Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May... Showers?

A mix for a May that has seen seemingly endless rain of late.

1) Josh Ritter - To The Dogs or Whoever (Live @ 930)
2) C C R - Long As I Can See the Light
3) Jimi Hendrix - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live)
4) Jackie Greene - About Cell Block #9
5) The Staple Singers - Slow Train
6) Bob Dylan - Day of the Locusts
7) Loudon Wainwright III - I Am the Way
8) Iris DeMent & John Prine - In Spite of Ourselves
9) John Prine - Long Monday
10) Bob Schneider - Blow Me Back to You (Live)
11) Bob Dylan - Beyond the Horizon
12) Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen
13) dEUS - Nine Threads
14) Georgie James - Cake Parade
15) David Gray - Shine
16) M M J - I'm Amazed (Live on SNL)
17) Tyler Ramsey - A Long Dream
18) This Is Ivy League - Crown of Love
19) Scarlett Johansson - Falling Down
20) J. Tillman - For an Hour with You
.zip the whole thing!

1) Again, live there is no one I enjoy more.
3) One of the greatest rock stories ever told. Pepper comes out and three days later Jimi's performing it on stage with The Experience. Pretty sick!
4) Speaking of sick, Jackie Greene is a master showman. A master. I thought I was going to see this rootsy, acoustic guitar balladeer, and I couldn't have been farther off. It was a crazy good time. It's too bad New Yorkers don't know the classic Hank Jr song "Family Tradition," because for me, that was the highlight. This song was a close second.
8, 9) Major Prine kick right now. Major.
10) "Big Blue Sea," one of my favorite songs, sounds best when it's just Bob and a guitar. This is one of those songs, and it may soon be a favorite. I'll let you know.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Avril for Real

This month found me upended with a series of transitions. As of today, though, I'm 3 for 3. I'll let you decide just what that means.

I'd intended this one to be a driver; those of you with cars will have to let me know how goes.

1) Josh Ritter - Snow is Gone
2) Jackson Browne - Fountain of Sorrow (Live, Acoustic)
3) Cream - Badge
4) Blind Faith - Can't Find My Way Home
5) Van Morrison - Call Me Up in Dreamland
6) WILCO - Jesus, Etc.
7) Rod Stewart - Mandolin Wind
8) Elton John - Georgia
9) She & Him - Change Is Hard
10) Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel
11) Gram Parsons - Grievous Angel
12) Son Volt - Windfall
13) Bob Dylan - Time Passes Slowly
14) Bill Withers - Let It Be
15) Bill Withers - Can We Pretend
16) Aphex Twin - Avril 14
17) Bob Dylan - Idiot Wind (Bootleg Series Vol 2 Version)
18) Van Morrison - Warm Love
19) Van Morrison - Comfort You
20) Willie Nelson - My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
.zip the whole thing!

1) I'll hopefully have a second mix of his love songs up tonight as well.
3, 4) Fandango
5, 18, 19) VAN! Of late, c/o an almost academic approach to the rock doc, Van Morrison: Under Review, I've over-indulged on his 'prolific period,' '64 to '74.
13) Beg, steal, or borrow this one: New Morning is tha business!
14, 15) Fair assessment? I really get a hankering for Bill Withers just about every spring.
20) The Electric Horseman

Monday, April 14, 2008

"I love you, Paul."

"I couldn't agree more," the elfin Paul Simon replied, looking a bit like a balding Einstein, hair a flame of dirtied white recession. Simon's arms, flailing about above his head and muscular as hell, were the most striking of his anomaly of features: short, squat, perfectly manicured yet completely disheveled, vein-stretched arms, taught face, beer gut. Before he proceeded to tear into "Gumboots," he corrected himself, "If you could hear the voices in my head, you'd know that's far from true."

For two hours, last night, Paul Simon and a band of unequaled talent performed their third and final performance of songs from his albums Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints. As part of an unheardof month-long residency at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, this week was devoted to spending some time "Under African Skies."

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the men's choral group from South Africa featured on Graceland, started off the evening with "Nomathemba," with heart-murmuring harmonies and frenetic dance moves that nodded equally to the Temptations and the Rockettes. Vusi Mahlasela followed with a stunted version of "The Boy in the Bubble," forgetting the words at one point. Nevertheless, his vocal quality and range were so stirring, it made the memory of his early stumbling melt with the coo cooing of his scat-filled rendition. By the time Paul Simon strolled on stage, the audience was so firmly engaged, his walk was followed with the intensity of a tennis ball at a Grand Slam final. The reverence with which he addressed the audience humbles me still. He seemed so at ease, though, at times, it appeared as though his fourth wall was actually some garage door window in Queens, and I was the lucky onlooker standing at tiptoe, peering through a tiny window at the rehearsal of a would-be great band, if only that lead singer could punch up the stage presence.

That said, this was Paul Simon's night. His music shone like the African sun. Those who performed with him seemed giddy with the opportunity, as we who watched trembled with excitement at the unique experience of seeing these songs come to life before our eyes. His rhythm section looked like they'd been created by Jim Henson. His own guitars seemed to want to swallow him whole. With pin drop acoustics the BAM made for an excellent venue for this, at times, 21-piece band to throw every sound from wee bird calls to what appeared to be an emptied fire extinguisher ratamat with drum sticks the size of sledgehammers.

The mostly static audience sat through performances by the beautiful Cameroon singer Kaissa and the equally beautiful and five-months pregnant Luciana Souza. It wouldn't last long though, David Byrne, iconic frontman of the Talking Heads, delivered "I Know What I Know" and "You Can Call Me Al" as thought they'd been tailored specifically for him. No one could resist the sheer jubilation of his and the band's performance. Clapping, dancing, and singing along, everyone was upended like puppets on strings by the magnetic grooviness of it all. Ladysmith's return was quick to quell the heartbeats. Their "Homeless" was tear-inducing, never more pertinent as images of those affected by the Tsunamis and Katrina floated to the surface of every last bass note. So drowned was I by this point, I was certain there'd be no respite. That is, until Simon rejoined LBM for those first notes of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes." Everyone was on their feet, dancing, singin' and swingin.' He finished us off with rousing renditions of "Graceland" and "That Was Your Mother."

Standing there, legs numb, maybe from the dancing, maybe from the experience of having some of the world's best musicians perform mere feet from my own feet, I was awash with thought and so excited to have been part of something I'll surely never see again. Not like this. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience and a night I will remember the rest of my life.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mars Bars! Mars Bars!
or How I Survived The Lenten Season

I gave up sugar for Lent - not all sugars, just the simple ones. And it was hard. I eat chocolate. Every day. As we speak, I'm eating a milk/white chocolate chip cookie from this place called Dessert Delivery: Say It With Flour in midtown. So, I needed something to satiate me during these forty days and forty nights spent trolling the dessert-free desert that is sugarless living.

I found the following:
Disc One - (Mostly) New Treats
1) The Dodos - Jody
2) The Acorn - Flood Pt. 1
3) White Denim - ShakeShakeShake
4) Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
5) Jamie Lidell - Little Bit of Feel Good
6) Gnarls Barkley - Who's Gonna Save My Soul
7) Ana Serrano van der Laan - Paradise
8) Stephany - Shame
9) Matt Weddle - Hey Ya (Acoustic Cover)
10) Mike Doughty - Fort Hood
11) Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
12) White Hinterland - Dreaming of the Plum Trees
13) Langhorne Slim - Restless
14) Lykke Li - Little Bit
15) Chris Bathgate - Serpentine
16) A.A. Bondy - American Hearts
.zip the whole thing!

Disc Two - Sustenance
1) Don Covay - Seesaw
2) Little Junior Parker - Pretty Baby
3) Gene Clark - Spanish Guitar
4) Roger McGuinn - Ballad of Easy Rider
5) Grand Funk Railroad - Feelin' Alright
6) Joe Cocker - Space Captain
7) The Grateful Dead - One More Saturday Night
8) Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night
9) Leonard Cohen - Came So Far for Beauty
10) Eric Clapton with Robert Cray - Old Love
11) Beck - Feather in Your Cap
12) The Spencer Davis Group - Keep On Running
13) Amy Winehouse - Monkey Man
14) Stevie Wonder - Keep On Running
.zip the whole thing!

Notes: Disc One
1) Thanks, Mike.
2) Hooray for chants, claps, and ukuleles. That's ukuleles, plural.
10) This is dedicated to The Real Theatre Company.
16) The chorus smacks of John Adams. Both are perfect.

Notes: Disc Two
10) I found some old tablature when I went home for Easter. This sticks out as one I loved to play and listen to for hours. As Rob Gordon might've said, "I'll stick that in the summer of 2003 pile, but I'll have to remember I played it for someone who'd never really appreciate it. Much the same, I don't think she ever really appreciated me." Woe is me, Rob. Woe is me.
11) Dude, the Deluxe Edition of Odelay rulz!
12, 13) Run, see Run Fatboy, Run! A friend said, "It looks cheesy and sappy." Well, it's both, but it's good. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

When I saw this commercial during the Oscars, I leaned to one of my roommates and said, "I love the look of this commercial. I'd really like to work with this director some day. I saw the commercial again tonight at the movies, and of course I Googled it. Famed photographer, Bruce Weber directed it. So, way out of my price range, but I love it. Apparently, girl who steps on the birthday cake in her wellies is causing quite a stir.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Fever of Fevrier

February has come and gone, this a leap year, and I've come out relatively unscathed comparatively speaking. That said, this month has found me faced with the possibility of leaving fair New York for perhaps fairer surroundings. Regardless, I will soldier on.

This is the first February I've had in New York that didn't involve some social or physical breakdown (aka break-up/illness). The only fever I've had this month has been for that of music.

1) Eels - Taking a bath in rust
2) Man Man - Top Drawer
3) Jackie Paris - Make Me Smile
4) Jack Johnson - Hope
5) nada surf - Are You Lightning?
6) The Staple Singers - The Weight
7) The Everybodyfields - be miner
8) Dirty on Purpose - Lake Effect
9) Mystery Jets (feat. Laura Marling) - Young Love
10) Paul Westerberg - Waiting for Somebody
11) Oliver Future - Stranger Than the Stranger
12) She and Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
13) Throw Me The Statue - Your Girlfriend's Car
14) Ryan McPhun and The Ruby Suns - Maasai Mara
15) The Panderers - Come On
16) Arizona - Through the Soot
17) Chris Walla - Sing Again
18) Baron Von Bear - Live off the Land
19) Sheryl Crow - Love Is Free
20) The Format - Janet
21) Bonnie "Prince" Billy - My Life
22) Phosphorescent - I Am A Full Grown Man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day)
.zip the whole thing!

Eels, which I didn't discover until DJing in Ireland, is fabulous, and his release this year, Useless Trinkets, is a gem of a discovery. So many wonderful tracks, I find one suits just about any mood. I hope to see Man Man perform. This ragamuffin group seems just so exciting; I can't imagine their live show as anything but shockingly unique. As for JJ, around Patagonia, there's a saying, WWJJD, and I think he slept through the recording of his latest album. This may be the only standout. I heard the Staple Singers' "Weight" when listening to a bunch of other Stax recordings including Stax Does Motown and The Beatles, and this version really does it for me. Paul Westerberg, a favorite, gave this song to personal hero Cameron Crowe for Singles. It's been used, to great effect in the trailer for Smart People.

So many of these songs make me think of people in my life - past, present, future. Most of them make me think of girls. "Stranger Than the Stranger" and the story behind it - Austin band writes songs of loneliness once relocating to LA - made me think of Miles. Sheryl Crowe, homegirl's got it goin' on. She's still someone I use as a sort of weather vane. I really got into her music during my junior year of college. I was encouraged to seek out the music of my 'homeland' by a rather inspirational poetry professor, and I somehow came to fellow St. Louisan Crowe's cannon. I still think she's pretty good. She's no Zooey Deschanel, though. She and Him, her collab with M Ward just tickles me pink. I think she's the beeskuhnees, dacatspyjamjams. And how about The Format's break up? So sad to learn of that. But Bonnie Bill's so cool to do a Frank cover. So cool. I leave you with Phosphorescent. Saw him last night at Union Hall. Such presence. Eyes like tractor beams. As he travels westward, may you catch his gaze, or better still, may he catch yours.