Monthly Archives: November 2011

New Input: Sea and Cake – One Bedroom

The Sea and Cake
Cover of The Sea and Cake

I am always amazed at how viable the indie music scene has become. I learned about a new indie rock group today, Sea and Cake. The CD I am currently listening to is titled, One Bedroom on Thrill Jockey Records

In their extensive 20 year career the band has bridged the gap between Brazilian music of the late 1960’s, African influenced guitar lines, and independent pop. A sound that is entirely distinct, centered around the delicate guitar interplay of Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt, driven by the versatile rhythms of bassist Eric Claridge and drummer John McEntire

I think I’m going to like this band. 🙂

One Bedroom, Thrill 116
Tracklist:
1) Four Corners
2) Left Side Clouded
3) Hotel Tell
4) Le Baron
5) Shoulder Length
6) One Bedroom
7) Interiors
8) Mr. F
9) Try Nothing
10) Sound & Vision
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Tom Waits – Bad As Me

I’ve met my fair share of famous musicians these past 40+ years at concerts. One of the most unique meetings I ever had was with Tom Waits. I was writing for a free music paper in the early 80’s. I made arrangements with Tom Wait’s manager to interview Tom Waits before his appearance at Toad’s Place in New Haven. I was good friends with the owner of Toad’s Place in those days. I was allowed to interview Tom Waits in the club before his sound check.

I found Tom Waits, initially to be a foreboding figure. I subsequently learned he was charming, gruff, articulate and quite a kick to hang out with. I recall he wore rumpled clothes and smoked Chesterfield filterless cigarettes. His hands, particularly his fingernails were stained brown from chain smoking. He smoked throughout the interview but the second hand smoke didn’t bother me.

The first thing he said to me when he exhaled smoke rings was, “So, you work for one of those street rags?.”

I said proudly, “Yes. I do.”

He just growled. I don’t recall the rest of our conversation, unfortunately. He had several stage props that he used for dramatic effect that night. One song, Ol 55 was set against the backdrop of a PepsiCo gas pump. Tom Waits wore a leather bomber jacket while he leaned against the gas pump, crooning . He had this cool stage trick where someone dropped green metalic flakes from above him while he twirled an umbrella under them that sent the sparks streaming through the night. Simple props but a dimensional, dramatic result.

I noticed that Tom Waits has a a brand new recording, Bad As Me. I picked up a digital edition and have just started listening to it. Once I got past that gravel voice of his I find the songs, humorous and filled with pathos.

Give Bad As Me a listen and let me know your thoughts about one of our most prolific and revered singer/songwriters.

Santana at Montreux on PBS next month

It is encouraging to know that we will have more live Santana concert footage to savor soon. I have not seen Santana live in concert since September 3, 2010 in Las Vegas. I hope they tour the East Coast of the U.S. in 2012. We have seen Santana live 16 times thus far 🙂

Santana Live at Montreux 2011 will be airing in December 2011 on most PBS stations. Check your local listings at http://www.pbs.org/tvschedules/ as times may vary. This is a one hour edit of a three-hour show that will be made available on DVD in early 2012. Stay tuned for further details and tune in to PBS!

Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin kicked off the 45th Montreux Festival honoring their 40 year ago collaboration, Love, Devotion and Surrender.

Santana and the Montreux Jazz Festival have a rich, colorful heritage with each other over the decades. Claude Nobs and Carlos Santana have a bond that has produced several unique Santana concert experiences. One of those events was filmed in 2004 for DVD and is entitled Hymns for Peace. It was an all-star celebration to celebrate peace.

Joining the regular Santana band were Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ravi Coltrane, John McLaughlin and Idrissa Diop with further guest appearances through the night from Angelique Kidjo, Barbara Morrison, Patti Austin, Sylver Sharp, Steve Winwood and Nile Roders.

R.E.M. – Leaving New York

I purchased R.E.M.‘s latest double CD, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011.

I don’t consider this a repackaging of their music or a larger greatest hits collection. I a liken it to an opportunity to get acquainted with songs I don’t know and to reconnect to songs I have come to treasure over the years. The song that I reconnect with first of the 40 songs chosen by Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Michael Mills is “Leaving New York“. It was recorded for their CD, Around The Sun. Around the Sun is my second favorite album by R.E.M. after Automatic for the People.

“Leaving New York” is an eloquent song. You can feel the heart of Michael Stipe and his love affair for New York City.

The lyrics are so memorable, I especially love the vocal over vocal technique with the chorus being sung underneath the lyrics like a rhyme. It’s a beautiful haunting effect.

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York, never easy
I saw the light fading out

Chorus:

I told you, forever
I love you, forever
I told you, I love you
I love you, forever
I told you, forever
You never, you never
You told me forever

Occupy This Album, Music Unites Us

In the spirit of  solidarity I proudly share that music artists unite for a major common cause once more. This time it is for the worthy cause of Occupy and Occupy Wall Street. Some legendary names in music and art are voicing their support for the Occupy movement, with a music compilation record called Occupy This Album. 

 

 

 

The environmentally-friendly digital release will feature David Crosby, Graham NashJackson Browne, Devo, Third Eye Blind, Ya Lo Tengo, Lloyd Cole, Pete Seeger, The Guthrie Family,  Toots and the Maytals, and filmmaker/activist Michael Moore, the producers said in a press release. Michael Moore singing, this is a first 😉

The album was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and will “provide an anthem and rallying cry for the protesters involved in the uprising,” producers say.

Profile picture of Jason Samel

https://www.facebook.com/MusicForOccupy

Producers of the album say all the proceeds will benefit the Occupy movement. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Occupy Wall Street General Fund. The other half of money generated will be distributed evenly among the major occupations across the country, according to Jason Samel of Music for Occupy, who is producing the album.  They hope to raise anywhere from $1-3 million dollars with this recording.

I plan to buy a copy and I hope you will too!!!

“The Occupation movement is really the voice of the people, it’s an idea that’s been a long time coming. I fully support their non-violent protests against a system that is carefully crafted in favor of the rich one percent,” Nash is quoted as saying.

Bill Graham’s 81st Birthday Bash

I wish we lived in the San Francisco area. I would attend this concert at The Fillmore. Bill Graham’s legacy as a concert promoter and an activist/humanitarian can still be felt with great power and light. I am thankful that the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation keeps his vision alive.

I’ll be there in spirit. I am going to dig down deep and make a contribution to the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation. It’s a worthy cause to support.

You can get this Bill Graham Bobblehead doll for any donation of $50 or more. Click  here to give.

Bill Graham Bobblehead

Talking Heads: Chronology Deluxe (2011)

The Talking Heads: Chronology Deluxe (2011) DVD is now available.

Beautifully put-together with classic performances and interviews, the viewer gets to see the transition from the early three-piece days (singer/songwriter/guitarist David Byrne, bassistTina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz in 1975) to a quartet (keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison joined in 1977), on into an ensemble of multi-cultural proportions. The deluxe edition of the release will include a 48-page hard-cover book with photographs and an essay by the late Lester Bangs, originally published as a review of Fear Of Music for the Village Voice in 1979. The essay is the complete and unexpurgated version, available here for the first time.

TRACK LISTING:

  • 1) Mic Test (1976)
  • 2) With Our Love (1975)
  • 3) I’m Not In Love (1975)
  • 4) Psycho Killer (1975)
  • 5) Intros Montage (1976)
  • 6) The Girls Want To Be With The Girls (1976)
  • 7) Don’t Worry About The Government (1978)
  • 8) Dressing room fan footage: Found A Job (1978)
  • 9) Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (1978)
  • 10) Warning Sign (1978)
  • 11) Artists Only (1979)
  • 12) Take Me To The River (1979)
  • 13) Crosseyed And Painless (1980)
  • 14) Animals (1980)
  • 15) Love → Building On Fire (1982)
  • 16) Cities (1982)
  • 17) Burning Down The House (1983)
  • 18) Life During Wartime (2002)

Though it may not seem it, this little project took years to pull together. I had seen much of this footage, and realized there might be an interesting video timeline of the various manifestations Talking Heads went through. But, tracking down all of the owners of these bits of footage and followed by getting the rights of the material was another matter. Some of the early clips were obviously not commercial—the sound and image can be a little rough in those—but you can see the extremely stripped down version of the band playing at CBGB in those days. These bits and pieces of footage coming together into a cohesive chronology morphed into something very different and impossible to predict.

This was very much a live band—at least until the late 80s. The initial recordings emerged out of what we played live, what worked in that context and how we refined our skills playing together. For a lot of musicians in the digital era this is not always the case. These days, the record often comes first and then how it is staged comes later. The Lester Bangs essay is also very much part of this time. Other than some very specific references, it holds up amazingly well as a passionate and idiosyncratic piece of writing. There’s a reason a lot of writers continue to hold him up as a role model (though I hope they bypass some of the substance abuse). Though his piece is in the form of a record review, it is in truth a beautiful existential rant—and I am proud to be in some way associated with it. Come to think of it, maybe many of these songs are partly something else in disguise as well?

With each iteration of Chronology, you can pretty plainly see what came before as well as a hint of what was to come—all easy to spot in retrospect, of course. There are some fashion don’ts as well as some prescient looks—but what you really get is a sense of how tight this band was. Of course, there is more footage to be found from these sources but I thought to myself, “How many versions of the same songs can one view?” I think the sampler approach gives the viewer a sense of the musical and performative changes we were going through, but without the possibly tedious repetition.

David Byrne
NYC

Occupy Musicians Joins The Movement!

On Monday November 21, 2011 an important voice, music has been added to the Occupy Wall Street and global Occupy movements.

Their public statement of support.

We, the undersigned musicians and all who will join us, support Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement around the world.

The press release can be found here:

tom morello occupy wall street

The Web site is designed as a petition and has been signed by many musicians. I expect the list to grow extensively and for music to be actively contributed to the Occupy campaigns.

The Occupy Musicians project is a mirror of the very successful work going on at Occupy Writers (http://occupywriters.com/) and Occupy Film Makers (http://www.occupyfilmmakers.com/), with a similar statement. Inspired by, and with help from Ginny Suss and Vanessa Wruble at the website Okay Player, they have launched the website Occupymusicians.com as a public statement of support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, and all Occupy movements.
In addition to the public statement of support, OccupyMusicians will serve as a resource:
• to facilitate performances at Occupy spaces and events
• provide links to media wishing to interview Occupy-supporting musicians
• host testimony and other writings of musicians for why they both are and support the 99 percent
• host embedded media to Occupy-related songs and music videos
• network musicians to Occupy locations and Occupy fund raisers
Twitter at @weoccupymusic

Bob Seger – Ultimate Hits: Rock And Roll Never Forgets

Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Image via Wikipedia

It drops today. Bob Seger’s ultimate hits package. The recording that Bob Seger didn’t want to do but Capitol Records convinced him otherwise to release. Hard to imagine Capitol Records would repackage Bob Seger greatest hits again, when Greatest Hits Vol, 1 has sold 10 million copies…

Oh well there is some cool stuff on here, mono Ramblin Gamblin Man being my main interest. His best song ever to me. How I discovered Bob Seger in 1968. Still a fan today 43 years later.

 

Ultimate Hits: Rock And Roll Never Forgets also includes the Detroit rocker’s two #1 radio singles from this year, “Downtown Train” and his current #1 Classic Rock hit, “Hey Hey Hey Hey (Going Back To Birmingham).”

We saw Bob Seger live in concert this past April in Atlantic City. He and the Silver Bullet Band rocked the house that night.

Should have my copy tomorrow from Amazon. I’ll let you know what I think when I have given it a quality listen.

You won’t find this recording on Spotify….

DISC ONE:

1. Old Time Rock And Roll
2. Hollywood Nights
3. Night Moves
4. Mainstreet
5. Roll Me Away
6. Turn The Page
7. Her Strut
8. Still The Same
9. You’ll Accomp’ny Me
10. We’ve Got Tonight
11. Like A Rock
12. Fire Lake
13 .Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You

DISC TWO: 

1. Rock And Roll Never Forgets
2. Against The Wind
3. Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
4. The Fire Down Below
5. Travelin’ Man (Live)
6. Beautiful Loser (Live)
7. Shakedown
8. Shame On The Moon
9. Katmandu
10. Little Drummer Boy
11. Wait For Me
12. Hey Hey Hey Hey (Going Back To Birmingham)
13. Downtown Train