“West End Blues” – The Carolina Chocolate Drops – “Leaving Eden” (2012)

Mar 31
Posted by admin Filed in Folk

Carolina Chocolate Drops tonight… I think… I can’t find my tickets, or proof that I bought them. I’m hoping for good news, and a hand stamp at the will call window. If by chance, I did manage to mess this up, it would be kind of fitting since I also was asleep at the wheel for tonight’s Lumineers show and didn’t get around to attempting to buy tickets until afte it was, SOLLLLLDDDDDDDD OUTTTTTTTTT!!!

Wish me luck.


“Dreams” – The Morning Benders – “The Bedroom Covers” (2008)

Mar 31
Posted by admin Filed in Indie

I really enjoyed guest mentor Stevie Nicks on American Idol this week. Her advice pivoted around the main task at hand for the contestants which is, of course, singing, and she didn’t spend too much time on the showbiz aspect of the whole star making process. She came at it in a very personal way, sung with the contestants, told them to believe in themselves, and seize the moment. I also loved the interplay between Nicks and Jimmy Iovine. Their advice always seemed like it came from a place of wanting a young performer to develop and polish their skills, and never included the snark and zeal for a clever put down or half witted comparison in a misguided attempt at boosting ratings, in the way that one certain, thankfully departed judge was known for.

Growing up, Stevie Nicks, or Fleetwood Mac for that matter, weren’t exactly musical heroes of mine and in fact, memory says that I probably changed the channel as often as not when one of their songs would come on the radio. But in recent years, I have found myself listening a little closer, or turning it up a little whenever I hear Ms. Nicks or her old band on the radio. It seems like a perfect cross-generational fit to post a cool ass band like The Morning Benders putting down a velvety, rich version of a Fleetwood Mac classic.

Enjoy the weekend. Tomorrow, Carolina Chocolate Drops for me!


“Change the Sheets” – Kathleen Edwards – “Voyager” (2012)

Mar 29
Posted by admin Filed in Canadian, Singer Songwriter

My love is a stockpile of broken wills
Like Santa Fe, margaritas and sleeping pills
I want to lie in the cracks of this lonely road
I can fill in the blanks every time you don’t phone
Here is the truth, I swear it used to be fun
Go ahead run, run, run, run

I was torn on which song to post off of Ms. Edwards’ new album. “A Soft Place to Land” almost stole the day’s spot but I stuck with my original pick after a couple of side by side listens. This is a very nice record by the Canadian singer/songstress who also just so happens to be Justin Vernon’s (of Bon Iver) girlfriend… yeah, now you can place her. She was the one looking on proudly while her guy picked up a little trophy at The Grammys last month.


“Myth” – Beach House – “Bloom” (2012)

Mar 28
Posted by admin Filed in Duos, Indie

I became a Beach House fan based on the overall strength and ease on the ears provided by their last album, “Teen Dreams” until I got to track # 9. At that point, I became infatuated. “Real Love” stunned me the first time, and the next hundred times that I heard it. Epic, haunting, all encompassing, to live and die for love is the stuff that reams of songs have been written about but few have captured it as perfectly as “Real Love.” Because that song was so perfect to me, I’ve made a solemn oath to myself that I will carefully listen to every song that Beach House releases for the rest of forever just in case they come out with something that could be somewhere close to its equal. “Bloom” is due out on May 14th.


“Lonely is the Night” – Billy Squier – “Don’t Say No” (1981)

Mar 27
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, T-Top Tunes

I just got back from five days in the Valley of the Sun, which could aptly take “Valley of 70’s and 80’s Rock” as an alternate nickname. We didn’t go looking for any cool live music venues or local college or experimental radio (to be very honest, I’m not sure if any of these things exist in and around Phoenix) but still, I was a little shocked at the fact that there was 30+ year old rock and roll around every corner. In the car, the radio was constantly blaring Paul McCartney in his Wings days, Elton John, and old U2. Every PA system that our ears were subjected to blasted: The Zombies, The Babies, The Allman Brothers, The Doors, etc. The jukebox at one bar was getting fed by some young guys pushing buttons for: Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Twisted Sister, and the like. I’m not complaining. I grew up on all of this stuff and rarely get around to listening to any of it.

I like Arizona for the omnipresent blue sky and warm air, the mid-March hope that abounds for the upcoming baseball season, the ridiculously green fairways in bright contrast to the golf ball enveloping surrounding desert, and the infinite number of replays of the rock and roll music that I grew up on. Billy Squier has long since transitioned out of the rock and roll limelight but his condensed collection of hits from the 80’s has glowing embers of life in other parts of the free world while blazing like wild fire in Phoenix. I heard “Lonely is the Night” not once but twice last weekend. I don’t think I’ve heard this song in 20 years. I’m predicting that in about five years when I go to Phoenix, stuff like Candlebox and Soul Asylum will be getting spun in heavy rotation.


What Are They Listening To?

Mar 20
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, UK

I love checking out the contents of celebrity – especially musical celebrity – playlists. Tommy Lee has got guys like Nas in his rotation, Zac Brown listens to Gomez, and Kesha listens to…. Kesha. In the same vein, I’m always interested in who various artists collaborate with and find influential especially when these connections cross genres. I’ve heard Kanye say nice things about Franz Ferdinand, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have attended a Beach House show or two, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has worked with Kanye and Alicia Keys on separate projects.

So when I hear that Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen DJ’d on NPR’s “All Songs Considered,” I naturally want to know what got air time on their watch. You guessed it, nothing but cool stuff. The B-52’s, Devo, and Misfits made the roll call, kind of not surprisingly. To round it out and give their list some body from a time span perspective, we get a cut from Ike and Tina Turner, and Paul McCartney and Wings. I’ll bet that if I keep digging, and get a hold of a couple celebrity iPods I’ll find some McCartney on just about everyone’s speed dial.

“Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty Five” – Paul McCartney and Wings – “Band on the Run” (1974)


“Day to Day” – The Ting Tings – “Songs from Nowheresville” (2012)

Mar 19
Posted by admin Filed in Duos, UK, Uncategorized

At last, the new album from The Ting Tings has arrived. It’s nice, compact ten song set and should please most of you who liked or loved their debut. There might not be any “That’s Not My Name” signature moment on this record but “Hang It Up” comes close, “Soul Killing” makes nice use of a squeaky rocking chair, and the final track “In Your Life” is the off speed pitch that shows another side of the duo. I was feeling like playing the contrarian card and was all set to pick “In Your Life” when I stumbled across a nice acoustic version of “Day to Day” so I still get to play up an aspect of The Ting Tings that isn’t always in full flourish. Master Jules and Ms. Katie specialize in party music so to get to see them play something tender is a good exhibition of their versatility. I’ll bet that Katie White gets a Gwen Stefanit comparison thrown her way once in awhile but I kind of like Deborah Harry as a possible role model.


“Somebody That I USed to Know” – Gotye – “Making Mirrors” (2011)

Mar 17
Posted by admin Filed in Aussies

Love it!!!

My brain thinks LCD Soundsystem as this song winds up and builds RPMs heading towards full tilt, downhill abandon. This is great pop music; the kind that’s too rich and juicy for most pop music lovers to embrace. The minimal instrumentation coupled with inside-your-head neurotic, measured, turned bat shit desperate neurotic vocal performance is a beautiful contrast. LCD Soundsystem meets The XX with Gotye upgrading the singing parts, that’s what I’m getting here. I love the phasing used around the word “somebody” in the chorus at the end of the song. And then, there are the verses:

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end
Always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over


“Grandma’s Hands” – Starsailor – “Alchoholic” (2001)

Mar 17
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands, UK

Yes, it is a provable fact, there have been songs by Bill Withers besides “Lean On Me” or “Ain’t No Sunshine” that have been covered. “Grandma’s Hands” kind of seems like an odd fit for James Walsh and the lads of Starsailor but the song is such a classic gem that the soul is brined into it whether it be sung by a black man who came of age during the Civil Rights Era or a young, blue eyed, British chap.

I keep waiting for Starsailor to be huge (my wait might be a little longer as Walsh is trying out a solo career). Walsh has got great pipes, the band plays rock radio worthy material that doesn’t venture down too many uncharted trails to areas where the masses won’t go looking for them. So why aren’t they a bigger deal? They might be a little too rock for the middle of the dial crowd, and not quite edgy enough for the skinny jeans wearing cool kids hitting up shows at smaller venues looking for the next big thing. I wish Walsh good luck with his solo endeavors but honestly, I hope he gets it out his system and gets back to his band mates as I think that they’ve got a lot of good music left to be made.


“Hey Na Na” – Galactic – “Carnivale Electricos” (2012)

Mar 15
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

The airwaves will be green with the likes of: Flogging Molly, The Chieftains, The Frames, and the like in a couple of days but here’s a suggestion. When the crowd’s a little too far into their Black and Tans to know any better, throw some rowdy ass, funky, rockin’ bluesy party tunes on the sound system.

You can’t exactly ease into a party with anything from Galactic’s collection. Everything Galactic comes across as after midnight music best suited to causing all of those crazy people who’ve already lost their phones and credit cards, and are on their way to losing their clothes, to lose their minds in the meantime. I’ve recently endorsed any conglomerated piece of musical mayhem by Girl Talk as good stuff to stick in your ears while working out. Galactic has also got to be in that mix.

Have ridiculous amounts of fun being, or pretending to be Irish on Saturday but don’t forget that ridiculous fun doesn’t mean ridiculously stupid and irresponsible. Don’t worry, I’ll play something warm and gentle on Sunday to soothe your throbbing headache.