June 16, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

Well, the mercury finally crested the mid-80s mark this weekend, just in time for Father’s Day BBQs. I was laughing out loud on a hot Saturday as I discovered the fabulous Tremble.com blog and read his post about the first bare-chested male subway rider signifying that summer is truly here, like a red-breasted robin announcing the spring. Tell me, where else on the web can you read a recounting of a story that includes the sentence: “Say how would you like to get your dance card punched by [fists] Savion Glover and Alfonso Ribeiro? Let’s bring in the noise as well as the funk, except with punches and kicks to the face and kidneys.” It’s terrifically funny reading.

Heck, no bare-chested, bleeding males ’round these parts lately, but some excellent new tunes can be considered almost as good…

The Old Days
Dr. Dog

This song feels eminently summery to me, a shiny new one from Philly’s excellent Dr. Dog (still not the children’s book). We’ve got banjos and sparkling vocals here, all swelling into a Nilsson-worthy symphony. The folks at FADER have seen Dr Dog perform much of their new material live, and wrote that “every new song they played was wilder, thicker, more willing to chop up the jam into smaller jam particles that smash into each other to create a wormhole directly to the best summer of your life.” Can’t complain. Fate is out July 22 on Park The Van — and make sure to catch Dr. Dog on a crazy amount of tour dates in the coming months, including a roll through Denver’s Hi-Dive September 27th.

A Change Is Gonna Come
Ben Sollee

I recently had an intensely-defended (and possibly liquor fueled) argument while in Washington DC about which version of this song was the best, Sam Cooke’s silky original or Otis Redding’s howling soul-filled cover. Now this goes and adds a new facet to the discussion. Ben Sollee is a white guy from Kentucky who takes a wholly good-natured, spirited stab at this formidable song — and unfortunately leaves me cold. I’ve written before that Otis’ version (the side I argued) “fairly drips with aching as [he] sings about the thick swelter of racial oppression in the South. You can almost feel and see the tension, like heat rising up off the August sidewalks.” On the other hand, this sounds like a pleasant skip through the daisies. Sollee is a talented guy though, and I really do like the sweetly dusty acoustic soul in the other tracks I’ve heard off his Learning to Bend (out last week on SonaBLAST! Records).

My Drive Thru

In this golden age of media tie-ins, a shoe company commissions an original song bringing together three artists we like: Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Brooklyn glitter girl Santogold, and Pharrell project N.E.R.D. Whew. Quite the mouthful of folks involved, but I think this works surprisingly well from the opening bell peals, largely because of Pharrell’s funky production and golden touch. I enjoy hearing Casablancas’ drawl over the top of such a dance-ready beat. Santogold says that “working across musical genres was like creating a patchwork where I got to weave together various influences and allow them to co-exist in a fresh and original way.” Now what to do about the Kurt Cobain Chucks?

Bargain of the Century
(song removed, stream it here)
Albert Hammond Jr

And while we’re on the topic of “projects that take away from precious time the Strokes could be spending making new music for us,” let’s also broach the new songs from Albert Hammond Jr that have made their way onto the interwebs in recent weeks. This cut starts with a bit more aggressive drumming than the lackadaisical start of “GfC,” but really, we keep ending up in the same hammock with Al, wine glass on our chest, unable to move with any real gusto in the summer heat. Sounds like we may be in for another collection of laid-back retro-pop melodies with this one. Incidentally I wore my AHJr shirt out to breakfast on Saturday morning (okay, so maybe I’d also slept in it) and I actually got a nod from the IHOP waitress about Al’s new album. I was mostly just excited to find out that I am not the only person in Colorado Springs who would know what that three-bunny silhouette meant. Hammond’s second solo album Como Te Llama is out July 7 on Scratchie.

Soul and Fire (acoustic demo)

Not to be confused with that anthemic “Soul on Fire” from Spiritualized that I posted last week (and cannot stop singing out loud), this demo is the closing track on Sebadoh‘s 15-year reissue of their seminal Bubble and Scrape. The double-disc opens with the original, and closes with this small and humble demo, which sounds like it was recorded at the kitchen table of a mountain cabin, while waiting for water to boil or for snow to quietly stop falling. Barely two minutes, this demo is much less heartless than the album version, as it wanders through thoughts like, “If you walk away we may never meet again,” and aches to a close with a phrase that sits on my chest: “Call me if you ever want to start again.” The reissue is out July 8th on Domino/Sub Pop, and Sebadoh will be performing the album in full at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this July.

[top image via]

March 9, 2007

Rock me, Albert Hammond Jr.

Albert Hammond Jr. kicked off his solo world domination tour last night in San Francisco, apart from The Strokes. Thanks to the futuristic world of supersonic jet travel, Albert touches down in Colorado tomorrow to rock our Tevas off tonight at the Marquis Saturday night (actually, I abhor Tevas, but hey, it’s the Colorado stereotype).

I had a little short-notice contest going for my Colorado brethren and only 2 of you folks were available and hardy enough to enter. I pulled a coin out of my wallet (providentially, no lie, it was a Colorado quarter) and Matt from Colorado College here in town won the loot. Matt, enjoy the show tomorrow night and the booty, and by booty I mean the prizes.
March 7, 2007

Wanna see Albert Hammond Jr. in Denver Saturday night?

In honor of the official US release this week (finally!) of Albert Hammond Jr.’s stellar solo album Yours To Keep, I’ve got a sweet little prize package to give away to one lucky Colorado reader!

Rocky Mountain represent.


A pair of tickets to the show Saturday night at the Marquis Theatre

One signed CD (it’s a fantastic album)

One t-shirt with cute little bunnies frolicking mischievously across your chest

Leave me a comment if you are able to attend the show in Denver and I will pick a random winner on Friday morning. Hammond’s in the midst of a massive tour (dates here) so definitely check him out if you are able, free loot or not!

New bonus track:
Well . . . All Right (Buddy Holly cover) – Albert Hammond, Jr.

October 2, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

Okay, this could be the most entertaining site I’ve come across in a while. Gizoogle.com will translate any website into “jive” (and yes, the silver rims spin on the real page header). So for example, my recent post on Tom Luce becomes the following:

“…A fizzy gutted tha apartment of lead wannabe gangsta Tom Luce (izzy is truly one of tha funky assst & sincerest guys you’ll meet) cuz I put gangsta rap on tha map. They is appear’n at a benefit concert tomorrow nizzay, W-H-to-tha-izzich I am pleazed ta report is sold out. Tom Luce appeared on tha KFOG Spendin’ Show on Monday n tha response ta they upcom’n shizzow has been phenomizzles.”

See, I never knew I had all that in me. Think of all the fun we can have with this site. Aweshizzle.


Cartoon Music For Super Heroes
Albert Hammond Jr.

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. cuts into solo mode with a thoroughly enjoyable upcoming album Yours To Keep. While there is still a Stroke-ing feel to this collection, it is definitely NOT a Strokes record. Someone has been listening to a lot of Beach Boys, and the retro melodic inflections throughout this album are a very nice touch. Guest artists include fellow Stroke Julian Casablancas, Ben Kweller, Sean Lennon, and Jody Porter (of Fountains of Wayne), so the flashback goodness is not totally unexpected. The album comes out October 9th in the UK on Rough Trade Records, and in Europe & Japan later this year. We Americans must wait until further, unspecified notice for our release. You can stream three more tracks from the album on his MySpace to sate you.

Crazy (Patsy Cline, live cover)
Fiona Apple
On 6/28/02 Fiona Apple played one of her covers-filled sets at the Largo in Los Angeles. I can only find a middling-quality version of a few songs, but man, does she work them. Two Patsy Cline covers – this bang-up sultry version of “Crazy” (originally by Willie Nelson), and “Walkin’ After Midnight”, as well as “Cry Me A River” (Julie London) and “Half As Much” (George Jones). If anyone knows where I can get a clean copy of this or other Largo sets, please let me know! In the meantime, here are three other songs from a 2003 Largo show, including a Buddy Holly cover with Jon Brion.

She Does
This unsigned Brooklyn band (originally from Wisconsin) rips through song after song of spot-on 1960s rock, but with a gritty punk edge that recalls the Libertines or even some of the aggressive recent riffs of the Arctic Monkeys. It’s sloppy guitars, handclaps, and harmonies throughout, and they’ve even got a McCartney lookalike (pic, right). Their MySpace has several other tracks for download. They’ve opened for everyone from John Vanderslice to OK Go to The Dandy Warhols, and they score points with me for their spirited reinvention of the best of the British Invasion. A fun romp, from their upcoming Don’t Make Me Wait album (out Nov 21, preorder coming next week on their website. In the meantime, get their 2005 EP here).

So Weird
Veruca Salt
Stereogum posted this mp3 a few weeks ago, reminding us all that Veruca Salt (well, part of Veruca Salt — Nina Gordon left to pursue her softer side in music) is still here and ready to rock and squeal and yowl your socks off with their particular brand of kickass girl rock. Released a few weeks ago (on the Sympathy For The Record Industry label), IV picks up satisfactorily where Resolver left us 6 years ago. It’s a solid, sexy effort overall, and I’m glad to see them back.

No Complaints
I am so glad that we have Beck to do what he does and fill the uniquely funky & diverse musical niche that he occupies. I am not aware of any other albums that sound like Beck’s ambitious productions. On this thrumming acoustic guitar jam with the standard trippy lyrics about spaceships and factory radiation, Beck is back in fine style. When the mothership comes, he will be ready to kick it with the Mr. Roboto sounds and garbled electronic affects that he is so fond of. The Information comes tomorrow on Interscope.

I have a rager of a head cold today and I’m thinkin’ that staying up til 2:30am last night certainly didn’t make me feel any better this morning. I am considering inserting a home IV drip of orange juice, or maybe buying Emergen-C in bulk.

Wish me luck and be patient with updates. I have a lot to say, but little clarity of mind with which to say it.

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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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