September 20, 2008

New contest :: Brian Wilson’s Lucky Old Sun (vinyl)

Brian Wilson returned last month with a new album, the sunny citrus-bedecked That Lucky Old Sun. In the 4-star Rolling Stone review, David Fricke refers to the music of Wilson and the Beach Boys as “healing.”

I paused over that word and rolled it around several times in my head. I’ve decided that Fricke’s simple summation is one of the best descriptors of Brian Wilson projects that I’ve ever read, and one of the reasons for Wilson’s perennial popularity. The sun-dappled melodies, the luminous harmonies — I’ll never grow tired of letting them wash over me, and never realized before how they do heal a little bit of the brutality of life.

We’ve got three sweet prizes to give to three readers:
* One limited-edition 180 gram vinyl copy of the new record
* One 7″ vinyl single of “Midnight’s Another Day”
* One copy of the new album on CD, for the turntable-less

So if you want to enter, please leave me a comment specifying which of the three you’d want (vinyl, 45 single, or CD), and I’d love to hear about your favorite moment in a Beach Boys/Brian Wilson song. Contest will end Wednesday.

In the meantime, you can stream the album here, and be sure to watch the lovely video of Brian’s appearance on the fabulous Black Cab Sessions in London (with all five of his band members wedged in there with him!). Listen to how lovely those acoustic harmonies sound whilst zipping around the streets of foggy Londontown:

That Lucky Old Sun (Black Cab Sessions) – Brian Wilson

My favorite collection of Beach Boys songs is still probably the unvarnished purity of those 1967 rehearsals that Justin posted a few years back. The stripped arrangements let their voices shine in a near-celestial way.

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  • When I was a kid I remember singing along with my baby sitter. I was soo in love with her. I must have been 10. She would come over and crank up the stereo. She brought her own 45′s and played them all night. Beach Boys was who we first danced to.

    I’d love a copy of the Vinyl. Thanks for the stream. This is going to be a nice Saturday.

    nick bahula is dead — September 20, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  • My favorite Brian Wilson moment is (on the dvd, An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson) when, after hearing an amazing array of people pay tribute to him, Brian himself sings “Love and Mercy.” It is a nearly a religious experience and one that can bring me to tears.

    And one that got rarer, I guess. When I looked up the correct title for the disc on Amazon, I found that it has apparently gone out of print and that used copies sell in $100 range.

    Todd — September 20, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

  • When I was a junior in high school, a good friend and I (along with our moms) took a Spring Break trip to LA. Because it was my first, and so far only, visit to California, I was so excited that I made a “California mix” CD for us to listen to. I think it consisted of approximately 75% Beach Boys songs, and we wore that thing OUT. I still can’t listen to “California Girls” or “Kokomo” without closing my eyes and imagining us cruising down the LA highways (or more accurately, sitting in standstill traffic for hours), goofing around in the shops on Rodeo Drive pretending like we could afford it, or planning and scheming every night places to go to meet movie stars. There’s nothing like soundtracking a trip to help keep the memories alive.

    By far my favorite Beach Boys song (and one of my favorite all-time songs) is “God Only Knows.” It may be cliche, but it’s one of the most pure, naive, and beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard. The melody and harmonies still give me chills every time I hear it. Pet Sounds is a masterpiece, and “God Only Knows” is a tune I can listen to over and over again.

    allison — September 20, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  • oh yeah… and I’d LOVE either of the vinyls! (if I win. but you know, the CD would be cool too. just whichever.)

    allison — September 20, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  • OH I'd love love love that 7" vinyl!

    I have so many fave BBs & Brian Wilson moments, but one has to be that little connector between "H&V" and "Roll Plymouth Rock" on BW presents SMiLE. It's those little tiny bits that are such a huge part of Brian's genius, IMO.

    Jeff — September 20, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

  • Vinyl vinyl vinyl.

    Jason — September 21, 2008 @ 12:08 am

  • I forgot to leave a Beach Boys moment. When I was a sophomore at Indiana University, I took many music classes, one of them being 'The History of Rock & Roll, '50s, '60s, & '70s.' When it got around to the Beach Boys, our passionate professor portrayed just how much was going on during the song 'Good Vibrations." With chalk on slate he made shorthand notations of what was going on and by the end of the song, during it's peak, his arm were flailing like a madman's trying to keep up with the music. And all of it was done on 4 tracks. Amazing. And the best way to hear that is on vinyl.

    Jason — September 21, 2008 @ 12:13 am

  • There are too many amazing occurrences in the music of Brian Wilson to even count, from the pouncing, energetic bass line in Look (retitled Song for Children on the 2004 SMiLE), to the climactic vocal and string conclusion of Cabin Essence (as close to heaven as you’ll get on Earth), to the sheer beauty and power in his voice upon reciting the word “Domino” in Surf’s Up, a song which perfectly summarizes what he had suffered through because of his genius and disconnect from the demands of society.

    The best moment though, by far, I would have to say is in “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder.” Brian sings “and listen to my heart beat,” which, just in the way it comes out, is already purely angelic. However, what really makes it truly amazing is the fact that it leads into an interlude that is not just symbolic of that lyric, but of Brian’s work in general. The strings in this section alone are enough to move almost anybody to tears. The timpani that concludes the interlude is a perfect representation of the physical heartbeat, but the strings that precede it are the perfect example of the heart that humans think of; the heart that powers our creativity, our passion, our love. Brian is truly inviting the listener to listen to everything, every ounce of creativity in his being, just pour out of the record; maybe motivated by some personal love in the literal sense as described in the song, but probably even moreso by the profound love he has for making not just music, but something that can make an individual feel pure, blissful and euphoric at the same time, which is sadly ironic because he was such a tortured soul himself. I think the pain he felt however allowed him to connect to so much of his audience, and that’s what makes Pet Sounds one of the most painfully personal records of all time, alongside the likes of Plastic Ono Band and the debut Violent Femmes album. Although Tony Asher may have written the final lyrics, Brian basically dictated to him what he wanted the song to be about, which only further proves that Pet Sounds is the perfect document of Wilson’s own struggle to find love, whether literally or through appreciation of his art.

    By the way I want to tell you that your blog is amazing. Many of my friends read it daily. You have amazing taste, from LaMontagne to Springsteen to Fleet Foxes to Wilson. I have yet to find a blogger with tastes so close to mine as you.

    (vinyl is nice ahahaha)

    Sam — September 21, 2008 @ 2:55 am

  • I’ll go for the cd :)

    My fav Beach Boys related moment is singing along to Kokamo with my dad :D


    Chi — September 21, 2008 @ 2:58 am

  • While Pet Sounds will always be one of my all time favorites (and I could go on and on about my actual favorite moments), I’ll weight in with two more recent Brian Wilson faves, just because they both make me laugh:
    1) If you’ve not yet done so, check out the recent video in which Zoey Deschanel interviews Brian at the Hollywood Bowl. He calls her Joey and then after she spends several minutes gushing over him he concludes by saying the interview was nice because “you’re a very pretty girl.”
    2) Playing Vege-tables loudly in my car to tease my 8 year old son – who won’t eat a one!

    No functioning turntable…so I’ll have to vote CD.

    Dan — September 21, 2008 @ 6:21 am

  • it’s got the be the start of California Girls, doesn’t it?
    joy, beauty, brilliance, it’s all there (and that’s because the ‘real’ song actually starts!)
    Brian loves his wee symphonies and this has to be the prettiest one
    everything that makes him so special right there
    now that truly deserves a smile :)

    I’d love the cd should I be selected!

    johan — September 21, 2008 @ 1:52 pm

  • doh!
    I meant to write ‘before’ instead of ‘because’ there

    ah well
    we can’t all be geniuses :D

    Johan — September 21, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

  • I’ve always loved me some Beach Boys ever since I was a kid. I would have to say that Sloop John B is my favorite song of theirs at the moment. Whenever I listen to it, it seems to stick in my head for weeks. It doesn’t really bother me, however. I kinda love it, in fact.

    Vinyl please

    Jared Ro — September 21, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  • Doh x 2. My e-mail address is

    Johan — September 21, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  • Not one part…but the whole song:
    Heroes and Villains from the 1967 rehearsal = I love you, Beach Boys

    I’m all about the vinyl!

    Alex — September 21, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  • I went to see the Beach Boys on the Boston Garden back in, I think, the summer of 1984 … Dennis Wilson had passed during the winter. I had pretty good seats, was digging the music, and felt good enough to buy one of those overpriced concert shirts, that stupid “baseball length,” like 3/4 sleeves, what’s up with that?

    Anyway, I spotted a shirt selling for a discount, like an idiot, I jumped on it and proudly walked away with a shirt … from the tour the year before. Dammit.

    Vinyl rocks.

    Chase in Denver.

    Chase Squires — September 21, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  • hey any chance you could post those rehearsal session?

    Anonymous — September 21, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  • I’d love the vinyl.

    My favorite current Beach Boys/Brian Wilson moment is at the end of “I’m Waiting For The Day” on Pet Sounds where they come back in with “You didn’t think!”. It’s a perfect cap to the song. But picking just one is so hard. Pet Sounds is my very favorite album.

    bshreve23 — September 21, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  • Easily my favorite Brian Wilson moment was seeing him perform Smile in Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve never teared up at a concert before, but hearing “God Only Knows” performed live was like…well, I can’t think of anything on par with seeing Brian Wilson perform “God Only Knows.” And damn right I cried.
    The layered vocals at the end of that song are the pinnacle of pop music orchestration.

    Oh, and I’m in it for the vinyl.

    Thanks Heather!

    JohnnyHank — September 22, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  • The vinyl, absolutely.

    When I heard “Fell Flows” in the film “Almost Famous”, I realized that there was a Beach Boys after “Good Vibrations”. Silly, I know, but I’d never really delved into their catalog post-Pet Sounds, and “Wild Honey”, “Heroes and Villians”, “Feel Flows” and “Surf’s Up” are the kind of tunes that should be as well known as “I Get Around”.

    “Sock it to me, Wild Honey”-easily one of the best lines in the history of rock and roll!

    Lloyd E. — September 22, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  • My favorite moment in Beach Boys music is from one of the countless “Smile Sessions” bootlegs. On my copy of the sessions the Boys do an a Capella rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”. However, they convert all the pronouns to past tense (i.e. You were my sunshine, my only sunshine/You made me when skies were gray…). It’s truly one of the most beautifully haunting, and at the same time mesmerizing things I have ever heard. How they could take a classic that we all know and love and turn it into a soaring dirge for lost love.

    CD would be awesome.

    Brent — September 22, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  • I’m a huge Beach Boys fan and have had the privilege of seeing Brian several times in concert and various rare settings (the taping of the Imagination DVD in St. Charles, IL and post I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times movie screening set featuring Brian and band comprised of Paul Shaffer, the Paley Brothers, Billy West, Don Was and Richard X. Heyman). But push come to shove, maybe my favorite Beach Boys song is one that barely features a Beach Boy. “Sail On, Sailor” is brilliant from start to finish. I love the almost/is it really chorus section. “Seldom stumble, never crumble
    Try to tumble, life’s a rumble
    Feel the stinging I’ve been given
    Never ending, unrelenting
    Heartbreak searing, always fearing
    Never caring, persevering
    Sail on, sail on, sailor”

    I’ve got the vinyl and CD, so I’d love me some of the 7″.


    Kouzie — September 23, 2008 @ 6:22 am

  • i would love to have a copy of the new brian wilson on vinyl!

    my favorite beach boy moment is probably the first time i found “pet sounds” in my uncle’s record collection and put on “i just wasn’t made for these times..”

    i was like 7.. and i couldn’t wait to grow up and get all mixed up and whacked out..

    sergio_101 — September 23, 2008 @ 9:26 am

    I was a big Beach Boys fan as a kid and my love of them has only grown. In the summer of 1977, I was 6 years old and saw them play my first concert at the OKC zoo ampitheater. Since it was 1977, as a 6 year old, my parents let me go to the front of the stage. They played “Good Vibrations” and I felt my chest pounding. Vibrating. I ran back to my parents convinced that this was a magical song. Still is.

    Vinyl preferred.

    Anonymous — September 23, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  • Two of my favorite BB moments are on bootlegs. The first is the vocal sessions for “Been Too Long.” The opening ooh’s before they sing the song’s title is absolutely some of the most magical harmonies they’ve ever recorded, and I’m glad to see a version of the song on Lucky Old Sun. The other is the a-capella tag session for the fade of “Breakaway.” It’s the aahhs that go over the singing of the title. I see a bright white light when I listen to that over and over.

    My concert moment was when I flew from Portland Oregon to San Diego to see Brian do SMiLE. I got to the show just in time, and as I raced down the middle aisle to my seat, I was 10 ft from Brian, and paused to quickly bow down. He looked distracted so I don’t know if he saw me, but I had to do it.
    A Vinyl lp would rule.

    Mark — September 23, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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