“Held in the Arms of Your Words” – Tired Pony – “The Place We Ran From” (2010)

May 31
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

Who’s your favorite Super Group? The Traveling Wilburys, Audioslave, NWA, The Three Tenors, Temple of the Dog… The Beatles? It can be a beautiful thing when a bunch of established musical heavyweights create a little side project in between touring and recording with their usual mates.

I’m not sure who my favorite Super Group is but I will have to say that Tired Pony is not it. They’re more like a Mini Super comprised of: Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, Peter Buck of R.E.M., Zooey Deschanel lending vocals to a track, and Richard Colburn of Belle & Sebastian, among others. That’s pretty solid, and by just looking at those names, it’s not hard to imagine that they would make a record worth listening to. I love all of the guitar variation built into the body of this song. We’ve got some steely stuff thrown in, twangy reverb, and no show stealing solo. The whole thing is collaborative, fitting for how a Super Group or Mini Super should operate. All of the various elements from Lightbody’s distinctive, emotive voice to the brushes on snare make this the kind of song that is my musical comfort food. Everybody’s playing but there’s enough separation that you can hear everyone’s contribution. I wonder if this Mini Super will grace the listening public with something resembling a full blown tour.

What about The Power Station? They were cool, and their sound is so dated, which to me is a good thing, and reminds me of what things looked and sounded like in the mid-80’s. The sad thing about all of these groups that I’ve mentioned, and this is pure coincidence because I’m winging it as usual, is that so many of their members are no longer with us.

RIP Roy Orbison, Easy-E, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrew Wood (who was the inspiration for Temple of the Dog), John Lennon, George Harrison, and Robert Palmer.


“I Got” – Young the Giant – “Young the Giant” (2010)

May 30
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I’m going to take the lazy route today and tell you about who I hear a little of when I listen to Young the Giant. I really like them! They seem like they have enough youthful pep and energy, tight, little indie pop songs, and harmonious chemistry to make people want to download a song or two. I’ve listened to this album front to back a couple of times this weekend and found it to be cohesive, easy to listen to, well worded (Cause I know it don’t read that well. And I know, only time will tell, me. I got buried; no it won’t be long before I rise in. I got buried; no it won’t be long before I rise in song!), and sung even better. So anyways, back to lazy mode.

Doesn’t lead vocalist Sameer Gadhia have a tone similar to Adam Levine? I’m guessing some other lazy blogger has drawn that comparison before and wonder how Gadhia feels about it. I hope that he sticks with the cool little band that he’s currently growing and doesn’t let the Levine similarities go to his head leading him to ditch everything in search of an SI swimsuit model girlfriend and primetime show on a network. That would be a super selfish move on his part; one that I wouldn’t appreciate very much. I’ve got my own selfish, lazy needs that people should be paying attention to.


“Í Gær” – Sigur Rós – “Hvarf/Heim” (2006)

May 29
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

Sigur Rós is mesmerizing. Their song’s are so complex, rich, and multidimensional, eerie, panoramic, and msytical. My image of them as this kind of otherworldly entity is abetted by the fact that they are from Iceland; a land natural wonders and isolation that is not akin to any other place in the world.

I received a link to the trailer for the Heima trailer on my Facebook page yesterday and was stunned at the kaleidoscope of sights and sounds enclosed in the four and a half minute video. The word is that Jónsi has come in from his solo tour and taken up with his band and that Sigur Rós is working on new material. As I wait a new album and hopefully and ensuing tour, this documentary will be taking up some of my free time.


“‘O Sole Mio” – Luciano Pavarotty and Bryan Adams

May 26
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

Watching the video below, I get the strong feeling that Bryan Adams is at best out of his comfort zone, at least a little unsure as to how he got transported onto the stage next to one of the Top10 best singers in the history of the human race, and worst case totally embarrassed and wants to call the whole thing off.

It’s not that the gravelly voiced rocker from BC doesn’t apprise himself quite nicely especially through the chorus which he really nailed. Luciano Pavarotti looks like a sincere, gracious, and encouraging host throughout although, to the audience, it probably played as some unworthy side show with too much stage time given to some noisy North American with a too-bright shirt.

I love watching Pavarotti performances just to see how emotive and expressive his eyes and facial expressions are. This will seem like the purest form of sacrilege but hit the mute button and just watch Pavarotti’s face as he sings. His eyes are searching, remembering, dreaming, and dancing. The best performers and truest talent don’t need any fancy accouterments to connect to their audience. They just tap into that common gene that we all have within us and extract enough of that true human essence that makes us all week in the knees for a few minutes.


“Wasted” – Carrie Underwood – “Some Hearts” (2005)

May 25
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

Anybody who’s been paying attention to this blog knows by now that I’m a fan of American Idol, and that I’ve been very pleased with the season’s product. For those of you who aren’t fans, I get it, I think. Actually, I’m not sure that I do get why some people don’t like the show.

If you don’t like poppish Top 40 music in general then I guess I get why you wouldn’t be a fan. If you don’t like a bunch of snot nosed average Jane or Joes off of the street mucking up standards from Motown artists, The Beatles, Elton John, etc. I can see why you would have no time for Idol. If you don’t want to see a bunch of glammed out personalities sitting at the judges table, or a primped and preened robo-host try to squeeze every drop of melodrama possible out of results night then you will never ever turn the channel to Idol. But then there’s all of the good stuff.

If you like to see young people with a big dream, and at least a little talent shoot for the stars, it’s a fun process to watch. The end reult of that process is at various times rewarding, humiliating, humbling, enlightening, and often times life changing.

The show can sometimes look like a beauty contest – the makers and fans of the new show The Voice are beating this drum – but the pecking order of this year’s final 13 as well as last year’s final two haven’t lent any validity to this criticism. Pia Toscano, this year’s 8th place finisher, had what many thought was at least silver or bronze level talent, and gold medal, movie star looks and style, and yet there she is in 8th place. Haley Reinhardt has the spunk, and pretty face that will make her an eventual sideline reporter (ala Erin Andrews) if she doesn’t monetize Plan A which would play as something like Feist, or this generation’s Stevie Nicks. Last year’s final duo (Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox) looked like the type of kids who decided to come in from out of the cold from their regular busking routine, to see how far they could make it on America’s favorite talent show. It turned out that America liked earthy, Birkenstock wearing guitar strummers and kept them around for the whole year.

I really like this year’s semi-finalists even though they don’t perfectly fit within my musical sweet spot, are not from my neck of the woods, and aren’t hard luck stories who need the crown for the money and security that it would bring to their families. I like them because they seem like good kids who aren’t going to turn into regulars on TMZ due to boozing and bad choices. I like the fact that all of the star making heavy machinery that Idol and Interscope Records has in their workshop will be used to mold and buff a likable teenager who can carry a tune and not another dancing hussy, or hot head who relies on wardrobe changes, and a disdainful attitude which is inexplicably what much of the record buying public gravitates towards. I like the fact that Scotty McCreery wears a very plain, dull brown pair of shit kickers most weeks, lays on the cheese when he performs, is polite and respectful when interviewed, and bawled like a baby overcome with emotions when he visited his hometown last week. I like the fact that Lauren Alaina is not a perfect Hollywood shape and size but never acts anything but perfectly comfortable with who she is. And I love the fact that ordinary, every day kids and young people can take a chance, give music their best shot, do all of the work that the thing entails, and in the end gain fame, fortune, and aplatform to launch their career.


“Adeline” – Sarah Jaffe – “Even Born Again” (2011)

May 23
Posted by admin Filed in Folk, Indie

For a mid size city, Denton, Texas has produced some very prominent and notable musicians. There’s this dude named Don Henley, some cat named Roy Orbison, a big oaf who answers to Meatloaf, Neon Indian, you’re probably guessing by now, Sarah Jaffe is from this North Texas town.

But why, Sarah Jaffe? What makes you venture into this corner of the US of A and decide to skirt Seattle. You’re going to deprive of us of a nice little set at The Tractor, or Neumo’s? Was it something that we did or didn’t say? Oh, I get it, you’re just acting all coy, but you’re headed back around Labor Day. Is that it? It’s nice in Seattle at that time of year.


“Don’t Gotta Work It Out” – Fitz and the Tantrums – “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” (2010)

May 22
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A productive day at Bumbershoot takes a little pre-festival strategic mapping. It’s important to factor in the size of venues, the amount of time before show time that you need to show up to get a spot in line, and when to take a couple hours off between shows to eat a couple of skewers of protein and drink a glass of lemonade. The outdoor stages are great as you can usually find a good viewing/listening spot on the fringes of the space even if you show up last minute.

Acts like Fitz & the Tantrums are perect dance card fillers. Fresh, energetic, eager to please, and accessible, I’m guessing that these guys might get the outdoor stage at Fisher Pavilion maybe early evening for an hour set. I’m loving the mix of bands and artists that have been named so far and think that this is setting up to be one of the best Seattle Labor Day festivals in several years.


“Until the End of the World” – U2 – “Achtung Baby” (1991)

May 21
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands

U2’s Seattle show is two weeks out and I’m getting pretty excited. Yup, I’m the same guy that turned every discussion over the last year about U2 and their local appearance into my own personal broken record of “oh, ya’ know, I haven’t liked anything that U2 has done in like the last 20 years, and well, I’m really into watching where my every penny goes, so I can’t buy one of those big fancy, gotta wear it around my neck tickets… and Bono’s short, and I like other Irish bands better… I’m probably going for a hike the day they come to town… I’ve got to save up for Radiohead tix… yada yada… I hate stadium venues… ya.”

I still believe about half, or maybe 3/8ths of what I blathered on about in regards to U2 but when push turned into get the hell out of the way, I got scared. Actually, I experienced fright that a rabbit would be ashamed to admit to. I was scared that my senses were going to miss out on the overload as I sat in some warm quiet place while all of my friends rocked out at a live show by the world’s biggest rock band. So now, I am the proud owner of a GA ticket to the show on June 4th, and I’m really excited to be going.

I do have a couple of requested, though. They’re not requests in the sense of the call the radio station and request “Like A Rolling Stone” although I would like them to write “Gloria”, “Bad”, and “Until The End of the World” on their setlist. The main thing that I want to request is to please not play “Moment of Surrender” as the last song of the night, as they’ve been doing during their to-date North American shows. I would like U2 to consider the wisdom of myself, the guy who has been giving the world’s biggest rock band two big thumbs down for the last 20 years, and I would prefer that you play either “New Year’s Day” or “One” as the last song of the night. That’s all that I ask… and I was even nice and gave you options.

I hope they don’t figure out some way of identifying me and zapping my ticket relegating me to the parking lot because I’m getting really excited for U2 in Seattle in two weeks.


The Final Three

May 20
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Rock Bands

I often hear songs being performed on American Idol and think, “wow, I forgot how much I like that song.” James Durbin sung “Maybe I’m Amazed” which is a song that I never forget about, and is unbelievably good in its original version by Sir Paul Paul, but it comes off sounding original and new. I heard one of my “hey I almost forgot about you” songs this week, and I’m playing it tonight.

I just got done speed watching last night’s two hour Idol and tonight’s results. I really think this year has been a stellar season with so many diverse styles and genres represented. James was my guy, hands down, who I wanted to win, it ain’t happenin’ though, but it’s still okay with me. A lot of seasons I find myself irritated with an attention hoarding diva or scratching my head over someone who the judges fawn over, but I find average at best or downright undeserving. I never got the sense this year that there were any unsavory or unworthy characters. And so, I’ll be happy for whichever southern teenager (Scotty McCreery or Lauren Alaina) wins the crown next week. For the record, although I favored James, in the back of my mind, I’ve felt from the beginning that Lauren would win the whole thing. But, I also thought that based on this week’s performances, Haley and Scotty would be the two finalists.

When Haley sang “Rhiannon” this week, I immediately knew that I would be creating this post. Her performance was very good, but after Jimmy Iovine picked the song for her and before she struck the first note, I could hear Stevie Nicks in my head. I love the front half of the verses thrown down sultry, almost mournful then countered up range and bordering on hysterical. This is a classic tune by as stylish and talented of a rock and roll band as there ever was.

“Rhiannon” – Fleetwood Mac -“Fleetwood Mac” (1976)


“Make Some Noise” – The Beastie Boys – “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” (2011)

May 18
Posted by admin Filed in Hip Hop

I was getting ready to make some smugly comment about these guys getting old, when I decided to check the IDs which revealed that these guys aren’t even old yet. I’m sure that some listeners might think there’s a little less hip in their hop these days but when you think about how many years ago that it was that they told us about our party rights, I just expected then to be 50ish. The new stuff? Peppered with random horns, echoes, Rasta, retro funk, scratch and synth, Nas, and a “Lisa Lisa” titled snippet to finish things off. It sounds like one of those Friday nights when your bar bill looks like a seven course meal which you can’t remember, but can’t wait to do again.