“Hey Jude” – The Beatles (1968)

Jan 31
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Rock Bands, UK

The thing that I love the most about American Idol is the innovative things that some of the contestants do with the songs that they use for auditions. Sure, a lot of people love to hear the really bad, sideshow acts that show up for the opening rounds, and that can be kind of fun in small doses but what really matters is the young, fresh faces who put a different spin on hit songs that many of us know and love.

Those who don’t like the show, hammer on the overly commercial nature of the musical content put forward, lack of legit talent, and the ability of the judges to advance contestants that they like and effect public opinion in a way that’s not necessarily conducive to uncovering the best and most talented people (See Jamar Rogers during Season 8). My rebuttals: I don’t listen to tons of music that is created with the # 1 goal of making heaping stacks of money but the fact still remains that some of the stuff that is made for the masses is pretty damn good… there are a whole mess of people who already have record deals and possess practically zero legit talent so how about tuning them out for a couple hours a week in hopes that you find some brave, young person pursuing their dreams in front of an audience of millions… I think that the judges have evolved into more of a mentoring role and are not as concerned with putting a notch in their belt as they find the next Carrie Underwood and are instead giving a little back as they realize how fortunate they’ve been in their careers.

American Idol isn’t for everyone but I love it. I love it because you get to see a giddy, nervous, passionate, fearful bunch of young people spill their guts each and every week in pursuit of a career in something that they really love to do. That’s a beautiful, painful, sometimes exhilarating thing to witness, so I tune in a couple of times a week for about five months.

Last week, during the Aspen auditions, a guy turned in a version of “Hey Jude” that kind of made me think of Club Nouveau’s version of “Lean On Me.” It encapsulated that well imagined originality that can make American Idol so fun. The guy delivered a nice even, soulful flow and then built the volume and hit pay dirt with the vamp. I loved it and every time I hear this song, by The Beatles or via any decent cover, I try to imagine if there could ever be a better song than this at any time in history.

– DAVE

The Fade

Jan 31
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind

Remember when all of your records ended by fading into silence? Whatever happened to that, and why does everything end in a rush these days? The beauty of the fade was that if you loved the song enough and didn’t want it to end, you could just pretend that it never stopped playing, it just drove around the block, is out of earshot for a minute or two and will be back shortly. All of the Billboard Top 40 hits ended like this back in the day, and to really give that effect of having your song sound like it might loop uninterrupted and eternally, The Four Seasons’ “Who Loves You” faded in and out. Tricky, those Jersey boys, yeah?

Is it that songs were built to last a couple, three, four decades ago and that artists, producers, and record companies wanted them to have longer shelf lives so they tried to construct them in a way that would give them an element of immortality. Fast forward, and you’ve got “Rolling In The Deep,” “Bad Romance,” and “Countdown” ending like pretty much every money making hit with a well executed, resounding thud of an exit with all of its inglorious finality. What’s the message here? The songs over, forget about it. Pay 99 cents for it. Play it a couple of times, and then move on and find some more stuff worthy of the “buy” button.

So maybe it’s true that the poster child for the fade out which I am affixing to this blog post, possibly didn’t have as intriguing of a catalog to peruse from as Ms. Adele, Gaga, and Beyonce who I cited as examples above but still, how could you just up and leave Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” without knowing for certain that the song is definitely done playing.

And thus concludes Dave’s alternative meaning to the fade out/ somebody turned the volume down and told the recording artist to vacate the premises before the cops get called.

“Come and Get Your Love” – Redbone – “Wovoka” (1973)

– DAVE

“Come Howling” – Family Cactus – “Come Howling” (2009)

Jan 30
Posted by admin Filed in Folk, Indie

I chose the title song off of the debut album from this New Zealand based amalgamation but it could have been any song of the ten tracks as this record is a very nice listen, front to back. This is a very complete album with a variety of moods, tempos, and instrumentation. Gotta be honest, I didn’t know much about this band until a couple of days ago.

Last week, I was at lunch, in my happy zone, all you can eat sushi when I heard Liam Finn’s “Second Chance” come on the restaurant’s sound system. Not sure if they’ve got their tunes set on a Sirius station or if one of the unlikely sushi chef’s has a Kiwi playlist or something but it seemed like kind of an odd place to hear it… not that I minded, of course. I’ll never think of the younger Finn again without having a flash back to his live performance last year, and him going all Animal (as in Muppet) up, down, back and forth and basically beating the snot out of his drum kit.

More Kiwi rock and roll please. Family Cactus, Flight of the Conchords, and does anyone else remember Ardijah which had a major hit back in late 80’s down in NZ? I’ll have to dig up Ardijah and post their big hit from 1988; maybe I’ll have to eat a few mutton sausages and drink a couple of Steinlagers that day just to make the mood complete.

– DAVE

“You’re The One That I Want” – Angus & Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane EP (2011)

Jan 28
Posted by admin Filed in Aussies, Duos

I’m a day late on my cover post once again – man, I’ve really been falling down on the job lately. I’ve got lots of stuff rattling around in my congested head though, and there aren’t enough days to post all of the music that I hear and fall in love with on a multiple times per day basis. If you’ve got your listening ears on, and are paying attention there is new, old, re-invented, long forgotten, and innovative music practically seeping out of the pores of mother earth and ready to be heard and appreciated by anyone who is lucky enough to cast an inviting ear.

I got this one from the unlikely setting of riding in our sleeper car from Udapuir to Delhi via Kelly’s iPhone (Kelly’s that little sister from Spokanistan that I never really wanted but one day she magically appeared and has been assaulting me with Old Guy jabs and pointy little fists ever since. She’s that kind of sweet and sour, little pain in the butt that little sisters from Spokanistan have a reputation for being. I never really wanted one, or thought I needed one but I love my little sister from Spokanistan and pity all of you poor blokes that don’t have one of you own.). Kelly definitely has that knack for pushing play on fun and interesting music, and I am pretty sure that she has a thing for stones as she also happens to be a big Allen Stone fan.

This is a nice, tender version of the Grease original. I just so happen to live with someone who counts the movie “Grease” as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World so I spend a lot of time rolling eyes when this movie comes up in conversation but I’ve got to admit, I’ve seen it a couple of dozen times and enjoyed it every time. This rendition by The Stones is perfect in the way that it takes the song into a new genre, and time period. I’m looking forward to seeing a Stone (touring in support of solo projects) or in tandem, sometime this year.

Late Night

Jan 27
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind

Between lingering effects from jet lag and a soul crushing, lung punishing bout with a cold/flu-like locomotive that ran over me for the better part of a week, I’ve had a few nap filled days and sleepless nights lately. Last weekend, the news, turned to late night talk shows which turned into the late late show, and finally I saw the edge of the earth in the form of 3 AM informercials. There was an hour long sales pitch from Time Warner asking me to buy a compilation of 70’s classics. I didn’t go so far as to look for my phone and credit card but I might have actually turned up the TV a little bit. Yeah, you know what, I said I was sick so get off my back.

“Indian Reseration (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” – Paul Revere and the Raiders (1971)

I finally did go to bed that morning but one of the first things that I did the next morning was download a Best of the 70’s collection. There were some great songs coming out, way back then when I was a kid. If there was ever an award given for Best All Time Organ Lick, it would have to be the closing notes from this song. Beginning, middle, and end if you could construct a song with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar lick at the beginning of “Modern Love”, the chunky jolt transitioning into the chorus of Radiohead’s “Creep” and the organ at the end of “Indian Reservation,” you would have rock and roll gold… or a train wreck of epic proportions.

– DAVE

“Wait” – M83 – “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming” (2011)

Jan 24
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I love this song, in a kind of irrational way. Not that it doesn’t deserve to be loved, it’s just that I love it for reasons that I can’t really explain. It has that mysterious, on the edge of the universe quality that speaks to me like certain things out of Beach House, Sigur Rós, or Zola Jesus’s song book. It’s pale and lonely, and resigned to whatever cosmic forces lay in wait for us. It’s all of this, or none of this. It’s the kind of song that gets made, on the type of album, when the artist is unencumbered by labels and salesmen paying stations to get songs in the rotation. I love it.

– DAVE

“Ivory Road” – King Charles – Mississippi Isabel (2012)

Jan 22
Posted by admin Filed in UK

Check this cat out?

Funky string section… an intro that almost sounds like “Sea of Love”… the gear box is getting a work out as there are about five speeds… are those a few Calypso strains about halfway through… very interesting and bursting with flavor.

It almost sounds like Big Audio Dynamite fronted by Deer Tick’s John McCauley.

“Cry Like A Rainy Day” – Etta James – “Love’s Been Rough on Me” (1997)

Jan 21
Posted by admin Filed in Blues, Rock and Roll Heaven

I saw Etta James in concert sometime in the early 90’s. It’s kind of foggy as to exactly what year it was but it was kind of book ended by Nevermind dominating Seatown and “In Utero” and the tour in support of that record (and the ticket to the show at the Mercer Arena that I ended up selling for some bizarre reason that probably revolved around me wanting to have electricity or water at my house). Ms. James played the Exhibition Hall at The Seattle Center which is kind of a weird venue for concerts unless they are on the Bumbershoot bill over Labor Day weekend. It was a fundraiser if I remember correctly for AIDS/HIV awareness and prevention and a friend of mine scored tickets and we went to listen to the big, sassy mama do her thing. She was great, as you can imagine. She was nasty and lewd, and you’re probably not surprised. She didn’t have a whole bunch of slow swoony “At Last” moments and she rocked the house, and you know that you need to go listen to the rest of her catalog.

Jamesetta Hawkins passed away today at the age of 73. She won six Grammys over the course of her career, and is ranked as the 22nd best singer of all time by Rolling Stone. Her hey day, and greatest commercial success was fairly brief and paltry relative to her huge talent and the respect that she has earned by her peers and fans. I don’t make bucket lists for musical artists that I want to see based on their hall of fame credentials or just so that I can say that I saw them before they passed. I go to acts that I am: curious about, in awe of, or because they just so happen to play what I really dig at the present time. I would honestly have to say that when I went to see Etta James, I was curious about her; and by the time she was done making every man, woman (hopefully no children were there), wall, and ceiling tile of the Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall sweat , I was in awe of her.

RIP Etta James

– DAVE

“On Your Way” – Alabama Shakes – EP (2011)

Jan 20
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I came unnecessarily close to being on the outside listening in on the Alabama Shakes show here in Seattle in two weeks. Last weekend, I volunteered for the task of securing tickets for my group of four and then let myself get distracted for a couple of days. I finally got around to buying them late Tuesday night and found out on Wednesday morning that the show is sold out. Whewww!!! Narrow aversion of major explaining accomplished.

I’m always looking for those budget friendly shows that highlight emerging artists in an intimate space. The Alabama Shakes at The Crocodile for $14.50 (service charges included) has to rank as about a 9.5 on a 10 scale. What would make it a perfect score? The show is on a school night.

– DAVE

“No Traces of You” – Pete Molinari – “Streetcar Named Desire” – EP (2010)

Jan 18
Posted by admin Filed in Blues, Classic Country, UK

It’s a good find when you can browse the racks at your local record store and find a lad of Maltese/Italian/Egyptian descent who grew up in jolly old England and serves up a well aged, bluesy, Nashville country sound. If that sounds like something that might interest you, Pete Molinari could be your guy.

The first show that I went to last year was Bobby Long at The Tractor. I’m kind of lumping them together because they both play a brand of music that is more American, honky tonk, blues than what you typically get out of a young guy in the UK. They’re refreshing acts because they broaden the base of the genre by keeping it young and taking it international.

– DAVE