“Candle in the Wind 1997” – Elton John

Apr 29
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Roughly coinciding with last week’s home media release of “Avatar”, the highest grossing film of all time, I am posting what is considered to be the best-selling single of all time. This song has a contextual place in the movie, doesn’t it? As the main human protagonist is liberated from his battered, obsolete earthling body to become Na’vi; it’s so perfect.

“Goodbye Norma Jean” “

“Goodbye England’s Rose”

Goodbye Jake Sully

I talked myself into it. I’m buying the movie this weekend and am making my own soundtrack.

– DAVE

“Beth” – Kiss – “Destroyer” (1976)

Apr 28
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A few years ago, I bought the book “All I Did Was Ask” by Terry Gross. The book is a compilation of interviews that Gross has done over the years on her radio show, Fresh Air. I had heard about the interview/confrontation that she had with Gene Simmons, and this was one of the reasons that I bought the book. Simmons didn’t disappoint, as he verbalized his hedonistic core in the form of a baseball bat to assault Gross from head to toe. There’s just no way around it, the guy’s an ass to the hilt.

Give Mr. Crass a listen as he waxes Neanderthal on all things skin deep. If you listen real close, I swear you can hear the cod piece un-snap/zip/buckle.

I listened to Kiss a lot when I was a kid. They were good at what they did; create an image to distract the audience from the fact that their music was pretty dang boring. As an 11-14 year old, I knew that it was boring, but like a lot of young boys, I found the images to be mesmerizing. “Beth” is average at best, even in the rock ballad genre, but it was so divergent from everything else that the band did, that it still stood out.

– DAVE

“Lemonade” – CocoRosie – “Grey Oceans” (2010)

Apr 27
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Bumbershoot is doing a sensible thing this year in restructuring their ticket prices. The Labor Day festival of music, comedy, and film is offering an economy pass which allows buyers to all events on the Seattle Center grounds with the exception of the main stage. In the past, festival attendees have had to acquire one of the coveted bracelets from a kiosk on the grounds in order to see acts such as: Elvis Costello, Michael Franti, Everclear, Sheryl Crow, Death Cab, and The Foo Fighters.

The economy ticket is a nice option for those without as much cash in their pockets, who still want the opportunity to come out and enjoy some exciting new, emerging acts, as well as veteran mainstays such as Bill Frissell. The list of performers and schedule won’t be out for a couple more months, but I would like to hazard a guess doubling as a wish for a performance by CocoRosie, preferably on an “Economy” stage.

– DAVE

“Working for The Weekend” – Loverboy – “Get Lucky” (1981)

Apr 26
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Oh, just stop already. You know that you perk up a little when you hear this song. It could be on the Monday morning commute. It could be at the gym on hump day. Or, it could be at quitting time on Friday. This song comes on, and you pretend that you’re too cool for Loverboy, but try as you might, you still love this song.

We’re not talking “We Built This City”, or anything by Nickelback, or “Livin’ On A Prayer” (although you probably love that one too). We’re talking weekends and since you love those, you have to love this song as well. So quit pretending, and crank it up.

– DAVE

“No Vacation” – The Apples in Stereo – “Travellers in Space and Time (2010)

Apr 25
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The Apples in Stereo released their 7th studio album last week. The band has rotated band members over its 15+ years of existence but has stayed true to their mission of producing tightly constructed indie pop music.

The band won an Independent Music Award in 2008 for Best Pop/Rock Song with the song “Same Old Drag.” The new album is happy, happy pretty much start to finish. A couple of tracks (“Dance Floor” and “It’s All Right”) would probably have a home if Fame were dusted off and made a reappearance as a new TV series. Guitarist and lead singer Robert Schneider claims the Beach Boys as one of his personal favorites. The band’s vibe is definitely Beach Boys. I’ve seen other reviewers reference a sound similar to Electric Light Orchestra on the new album, which I don’t agree with, but I also hear a little of The Cars.

This is a good CD to pop in for the Monday morning commute. Give it a shot!

– DAVE

“Three Pistols” – The Tragically Hip – “Road Apples” (1991)

Apr 23
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This is easily my favorite song by the sublime, uncompromising Canadian band, The Tragically Hip. There is a history book full of material within the band’s 12 album catalog. Despite the depth of their material, they are not the type to sit around on stools and provide a lot of contemplative moments for their audience. They rock hard for the tall boy drinking crowd who wants to have a good time. They’ve never gotten enough attention out of their native Canada, but rightly so, they are recognized in their homeland as a musical treasure.

In lieu, of the line or two of lyrics that I often post, check out hipmuseum.com for thorough insight into this song’s meaning, as well as practically all of the band’s songs.

– DAVE

Earth Day

Apr 22
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In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to feature an artist from the hometown of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson. The late, former senator Nelson is from Clear Lake, Wisconsin. Clear Lake’s population per the 2000 census numbers was: 1,051….. I failed in my mission to find any notable musical acts from Clear Lake, Wisconsin or the county of Polk in which the town is situated in.

What about the whole state of Wisconsin? Off of the top of my head, I know that The Violent Femmes are from The “Badger State.” Or, how about a little polka, perhaps, in honor of the large number of people of German ancestry? I’m not really feeling either of those distinctive vibes. So, I’m leaving the land of the Cheesehead; mission aborted and headed in a totally different direction. It’s an easy copy out. A connect the dots, word-wise, but it’s hard to ever go wrong with Earth, Wind, and Fire.

It’s not an obvious song though, but it’s one of the first songs that I ever heard by them when I was a kid. My cousins in Tacoma used to play this in heavy, back to back to back to back rotation. We’d play this song, run around outside and get in trouble and played bumper pool at their house. Yeah, bumper pool; now that was a fun, quirky, very 70’s type of game.

“Mighty Mighty” – Earth, Wind, and Fire – “Open Our Eyes” (1974)

We are people, of the mighty
Mighty people of the sun
In our hearts lies all the answers
To the truth you can’t run from

– DAVE

“Rhinestone Eyes” – Gorillaz – “Plastic Beach” (2010)

Apr 20
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I’m going to go out on a fairly wide, sturdy limb and predict that the new Gorillaz album will be garnering a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. I personally like the album; not sure that I love it yet but that could change, however it just seems to be the type of album that draws a lot of critical acclaim. I’m also predicting that it won’t win record of the year.

Not sure why I just wrote any of that. Like it matters. I’ve been in a few memorable arguments over the years concerning the various merits or demerits of musical artists. Without fail, I’ve been on the anti-establishment side, and always countered the whole “yeah but Anne Murray/Celine Dion has won “X” number Grammies” with the conversation ending retort of “Milli Vanilli.” Check mate!!!

– DAVE

“Boogie on Reggae Woman” – Stevie Wonder – “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” (1974)

Apr 19
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Stevland Hardway Judkins was born on May 13, 1950, six months premature. His early arrival is what caused his complete and permanent blindness as the blood vessels at the back of his eyes had not fully grown causing his retinas to be detached.

At age five, Stevland learned to play the harmonica which he has prominently featured throughout his career. Gerald White, brother of Ronnie White of The Miracles was the first to really advocate for Stevland and eventually earned him an audition of sorts at Motown Records. Shortly thereafter, Barry Gordy signed 11 year old Stevland to Motown’s Tamla label and coined the name Little Stevie Wonder.

By age 24, when this song was released as a single, Wonder had already charted four # 1 hit singles, and 18 top ten songs. According to a Billboards ranking in 2008, Stevie Wonder is the third most successful male artist of all time after Elton John and Elvis Presley. Stevie Wonder will turn 60 years old next month.

– DAVE

“Last Words” – The Real Tuesday Weld – “The London Book of The Dead” (2007)

Apr 18
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I just got done watching “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” I haven’t read the origins of the script but I’m guessing that whoever wrote the screenplay came up with the soundtrack first, and then built a story around it. It doesn’t really matter what the creative process looked like, it worked. I loved the movie although I’m wondering how many Juno’s and Norah’s, and Charlene Yis there are out there to hook Michael Cera up with.

The song, like a lot of the band’s music, is vulnerable, tentative, pale and flushed, soothing, and cacophonous. Lead singer Stephen Coates describes the band’s toned down, jazzy, emotive style as “antique beat.” I like it. It fills an important part of my sonic sphere. My brain needs this type of music during a certain time of day. It’s 10 PM music. It’s a nice musical digestivo equivalent to an after dinner Amaro.

– DAVE