Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Holidays from Yo La Tengo and Ira Glass!

A most pleasent surprise today when I found this awesomly bizzare release of a new song and video from Yo La Tengo, Ira Glass, and Eugene Mirman called "Toymageddon". The press release reads "Toymageddon is the first single off the upcoming album 2776, which brings comedians and musicians together on a journey through the first millennium of American history."

I'm in!

Monday, December 2, 2013

R.I.P. Junior Murvin

Reggae legend and author of one of the most important songs of all time in "Police and Thieves", Junior Murvin has died at the age of 64. Most famously covered by The Clash, even if Junior never wrote another song besides this one, he'd still be one of the most important figures in music. Crank it up!!



Monday, November 4, 2013

Song of the Day: Jeff Tweedy-“Ballad of the Opening Band”

Early last year, former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap sufferered a massive stroke which his health insurence did not cover for long term care. Enter in a ragtag mix of fantastic musicians who recorded covers of Slim's tunes to sell to raise funds to help with the bills. A double album of those tracks featuring the likes of Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and John Doe will be released next week on New West Records with all profits going to Slim and his family.

Here's a version of Slim's "Ballad of the Opening Band" wonderfully covered by Jeff Tweedy and friends. Please make sure to buy the album to support the cause!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Linger On...."

This is beyond words. So beautiful!

Laurie Anderson, widow of the late Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lou Reed, has written an obituary in The East Hampton Star remembering her husband and their life in Long Island:

To our neighbors: What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us. Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.

Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it! Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature.

He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air. Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life.

Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us. —
Laurie Anderson his loving wife and eternal friend

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Sha La La La Man....."

What can be said about the genius of Lou Reed that hasn't already been said. Admittedly, the only song of his I knew until I was around 18 years old was "Walk on the Wild Side" which always sounded so alien to me on the radio. There was nothing else like it on the dial and it always left me feeling like I was being let into a naughty other world for three minutes. It exhilarated me and made me feel like I'd gotten away with something that the adults couldn't know about. Then at 18, and like everyone who first heard it, my mind was simply exploded by "The Velvet Underground & Nico" album. Nothing before or after sounded anything like it. It was like reading the best literature with the perfect soundtrack to a world you never knew existed.

In relation to how important their writing was to the history of rock and roll, only Bob Dylan compares to Lou for me. If Dylan in the early-mid 60's paved to way for writing about something REAL in popular music, Lou made it ok to write about the darkness of the human condition, all while also showing you a little bit of the light. He made it ok for the light and dark to coexist and made my naive 18 year old brain realize that's how life is man! With no one paving the way before him, Lou was a poetic punk with a heart filled with as much joy as there was sorrow. His writing, attitude, and guitar playing was so influential you could spend a month drawing a Six Degrees of Musical Separation map from Lou to almost anyone worthy of listening to. Younger music fans for the rest of time will be blessed for Lou's writing, whether they know it or not. I would say he will be missed, but the wonderful thing is that he really wont be.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Arcade Fire-Here Comes the Night Time

With a new album titled "Reflektor" due out October 29'th, last week the band Arcade Fire stormed onto our TV's with a high profile guest spot on the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live". There, they played the new-wavy title track as well as another new tune "Afterlife". While the new songs and appearance were fantastic even by Arcade Fire standards, the band didn't stop there. What followed the SNL broadcast was one of the most bizarre and greatest short music films I've ever seen.

After "SNL", the band aired the brilliant twenty minute concert film "Here Comes the Night Time". Directed by Roman Coppola and featuring cameos by Bono, James Franco, Michael Cera, and Zach Galifianakis, the piece reminded me of being a kid and eagerly staying up late to catch a new David Bowie video when yes, TV used to actually air music programing. Clearly influenced by the classic and influential 70's and 80's music videos Bowie produced, the video has a vibe to it that makes you feel as if you're a fly on the wall at the hippest party on Earth. The new songs here are simply killer and like the rest of Arcade Fire's catalog; also clearly and cleverly influenced by Bowie. The new album is poised to be another brilliant entry into the band's already amazing catalog.

I've watched this thing about 10 times and can't get enough. Bravo, thank you, and welcome back Arcade Fire!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Shall be Released

This post finds me sitting in an ICU in Florida watching my father fight for his life. I fully realize people go through this kind of thing every day, but I haven't before. The range of emotion is simply staggering; fear, anger, denial, acceptance, grief, you fucking name it. But the most frustrating emotion that I can't wrap my head around is helplessness. The feeling that there's nothing I can do to make him better or ease his suffering is beyond anything I've ever felt.

Last night as sat in a quiet room with the exception of the steady purr of pumps and machines, I fell back on the one constant source of serenity in my life in all times good and bad; MUSIC! I wanted my dad to hear all of his favorite songs in the hope it would lift him up and inspire him to fight or give him some peace if he has no fight left.

All my love of music started with my parents and especially my dad. He was a guy who in the 1970s had an album collection in the thousands featuring everything from Charles Mingus to Boston. Genres didn't matter to him and guilty pleasures didn't exist. So I sat for hours last night and today, playing DJ to a one person audience who I couldn't tell was listening but I knew couldn't turn the channel. Music always has the ability to transport you to another time or place. It can remind you of the past or make you think about an alternate future. So many of my memories of my dad revolved around music. He took me to my first and second concerts (Neil Diamond-Jazz Singer tour/KISS-Destroyer tour) when I was 7 years old. I hoped the music would reach him now the way I know it did throughout the rest of his life. I played all of his favorites; Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, The Band, etc. As Dylan was singing to us the bliss of dancing beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, I asked my dad if he could hear it. He opened his eyes, squeezed my hand, and shook his head up and down ever so gently. I don't know how much the music is helping him, but as I sit and listen to these songs with him, I know they are helping me.