“Young Americans” – David Bowie – “Young Americans” (1975)

Jan 12

I’ve been really surprised over the last 24 hours, as I’ve listened to a ton of Bowie, at myself and how much his music really resonates with me although I never considered myself a huge fan. Once again, I think it’s just the integrity and the fact that he was true to himself no matter how many iterations of “himself” he managed to come up with.

I think that for me, this all has something to do with Bowie’s art being some of the first stuff that kind of shook me out of the bubble gum top-40 phase of my kid days. He was kind of confusing, and hard for a 10 year old’s brain to sort out but I think that I thought, maybe, I wasn’t supposed to like him or listen to him but I did anyways. Considering my tender age, Bowie’s tunes first invaded my ears at a time that could be loosely defined as “pre-coming of age.” And now that he’s gone, it seems like a monumental moment of nostalgia to me.

“We live for just these twenty years
Do we have to die for the fifty more?”


“Life On Mars?” – David Bowie – “Hunky Dory” (1971)

Jan 11

I have this project stashed away in my idea bank to do a (pop) music universe visualization. This is as much as I’ve ever put on paper but when I think on it for a second or two, Dylan is always at the center of the universe. It’s not too hard to make a case for David Robert Jones (aka David Bowie) being that human entity from which all musical matter emanated. Of course, in my condensed chronology of the musical universe, Bowie as the pivot would require me to look and sound like a creationist. Hmmm…

I’m not enough of a devotee to really delve into everything about Bowie that defines him as an icon and a taste maker but, I do have immense respect for his ability to reinvent, evolve, experiment, and resist the urge to produce and profit from nostalgia. Leave the nostalgia to the bloggers, pundits, DJs, and granparents who were once the cool kids and now no doubt dote on their hipster grandkids.

RIP – David Bowie


“Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday” – Stevie Wonder – “My Cherie Amour” (1969)

Dec 7
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Soul Music

He got me. I listened to Stevie singing a Christmas song in the new Apple commercial one too many times. My guess was a little off: when I saw Stevie on that commercial, I wondered how old he was. Not like I think that the dude is “old” but I thought he was older than he is (he’s 65). I guess it’s just because he’s been doing his thing for like five decades. Note to self: “guess low when asked how old various prodigies are during trivia night.”

I’ve never cheated on a test in my life but the closest I ever got to getting in trouble for such behavior was during a mid-term for a “History of Pop Music” in my undergrad days. My buddy whispered to me, seeking help on a question (that I can’t remember) that had the correct answer of: “Stevie Wonder.” I did not verbally answer him but kind of moved my head back and forth in a fairly distinctive rhythm-infused motion. My stupid friend busted out laughing and almost got us busted… That was a long time ago… how old am I again?


“Pasttime Paradise” – Stevie Wonder – “Songs in the Key of Life” (1976)

Mar 5

This shuffle thing just keeps dealing aces.

I bought “Songs in the Key of Life” when I was about 12 years old. I am almost positive that the format that I bought was eight track. I got it in the music department at Fred Meyer, the same place that my brother and I bought about 95% of our tunes until we were about 14 or 15 years old. All those 45 RPM singles that we spent our allowance on ($1.75 per week if we did all of our chores) were played relentlessly in our basement, stuff like: “Disco Duck,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Boogie Fever,” “Play That Funky Music,” “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” “Convoy,” and “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night).” That’s some good stuff right there. I think that my brother still has a bunch of that stuff in Hawaii. We need to have a listening party one of these days when I go visit. It’s true that the good old days weren’t always good but I would have to spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking over my last pre-teen year to conjure up one bad thing about being 12 years old.

This is such a fully loaded album that I almost forgot that this song resides within it.


“Birthday” – The Beatles – “The White Album” (1968)

Jan 25
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Rock Bands, UK

I want to go to a birthday party today! My nephew is turning six today and is having a super cool birthday at the park in Kona with hot dogs, and friends, and slides, and cake, and everything else that makes a six year old have a fun birthday party. Playing “Birthday” on Play On Daily isn’t going to come anywhere close to making up for the fact that I can’t be there but its something.

Happy birthday nephew. Let the party begin.


“Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” – Primitive Radio Gods – “Rocket” (1996)

Nov 21
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind

Everybody tracked those lyrics to the song, right? I know that my bro did.

Remember those relics? Phone booths. I’m going to look around when I’m out and about tomorrow and see if I can spot a living, breathing phone booth or even a broken one. I wish that I would have seen it coming, that tipping point when phone booths started riding off into the sunset with portable CD players and satellite dishes that doubled as shade trees. I would have bought myself a couple of phone booths and installed them in my “You Know You’re Old” Man Cave…. right next to my Discman, land line, and Sega Dreamcast.

“Phone Booth” had so many diverse elements. From the B.B. King Sample to the hip hop beat carefully layered over the top of a piano ballad and melancholy tone that is a little reminiscent of Dream Academy’s “Life in A Northern Town” this song burst these guys into the limelight and proved to be a tough act to follow. But the thing is, for me at least, a lot of bands that don’t attain any follow up success and can’t get any subsequent radio play, have a lot of good stuff sitting out of there that a lot of the finicky public never gets a chance to put an ear to.

“Wayward Pilot’s Mission” is the next Primitive Radio Gods song that everyone should have listened to. With the ambient noise, and the quiet-loud-quiet volume changes it kind of sounds like it could be the love child/song of Radiohead and Dan Wilson (that would be Dan Wilson of Semisonic “Closing Time” and Adele hit maker fame not Mariners catcher for those of you scoring at home.).

Give it a try. Find some one hit that you really loved and check out the rest of the band’s catalog. I’ll bet you find something else that you really dig.

I’ve been downhearted baby,
I’ve been downhearted baby,
Ever since the day we met


“Neither One of Us (Wants to Be The First to Say Goodbye) – Gladys Knight and the Pips – “Neither One of Us” (1973)

Mar 10
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Soul Music

It’s been an interesting weekend in terms of what has made it through my musical filter. It started with my weekly Friday commute to Kent for which I decided that a little, or a lot, of Motown’s best was in order. I’ve got this massive “Best of Motown” 202 song compilation on my Zune. When I decide to fire that puppy up, I usually forward through a bunch of stuff until I get to: Stevie, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, and Boys II Men. I was about to zoom through this song that I’ve posted today when all of a sudden, “wait a second…” this is a great song that I haven’t heard in maybe 30 years. I ended up starting it over, and then listened to it again on the way home.

Any good song, any good music, any band that has any shot at connecting to a large, broad based audience has to have a large dose of soul in the roots of their songs. I’m not just talking about black folks who make music, I’m talking all folks. It’s what can set bands apart. You can be a band playing fairly non-inventive garage rock at a big festival, making goofy rock star faces, striking cliche poses, stringing together grunted nonsensical words and boring the whole crowd straight to the concession stands for a glob of nachos. Or, you can dial down all of the rock star faky crap just a hair, and play it and sing it with real feeling and heart and people will stick around for the next 40 minutes because they believe you even if they don’t totally understand you. The difference can seem subtle but if you close your eyes and just listen, you can feel it.

I’ve been to just about every concert venue in Seattle but I had not been to a show at the Hard Rock yet. We went to see Trainwreck and Crawford and James on Friday mostly because some friends had bought tickets to the show mistakenly thinking that it was to see the band James. Oops! The Hard Rock has got a nice music venue but it’s not really my type of place. The top level Yelp comment last summer chided, “Don’t forget your douche repellent” if you’re headed to the Hard Rock. It’s kind of true. I go to a couple of dozen shows per year and I’m not sure I’ve seen that many hammered, vodka drinkers in a whole year as I did on Friday night. But, the bands were okay. They were both country rock, or is it rock country, and played about half and half original and cover stuff. One thing that dawned on me during Crawford and James set is that I don’t think that in almost 900 posted songs, I have ever posted a Johnny Cash tune. I need to rectify that fast.

Saturday for who knows what reason while at the gym, where I usually listen to KEXP, my hip hop library on shuffle, or high energy, angry stuff like Ministry, I decided that I needed to listen to a whole bunch of guitar-centric rock. Anything with a gratuitous solo was cranked. It turned a laggardly workout into an energetic and fun session. And finally, to round out my weekend soundtrack and give it some real depth, I went to the opera last night. It was the first time that I’ve seen La bohème. The score is not as stunning and epic as Puccini’s Turnadot and the tale has a sudden, kind of startling end but a night at the opera is always a spectacle and last night was no exception.


“Dear God” by XTC, 1986

Mar 6
Posted by Kala Filed in 80's, Rewind

My 11 year old son rented “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” last weekend, (mainly because his first crush is Emma Watson), I had heard a lot of good things about it so I watched too. It was really good! It’s about growing up, falling in love, high school, and some darker topics that affect way too many kids. It felt a bit like some of my favorite John Hughes flicks from the 80’s, a likable cast, characters you care about and really good music. Any movie with Nick Drake, David Bowie and Cocteau Twins on the same soundtrack is a winner.

From the same soundtrack, “Dear God” by XTC, (I f***ing love this song!).

“Trouble Man” by Marvin Gaye (1972)

Feb 5
Posted by Kala Filed in Crooners, Rewind, Rock and Roll Heaven, Soul Music

Yes, yesterday’s post was the impetus for today’s, but it’s more than just a copout to an easy segue from T.I. to Marvin Gaye. “Trouble Man” is the the title song from the blaxploitation film of the same name released in 1972. The song faired much better commercially than the movie due to Marvin Gaye’s soulful, gospel twinged voice that often reached a mighty fine falsetto.

I have very vivid chilhood memories of listening to this and other soul classics such as, “Mighty Mighty” by Earth, Wind & Fire (1974), “Super Fly” by Curtis Mayfield (1972) and “Ben” by Michael Jackson (1972), on KOL AM1300 in Seattle. AM at that time, with all it’s static and difficulty tuning the station in just right, had some good things going for it, like the fact you could listen to these soul songs and have it followed up by, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper (1972), “Get It On” by T-Rex (1972) or “It never Rains In Southern California” by Albert Hammond (1972). What happened to that kind of diversity on the airwaves? At least we have KEXP.

For another excellent movie placement of this song check out “Four Brothers” (2005)

“It’s No Good” – Depeche Mode & Chevelle

Feb 1
Posted by Kala Filed in 80's, Heavy, Rewind, Rock Bands

More often than not my daytime choice in music is loud, chunky, heavy and a little angry. Not sure if that says something disturbing about personality but that’s what gets me going.

In the 80’s one of my faves was Depeche Mode. Not really what I would call heavy or chunky, but they were deifinitely angry and full of angst. Today I am really liking Chevelle. Sure there are plenty of comparisons with A Perfect Circle, Tool and everything else Maynard James Keenan does, but hey, those are also sounds that I love. I don’t want to debate the reasons one sucks and the other doesn’t, or who’s ripping off whose sound. The more the merry, I say, I just want to listen and enjoy.

And I dig the cheesy, lame suited lounge act in the original vid.