Saturday, July 24, 2010

Disco Strikes Back

But when all is said and done I know you are still the one, You're the only one... (The Black Keys - The Only One)

I lived through the disco era and frankly I wasn't a fan of the polyester suit, the flashing strobes or the off-beat bass line. However I can admit now that there was a few good songs that came out of that peroid (not many). So here we are in 2010 and this is the 3rd year in a row that song with a Disco feel has caught my ear.
In 2008 it was My Morning Jacket's Touch Me I'm Going To Scream part II;

...last year it was U2's Magnificent.

...and now this year The Black Keys The Only One.

This song reminds me of George McCrae's 70 disco hit Rock Your Baby.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New York, New York

Livin’ in a city that never sleeps, My heart keepin’ time to a thousand beats;
Singin’ in languages I don’t speak, Livin’ in a city of immigrants... (Steve Earle - City of Immigrants)

I just got home from visiting New York, New York (what an amazing place). I got to see all the major sites; The Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, The Museum of Natural History, 2 Broadway shows, Central Park, etc...

In Central Park I walked through Strawberry Fields, the area dedicated to John Lennon. According to the Central Park web page, the area was a favorite of John and Yoko who just lived across the street in Dakota Building. This area is now designated as a quiet place in John's memory.

Another place I saw that has Beatles history was the Ed Sullivan Theater. Of course now it is the home to The Late Show with David Letterman, but in February 1964 this was the site of rock and roll history.

Here are a few of my favorite artists paying homage to the city of New York.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer 2010

The theme of this party's the industrial age and you came in dressed like a train wreck... (The Hold Steady - The Weekenders)

I love summertime and summer music. There's just something about listening to music with the window down or the top open rolling down the road. There's some good music out there right now and here is what I'm currently listening to this summer of 2010.

The Hold Steady - Heaven Whenever

The cover of The Hold Steady's 2008 cd Stay Positive was an old looking photo of a drive-in movie theater, an apt cover. Listening to a Hold Steady song is like watching an old grainy movie; Craig Finn's singing is like a narration of a film. The Hold Steady sound is 2 parts Wild & Innocent/Born to Run era E Street Band, 1 part Elvis Costello with a dash of punk attitude.

However, the sound on their latest cd Heaven is Whenever is a bit of a departure. They no longer have the sweeping keyboard sound from Franz Nicolay who departed from the band earlier in the year. The new sound takes them further away from the old E Street Band sound and closer to a guitar dominated sound. The opening song is the fine The Sweet Part of the City, a tale of earlier days of the singer; On The Weekenders the band really hit their stride in the chorus with their great background vocals; the song seems to be about a bad event that kind of ruined a friendship; other winner includes Hurricane J and Our Whole Lives. Heaven is Whenever is solid, but not quite at the level of either 2006's Boys and Girls in America or 2008's Stay Positive.

The Band of Horses - Infinite Arms

The Band of Horses harmony vocal give the Horses their unique sound. They have been building momentum with their first 2 releases 2006's Everything All the Time and 2007's Cease to Begin and with great songs like The Funeral and Is There a Ghost. Now in full gallop the Horses release their major label release on Columbia records Infinite Arms. Their sound is basically the same, but songs are more consistent and even.

The cd begins Factory a song that would sound at ease on the radio, with is classical string arrangement and estranged love story lyrics; Compliments immediately changes the direction with a fast pace rocker; others like NW Apt reminds me a bit of Kings of Leon's Taper Jean Girl; the upbeat Dilly and the country tinged Older have really tight harmonies. Infinite Arms should be on your playlist.

The Black Keys - Brothers

The Black Keys are a blues rock duo from Akron, OH who have been around on the Indie circuit for about 10 years. Their latest release is Brothers a terrific blend of blues, rhythm, old and new school rock.

Brothers opens with Everlasting Life a song that finds it's groove immediately; two terrific songs Next Girl and Tighten Up follow; The Only One is a great tune that strangely brings George McCrae's Rock Your Baby to mind; Sinister Kid is another solid song. Brothers is solid throughout and maybe the cd of the summer.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Sandy the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight, Forcin' a light into all those stoned-out faces left stranded on this warm July... (Bruce Springsteen - 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy))

Happy 4th of July everyone. America is a great country and freedom is an awesome thing. Our music often reflects the mood of the people:

Music as a celebration: Ray Charles - God Bless America; Bruce Springsteen - 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy); Woody Guthrie - This Land is Your Land; Charlie Daniels Band - In America, Chicago - Saturday in the Park; Johnny Cash - Ragged Old Flag; what would a list like this be without The Beach Boys - Surfin' USA

Music as protest: Bob Dylan - With God On Our Side, Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A., John Mellencamp - Face of the Nation; John Mellencamp - Justice and Independence; I could also include Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land here also, because at it's very heart it is a protest song.

Another great Bruce Springsteen song I like to revisit on this day is Indepence Day; a song about a son becoming independent from his parents.