Weekend Wrap Up

Jun 24
Posted by admin Filed in Disco, Soul Music

– I’ve listened to Langhorne Slim once a day for the last three days. I’m very excited to see him at The Tractor in early August. If you haven’t given it a listen, get on it already. I hear someone different – he’s his own man, he’s an original don’t get me wrong – every time I cue it up. Where I am currently with his voice is: equal parts Tom Waits, and Cat Stevens with a teaspoon of Ray LaMontagne. That’s a recipe worth trying, don’t ya’ think?

– I’m going to start assembling my Top 50 songs, as I mentioned last night. I’ll just add a few as I think of ’em and in a few weeks, I’ll get around to trying to rank them. I’m guessing that the stuff that comes to my mind first is going to be getting low numbers, and up high on the list. Here are the first several that come to mind:

Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
Rearview Mirror – Pearl Jam
Nessun Dorma – yeah sure, I’ll take a Pavarotti version
Boogie On Reggae Woman – Stevie Wonder
Ghosts – The Head and the Heart
Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
Racing in the Street – Bruce Springsteen
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding – Elvis Costello
Make You Feel My Love – Adele
Breed – Nirvana
Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem

– I set foot in a roller rink yesterday for the first time in about 35 years. Actually, that’s a slightly false as I’ve played some roller hockey in rinks within that span of time, but for the sake of going to a rink for a public session, yesterday was a first over the last 35 years. I went to the rink yesterday to watch my cousin’s roller derby bout and stuck around to chat with my cuz afterwards as the public skate began. The fist song that came on was, I’m positive on the playlist 35 years ago. It’s kind of nice when you can sort of accidentally get taken away from your daily path and end up in a place and time that has almost been forgotten.

“Car Wash” – Rose Royce (1976)

– DAVE

“Kaua’i Beauty” – Gabby Pahinui (1973)

Nov 27
Posted by admin Filed in Hawaiian

I went to the new movie, The Descendants last night and loved it. For starters, I’m a huge George Clooney fan and basically think that he has never made a bad movie. The movie is a family drama set in Hawaii with two major story lines being that: George’s character’s (Matt King) wife has just suffered a traumatic brain injury in a boating accident; and that King is the trustee for a family trust that is about to enjoy a massive pay day as a result of the sale of a huge parcel of pristine land that has been in King’s family for over one hundred years. That’s all I’ll say about the plot as I hate reading much more than what I’ve wrote before seeing a movie, and hopefully some of you who haven’t seen it will check it out soon.

What I will say is that the movie did a good job of portraying present day Hawaii through the places that it showed (undisturbed, green, lush nature; suburbs, squatter’s shacks, golf courses, Hanalei Bay), the diverse mix of people, and sensitivity towards issues that have adversely effected native Hawaiians. The family drama that uneasily unfolds concerning the comatose matriarch of the King family was perfectly played out mostly because of all of the imperfections. The conversations tended towards herky jerky and labored in the kind of way that you would expect from the dysfunctional family that the viewer can quickly ascertain the Kings to be. There never seemed to be a cliche or a moment of eloquence to save Matt King, his daughters, or his in-laws from possibly offending or upsetting each other. In other words, it played out the way that real life difficult conversations happen between normal, everyday people. George Clooney and Hawaii are the selling points to get people to buy a ticket for this movie but when the lights go down, and the show starts, the two stars ditch a lot of the charm and panoramic postcard shots and dive into the real life difficulties that exist behind the veil of even the prettiest of faces and places.

The soundtrack is composed entirely of Hawaiian music with several of the players being legends of the Hawaiian and steel or slack key guitar genre. I got a nice surprise whenI realized tonight in reading the song lists that the final song (Ka Mele Oku U Pu Uwai) was an original song by my late uncle Sol Hoopii who originally reccorded it in 1930. Gabby Pahinui was a Hawaiian steel guitar legend who died more that 30 years ago. Kaua’i is intoxicating in its beauty and simplicity. If you’re looking for a movie this weekend set in a lush, green environment – no, I’m not talking Forks, Washington – give The Descendants a try.

– DAVE

“Word Play” – A Tribe Called Quest – “Beats, Rhymes, and Life” (1996)

Aug 23
Posted by admin Filed in Hip Hop

I kind of foretold this one as it seems that I’ve been mentioning A Tribe Called Quest a couple of times a week lately. I really love these guys. I love ’em because the flow is so fresh and clear and isn’t smothered in neighborhood shaking bass, and over done samples. I love ’em because they devote so many words to telling us their deep thoughts and not what they just bought. They definitely throw down, and cut other crews down to size but it never sounds like disrespect just for the sake of disrespect. I mean if somebody’s earned the shit talk that’s aimed in his or her direction, that’s one thing but A Tribe Called Quest never comes off like they’re ripping into somebody just because they don’t have anything better to do.

The top of the hip hop heap for me has always belonged to Public Enemy but the more I wear out my Tribe Called Quest albums (can you wear out downloads), the more I think that I’m settling for co-favorites… for now.

– DAVE

“Smoke Without Fire” – Duffy (2009)

Jun 12
Posted by admin Filed in UK

I watched the movie “An Education” last night and as soon as it was over the first thing that I said was, “do people really do that?” Do people of comfortable means who are capable of mind and body to accomplish their dreams and ambitions really throw themselves and/or their offspring to articulate, dapper wolves in sheep’s clothing. Nature was at work when 16 year old Jenny and her cello got swept off their feet by the ever so charming David but Jenny didn’t have the advantage of a father there to steer her clear of the possible perils of taking up with a man twice her age. Not that she didn’t have a father, he was right there front and center, the whole time dispensing fatherly advice at every opportunity but when the real parenting and protecting of his litter needed to be done, pops couldn’t do his duty as he was now smitten and had his own not so secret crush on David, and was willing to let his daughter forgo her education and independence so that he could acquire a dreamy son in-law. So, do people really do that? I suppose the answer is, yes, more that one would think.

24 hours later, I haven’t decided if I like or dislike the movie more than my initial impression. Initially, I would give it about a B-, and I think I’ll stick with that. However, I loved the song that played from the final scene and through the credits. “Smoke Without Fire” was created specifically for the movie’s soundtrack. It’s Dufffy, of course. She has that patented soulful, UK “It” girl sound that comes through in all of her music but maybe because this song comes at the end of a movie set in the later 60’s, I felt a little Ronnie Spector being channeled through Duffy’s old soul style.

– DAVE

Portlandia

Mar 7
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands

We went to Portland for the weekend so I wanted to add something from one of the Rose City’s fine collection of musical artists (Blitzen Trapper, The Decemberists, Elliott Smith, The Shins, etc.) but the first person I thought of was Chuck Palanhiuk. Yeah, I know, he’s an author, but he’s got a nice little pop culture niche seeing as how he wrote Fight Club. And, he’s a little or a lot wacked, and he’s a native son of the fine state of Washington. But, back to that little Fight Club thing.

“Where Is My Mind?” – Pixies – “Surfer Rosa” (1988)

“Where Is My Mind?” is classic Pixies and of course the exiting music to an awesome movie. The high pitched “Oooohhh ooohhhhhhh,” vocal lead in, Black Francis’s stop followed by a nano-second of rewind, the acoustic guitar layer, the blaring electric hook over the verses all add up to a crazy good rock song. Oh damn, I almost forgot the lyrical sentiment which is the focal point of the song.

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

That’s where my mind is and how it manages to come up with a song from a band out of New England when thinking of Portland, Oregon.

– DAVE

“Try A Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding – “Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul” (1966)

Nov 19
Posted by admin Filed in Soul Music

Okay, I admit it – I spend a lot of time with public admittance on this blog, my first concert was David Cassidy, I like Lady Gaga, I’ve caved to “new” country (maybe I should changes this thing to “Admit Something Daily”, or “Guilty Pleasure Daily” – I took today off in order to use up some of my vacation surplus, and…. I watched “Pretty in Pink.” Riveting stuff, right? 45 year old man spends day off watching “Pretty in Pink” and eating fried Spam and rice for lunch. And, while I’m at it, I might as well admit that I’ve seen “Pretty in Pink” about ten times. Every time I see “Two and A Half Men”, and it seems like that show is on ALL THE FREAKIN” TIME, all I can think of when I see Alan is Duckie.

There’s some perfect 80’s music in that movie, of course, highlighted by OMD’s “If You Leave.” This Otis Redding tune is off the chain, bluesy soul at its best. The slow build, little snippets of alternating piano, organ, and a nice chunky guitar lick before Redding really cranks it up at the end makes this a really fulfilling three minutes. And every time I hear this son, I see Duckie serenading Andie.

– DAVE