“Little Bit” – Lykke Li – “Youth Novels” (2008)

Feb 27
Posted by admin Filed in Girls Rule

In the same vain as my Radiohead post from last week, come on people, don’t neglect the first born musical sibling to be delivered into the world. Most of us have by now picked up on the fact that Ms. Li has the Next Big Thing label all over her fabulous little Swedish being but she’s been on the scene for a few years. The debut record was strong! Li comes across fragile, maybe even frail, sweetly intoxicating like 100 proof honey, dream like, and otherworldly. So my message to all of you who’ve already got “Wounded Rhymes” ingrained in your musical memories, go back and play with the three year old. “Youth Novels” needs love to.

– DAVE

“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons – “Sigh No More” (2010)

Feb 26
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

We got to a nice surprise and got to go to a show last night thanks to our good friend, JJ who had a couple of extra tickets. I love the spontaneous and unexpected especially when the result is a cool concert in a small venue. The show was a solo performance by Ted Leo who belted and strummed out a good cross section of his catalog in a 75 minute set. It most definitely wasn’t the couple hundred person type of hall that Leo’s used to playing as last night’s show was in the auditorium of the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington campus. Rainy Dawg Radio, a student run internet-based station on the UW campus was a key collaborator in making this show happen so I would like to thank them for their efforts. Check ’em out when here.

I’ll post some Ted Leo this week but in the meantime, I’ve had a certain band stuck in my head for a couple of days. My wife told me that the girls at her favorite coffee shop were cranking up Mumford & Sons a couple of mornings ago. That was enough to put them on my planner for a future post, and then as if to remind me, Mumford & Sons provided the pre-show soundtrack last night before Mr. Leo took the stage. Considering his young age, talent, social awareness, passion, and charisma I’ve got to think that Marcus Mumford is one of those cool cats that is going to end up being the voice of his generation.

I realize that there’s a lot of music that I post to this blog that comes hand in hand with with the type of comment that makes everyone who knows me say “yup, that boy hasn’t changed a bit,” and total strangers say “wow, I can see a 12-step program in that guy’s future” but I’m going to say it again. When I listen to a roof raiser like “The Cave” I invariably end up wanting to go down to the pub and have the nice beer pouring person draw me a nice dark pint of grog. It’s not that you can’t enjoy these guys without a pint in your hand, as a matter of fact it’s great music for the gym.

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

– DAVE

“The Tower” – Nicole Atkins – “Mondo Amore” (2011)

Feb 24
Posted by admin Filed in Girls Rule, Indie

This is pretty close to perfection. You’ve got the swooning accompaniment of the electric guitar. Gripping on the brink of hysterical lyrics coming from a dark place deep in the soul of a beautiful singer who just happens to have a soaring, spectacular voice.

Nicole Atkins! There’s no attempt here at a commercial friendly name change or alteration. Ms. Atkins’s primary goal doesn’t appear to be record sales thus big bank account. All of that concentrating on the lucrative ends tends to get in the way of the treasure trove of original thought and inspiration that is where great art and music comes from. It’s an avenue that many a performer purposefully opts for, and frankly who could blame a person for going that route. Most of us do live in the real world, after all, and try our best to use our most marketable skills to obtain financial security.

I have no idea what their major differences were but judging by the fact that Atkins parted ways with her label, a major at that (Columbia), I tend to think that she was more attuned to her artistic integrity than her label’s requests and/or demands. However it went down, it’s got to be a tough transition on a few levels to head into indie territory, but at least you don’t have to worry about coming out with that next high charting hit to keep the suits and masses happy. If you’re talented, you’re talented and Nicole Atkins undoubtedly has talent. She’s taken a stand and sent the message that she won’t lend her talents to material that isn’t too her liking. The timing is interesting since the split came before a couple of the “little guys” (Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spalding) one Grammy’s last week. I think that by sticking to what she believes in Nicole Atkins will also be rewarded in the end.

“Blastit…” – Shabazz Palaces – “Shabazz Palaces” (2010)

Feb 22
Posted by admin Filed in Hip Hop, Indie, Pacific Northwest

I’ve had a CD sitting on my counter for the last week that I got from a guy downtown. It was one of those “get the goods in the passerby’s hand” kind of deals and followed by a request for a donation from the passive receiver of goods. I knew what was going on though I was a little distracted by a potential road rage incident threatening to flare up at 6th and Pine. Anyways, I took the disk and got asked for $5 or $10 to support the young fella’s attempt to piece together a road trip. I gave him what I had which was a measly three bucks but told him that I would go home and play it, and if I liked it I would post one of his songs in this space and then give him some more cash the next time I saw him…. I didn’t like it. I found a bunch of lazy beats that did nothing to keep my attention, or shift it away from the unoriginal, heard that a million times before lyrical flow. I’m not going to even say whose CD it is with the only clue that I’ll give being that a couple of current NBA ballers got in a little hot water for making an appearance.

And so, I shift the mic to one of the other local hip hop outfits getting a lot of the love in Seattle these days. There’s a certain blogger in this town, who I have ranted about before, who I think must be the president of Shabazz Palaces fan club so quite unfairly I have ignored these guys in a misdirected spiteful attack aimed at blogger X. Stupid me, give credit where credit is due and good things are happening and leave all of the negativity out of it.

– DAVE

“Approximate Sunlight” – Bright Eyes – “The People’s Key” (2011)

Feb 21
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

We went to the final night of PUSAfest and had a total blast. I didn’t drain the three pack of PBR tall boys that I had predicted instead settling for a pair of big frosty Kokanees. Great energy from PUSA and I loved the age mix of the crowd and that the younger set is still into the Presidents. The band played all of the big hits that you’d expect (“Kitty”, “Peaches”, “Lump) new stuff including the song that I featured yesterday, and a rousing version of “Video Killed The Radio Star.” The only song that they didn’t play that I really wanted to hear was “Stranger.”

You, Lynyrd Skynyrd Hat

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I haven’t been the biggest Bright Eyes or Conor Oberst fan in the past but I still felt I needed to give his new album a whirl. It’s all right. I’m not jumping up and down thinking that I’ve found what completes me musically but, it’s nice. I’m not going to run the whole record cover to cover too often but I’ve got to say that I think “Approximate Sunshine” will end up being one of my favorite songs this year. (Okay, I’m listening to “Shell Games” as I write this and I’m digging this song a lot too.)

I rarely talk politics in the Play On Daily space but I’ll break from that norm briefly to state that I agree with Oberst’s views on undocumented workers living in the US. I heard a story story on NPR about the benefit concert that Oberst organized last summer to raise awareness for undocumented workers in the city of Freemont, Nebraska. An ordinance was recently passed in that town making it illegal to hire or rent to undocumented workers. This NPR article about the ordinance and Oberst’s involvement contained this quote from a local politician who was a proponent of the law:

“We have people that are here. We don’t know their medical backgrounds; we don’t know their criminal backgrounds, and that makes me nervous,” says State Sen. Charlie Jannsen of Fremont. “I have two small children. They’re people that could be handling my children and your children and Nebraska children, and we don’t know anything about these people.”

My question to Senator Jannsen is, how is it that making housing and employment a more circuitous and illegal proposition for undocumented workers will result in a safer environment for your children? Do you know everything that is pertinent to the safety of your children in regards to the US citizens who reside within your community? It seems to me that your energy and resources would be more efficiently used in embracing and integrating the undocumented workers that you are trying to sweep out of town while working with your state’s members of the US congress to fashion immigration reform that works on a national level and helps secure borders. I’ll probably regret that I even started down this road but that’s my two cents.

This song is haunting. A lot of the promise and things that we thought we were going to get in life may come up empty. Intermittent steel guitar twangs in and out, Oberst’s voice on reverb, the song title, it all works perfect. Don’t worry though folks, in the end I’m pretty sure we’ll all get what we deserve. No more, no less.

Used to dream of time machines
Now it’s been said we’re post-everything
As a child, imagining
Neckties and coastlines
I’ve seen the show, man, what a sight
Drenched us in approximated sunlight
The crowd was small and mostly blind, but kind
You’re too kind

– DAVE

“More Bad Times” – The Presidents of the United States of America – “These Are The Good Times People” (2008)

Feb 20
Posted by admin Filed in Pacific Northwest

They’re kind of like Cake without the trumpet.

They’re Barenaked Ladies if BNL had decided to name themselves The Prime Ministers of Canada.

They’re Lonely Island without a Boat, Cupcakes, and SNL.

This weekend, one of Seattle’s favorite, good time bands are playing their unique brand of garage pop in the Showbox at The Market. The Presidents came into being at a key time in Seattle’s rock and roll history. It was the mid-90’s. The grunge scene was in full effect with the big four of: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains creating the sound and genre that Seattle would become known for. The Presidents stepped in and created this light, irreverent brand of post-grunge wackiness. I remember being at a Sonics-Bulls game and watching Dennis Rodman paying absolutely zero attention to his coach during a time out called to quell a Sonics run. Mr. Rodman was too busy checking out the Sonics cheerleaders getting down to “Lump.” I thought to myself that there’s absolutely no chance that any other NBA arena music master has “Lump” on his play list.

I really hope they play “More Bad Times” tonight. The bad times are good times to drink a PBR tall boy. I’m thinking that three of those will do me just about right.

you never lost contact you never leaked oil
you never drank cleanser you never ate foil
you never got hurt by sticks and stones
you never choked on any big chicken bones
you never got mauled by a mad baboon
you never lost all the air in your balloon
you never got poked in the eye with a spork
you never got sick from all that left over pork

– DAVE

“Backdrifts” – Radiohead – “Hail to the Thief” (2003)

Feb 19
Posted by admin Filed in UK

The new Radiohead album, “The King of Limbs” was released a day early and has been in circulation for almost two full days now. I have only heard snippets so far and no full songs but I like what I hear. That being said, I’m quite reluctant to set aside the rest of my Radiohead collection. It’s kind of like when the new baby comes home from the hospital and everyone forgets that the other two kids, and the long forgotten canine still exist as oxygen consuming organisms. Friends of Radiohead’s previously spawned work, I implore you to not neglect those songs that have been here for you and have lullabied you to sleep for all of these years.

I’m on my second full listen of “Hail to the Thief” for the day, and it’s keeping me quite content in the interim as I wait for the baby to come home from the hospital…. I admit it, I’m excited for the new edition. HTTT really is a strong record though. To the casual listener, there aren’t many Radiohead songs that you’ve heard before on this album, meaning that the serious Radiohead fan who digs the album, has a good chance of hearing an HTTT song in concert.

It was mid-February three years ago that I sat with an itchy trigger finger at 9:55 AM on a Saturday waiting for Radiohead tickets for the August White River show to go on sale (Like a lot of places in mid-February and like this song, Seattle’s atmosphere is thick, gray, unsettled, and sort of neurotic). I was quick enough on the draw and immensely enjoyed the show on a rainy late-summer night. I’ve been looking on a daily basis for tour news in support of “The King of Limbs.” How about it guys? The Pacific Northwest is lovely in late summer / early fall.

– DAVE

“Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden – “Superunknown” (1994)

Feb 18
Posted by admin Filed in Pacific Northwest

It’s such a great week for music. The new Twilight Singers album came out two days ago. Esperanza Spalding’s Wikipedia entry got defaced. Justin Townes Earle is in Seattle at The Crocodile this Saturday. Arcade Fire won a kind of big award. The new Radiohead album “The King of Limbs” is due out this weekend. But, despite it all, I’m sad. Maybe, I’m even a little, no, I’m a lot bitter.

I was chatting at work with my friend Karen as I was getting Cup ‘o Joe # 1 the other day about music of course, when she told me “oh yeah, an the Chris Cornell acoustic show coming up at The Moore… you know the one that sold out in six minutes… I got ticets.”

“Oh wow, that’s awesome”, I said to Karen.

As we walked back to our desks, approximately six steps later, I changed my reply to, “you know what, I’m pretty jealous. I mean, really, Cornell’s going to play from his career song book, solo and acoustic.”

We parted ways. I went back to my desk. I did a little work and intermittently thought about Karen’s good fortune in getting tickets to see Chris Cornell. And, within an hour, I was engulfed in full on, five alarm jealousy. Which thick and juicy Soundgarden, Temple of The Dog, Audioslave, or Cornell solo rock and roll song would I most want to hear stripped down to the naked and alone version. “Blow Up The Outside World” is my favorite Soundgarden song and one of my Top 50 favorite songs ever so that’s got to be the one that I would love to hear the most. But, what about “Humger Strike”, “Show Me How to Live”, “Rusty Cage”, “Fell On Black Day” and all of the others that I don’t even want to think about anymore.

Such a great week for music and yet here I am, without putting a lot of effort into it, looking pitiful and feeling sorry for myself because I’m not going to the Seattle Chris Cornell show on May 1st. And Karen, I’m not jealous any more, or should I say that I’m not too jealous, as in I’m not losing sleep anymore because of jealousy. And, I’ve gotten over the fact that Ms. Spalding had the nerve to steal an award from Master Bieber.

– DAVE

Thoughts on The Grammys

Feb 15
Posted by admin Filed in Hip Hop

Awesome night for the little guy last night. Esperanza Spalding gets the big win in the Best New Artist category, and non-major label band Arcade Fire walks away with Album of the Year for “The Suburbs.” Looking ahead to next year’s show, you would think that Kanye West will probably grab a handful of nominations and a good chance at a couple of major wins. Radiohead is releasing a new album in five days. I’m sure it will be a good listen. Will it be Grammy worthy? Like most fans of the group, yours truly could care less.

A lot of the cool kid music set spend a lot of time scoffing at the Grammys. Most years, the thought of turning on the TV to watch the grandiose exercise in vanity never even crosses my mind but I was psyched for last night because of the collaborative acoustic set that I touched on in yesterday’s post. I mean I get that the whole thing smells of a pageant of lip sticker wearers in pig’s clothing when the musical void aka Katy Perry gets nom’d for a bunch of stuff but come on people, the show has a lot of good stuff to offer if you’re willing to give it a shot.

Here’s what I learned that I liked but wouldn’t otherwise have known about if I didn’t watch last night. The Dr. Dre song “I Need A Doctor” with collaboration from Eminem, and Skylar Grey was good stuff. Eminem made the whole thing agitated and angry, Grey got it all Evanescence-ish, and then Dre re-appeared all bassy and bad ass, the same as he’s always been.

The Grammys will always give the discerning music fan good reason to say “see, I told you so, it’s a beauty contest, but when the lights go back on, no one is that pretty, that tall, and oh yeah, no one can sing, play, or write a song to save their ass.” I say, turn the TV on in the background and your cynical side will get proven right several times but when you start to walk out of the room to grab another soda, your ear might perk up to something fun or interesting that you didn’t know before, and you’ll have something new for your play list.

“I Need A Doctor” – Dr. Dre (featuring Eminem & Skylar Grey) – 2011

– DAVE

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise – The Avett Brothers – “I and Love and You” (2009)

Feb 14
Posted by admin Filed in Folk

I would pay a big chunk of cash to attend a hootenanny comprised of players that were just in the Grammy acoustic music tribute. In case you missed it, the collaboration was made up of: Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan. How much would I pay? Lots. I won’t pay lots to see big stadium playing mega-bands (U2). I’ll only pay medium amounts to see groups that I’m fanatical about (Muse, Arcase Fire, Brooks & Dunn). I’ll pay $20 a pop to see tons of bands that are still on their way up and taking nothing for granted (The Heavy, Bobby Long, The Kills). But, for top notch, for the love of the music players – the kind of guys that probably sit around and play day and night even if the only audience is themselves – I would pay top dollar. I’m going to need a little drinking money to stay in my pocket though because this hootenanny will need a few shot-and-a-beer rounds.

– DAVE