendary concert, now on SD Blu-ray.
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In the world of rock and roll, there have been few, if any, greater front men than Freddie Mercury. This was a man who while intensely private off stage, could command an audience of 100,000 and make it feel like an intimate performance. In addition to his showmanship, he had the voice and songs to match. When Mercury died in November 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications from AIDS, the band decided to, in the words of guitarist Brian May, "give him the biggest sendoff in history." They quite possibly may have achieved that on April 20,

Blu-ray Review: Morrissey - 25 Live

The former Smiths front man celebrates 25 years as a solo artist with this new Blu-ray.
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Throughout his career, both as the singer of the legendary British alt-pop band, The Smiths, as well as the 25 years he has spent as a solo artist, Morrissey has carved out a niche as one of the most enigmatic and enduring performers to come out of the 1980s. His live shows are musical events, filled with some of the most devoted fans in all of music and performances that are nearly therapeutic in their intensity both for the performer and the fans alike. Just one day after selling out the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Morrissey offered fans a

DeepSoul: LL Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out (MTV Unplugged Version)"

Nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the rapper has always pushed the boundaries of hip-hop.
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Ever since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations were announced on October 16, debate has raged over the worthiest candidates.  One question that many fans have been asking: why is LL Cool J listed among rockers like Nirvana, Yes, and the Replacements?  While younger generations now know him primarily as an actor, LL Cool J is also a pioneer in hip hop for a variety of reasons.  He was the genre's first bonfide superstar and sex symbol.  More importantly, he stands as a pioneer in combining rap with other styles: who else could have recorded rap's first song,

See The Lone Bellow Perform "Green Eyes And A Heart Of Gold" on VH-1

Getting excited about seeing The Lone Bellow for the first time on Thursday...
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Thursday is going to be a big day for me, amigos. It's payday and I'm hitting the 'Ham to see The Lone Bellow at Workplay Theater. I've heard such good things about this venue but have yet to see a show there. I've more than heard good things about The Lone Bellow, I've said them. This will be my first chance to see this trio live and excited doesn't even begin to describe it. Their self-titled debut is one my most listened to albums of 2013 and continues to reward me each time I play it again, which I do

Toad The Wet Sprocket Recreate The Magic on 'New Constellation'

It's so good to be here with my old and familiar friends...
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Brendan Benson summed up my feelings about the first new music from Toad The Wet Sprocket in 17 years: "It's so good to be here with my old, familiar friend..." I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Toad frontman Glen Phillips upon the release of his excellent, experimental Secrets Of The New Explorers EP during which he graciously discussed his post-Toad solo work as well as the ongoing relationship with the band he helped found. At that time, TTWS toured regularly, playing for a fan base that never forgot them. I asked a question that included the phrase "new
We've gotten sporadic again with our loved and beloved Friday We're In Love (With The Cure) piece and I take full responsibility. I've been hiding out in a bit of a funk I've been in denial about, listening to my fair share of The Cure in the meantime, which is what we should all do when the melancholy mood strikes. Robert and company have been keeping their eye on me, specifically Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and The Top. My next week's pick comes from the latter but today we're discussing "Sugar Girl" off Kiss Me x 3. Because of album time restrictions, Kiss Me came with a limited

CD Review: Paul McCartney - New

Sir Paul's latest mixes old and new touches with great results.
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For Paul McCartney's new album, appropriately titled New, he worked with four producers with the intent on finding one he liked and finishing the record with that person. What McCartney didn't envision was liking them all equally -- but he did -- and so Paul Epworth, Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns and Giles Martin all have credits on the album. As all four producers have very diverse styles and credits from artists ranging from Adele to Kula Shaker to Ryan Adams to Duran Duran, it's not surprising that McCartney's album is very diverse as well, but then again, so were The

DVD Review: Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers Live

A classic show from the reunion of the Mk II lineup.
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While every band seems to reunite these days, the 1984 reunion of Deep Purple's famed Mk II lineup was a major event in the music world. Rock and roll still dominated the charts and, after 11 years apart, fans welcomed the "Smoke On The Water" lineup of the band with open arms. During their time apart, Deep Purple briefly continued on with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes handling vocals, singer Ian Gillan had a solo career along with a stint in Black Sabbath and Ritchie Blackmore had great success with Rainbow. Still, Mk II's chemistry was undeniable and, after 11
Up until now my picks have been fairly easy to make.  There is almost always a stand-out that I want more than all the rest.  This week, however, has taken me a long time to decide.  That's kind of dumb, I know.  It isn't like when I make my pick someone sends it to me for free, or that I get my picture along with my pick gets hung up in Times Square or some such thing.  I mean it does get plastered onto this site and I am open to ridicule but we're not yet big enough for that

DeepSoul: Maysa - "Higher Love"

Equally versatile in jazz and R&B, Maysa remains an underrated vocalist with a rich vocal style.
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Contempoary jazz fans may know singer Maysa best from her guest turns with Incognito.  However, she has also recorded stellar solo albums that showcase her honey-dipped vocals.  Mixing jazz with contemporary R&B, Maysa's unique voice demonstrates her versatility and warmth.  Her 2008 album Metamorphosis exemplifies her sophisticated style, most notably with the track "Higher Love." Originally from Baltimore, Maysa (nee Leak) earned her first big break after auditioning for Steve Wonder's backing group Wonderlove.  She appeared on Wonder's soundtrack to Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, and toured with the group to promote the film.  In 1991 friend Steve Harvey, a producer,

CD Review: New Model Army - Between Dog And Wolf

Post punk veterans expand their sound on their latest release.
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In the four years since their last album release, New Model Army went through a tumultuous period, having had their manager pass away, their studio burning down (with the rest of their gear being stolen, no less) and their bassist, Nelson, leaving the band. The group was, in many ways, forced to start over. New bassist, Ceri Monger, who at age 26 wasn't even born when the band first formed, has breathed new life into the group with his groove-oriented playing and the band decided to take a new approach musically as well. Drenched in lush keyboards and tribal drums,
Like a lot of people, my first exposure to Devo was on Saturday Night Live in October, 1978. I was pretty young, and had no frame of reference, yet their version of "Satisfaction" knocked me out. As a teenager in the sticks 50 miles outside of Seattle, anything new or different at the time was considered "punk," and Devo definitely were new and different. I bought their debut album, and enjoyed it, but by the time of their breakthrough hit "Whip It," I had moved on. From the outside, you could tell that there was some sort of underlying "theme" with

CD Review: James Booker - Classified: Remixed And Expanded

The late piano genius' final album, remixed and expanded
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As New Orleans musicians go, James Booker would certainly be at or near the top. A contemporary of Dr. John, among others, the self-proclaimed "Bronze Liberace" played on albums by a diverse group of artists ranging from Ringo Starr to Fats Domino to Maria Muldaur. He also served as a mentor for a young Harry Connick Jr. Booker was not without his demons, however. Long-term struggles with drugs and alcohol indirectly contributed to his death from renal failure at age 43 and he struggled with mental illness as well. His music remains timeless though and Booker has amassed a growing

DeepSoul: Ann Peebles - "I Can't Stand the Rain"

This slice of sultry soul remains as hypnotic today as it did in 1973.
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One of the most original R&B tracks released during the 1970s, "I Can't Stand the Rain" has been covered and sampled by innumerable artists.  It solidified singer and songwriter Ann Peebles' starring role on Hi Records, on a par with labelmate Al Green.  Indeed, the slow-burner "I Can't Stand the Rain" can be seen as a female version of Green's soulful and spiritual songs. Born in St. Louis, Peebles grew up singing in her father's church choir.  As a teenager, she pursued secular music, performing in nightclubs under the careful supervision of her minister dad.  Her big break came in

Music Review: CBGB Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The soundtrack to the film works, even with some unusual choices.
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I have yet to see the film CBGB (2013), but the reviews I have read have so far been a mixed bag. There is no question about the soundtrack though, it is terrific. Over the years, there has been a lot of debate as to what the contents of the perfect punk rock mix-tape would be. There is plenty of room for debate among the 20 songs chosen for the CBGB soundtrack. Please note, this collection is (almost) "All-American," no Saints or Clash, the only "foreigners" present are The Police with "Roxanne." Go figure, there are odd choices galore here. The
The quintet on Skol is led by Oscar Peterson (piano), but for my money the violin of Stephane Grappelli and guitar of Joe Pass are just as important. The quintet is rounded out by bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and drummer Mickey Roker. The occasion was a concert in Copenhagen, on July 6, 1979. As part of the ongoing 40th anniversary of Pablo Records, a remastered edition of Skol has just been released. This new Skol also includes three previously unreleased bonus tracks from the concert. With such an all-star cast, it is really kind of silly to pick out certain
In 2000 singer/songwriter was set to release her third studio album, Silver Bell, but then the her record label shelved it.  It was one of those big corporate buy outs that did it.  Universal bought Griffin's label A&M and didn't quite know what to do with her, or the album.  She tells the story of sitting at a meeting with Jimmy Iovine, the executive who had taken over where he told her she had yet to make a good album.  So the album sat, never to be released.  Or so it seemed for 13 years. Since that time the album

Hit Parade: Lorde - "Royals"

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Pop music is a young people's game. After a couple week's of her (surprisingly solid) "Wrecking Ball" atop the charts, the 20-year-old Miley Cyrus has been replaced by the 16-year-old Lorde and her song "Royals." I picked up this information through osmosis, for the record. I have not heard any of Lorde's music. I think she is from New Zealand, where Peter Jackson, director of beloved movies such as Dead Alive and the King Kong remake, and I know she is but a child. She was on Fallon the other day, but I did not watch, for reasons I am

Waylon Jennings and Old 97s is the New Music Pick of the Week

It's New Music Tuesday: what are you looking for?
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When I tell people that I like country music it always comes with a disclaimer.  I like real country music, the old stuff, the real stufff.  Music by folks like Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, not this new fangled Nashville crap thats more pop than country.  I'm probably a little more defensive about it than I ought to be, but there is a distinct difference between what is considered country now and the type of country I like.That country, the music that does speak to me, isn't just pop music with a steel guitar added as an after thought, its