Now Playing: 2013 pt. 1

Every year I promise not only to listen to more new music, but to keep better track of everything.  2013 is no different and for the first three weeks of the year I’ve done a fairly good job of listening, but not such a good job of keeping track.

I’m going to try and put a lot of my notes here.  I won’t go into a ton of detail, so if you want to know more about something, just ask.  I’ll also post some shuffle lists here as well.

Let me start with CDs I bought over the holidays using various gift cards:

Debo band cover art

Debo Band – ST (Sub Pop/Next Ambiance, 2012): This is one of those bands that was recommended by a friend and then discovered later as I was reading about 2012 releases. I thought the name sounded familiar and sure enough I went back and found the email suggesting I check these guys out.  They’re a Boston based ensemble who play both traditional music from Ethiopia as well as originals that are inspired by the African nation.  This is a perfect example of taking something that’s old and making it new again.  Many of you may be familiar with the Ethiopiques CD series of 70s Ethio Jazz.  Debo band have used them as a basis for building their sound and added acoustic and electric violin and brass into the mix to create their own sound.  Well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the Ethiopiques series.

Love This Giant cover

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant (4AD/Todo Mundo, 2012): This is another album that I heard a lot ABOUT before I actually heard it.  The review that caught my eye mentioned Antibalas and another horn section, I’m a sucker for anything with a horn section.  I’m not sure I was prepared for just how much I was going to love this record.  The songs are all catchy and the arrangements are excellent.  I find that my ears can only take so much guitar, bass, drum before they get tired.  Love This Giant is a welcome change from your average instrumentation and something that I wish bands would experiment with more.  It seems that over the last few years acoustic guitars, fiddles and other folky instruments have been all the rage, maybe bands will start using more horns?  In reading through the liner notes (yes I still read liner notes!) I noticed that Byrne listed many horn based groups as inspiration: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Asphalt Orchestra, Banda Citta Ruvo di Puglia and Banda Ionica.  Before reading this list I felt like this album reminded me of Elvis Costello’s Spike (1989) which also featured the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  I see this album being in heavy rotation for a long time on my iPod.  It’s worth noting that Love This Giant comes as a CD and 5×5 cards in a printed plastic sleeve…nice packaging idea.

Zappa 2012 reissues

Zappa 2012 Reissues (Zappa Records/Universal Music): I’m a Zappa fanatic and have most if not all of his catalog on CD so I was a little skeptical when they announced last summer that the entire catalog was going to be remastered and reissued again.  Frank had remastered everything in 1993 and put them out through Ryko in 1995, so why go through all of this again?  Because they sound better, that’s why.

I missed hearing Zappa’s music on vinyl and since Frank was such a proponent of the CD format, I assumed that the Ryko versions would be definitive.  But it seems that Frank may have used a little too much technology in 1993 by adding reverb and ‘fixing’ parts of his masters that he thought could not be captured properly on CD.  I think he had good intentions, and maybe at the time it was the right choice to make.  But the 2012 versions are largely remastered from the original analog sources and to my ears they sound like brand new recordings.

Listening to the remaster of a song like “Peaches En Regalia” from 1969’s Hot Rats that I’ve probably heard thousands of times is literally an eye opening experience.  I’m told that the new versions sound almost exactly like the original vinyl versions, but without any surface noise.  I just know they sound new and fresh and I love them.

Now not ALL of the 2012 reissues have been through this process, so you may want to look a little closer before you go out and buy all of them.  So far I’ve only picked up CDs that HAVE used the analog sources: Absolutely Free, Hot Rats, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Waka/Jawaka, Over-Nite Sensation and One Size Fits All and they all sound amazing.  I happen to prefer CDs, but if you’re more a digital person, you can get all of the 2012 reissues on iTunes as well.

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exclusive King’s X Download To Benefit Jerry Gaskill

King's X Burning Down Boston Jerry Gaskill

Below is a press release for a new King’s X release called Burning Down Boston: Live at The Channel 6.12.91 and while I’m always happy to see a new King’s X release, this one comes about from some less than happy events.  A couple of weeks ago King’s X drummer Jerry Gaskill suffered a serious heart attack on his way home from playing with a local bar band.  He was given CPR and sent to an area hospital for emergency surgery.

Since then he has been on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit and under sedation.  The whole time he has had headphones on playing his favorite music from The Beatles and others.  Music truly has the power to heal and as a result he is doing much better.  Just the other day he recognized old friends and gave ‘thumbs up’ and smiles to everyone he saw.  Jerry is a fighter and he’s strong, this will not keep him down.

Jerry Gaskill King's X

What may keep him down are the mountains of medical bills that will soon be coming his way.  Jerry is lucky that unlike most musicians he does have medical insurance, but it will not cover all of his expenses.  This special King’s X download was prepared by Molken Music founder and Jerry’s good friend Wally Farkas (Galactic Cowboys).  As it states below ALL money received from the sale of this download goes DIRECTLY to Jerry for his bills.  There’s no label, manager, charity or other middle man involved.

As for the music I can attest that this was a great show because I was there in Boston June of 1991.  It was in fact my first King’s X show.  Over the course of the next 21 years I have seen King’s X 30 times and I hope to see them 30 more once Jerry recovers.  You will not meet a nicer band than King’s X and you’d hard pressed to find a sweeter guy than Jerry.  Luckily he is surrounded by devoted fans who love him and his amazing fiance Julie.

Jerry Gaskill King's X

So if you feel so moved, please contribute by purchasing this exclusive download and keep Jerry in your thoughts as he recovers….Faith Hope Love.

** NEW RELEASE – NOW AVAILABLE **

King's X Burning Down Boston cover

http://molkenmusic.com/store/shop/details.php?id=50

“Burning Down Boston: Live at The Channel 6.12.91″ is a special MP3 download-only title. As many of you are aware, King’s X drummer Jerry Gaskill suffered a serious heart attack in the early morning hours on Sunday 2.26.12. Many of you have overwhelmingly expressed a desire to help and contribute. We have compiled this exclusive live release from the archives — and 100% of the proceeds from this release will go directly to Jerry to help offset mounting medical expenses. A big THANK YOU goes out to everyone for the outpouring of concern and love.

This release was edited and mastered from a stereo front of house recording. While the audio is far from perfect sonically, the performance documents yet another magical night on tour while supporting the “Faith Hope Love” album. While many of the song titles are familiar, the band expands many of the cuts featured here, including performances that are blistering (“Moanjam”),heavy and funk-laden (“We Are Finding Who We Are”), beautiful (“The Burning Down”), and truly transcendental (“Over My Head”).

A few songs from the show were omitted due to tape damage. However, we have included three bonus tracks (an additional 15 minutes) from the same show that were not presented in the main track listing.

King's X Burning Down Boston Credits

All recordings previously unreleased.
14 songs. 89 minutes.

Details:

Track Listing:

We Are Finding Who We Are (6:33)
Mission (4:17)
Far Far Away (4:44)
We Were Born to Be Loved (4:57)
It’s Love Intro (3:36)
It’s Love (5:28)
I’ll Never Get Tired of You (3:51)
Visions (7:27)
Over My Head (12:47)
Moanjam (10:19)
The Burning Down (9:53)
Talk to You (Bonus Track) (4:44)
Fall on Me (Bonus Track) (4:13)
Power of Love (Bonus Track) (6:02)

Dear Friends, in addition to the gift with this download, please let anyone who wants to further make a personal gift to Jerry to help him with his medical bills know that they can send a check made out to Jerry Gaskill. Mail it to:

Jerry Gaskill
c/o World Entertainment Inc.
P.O. Box 3095
Sea Bright, NJ
USA
07760

100% of your gift goes to Jerry Gaskill to help him defray his medical bills. Jerry Gaskill is an individual and not a charity. Any funds given to him would be a gift and no further tax deduction for charitable contributions would be coming from him. We appreciate your help.

Molken Music

molken music

Posted in downloads, dUg Pinnick, Jerry Gaskill, King's X, music, now playing, Prog, Ty Tabor, You Tube | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Grammy Observations

I don’t usually watch the Grammy Awards, but I really wanted to see The Beach Boys so I tuned in and managed to catch most of it.  Here are some of my thoughts…

I liked Katy Perry’s performance. The fact that it started as a lip synch thing then she appeared on the other end of the stage and was actually singing was cool. I like her better when she’s being goofy and having fun and I could do without the male backup dancers.

Chris Brown is a moron.

Taylor Swift plays the banjo like one of the Ramones.  (I’ve been told that she was actually playing a guitar made to look like a banjo which might explain why she was playing chords…)

The Beach Boys are old and forget the words to their own songs but are still better than Chris Brown.  Maroon 5 dude proved that some people shouldn’t try and sing Beach Boys tunes…Foster The People (?) did a better job.

I don’t have anything against electronic music, but I don’t think it has a place at this kind of an award show.  And how was that a tribute to Don Cornelius?

While Coldplay was performing, my 12-year-old kept saying, ‘what the Hell is THIS?’  Nuff asid there.

Glen Campbell is a legend and got lost leaving the stage…awesome.

I’m not a big McCartney fan and thought his valentine performance was weak, though it was good to see Diana Krall representing Jazz in some small way.  I won’t make a negative Beatles comment so I don’t get beaten to death by the faithful…but the guitar jam was a cool way to end the show.  Apparently Macka has it in his contract that he always gets to close the show.

I’d never heard Bruno Mars before, but that one was fun in a Fishbone meets James Brown kinda way.  I might have to check out more of his music.

I like Kelly Clarkson and don’t really know Jason Aldean, but that wasn’t horrible.

The Alicia Keys/Bonnie Raitt tribute to Etta James was well done.

Tony Bennett is finally starting to look and sound old.  I wonder if Carrie Underwood even knows who he is.  Did she call him Tony Bennis…twice?

Jennifer Hudson’s Whitney tribute was spot on, simple and elegant.  I can’t imagine how hard that was for her.

Adele is so real it’s funny.  She laughs like a mad woman off mic and then has ‘snot issues’ while accepting one of her 6 awards.  I’m impressed that she didn’t curse because she has a mouth like a truck driver.  It’s odd to see people flock to her…there are lots of other real singers who can really sing, but for some reason the mainstream press picked her.

I like Foo Fighters and all, but they won best Rock and best Hard Rock/Metal which doesn’t seem fair.  Dave probably didn’t think so either hence the Slayer shirt.  I enjoyed his acceptance speech, even if they did cut him off.  They’re on RCA so Clive Davis can have them perform every year for as long as he wants.  Is there a better mainstream Rock band that would play the Grammy’s?

I wanted to like the Nicki Minaj…performance because it was trying (I think) to be edgy and dangerous, but it just left me confused and bored.

Gaga went home winless and looked uncomfortable in her outfit.  I kinda felt bad for her.  Maybe it’s time to hang up the image and focus on the music, I think she’s capable of it.

Bon Iver won for best new artist over Nicki Minaj in a move not dissimilar to last year’s Esperanza Spalding win over Justin Bieber.  That may be the only category with any real merit these days.

I missed Springsteen and Civil Wars hence no comments on their performances.

There were several passings that were left off the list…Cesaria Evora, Bob Brookmeyer, Jani Lane, Cory Smoot, Paul Motian, Motorhead Sherwood, Sam Rivers, Mark Reale, Mike Starr, Seth Putnam, Mikey Welsh, David Gold.  I know they can’t get them all, but there are some pretty big names on this list.

 

Posted in Grammys | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now Playing: 2012 pt. 3

soft machine

The other day I was in the car listening to our local community public radio station WDFH and I heard an amazing piece of music that seemed to go on forever.  I had to get out of the car before the end so I didn’t hear what it was.  Luckily I knew the DJ and described what I had heard…jazz rock with trombones, Moog synth, flute, pronounced bass line etc.  He thought that it was Sun Ra, but I checked and that wasn’t it.  I got a hold of the playlist for his show and identified the mystery music as ‘Facelift’ by Soft Machine.

I’d heard the name before and had (or thought I had) a vague idea what they were about. I guess I was wrong because this blew me away and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all.  Being a big Zappa fan as well as enjoying the early works of Pink Floyd, you’d think I would have heard Soft Machine before.  Luckily for me I had some holiday gift cards burning a hole in my pocket so I hit Barnes & Nobel online and picked up the first four albums.

Pretty soon I was neck-deep in psychedelic-prog-rock-jazz-fusion-weirdness.  Now I’m still digesting all of this music so I haven’t come to any intelligent conclusions yet, but I like what I hear.

soft machine

As I understand it they started life as a straight ahead (if such a thing exists) British psychedelic band and recorded their first self-titled album with Chas Chandler (The Animals) and producer of Frank Zappa and the Mothers’ Freak Out, Tom Wilson while on tour in America .  Chandler also became their manager and handled The Jimi Hendrix Experience as well, both bands would tour together later.  With each subsequent album the lineup shifted a little bit and the sound shifted dramatically.

soft machine volume two

Volume Two saw the songs get longer and stranger with less of an emphasis on vocals.

soft machine third

Third was almost all instrumental and the first double LP with each of the four tunes taking up a whole side; it also saw the addition of horns including flute, sax and trombone.  The aforementioned ‘Facelift’ is track one side one and is composed out of two live versions edited together and overdubbed with tape loops.

soft machine fourth

Fourth makes no bones about being a jazz fusion album and the band keeps experimenting with sound.  There are fewer horns present this time around, but they make themselves known none the less.

The band continued to change, ultimately it contained no original members…but that’s for another time.

My other recent discovery is just a little different than Soft Machine.  It’s Aldious, an all girl Japanese power metal band.  Perhaps I should leave that for another post…here’s a taste:

Posted in discovery, Introduction, music, now playing, Prog, Zappa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

iPod Shuffle: 2/1/12

iPodclassic-160gb

I haven’t done one of these in a while, let’s see which 20 random songs we get out of the 20,641 on my 160GB iPod Classic:

Dave Douglas  – Black Rock Park

Ida Maria – Morning Light

Miles Davis – There’s No You

Steve Vai – San Sebastian

Ljova – Seltzer, Do I Drink Too Much?

Cyro Baptista – Briel

Masada – Delin (and this is random, two Masada tunes in a row?)

Gordian Knot – Grace

J. Geils Band – Just Can’t Wait (live)

Black Flag – Spray Paint The Walls (Damaged Demo 1981)

Frank Zappa – Yo Cats

Paul Bley – (Teapot) Walkin’

Fats Navarro – Half Step Down Please

Ed Palermo Big Band – Waka Jawaka

Trouble Funk – Roll With It

Alamaailman Vasarat – Lakeus

Troka – Raharinki (random,  granted I have a lot of Finnish music, but 2 in a row?)

Thelonious Monk – Just You, Just Me

Chris Poland – L.D.E.

Melvins – June Bug

No Rush tunes for 2/1/12…too bad…lots of great music though.  If you have any questions about any of these artists, feel free to ask.

 

Posted in discovery, Folk Music, ipod, Metal, Miles Davis, music, Shuffle, Vai, Zappa, Zorn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huge Amazon CD Sale/Pricing Error

This was in fact a pricing error by Amazon and the prices have gone up to the $7.00 range…still not a bad deal…

Apparently in 2003 there was a pricing glitch at Amazon UK and they would not honor the sale price…

http://news.cnet.com/Amazon-wont-honor-pricing-mistake/2100-1017_3-993246.html

Just got a tip that there is a huge CD sale going on at Amazon right now.  You have to ‘dig’ for them, but I found that if you search by artist then sort by price you can find tons for less than $1.00!  It appears to be mostly Sony product.

It looks like the entire Judas Priest back catalog (2001 expanded reissues)  is on sale for $0.70 each.

http://www.amazon.com/Screaming-Vengeance-Exp-Judas-Priest/dp/B00005K9LK/ref=sr_1_10?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1328108914&sr=1-10

I’m not sure how long the sale will last so you’d better act fast.  If you still have an Amazon gift card leftover from the holidays then you’re in luck.

Here’s a partial list of artists included:

AC/DC, Judas Priest, Santana, Pearl Jam, Accept, 311, Black Crowes, Ted Nugent, Evanescence, Foo Fighters, Alter Bridge, Blue Oyster Cult, and Ozzy

Essential Clash
Clash
Essential Reo Speedwagon
Reo Speedwagon
Essential Lou Reed
Lou Reed
The Essential Weird Al Yankovic
Weird Al Yankovic
Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits
Bruce Springsteen
Bat Out of Hell
Meat Loaf
Number Ones
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson 25th Anniversary of Thriller (CD+DVD)
Michael Jackson
The Anthology
Tribe Called Quest
The Score
Fugees
Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits
Bob Dylan
Vitalogy
Pearl Jam
Rearviewmirror: Greatest Hits 1991-2003
Pearl Jam
Ten
Pearl Jam
Essential Daryl Hall & John Oates
Hall & Oates

Bob Dylan, Springsteen, Miles Davis, Journey, Toto, Kansas, Britney Spears, Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel, Pearl Jam, The Clash, Outkast, The Byrds, Journey, Hall and Oates

Posted in music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cult – Choice Of Weapon (May 2012)

Ian Astbury

The Cult have announced that a new record called Choice Of Weapon (Produced by Chris Goss) will be out in May, their first since 2007’s Born Into This.  Will it reclaim their alt rock throne?  Check out one of the new songs, “Lucifer”at Billboard.com and judge for yourself:

Billboard.com

“Choice of Weapon” Track List:

Honey From a Knife
Elemental Light
For The Animals
Life & Death
The Wolf
Amnesia
Lucifer
Wilderness Now
A Pale Horse
This Night in the City Forever

Posted in downloads, music, now playing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment