June 2012 Archives

X Factor Contestant Rachel Crow Still America's Sweetheart On New EP

She may have gotten jobbed on The X-Factor, but Rachel has landed on her feet with TV and now this EP...
  |   Comments
You may remember Rachel Crow as the cherubic, sassy 14 year-old from last season's The X Factor where she finished fifth amid tears and controversy. An early favorite, Rachel won the hearts of America with her dynamic personality, and sweet yet fierce delivery of songs by the greats such as Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and Etta James. Her ouster was one of if not the most talked about eliminations of the season as it ended with the judges panel in tears, Rachel collapsing to her knees, and Simon Cowell giving America his very best “I hate all of you ninnies”

Celebrating A Quarter Century of World Party

Karl Wallinger's sometime solo project takes on the world.
  |   Comments
Karl Wallinger, as World Party, has released five CDs, a few singles and an EP in twenty-five years. Now, as a late or very early Christmas present, he gives his fans a five-CD set in a spiral-bound notebook with personal notes about each song. Karl is quite the character, musician and artist. I first became aware of him as a member of The Waterboys and considered him a staple of the band, that is, until he left after the second LP. He resurfaced as World Party, Karl with a random set of backing musicians, and as a producer on Sinead

A Happy Wainwright Family Reunion, Town Hall, New York City, May 18, 2012

Loudon celebrates his new release with the people who have inspired him through several LPs.
  |   Comments
Loudon Wainwright III has been a constant fixture in my music collection since 1972, pre and post “Dead Skunk.” Once hailed as one of the “New Dylan’s” along with Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jesse Winchester and others, Loudon has remained the same throughout all the changes in music over four decades – a sarcastic, sometime misogynist, but seldom wrong in his observations – singer songwriter with a clear vision of what he wants to say in his music. This total honesty has cost him three marriages and difficult relationships with family and friends but he has remained true to himself.

Shakura S’Aida - Time...

Things get a little too complicated on S'Aida's latest.
  |   Comments
It’s a bit of throwback, in this era of digital downloads (and rather short attention spans), to release a two-cd set showcasing an artist’s broad array of interests and influences. Brooklyn-born, raised in Switzerland, and now based in Toronto, Shakura S’Aida takes just that brave step with Time …, a thematic collection with the first disc subtitled Time To Rock My Soul, and the second labeled Time For The Blues … S’Aida is blessed with exceptionally powerful pipes and a charismatic presence. She’s worked in World music, is an accomplished actor, and has, for the last few years, appeared at

Booker T And The MGs 'Green Onions' 50th Anniversary Edition Due July 24

A special occasion for a special record...
  |   Comments
Booker T & The MGs' legendary album Green Onions has been remastered by Joe Tarantino and will be reissued in conjunction with its 50th Anniversary as part of the ongoing Stax Remasters Series on July 24. How great and deep is the mighty Stax library that Green Onions wasn't among the earliest albums to be remastered, expanded, and reissued? The title track has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and included in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. Everybody knows this song even if you don't know you know it (which was the case for me for

Billy Boy Arnold - Sings Big Bill Broonzy

A fine and fitting tribute to a giant of the blues
  |   Comments
Billy Boy Arnold seems to be turning into a one-man musical preservation society. Recent projects include a tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson, and Arnold was a key participant in both volumes of  the multi –artist Chicago Blues – A Living History projects that traced the genre’s evolution. Here he turns his attention to another towering figure in the blues, Big Bill Broonzy. Big Bill Broonzy was a major star in his day. Originally from Mississippi, he made his way to Chicago in the 1920’s, gradually drifting from solo acoustic music – folk, blues, spirituals, hokum - to ensemble recordings with

Chris Rene Delivers The Expected On New Single "Trouble"

A feel-good summertime hit...
  |   Comments
Chris Rene finished third on the inaugural season of The X Factor and won our hearts over from his very first audition. The hotly anticipated followup to his mega-popular, star-making song “Young Homie” is finally here, and titled “Trouble.” The song, written by Alex Lambert (Season Nine Semi-Finalist on American Idol), Busbee (Songwriter/Producer Lady Antebellum, Kelly Clarkson, Haley Reinhart), and Jason Bonilla and has been shopped around for several months and even performed by Lambert before being picked up by Rene and Epic Records under the working title “That Girl Is Trouble.”  This is the perfect followup to “Young Homie”

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Arenas and stadiums are no longer safe havens...
  |   Comments
Not since “Macarena” has a song so thoroughly infested sporting events like Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Sure, there are other sporting event staples out there, but they’ve stood the test of time. Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Rednex “Cotton Eyed Joe.” OK, so that last one is awful, but at least it mildly amusing in its awfulness. Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” on the other hand is one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t just lack quality. It isn’t just stupid. It genuinely irritates me to have

Michael "Iron Man" Burks' Final CD 'Show Of Strength' To Be Released Aug. 21

A powerful talent silenced too soon at age 54, Michael Burks will be heard from one final time...
  |   Comments
The blues world is still in shock and a state of mourning after the tragic, unexpected passing of blueman Michael "Iron Man" Burks at the age of 54 and today his label announces plans to release his final album Show Of Strength on August 21. Burks had completed the record and was returning home from a European tour when he collapsed and died at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta on May 6. Burks' passing comes just as the hard working bluesman was gaining career momentum and traction with a nomination as Guitarist Of The Year at the 2012 Blues
I was recently introduced to the musical wonder and beauty of Michael Kiwanuka when he opened for Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville earlier this month and I haven't been able to stop listening to his wonderful album, available digitally in the US right now with a July 17 release date for the CD. You can also here Home Again on Spotify and there is something badly wrong with you if you don't , something even worse if you pre-order the CD or download the digital edition after hearing it. Here's another chance for you to hear his special blend of

Review: Whitechapel - Whitechapel

Whitechapel's fourth is the culmination of the journey so far.
  |   Comments
Whitechapel’s fourth studio album is the culmination of the Tennessee deathcore band’s journey so far, so it stands to reason that it would be released eponymously. "These songs are some of the best material we have released to date, and the whole vibe of the record compelled us to self-title it," says guitarist Alex Wade. "With every record we strive for something different – we're always going to stay true to what Whitechapel is, but we want to evolve and do something that is fresh and engaging both for ourselves and for the people who support us." Wade, along with

The Soul Of John Black Turns Up The Heat On 'A Sunshine State Of Mind' EP

The first two songs from TSOJB's new EP turn up the heat on a hot summer night...
  |   Comments
If I was late to the party on The Soul Of John Black before I'd say I'm a little early to the party this time or at least fashionably right on time. John “JB” Bigham gained notoriety with Miles Davis and Fishbone and is doing a hell of a job carving out a niche for himself with his TSOJB alter ego. In February I reviewed his third album Good Thang (second with Yellow Dog Records which “My Brother” was awarded Best Blues Song Of 2011 at the 11th Annual Independent Music Awards) and I was thrilled with it from essentially

Review: Rockin’ Johnny Band – Grim Reaper

Rockin' Johnny's return to recording fails to register ...
  |   Comments
As a musical genre, the blues sometimes get a bad rep. And as vital and elemental as the form can be, there’s a valid reason why it’s often dismissed as ‘same old same old.’ It is, after all, a rather fixed format. And given its relative simplicity, the blues are relatively easy to play – witness countless unimaginative bar bands murdering the same standard set list, night after night, to less-than-memorable effect. Playing the blues well, though – so that they matter – is another matter entirely. For a time, Rockin’ Johnny Burgin was a youthful fixture on Chicago’s club

Review: Old Crow Medicine Show - Carry Me Back

OCMS return with a collection that looks to the past but refuses to dwell there ...
  |   Comments
Sociologists could no doubt have a field day analyzing the collective impulse behind the ‘return to the roots’ Americana movement. Celebrating old-timey acoustic music, string bands have actually made the banjo cool – no mean feat in an age of overproduced and computer-generated, sampled sound. Together since 1998, Old Crow Medicine Show (OCMS to the initiated) have established a reputation as one of the best of the new breed, with spirited performances and ragged-but-righteous harmonies  applied to songs that sound – tired though the cliché may be – utterly timeless. Carry Me Back, the band’s fourth outing (and first since

The Spring Standards Offer Free Download, Release "Here We Go Again" Video

Multimedia goodies from The Spring Standards...
  |   Comments
We told you all about The Spring Standards' double EP yellow//gold and the band has released an official for one of the tracks -- "Here We Go Again" and are offering a free download of another track, "Watch The Moon Disappear." I fell in love with The Spring Standards when someone played "Drowning In Sobriety," a digital-only bonus track on the iTunes edition of their Would Things Be Different album, in the "It's All Connected" room at Turntable.fm. I immediately downloaded the song and purchased the physical copy of that album along with their prior set No One Will

DeepSoul: Zapp and Roger - "More Bounce to the Ounce"

This '80s band took the "talk box" or vocoder to new, funky heights.
  |   Comments
While the talk box may have been nothing new, the 80s act Zapp and Roger took the technology to new, funky heights. Initially underappreciated, the act gained renewed respect from '90s hip hop artists who frequently sampled their work. In fact, lead singer/keyboardist Roger Troutman lent his computerized vocals to Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur's hit "California Love," even appearing in their Mad Max-themed video. The group met a tragic end in 1999, when brother Larry Troutman shot his brother Roger, then turned the gun on himself. Despite their all-too-brief career, Zapp and Roger's electronic-themed tracks still sound fresh today.

CD Review: Sonny Rollins - The Very Best of Sonny Rollins

A nice sampler but you really need to hear it all when it comes to the great Sonny Rollins...
  |   Comments
Besides John Coltrane, I would have to say that Sonny Rollins is my favorite saxophone player. As part of the new Prestige Records Very Best of series, his work for the label is spotlighted on this new single disc, ten-track collection. Like many of the other artists in this series, I think Rollins did some of his finest work for the label. Albums represented on The Very Best of Sonny Rollins include undisputed classics such as Saxophone Colossus, Way Out West, Freedom Suite, and Tenor Madness (with John Coltrane). Out of a career spanning over 60 years, those four are

Springsteen Isle Of Wight Festival Setlist: June 24, 2012

Springsteen at the famed UK festival...
  |   Comments
Bruce Springsteen brought his Wrecking Ball tour to the Isle Of Wight festival today and as festivals rules were in play, we have a shorter show than much of the European leg of the tour. The one-two of "Atlantic City" and "Because The Night" would have set my soul on fire and I can't begin to fathom how I'd have felt when he segued from them to "Working On The Highway." Bewildered. Betrayed. A dimension of angry I'd never before experienced in my life? I'll tell you what I wouldn't have been: surprised. He'll do it to you every time. I sure
The new Very Best of series from Prestige Records offers an excellent opportunity to hear relatively early material from some of the most legendary figures in jazz. One of the first artists in this series is Miles Davis, who recorded for the label from 1951 to 1956. The Very Best of the Miles Davis Quintet is particularly interesting, as it features most of what would come be known as his first “great” band. The ten tracks on this single CD feature almost the full group who would record the legendary Kind of Blue in 1959. Besides Miles, the quintet includes

Bruce Springsteen Manchester UK Setlist - June 22, 2012

Hits and misses as the 'Wrecking Ball' tour rolls along...
  |   Comments
There's a lot of laziness going. I once again skipped a Springsteen show set list because he didn't care enough to make it interesting and I didn't care enough to write about it but tonight is different because our good friend Aaron McMullan was in attendance at tonight's show and because there are actually a few songs in the set list that make this one worth further consideration. I would have been ready to knife myself two songs in when "No Surrender" comes out but let's skip past that and look at the run that includes "Spirit In The Night,"

Nick Moss Stirs Up 'Late Night' Magic On Don Odell's Legends (Video)

A Flip Top classic gets an extended workout...
  |   Comments
"Late Night Saint" is one of my favorite Nick Moss songs, recorded with one of his classic Flip Tops lineups -- featuring Gerry Hundt, Willie Oshawny, and the late Bob Carter -- for the Play It 'Til Tomorrow album. Eddie Taylor Jr. guested on the cut, providing rhythm guitar, something that great Flip Tops lineup didn't have when they traveled. I always chalked that up as one of the reasons I never got to hear this one live when seeing the band. Welcome to 2012 and the new lineup of Moss' backing band, featuring Michael Ledbetter on second guitar and

Gary Clark Jr - "When The Sun Goes Down" (SXSW Live)

A powerful performance of a great, slow blues...
  |   Comments
I fell in love with the sound of electric guitar at an early age and have been fascinated by the pioneers and virtuosos who have traveled the galaxy with only six strings. The upshot of this is while I'm predisposed to love the guitar gods, I've heard enough of them and their various tricks and am a bit more difficult to impress. There are tons of guys with chops who can shred, tap, and bend the strings or make the guitar sound like anything but a guitar but far fewer who speak through their instrument, making you feel something

Omar And The Howlers - 'I'm Gone'

Don't let the title mislead - Dykes is here to stay!
  |   Comments
The title might be a bit misleading on this one – it’s rather hard to imagine Omar Dykes going anywhere other than on to the next gig. He’s been a professional musician for some fifty years now, and I’m Gone is billed as a celebration of that rather significant milestone. Judging by the impassioned yet unforced performances here, Dykes probably couldn’t live long without making music in some fashion.  Regarding his latest, he says, “This is my 50th year of playing music, so I just did what I wanted to do. There’s a little bit of everything I like on

Jazz Review: Sara Gazarek - Blossom & Bee

This young jazz vocalist is impossible to ignore.
  |   Comments
“I’ve always seen myself more as an interpreter of lyrics,” says Sara Gazarek. “I’ve never been drawn to flashy vocal gymnastics, so I naturally fell in love with the simplicity of her voice and delivery.” The “her” that Gazarek, the energetic and crystalline jazz singer you should be listening to, is one Blossom Dearie. An incorrigible jazz legend with get-up-and-go in spades and a kind-hearted but acerbic tone that could sink a million ships, Dearie was one of the last distinguished supper club singers. Her ability to entertain was second-to-none and Gazarek seems to be following in her footsteps eagerly.

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Starship's "We Built This City"

We all know it's bad but is it really *that* bad?
  |   Comments
When I was in high school, there was a grassroots campaign to get Starship’s “We Built This City” to be our class song. I was all in favor of it, because even at the time I realized that a high school graduation isn’t something that deserves reverence, and because the other two choices were Green Day’s “Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)” and Eve 6’s “Here’s to the Night” and both of those songs are awful. Unfortunately Eve 6 won out, but since it was a vote held by kids I’m not going to get annoyed with the people that

Dexys Achieve Flight On Wondrous 'One Day I’m Going To Soar'

The magic happens on Dexys first new album in 27 years...
  |   Comments
There used to be a tiny record shop about half a pint’s walk from the Clyde Tavern in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, just across the road from the railway station, not far at all from the place where you used to be able to buy snake-in-a-bap, if a certain Andy Mooney was to believed (and he was not). For a period of about four or five months shortly after I turned eighteen I’d be stood in that record shop every other Thursday, one arm held out afore me with a fistful of Jobseekers Allowance burning at the end, the other hand

Springsteen Catches 'Fire' In Montpellier, France: June 19, 2012 Setlist

Two tour premieres in tonight's stop in France...
  |   Comments
Bruce Springsteen cut back a bit on the folks in Montpellier, France, this being the first setlist under 30 songs in quite some time. It's been awhile since we've convened to discuss Springsteen setlists because he finally played a set so unimaginative I couldn't bring myself to care. I was so over it, I skipped the next one on general principle. The tedium is well-represented in tonight's show but there are also some cool moments and we'll hit on both. First the good: the tour premiere of "Growin' Up" and "Fire," the latter of which allegedly took a couple of tries

Music Review: Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking 24K + Gold Compact Disc

Restoring the power to a classic album...
  |   Comments
There is a piece of home video footage included in Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam film Twenty (2011), which says a lot. It was a shot backstage prior to a late-eighties Jane’s Addiction concert in Seattle, and just about every future “grunge” superstar is there. For a number of reasons, Jane’s were never considered a grunge band. But as this footage makes clear, their album Nothing’s Shocking was a huge influence on the whole scene. Even though it did not sell huge numbers initially, the album was recognized as an instant classic by those who did hear it. At the time,

Fiona Apple Adds Second US Leg To 'Idler Wheel' Tour

Apple extends tour in support of new album...
  |   Comments
Fiona Apple's incredible new album The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, her first new music in seven years, is in stores today and is getting rave reviews and now she has announced a second leg to her tour in support of it. I'm devastated because she is playing the best venue in the world and the only seat I can get is behind a pole at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. This next leg will take her out west and across the southeast again and
It's been seven years since the bizarre saga that culminated with the release of Fiona Apple's third album Extraordinary Machine. The genesis and recording of The Idler Wheel, her fourth album, doesn't have the same strange backstory but nothing has followed a linear path for Apple since she burst onto the scene with her magical debutTidal. It's difficult to tell how aware she is about the way she's perceived in some corners. It's easy to label her as odd, quirky, or batshit loony some or all of which may be true but it's inspiring when an artist refuses to allow external forces to dictate

Morrissey Announces 33-Date N. American Tour: Could This Be The End?

British icon says he plans to retire in two years...
  |   Comments
Legendary singer Morrissey has announced a 33-date N. American tour for the fall that kicks off in Boston on Oct. 5. The British icon who rose to fame as lead singer of The Smiths before embarking on a successful solo career. His most recent solo album Years of Refusal was released in 2009, so this presumably is a Greatest Hits tour and it's been suggested in some quarters he might be nearing the point of calling it a career as a touring performer. He has also hinted at playing new and unreleased songs as part of the jaunt but there's been no

DeepSoul: Raphael Saadiq- "100 Yard Dash"

This 2008 track provides a lesson in writing joyful, catchy pop with a healthy dose of old school soul.
  |   Comments
Who knew that one-third of the late 80s/90s R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! would become the torch bearer for Motown soul? Indeed, Raphael Saadiq has reinvented himself as an R&B crooner in the old school style, emulating 1960s-era soul while adding a contemporary spin to such tracks. His 2008 album The Way I See It reignited his career while turning a new generation on to Detroit's 60s musical renaissance. While choosing one track from a stellar disc presents a challenge, the second single, "100 Yard Dash," truly exemplifies The Way I See It's tone and represents a well-crafted soul/pop song.

Cat Power To Release 'Sun' Sept. 4, Free Download of Album Track "Ruin" Available Now

First album of Cat Power originals in six years...
  |   Comments
Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) will release her first album of new material in six years when Sun is issued September 4, according to a video announcement from the singer released today and you can download a track from it free via her web site. Marshall often takes on the role of song interpreter and has released albums of covers, which is what her 2008 release Jukebox was. Sun is the first album of originals since her mesmerizing The Greatest in 2006. I have spent hours upon hours listening to the title track of that record as well as "Lived

Red Hot Chili Peppers Prep 18 Previously Unreleased Songs For Vinyl, Digital Release

The first of nine releases planned for Aug. 14
  |   Comments
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are clearing out the vaults from the sessions for their most recent effort I'm With You with the release of 18 songs that didn't make the cut, releasing them digitally and on vinyl over the course of the year. The songs will be released two at a time on 7" vinyl as well as digital downloads, "Strange Man" and "Long Progression" being the first set for release on August 14. The second and third releases are slated for release September 11 and October 2, respectively. The titles of those releases have been announced with "Magpies"

Bruce Springsteen Discusses 'Wrecking Ball' In Brand New Digital Film, Continues European Tour

The stories behind the songs go well beyond the current economic turmoil...
  |   Comments
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are continuing their trek across Spain (playing the longest set of his career last night in Madrid) and occasionally playing elsewhere in Europe. Springsteen is promoting the solo album he released earlier this year, Wrecking Ball, and has now released a short interview/documentary film about the themes of the record and why they continue to resonate with him and recur in his work. The rock icon no longer achieves the same commercial success he did at the different peaks in his 40 year career, but this latest album has been largely well

Review: Bachman & Turner - Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC

The Canadian classic rockers return with a sizzling live album.
  |   Comments
After the seeming career suicide of leaving The Guess Who at the height of their popularity, many likely figured Randy Bachman’s days on rock radio were numbered. Bachman’s second act was not to be taken lightly, however, as a few short years later, he returned with C.F. Turner to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive. BTO’s music dominated the airwaves in the 1970s and many of their songs are still staples of classic rock radio. Much like The Guess Who, they’ve reunited in various forms over the years and, much like The Guess Who, they have legal issues with ex band mates over

Music Review: John Coltrane - The Very Best of John Coltrane

A sampler at Coltrane's Prestige era...
  |   Comments
The list of jazz legends who recorded for Prestige in the '50s is very impressive. Among the plethora of talent the label boasted were John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery, and Chet Baker. The Very Best of is a new, budget priced series from the label, and each title works as an excellent sampler of the featured artist.  John Coltrane began his solo career with Prestige, as a sideman with Miles Davis. As surprising as it may seem, ‘Trane was a bit self-conscious in the beginning. It took the belief of Prestige Records founder Bob Weinstock, to
There is a remarkable beauty in the music of Les Scott, aka Neu Gestalt over the course of his extraordinary new release Weightless Hours. Three years have passed since the debut of Neu Gestalt, the nearly pure electronica of Altered Carbon. With Weightless Hours, Les Scott has created an album of almost indescribable beauty. His use of field recordings, such as that of the rain and other elements, in conjunction with more traditional instrumentation puts Weightless Hours squarely in the realm of what is generally referred to as “electro-acoustic” music. It is a recording with a haunting ambiance that I

Book Review: The Cusp of Everything by Laura Huntt Foti

The "book with soundtrack" attempts to place the reader firmly in 1975 by incorporating song links throughout the story.
  |   Comments
Thanks to today's technology, a “book with a soundtrack” has become a reality. Streaming media services like Spotify, the ability to purchase music via iTunes, and wifi-enabled e-readers such as Kindle Fire and the iPad allow for an interactive reading experience using multimedia. Author Laura Huntt Foti attempts to exploit this technology in her novel The Cusp of Everything, a 1970s coming of age tale that integrates a complete 70s soundtrack. Foti claims that The Cusp of Everything is “perhaps the first” book with a soundtrack; however, the concept actually has existed for some time. In fact, ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby"

Go buy "Under Pressure" instead...
  |   Comments
Vanilla Ice is one of the most ridiculous people in the history of time. I almost feel compelled to declare that a fact rather than an opinion. It is hard to separate the song “Ice Ice Baby” from all the goofiness surrounding it and the man behind it. Granted, some of that ridiculousness finds its way into the song itself, but there is so much more absurdity surrounding Mr. Robert Van Winkle. I mean, just the name Vanilla Ice is amusingly inane. Sure, he wanted to broadcast himself as a white rapper (and his reworking of Wild Cherry’s “Play that

Toronto Blues Indie Roundup: Cameo Blues, The 24th Street Wailers

Two fine releases that maintain that all-important 'feel' while expanding upon the blues ...
  |   Comments
Another pair of indie  releases from Toronto-based bands … both superb recordings that start with and expand upon classic forms, with the results fresh and undeniably, inescapably vital … The 24th Street Wailers – Unshakeable For a bunch of twenty-somethings working in a genre that typically reveres its elders, Toronto’s 24th Street Wailers are generating a lot of buzz. They’re definitely not the typical blues band – featuring a female drummer/vocalist (Lindsay Beaver) and guitarist (Emily Burgess) who compose all the band’s tunes, the lineup also includes sax man Jonathan Wong and bassist Michael Archer. The band’s sound is rough

Magical Musical Discovery: Singer/Songwriter Michael Kiwanuka Wins Over Nashville

I went expecting one thing and found something else...
  |   Comments
Dear BlindedBySound Diary, I'm sorry I don't have a proper review or a news item what I want to share with our dear and beloved readers but there is something what's on my mind for to share with them all. I finally had the profound life experience of witnessing Gary Clark Jr. in concert in Nashville the other night and it was everything I hoped it would be, something I didn't fully capture in my retelling of the night; it was a wonder beyond words. What I also didn't get to tell was the new musical discovery I made that

The Magic Of Michael Kiwanuka

  |   Comments
Dear BlindedBySound Diary, I'm sorry I don't have a proper review or a news item what I want to share with our dear and beloved readers but there is something what's on my mind for to share with them all. I finally had the profound life experience of witnessing Gary Clark Jr. in concert in Nashville the other night and it was everything I hoped it would be, something I didn't fully capture in my retelling of the night; it was a wonder beyond words. What I also didn't get to tell was the new musical discovery I made that

Review: Curren$y - The Stoned Immaculate

An inopportune festival of excess.
  |   Comments
New Orleans rapper Curren$y is under the bright lights with The Stoned Immaculate, his eighth studio album since 2009, and he has the talent to use the opportunity to get his message out to the world. It’s just too bad said message is extraordinarily uninspiring, misogynistic and unoriginal. The inexhaustible artist, also known as "Spitta," was born Shante Scott Franklin and dropped into the rap game as a member of the 504 Boyz on Master P’s No Limit Records. This was back in 2002. After moving around labels and guest-spotting on tracks by the likes of Lil' Wayne and C-Murder,
We have another week of huge new releases- more than I can possibly hope to cover in any depth but we need to highlight a few of them. We have Dexy's (Midnight Runner) and their new album One Day I'm Going to Soar and new albums from Grace Potter And The Nocturnals, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Pat Metheny, Josh Turner, Albert Castiglia, and Ed Sheeran. At least one of my nieces won't forgive me if I don't mention the new Usher record. And then there's that new album from Rush. Rush fascinates me. Their work is imbued with so many of the

Movie Review: The Chemical Brothers - 'Don't Think'

As close to being at a Chemical Brothers show as a movie can get.
  |   Comments
Many concert films combine performances with interviews, documentary elements, and behind-the-scenes footage to help audiences get to know the artist. The Chemical Brothers' first concert film Don't Think does not contain any of these things. Instead, it aims to replicate the experience of attending a Chemical Brothers show. Directed by longtime collaborator Adam Smith, it is as exhilarating and trippy as the real thing. Filmed at the 2011 Fujirock Festival in Japan, Don't Think features multiple perspectives to really put you in the show. Cameras are seemingly everywhere. While several cameras are situated within the audience, overhead shots are avoided

Review: Rush - Clockwork Angels

Rush outdoes themselves on the 20th album of their legendary career...
  |   Comments
It's astounding when you think of it: one of the greatest "prog rock bands" in history waited until their 20th studio album in their fourth decade of existence to record their first "concept" album. The elements of the concept album have been staples of their sound -- epic song lengths, complicated, possibly esoteric storylines, etc -- but Clockwork Angels is their first attempt at the conceit so common among bands considered their peers. That's all fine and good but let’s get something straight from the outset: the story is, by far, secondary to the music of Clockwork Angels.  It’s obvious upon that

DeepSoul: Minnie Riperton - "Memory Lane"

The 1979 track represents the late singer's gift for using her wide-ranging voice to evoke emotion.
  |   Comments
One of the wonderful aspects of soul music is the diverse styles within the genre. One category is what I call organic soul, a sound that evades easy definition. For me, organic soul strips the music to its bare essence, evoking a warm, homespun feeling. Seventies R&B transformed this into an art form, and the best practitioner of organic soul remains Minnie Riperton, the five-octave songstress who you could imagine experiencing every emotion she sang about, that she felt just as comfortable being a mother as she did onstage. Tragically, she died from cancer at only 31, but she left

Gary Clark Jr. Rocks Nashville After Bonnaroo 2012 Matinee

Gary Clark Jr. tears up two Tennessee stages on one day...
  |   Comments
Gary Clark Jr. and his band played a blistering set for a packed house in Nashville a few hours after playing a matinee at something called Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester, TN, which I'm told is one of the largest music festivals in the United States. It's been many years since headliners did two-a-days but there wasn't an ounce of evidence to suggest Clark and his band weren't up to the double duty. The set opened with a pair from the Bright Lights EP. "When My Train Pulls In" got an blistering full-band treatment as opposed to the solo version on

Retro Reminiscing: John Lennon – “Watching the Wheels”

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round...
  |   Comments
I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round, I really love to watch them roll. No longer riding on the merry-go-round, I just had to let it go. I think because of my age, I stumbled across the music of the Beatles in a backward sort of way. I got to know Paul McCartney through his work with Wings and John Lennon through his solo music. Recently, I heard this song on the radio on the radio and remembered the mixed emotions that surrounded it.  The song spoke of such peace, of finding one’s place in

Various Artists - Foggy Mountain Special: A Bluegrass Tribute to Earl Scruggs

Believe it or not, the banjo is actually cool!
  |   Comments
It’s an absolute no-brainer, reaally.  Take the single most influential banjo player of all time, recently passed (Scruggs died in 2012 at the age of 88), gather the cream of a new generation, backed by an absolutely impeccable cast of supporting musicians … what could possibly go wrong? True, some would shrink in horror at the thought of a whole album’s worth of banjo-based instrumentals. It's not the most versatile instrument around – the banjo's tone doesn’t vary much, and the strings can’t be bent to add shading and nuance the way a guitar’s can.  All too often, the only

Book Review: Robert Greenberg - How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History Culture, and Heart

Greenberg provides us the tools for identifying the basic elements of music and learning to appreciate genres we feel can be too intimidating.
  |   Comments
As Robert Greenberg writes in his book How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart, “we can't go outside the box unless we first perceive the existence of the box.” Thus I decided to accept the challenge when sent this paperback, part of of the Great Courses class How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. While I feel well grounded in rock and jazz, I admittedly know far less about classical music and opera. With slight ambivalence, I tackled the book, and found that Greenberg's clear yet witty writing style kept me interested

Review: Six Feet Under - Undead

A gruelling record faithful to death metal basics.
  |   Comments
Begun as a side project when vocalist Chris Barnes was fronting Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under has blossomed into a death metal headliner since it first formed in 1993. Undead is the ninth album in what has become a storied career. The band has remained faithful to the death metal basics, as gruelling as that can get at times, and the new record is more of the same destruction and despair. Along with Barnes, Six Feet Under features Rob Arnold (guitars), Steve Swanson (guitars), Jeff Hughell (bassist), and Kevin Talley (drums). Arnold is the newest member of the band and

Ex-Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Bob Welch Dies At Age 66

Police indicate Welch's death likely a suicide...
  |   Comments
Former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Bob Welch was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Nashville home today at age 66. Published reports indicate he left behind a suicide note and died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Many casual fans won't know about the Welch chapter of the band's history and even some of the more devoted might have missed his era, following the blues-soaked Peter Green early years and the commercial mega success of the Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks period that followed. I didn't know about Welch's tenure until I was in college working at a classic rock

Review: Kimbra - Vows

A formidable artist in her own right.
  |   Comments
Probably best known to North American audiences for her part in Goyte’s megahit “Somebody That I Used To Know,” New Zealand’s Kimbra proves she’s a formidable artist in her own right with Vows. Her debut record was released in August of 2011 in her native country and peaked in the top five in New Zealand and Australia. Now, Vows has made its North American release with a special version of the Australian release to help earn her some new fans. Kimbra’s effortless, windswept amalgam of jazz, pop, dance, neo-soul, and world music elements is intoxicating and refreshing. Her work on

Springsteen Milan, Italy Setlist June 7, 2012

We're going to continue until he gets it right...
  |   Comments
Bruce Springsteen resumes his trek across Europe on the Wrecking Ball world tour, stopping tonight in Milan, Italy. We have good news and bad news in this one and we're going to be positive on this Thursday and start with the good. This is now the longest set of the entire tour coming in at 33 songs strong. The good is "Candy's Room" and "The Promise," the latter performed solo piano. The good includes "Spirit In The Night" and "E Street Shuffle" played back-to-back. Good also includes "Darkness On The Edge Of Town." I also love seeing "Cadillac Ranch" in

Fiona Apple Streams "Werewolf" and "Anything We Want" From Upcoming CD 'The Idler Wheel'

Apple gives us another bite or two from her upcoming CD...
  |   Comments
We're all dying with anticipation for June 19 when Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel, her first album in seven years, is released so to make the wait a little easier she has issued two songs from the album for fans to stream. Apple already released the first single from the record, "Every Single Night," and fans can stream it or download from iTunes. I love "Night" and am looking forward to listening to these two new songs repeatedly while I wait for UPS to bring my already pre-ordered copy of  is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping

Mark Knopfler To Release Double Album 'Privateering' in September

Former Dire Straits frontman to issue a 2-CD set for 7th solo album...
  |   Comments
Mark Knopfler will follow up his critically acclaimed Get Lucky with a 2-CD set entitled Privateering on September 3, according to his web site. The complete tracklisting and artwork have been revealed for the set but further details -- first single, tour dates, album producer, and contributors -- have not yet been announced. He may always be most famous for "Sultans Of Swing" and "Money For Nothing" from his Dire Straits days but a bulk of Knopfler's best work has come after he disbanded Straits and gone out on his own. His collaboration with Emmylou Harris, All The Roadrunning,

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Spin Doctors' "Two Princes"

Too much of a bad idea...
  |   Comments
I have two positive memories related to Spin Doctors. One involves Hank Venture asking Dean Venture, “Can’t you hear the road calling little miss, little miss can’t be wrong?” The other involves Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia handing a police officer a cassette tape regarding corruption labeled “Spin Doctors Mixtape.” Also, at the time he’s acting like Serpico. Obviously, the issue here for the Spin Doctors is that neither of these things involves their music. Is there a good reason for that? Let’s let their much maligned but once popular “Two Princes” speak for the band. The premise

Review: Horisont - Second Assault

Big, messy Swedish rock with a '70s kiss.
  |   Comments
Drenched in influences from the late 60s and early 70s, Sweden’s Horisont is ready to crank their maverick brand of fire-breathing whiskey rock into your ears. While they have grasped a very American style to go with their metal chops, the band also integrates the nitty-gritties from characteristic countrymen like Witchcraft and Graveyard. Second Assault, the follow-up to 2010’s Två Sidor Av Horisonten, is a sweltering release that lays down a good buzz for these guys and showcases some damn fine songs. It helps that the band is enormously accomplished, showcasing some marvellous guitar back-and-forth and thrashing away with a killer

Jazz Review: Jazz Punks - Smashups

These Jazz Punks are the real deal.
  |   Comments
The mission statement of Jazz Punks is essentially to draw things together. It’s easier said than done, of course, but with Smashups this Los Angles band manages to tie various musical styles and genres together without sacrificing any integrity. The art not only doesn’t suffer, it benefits. When Jazz Punks hammer a pair of Radiohead tunes to a Billy Strayhorn classic, all of the pieces of music involved benefit from the larger experience. The commonalities between numbers become apparent and the music blends to broaden the net, so to speak. “The key is melding tunes in a way that doesn’t

Review: The Hilliard Ensemble - Quinto Libro di Madrigali

a magnificent realization of the music of Don Carlo Gesualdo...
  |   Comments
The Hilliard Ensemble is a British male vocal quartet who were formed in 1974. Their modus operandi has been to perform early music such as that of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. Of the original lineup, only countertenor David James remains. The other three members are Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Steven Harrold (tenor), and Gordon Jones (baritone).  The quartet have had a long association with the ECM label, which began back in 1987 with the Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah album. The ECM New Series line has been a perfect fit for the Ensemble, as they have enjoyed a number of very

Review: John 5 - God Told Me To

John 5's sixth solo effort showcases his diversity and depth.
  |   Comments
John 5 may be best known for his tenures as guitarists for David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson and currently Rob Zombie, but he’s also quite the prolific solo artist. In fact, God Told Me To is the Michigan-born musician’s sixth solo release. The record proves John 5 as a diverse, slick player with a strong emotional centre. He plays in service of the song and isn’t overly showy, which is a refreshing change for many noodling, flamboyant rock-oriented players. He is also an impressive songwriter, having penned music for soundtracks as well as his releases. The “trouble” with the record
What a fantastic week for new releases! What a terrible week for me to be flat broke! It's tragic. There are so many cool discs coming out and all I can do is add them to my Wishlist. The Beach Boys have reunited for their first album with Brian Wilson, That's Why God Made The Radio. This year marks their 50th Anniversary and all the surviving members of the band have together. Brian is the only Wilson brother remaining and he is joined by Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks. There's another reunion this week, Neil Young
Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials return with their eighth album for Alligator, their first since the 2008 effort Full Tilt. Lil' Ed Williams is the nephew of Blues Hall of Famer J.B. Hutto, a disciple of the great Elmore James. The 14-track set features 13 new songs and they pay tribute to Hutto with a performance of his "If You Change Your Mind." That cut is the highlight of the record and a textbook example of the difference between a bad ripoff or mere cover and inspiration. Williams and his bandmates don't copy, they connect and recreate the magic

DeepSoul: Bee Gees - "How Deep Is Your Love"

Robin Gibb's recent death may have officially ended the Bee Gees, but their legacy lives on.
  |   Comments
Normally I avoid injecting my personal experience into my DeepSoul columns. However, Robin Gibb's recent death hit close to home, as the Bee Gees comprised some of my earliest music listening experiences. Like many kids in the late 1970s, I would play the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and dance in my bedroom. Years later I even bought the soundtrack for the execrable film sequel Staying Alive, strictly because I was still a fan of their music. Even when disco supposedly "died," the Bee Gees' presence remained in hit singles they penned for other artists: "Heartbreaker" by Dionne Warwick; "Islands in

Bruce Springsteen Rocks Rio in Lisbon, Portugal Setlist June 3, 2012

You can Rock In Rio all the way in Portugal...
  |   Comments
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band closed down Rock In Rio…in Lisbon, Portugal. If you are one of those who thought you might hold Rock In Rio in, oh I don't know, Rio De Janeiro, surprise! Well, they do. But that's not this one. I'm sure there's a reason. It might even make sense but you've got me. This being a festival, the set is pared down to 24 songs and Bruce was in a generous mood, frequently taking requests from fans who brought signs to the gig. Three of the songs from the set were sign requests: "She's

Between the Covers: Gillian Welch Covers Lefty Frisell, Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and the Band

I'm gonna go see Gillian Welch soon so I thought I'd play you a few covers.
  |   Comments
In about a week I'm going to see Gillian Welch live and in concert. She's been on my list of folks to see before I die for a long times so I'm super stoked about finally getting there. I actually almost saw her a few years back, but due to some random and strange occurrence I missed them. The way it went down was this: Gillian was opening for Bright Eyes at the Ryman auditorium and so as soon as they went on sale I bought tickets. Then a couple of weeks later I saw that a whole bunch of

Retro Reminiscing: The Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”

I got brass in pocket...and I'm going to use it
  |   Comments
I had the satellite radio on this morning, and "Brass in Pocket" came on. As with most of the songs I feature here, I was transported back in time. On this occasion it was to 1980. I remember seeing the video on MTV, and that may have been before I had ever heard it on the radio. And while Chrissie Hynde in a waitress uniform was interesting, it was these lines I was most struck by:'Cause I gonna make you see/There's nobody else here/No one like me/I'm special so special/I gotta have some of your attention give it to me

Review: Exumer - Fire & Damnation

A return to thrash after 25 years yields rigid results.
  |   Comments
Returning with their first studio album in 25 years, Exumer blows through roughly 33 minutes of German thrash metal on Fire & Damnation. As the follow-up to 1987’s Rising from the Sea, Exumer’s latest is an overly rigid measure of vintage thrash. The band formed in 1985, with Mem V. Stein (vocals) and Ray Mensh (guitar) forging the flames. Exumer fleshed out with T. Schiavo (bass), H.K. (guitar) and Matthias Kassner (drums) and captured popularity in markets as diverse as Brazil and Poland. Their first record, Possessed By Fire, made its debut in 1986 and the band pushed out to

Review: Electric Guest – Mondo

Mondo is not bad...but it doesn't leave much of an impact.
  |   Comments
Mondo, the debut album by Electric Guest, is another pop album produced by the ever present Danger Mouse. It's filled with solid, well-made music...music that doesn't make a major impact. This is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. It just fails to stick with you the way really good albums do. The first single from Mondo,"This Head I Hold," is a wondrous piece of retro ear candy. From the soul-inspired arrangement to vocalist Asa Taccone's distorted falsetto, everything about it is great. Clocking in at just under three minutes, it lasts just long enough for you

Bruce Springsteen San Sebastian, Spain Setlist June 2, 2012

A wet one under Spanish skies with peaks and valleys...
  |   Comments
I guess it was a little damp when Bruce Springsteen brought the E Street Band back to Spain for their show in San Sebastian because Bruce opened things with "Who'll Stop The Rain" before kicking in to the standard opening shell of shows on this tour. "The Ties That Bind" and "Night" slot into a couple of the open slots in the opening that includes the usual assortment of Wrecking Ball songs and "Spirit In The Night" has become something of a staple, which is excellent. "Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?" got played a few times early in the tour

Review: 'Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock 'N' Roll' by Robert Rodgriguez

A most original take on The Beatles' finest album
  |   Comments
The question “What is your favorite Beatles album?” is such a cliché among music fans that I hesitate to use it here. But since the whole point of the new book Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘N’ Roll by Robert Rodriguez is a variation on that (in)famous question, I just had to pose it. The funny thing about this question is that it is never intended to reveal anything about The Beatles. The query is about you, the fan, and what “period“ of The Beatles you prefer. In a way, it is the ultimate musical Rorschach test.  Some people

Buddy Guy's Memoir 'When I Left Home: My Story' An Incredible Journey

It's a memoir, not a tell-all, but Guy tells enough...
  |   Comments
When I Left Home introduces us to Buddy Guy and finds him in a warm, reflective frame of mind as he looks back on a life that took him from plantation life in Louisiana to Chicago where he became a world renowned, influential artist. It doesn't take long for Guy to present readers with the contradictions in his DNA and throughout the rest of the book we see how those contradictions in his personality and life experiences would shape and make his fortunes balancing humility, confidence, and ambition as well as introversion and gregariousness. We learn of a young boy who
Rock ‘n’ roll has been around long enough to give rise to many a legend. From the archetypical tale of a bluesman selling his soul to the devil, to the sheer banality of “The King” found dead on a toilet, there’s no shortage of myth-making material. Chris Price and Joe Harland are British radio producers whose mutual passion for rock ‘n’ roll begat a fast friendship. Price has long harbored a fascination with Gram Parsons, the seminal yet somewhat shadowy “cosmic cowboy” whose body was cremated by his (ex, obviously) manager in one of rock’s more bizarre episodes. And so