Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heron - Twice as Nice & Half The Price

Originally released in 1971 as a double album that costed the price of one (hence the name) this album was one of the many albums during the '70s that explored the fusion of psychedelia and folk music together. An interesting note about this record is it was recorded outside which gives the overall product a very unique natural-sounding feel to it. Sadly this group never received any commercial success, and most people don't know that they are still around today and occasionally make music together. Check out their cover of "John Brown."

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Friday, February 26, 2010

New Pornographers

The New Pornographers are this generation's Fleetwood Mac, and are easily the best supergroup of the decade. Granted, a supergroup is typically comprised of already famous artists, and The New Pornographers formed when each individual member wasn't well known. However over the years Neko Case, A.C. Newman, and Destroyer have all grown sizable fan-bases of their own. Yet, for some reason they still find time to keep The New Pornographers going. And for good reason, because the Pornos give these artists a collaborative outlet to let the best in them come out. The New Pornographers are one of the few supergroups to transcend the title, instead most people know them as just a regular old band, and something tells me they don't mind being called that either. Look for their new disc this spring, here's the first leaked track off of it.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eleanor Rigby

The other day one of our favorite blogs Aquarium Drunkard released their anticipated winter mixtape. This album featured a mash-up of two covers of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby." One being Third Wave, a pop jazz vocal group made up of five Filipino sisters from Stockton CA. They were discovered by jazz musician and long time Frank Zappa collaborator, George Duke. Their version of "Rigby" is very vocalized and jazzy. The other cover is done by Ronnie Prophet, a Canadian country musician who had    is own Canadian television show in the 1970's and reached moderate success. What I find interesting is how both of these songs differ in style but still have a very well defined psychedelic undertone to them. I can only conclude that this is a direct result from the wide influence of The Beatles.

Much thanks to Aquarium Drunkard as listed above, and for Ponytone, the original poster of these songs, and a blog that takes the discovery of rare music to a whole new level.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Ted Leo


A new song from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists was released the other day. It's amazing how much he can pack into a two minute song. Crisp punk brilliance, look for his new album in March.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Carolina Chocolate Drops


This week has been a huge week for artists that we respect. Field Music, Local Natives, and Citay all dropped their new albums. One band in particular I would like to address is Carolina Chocolate Drops. I don't know if they are the first, but they certainly are the most popular African-American string band around. These guys have gained some notoriety from NPR and performances on such shows as A Prairie Home Companion. A lot their popularity has been a result of the color of their skin. For the most part black people don't listen to bluegrass, let alone play bluegrass. I hope that people will be able look past that and see this band for who they are. Carolina Chocolate Drops are taking old-timey music and adding a fresh perspective of their own unique cultural background to the mix. That alone is enough of a reason for someone to check this band out. Check out this beatbox-fused bluegrass tune "Hit Em' Up Style" 

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hot Chip - One Life Stand

Quite simply, if 2010 were to end today Hot Chip's One Life Stand would win best album of the year, hands down. The english dance-rock group simultaneously deliver their most toned down and most danceable record yet. With this record, Hot Chip have dropped the jarring techno beats of Made In The Dark's  "Shake a Fist" and have produced a more melodic sound. Here's the catch though, those melodies happen to have some of this band's most focused grooves backing them.
Here's a link to listen to a song off of the album via YouTube. I am too afraid to post the traditional .Mp3 due to this being a very high profile release and the fact that Google has been recently searching out and shutting down music blogs as a result. However, if you are a fan of this track, there are plenty more like it on the album, so buy the record!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Should Play The Super Bowl

(I had typed this all out, but a formatting error rendered it useless, tired, I present to you a much more stripped down version of the post)

In conjunction with my previous post about the lackluster performance by The Who, I present to you a list of ten artists that I believe would put on a rewarding show at The Super Bowl. There are some giants that I left off this list (Dave Matthews Band) on purpose simply because their sound wouldn't work in the atmosphere of The Super Bowl. The fact is, there aren't many classic artists left that are still performing at the top of their game. Sooner or later the half-time show committee is going to have to take a chance and give the spotlight to younger juggernauts.

1) Foo Fighters

Having witnessed the sheer power of a Foo Fighters concert, I can attest that this band would be perfect for The Super Bowl. These guys give it their all every single time they perform. They're loud and raucous enough to have every head in the room banging, while at the same time can play sing song-y sweet songs, "Everlong" is the kind of song where you can pumps your fist  and hold your girl at the same time. What really sold the Foos as a stadium juggernaut was during their performance at Wembley Stadium in London during the Live Earth concert series in 2007. Dave Grohl had every single person in attendance in the palm of his hand. I am thoroughly convinced that they have enough recognizable hits to create a stellar Super Bowl half-time performance. Take that chance Super Bowl people and you will be rewarded!

Judge for yourself:

2) Metallica

3) Neil Young

4) Pearl Jam

5) Jay-Z

6) Muse

7) Paul McCartney

8) Kings of Leon

9) Radiohead

10) Justin Timberlake

Friday, February 12, 2010

Needs To Stop: The Who

Yes, The Who, more like The Two nowadays are one of the many sad examples of classic rock bands that just don't know when to quit. In this case, it's even more evidant when the two original memers left can't do what made them famous anymore. Let's face the facts, Roger Daltrey's voice is shot. It died years ago, however now it seems like his voice has gotten to the point where he can't finish a song without Pete Townshend's equally wrecked voice having to cover for him. Then there's Pete Townshend. He may be the more able of the two, but no matter how many times he can windmill his arm won't cover up the fact that he can't solo for shit anymore.
People thought that The Who were over when Kieth Moon died, but they kept going, and years later when their bassist The Ox passed away The Who were back playing shows in no time. When two icons as big and as talanted as Moon and Entwistle pass on, it's hard to continue as an integriable band. But no, Townshend is convinced that he is the heart and soul of the band. In his mind, he was the one who started the group, so he gets to decide exactly who makes up The Who.

They have done some good, don't get me wrong. Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr and former drummer for Oasis is a splendid fill in on the skins. He attacks the drums with a decent amount of intensity and is slightly reminiscent of Kieth Moon. On the bass however they are extremely lacking. Pino Pallidino is a sad excuse for a bassist. He adds absolutely nothing to the band. Having seen The Who live recently, and seeing videos of them perform, it is hard to even notice that Pallidino is playing. The Ox was a legend, and is arguably one of the best bassists of all time. So in filling the shoes of a legend, a soulless session player does not satisfy my appetite.

Then we get to The Super Bowl. The Super Bowl half-time shows have gotten immensly better over the years. Luckily the days of Brittney Spears performing with Aerosmith are gone thanks to Janet Jackson's nip slip which cost MTV the rights to produce the half-time shows. In recent years, The Super Bowl has stuck to one legendary rock band performing a 15 minute medley of hits. This has rendered some absolutely unforgettable performances (Prince, Bruce Springsteen) and some mediocre ones (Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones). However, no half-time show has been unbearable as The Who. 

After forming my own opinion, talking to friends and reading reviews, I can conclude that the one thing about this performance was it was technically amazing. Whoever the lighting and set designer for this performance were really did a stellar job at distracting millions of people from realizing how bad The Who sounded that night. Daltrey was off-key, and off-tempo. Townshend's playing was all pomp and had no substance to it whatsoever. Their song choice was typical, playing mainly classic tracks that serve as theme songs to CBS shows the performance seemed like a huge advertisement for CSI. To top it all off, there was blatant lip-synching being done by Daltrey. The "Won't Get Fooled Again" scream wasn't even shown on camera and was obviously digitally enhanced. Why do this? Why does one of the greatest rock bands of all time have to lip-synch their own songs? Is it because CBS wanted to ensure audio quality for their broadcast? Possibly, that could be one underlying reason. But the main reason is this is a band who pretends to still be on top of their game, even though it is quite evident that they aren't. 

I respect The Who and they certainly were one of the pioneers of hard rock, but there has to come a point in these classic artist's careers where they need to pass the spotlight to the next generation of great artists. There are many younger bands at the peak of their careers (full list to come later) who may not have been blessed with the commercial success of The Who but certainly could put on a much more rewarding performance than what we saw last Sunday.
I still respect The Who, and the legacy that they have had. But like so many other classic artists they have reached a point where they have become so past their expiration date that it's not even enjoyable anymore. So please, Roger, Pete, stop making music. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Beach Boys - Landlocked

As famous as The Beach Boys are they really are an underrated group. In the 1970's The Beach Boys had a renaissance, releasing albums that expanded and experimented their sound, showcasing highly intricate and beautiful arrangements of music. Brian Wilson really was the Mozart of rock. The swirling harmonies with the layered instrumentation of Pet Sounds is what made that album one of the greatest albums of all time, and in my book rivals Sgt. Pepper. However, while these later Beach Boys albums such as Holland and Surf's Up broadened The Beach Boy's abilities, they were not as commercially accessible. Maybe it's their name that gets this band's music associated with 5 and Diners and all things sunny. Whatever it is I wish people would push past the Greatest Hits and start to delve deeper into this bands discography. They really produced some intriguing music in the '70s. Landlocked were bootleg sessions that the band recorded when the band was between labels. Their new label didn't want to release the songs and Capital wouldn't put it out either. While most of these tracks made in on to later Beach Boys albums, some really ingenious and creative tracks were lost in the ether. "H.E.L.P. Is On The Way" for instance is practically a PSA about eating organic healthy food. Strange? Yes, but brilliant at the same time. Luckily Landlocked has remained alive thanks to the Internet.    

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mumford & Sons

Saw these guys perform today and they really impressed me. Of course their debut album was released in 2009 and completely went past my radar so I am playing catchup. This is what the new Avett Brothers album should have sounded like. The singer's voice is completely impassioned and they strum and pick with a purpose. It's no wonder that their current tour is selling out all over the place. Alternative folk and bluegrass at its best.  

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Soft Pack

Meet San Diego's The Soft Pack (formerly The Muslims), they have released a new album in 2010 that will perfectly accompany you while you cruise on the freeway at midday. Enjoy. 

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Monday, February 8, 2010


Yup. It's going to be slow here the next few days, but trust me it will be worth it. I'm working on an all new "Needs to Stop" segment. I won't say who exactly, but let's just say The Colts weren't the only painful thing to watch during the Superbowl.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Superbowl Shuffle

The Superbowl has become more important than most national holidays in many households and is undoubtedly the single most popular sporting event in America. Music has also integrated itself into the importance of The Superbowl, the half-time show has become reserved for true legends in the music industry. The Who are scheduled to take the field this year. Having seen what's left of The Who live, I am not expecting much. Oh well, go Colts. 

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gillian Welch

One of the most prolific country folk songwriters alive today, and she's still relatively unknown which is amazing. You may recognize her voice from her contribution to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. This thursday at The Troubadour in Los Angeles she will be accompanying her longtime songwriter and harmonizer Dave Rawlings and his first ever headlining slot as a front man as The Dave Rawlings Machine. Rawlings alone is a tremendous songwriter who has helped boost notable acts such as Old Crow Medicine Show and Ryan Adams to fame, but when he and Gillian perform together, magic happens. Just watch the video. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ryan Adams

I have never been as big of a fan of Ryan Adams as I should be. I know he has done some tremendous work for the Alt-Country scene, and Whiskeytown is a highly influential group, still I haven't listened to him enough. That being said, he has crafted some profound work. This track "The Bar is a Beautiful Place" was a B-side to Gold. It's a fairly simple slow song that creates a very palatable atmosphere of a bar. Upon listening, I truly felt that Adams was sitting at a barroom piano singing about the saloon he was in. 

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