Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Return of Mudcrutch!

Mudcrutch doesn't sound like a rock group as much as a Rob Zombie horror film. In reality, Mudcrutch is the name of Tom Petty's new band. Well, not so new. Mudcrutch was Petty's first band in the early 70's before the days of The Heartbreakers. Apparently they were quite popular locally during their time together. They got signed to a label and began recording an album in L.A. but it was never released. Petty then broke up the band to start The Heartbreakers bringing only guitarist Mike Campbell with him. Fast-forward 30+ years later......

After Petty finished interviews for the recent "Running Down a Dream" documentary, he decided to call up the old Mudcrutch guys to get the band back together; much to their total surprise. Thus....the return of Mudcrutch. After a few spins through the disc, I admit I was hoping for a more different sound then Petty usually delivers with The Heartbreakers. After all, he plays no guitar on the disc but bass instead. In reality, it sounds like a very good but rushed Heartbreakers disc. That isn't surprising seeing how the current configuration of Mudcrutch features not only Campbell on guitar but also current Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench on keyboards. There are a couple of choice covers (Gram Parsons-Six Days on the Road & The Byrds-Lover of the Bayou) and Mudcrutch at least sounds like Petty breaking out of his comfort zone a bit. The highlight of the disc is the 9 minute, languid guitar epic called "Crystal River". Not only is it the longest song in Petty's cannon, but it's also one of the prettiest. Mudcrutch is a must for any Petty fan, and I guarantee this will sound great cranking out of my speakers this summer. Let's hope Mudcrutch isn't just a one-off thing for Petty, but somewhere he feels he can go to break out of the Heartbreakers formula a bit.

You can hear two of the songs in my Electronic Mixtape posted below and here are a couple of vids to enjoy as well.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Electronic Mix Tape #3

It's that time again. Time for me to share some songs I have been living with lately. This batch includes a couple of tracks from the excellent new (old) Tom Petty project called "Mudcrutch" and some new My Morning Jacket from their much buzzed out disc "Evil Urges". I hope you enjoy some more of the old and new tunes that I'm digging these days!

Side A:

Side B:

Side A
1. Bob Dylan-Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Live, 1975)
2. My Morning Jacket-I'm Amazed
3. The Church-Just For You
4. Howlin' Wolf-Sittin' On Top of the World
5. Patti Smith-Within You Without You
6. Gram Parsons-A Song for You
7. Built to Spill-Conventional Wisdom
8. Ryan Adams-My Love For You Is Real
9. Peter Tosh-Johnny B. Goode (Live)
10. Mudcrutch-Shade Grove

Side B
11. R.E.M.-Laughing
12. Donovan-Barabajagel
13. Iron and Wine-Naked As We Came
14. Lucinda Williams-Real Live Bleeding Fingers
15. Louis Armstrong-On the Sunny Side of the Street
16. The Replacements-I Will Dare
17. Jimi Hendrix Experience-One Rainy Wish
18. The Hold Steady-Chillout Tent
19. Mudcrutch-Orphan of the Storm
20. Bob Mould-I Can't Believe What You're Saying

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Garcia Project

1995 was a rough year in Grateful Dead history. Jerry Garcia's health was in serious decline and so was the health of the Dead scene in general. During 99% of all Dead shows from that year, Jerry seemed present in frail body only. Garcia would forget complete verses and his guitar playing was for the most part, a total shell of his former self. Those who were actually paying attention at Dead shows in 1995 knew the end was near. Jerry Garcia passed away a month to the day of the final Dead show on August 9, 1995.

When Jerry wasn't on the road with the Dead, odds are he was on tour with what I feel was his true love; the Jerry Garcia Band. Listening to the smattering of those JGB shows he was able to play in 1995 prove that the man could still deliver when he wanted to. Thanks to an amazing download project going on over at BT.Etree, the proof is in the tapes. BT Etree member "The Bus" has uploaded what he calls the Jerry Garcia Project; every JGB show played during a specific year. I highly recommend grabbing the 1995 shows, if for no other reason to hear a memento of what Jerry was still capable of towards his end. It was a true revolation for me to hear these. In any case, the Jerry Garcia Project is a extravagance of riches for any Garcia lover; whether your into 1983 or 1990. Grab them while you still can here!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

30 Rock

I admittedly do not watch much TV. As a music geek, I always feel I'd rather be listening to tunes instead of committing time to television. But every once in a while a show comes along that just hooks me in. Good TV can be great (Twin Peeks, The Wire, Cheers, Six Feet Under, Freaks and Geeks, The Sopranos, Lost) and bad TV makes me want to throw my television out a window. Because of this, I usually don't get into a show until after it's been on for a while.

I was in my local library a few weeks ago and came across the DVD set of "30 Rock"-Season 1. I'd read good reviews and loved Tina Fey on SNL's Weekend Update so I though I'd give it a shot. I am SO glad I did. "30 Rock" is like a comedy show from heaven. For those who don't know, "30 Rock" is a fictional behind the scenes look at a weekly NBC comedy series. Tina Fey plays the witty producer (Liz Lemmon), Tracy Morgan plays the shows star (Tracy Jorden), and the absolutely hilarious Alex Baldwin plays NBC "Head of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming" (Jack Donaghy).

The show works so well for me because
A. It's smart
B. It's hilarious
C. Plot lines follow from week to week
4. It has some of the best ensemble acting I have ever seen in a comedy.

Tina Fey has to be the most talented comedy writer/actor working on TV and Alex Baldwin steals every single seen he is in. His character will go down in history as one of television's all time greats. Two of his character's big TV show ideas included a 3 Hour "Salute to Fireworks" (in which the entire city of New York thought they were under a terrorist attack) and "Milf Island".

Do yourself a favor and check out the show if you've missed it. Season 3 has just started but you can watch Season 1 and 2 over at Netfix. You can also watch all of Season 2 at the amazing legal streaming site known as Huku.

Friday, April 18, 2008

R.I.P. Danny Federici

A very sad day today on E-Street. Longtime E-Street Band instrumentalist Danny Federici has passed away after a three-year battle with melanoma. Danny had played with Springsteen in one form or another for 40 years. Bruce has cancelled his next two concerts and I can imagine the band is just devistated.

In Danny's honer, here is a classic 1975 video of him tickling the accordinan on "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)". He will be missed....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Quick One!

My video of the week is one of my favorite covers of all time; My Morning Jacket with Eddie Vedder nailing The Who's mini-opera "A Quick One (While He's Away). Pete, Keith, John, and Roger would be very proud.

Part One

Part Two

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bruce Springsteen with Guests = Awesome!!

It's been about a month since I've had any Springsteen content so here you go. Two killer new videos from the ongoing "Magic" tour. The first is of Bruce with guest guitarist/activist Tom Morello blistering through a tour premiere of "Ghost of Tom Joad" from Anaheim, CA. If this doesn't give you chills, you have no soul.

The second video is Bruce joined by friend Alejandro Escovedo in Dallas to sing Alejandro's new tune "Always a Friend to You". The amazing thing is this song isn't even released yet. It will be on Alejandro's forthcoming disc. This one is worth it just to see Bruce having so much fun.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wasteland of the Free

I just heard an amazing song today about the state of our world. It's called "Wasteland of the Free" by Iris Dement. It sounds like it was written in 2008 but it's actually from 1996, making it even more amazing. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this song will still resonate 50 years from now, ala "Blowing in the Wind".

Give it a spin.

Wasteland of the Free
Iris Dement

We got preachers dealin' in politics and diamond mines
And their speech is growing increasingly unkind
They say they are Christ's disciples --
They don't look like Jesus to me
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got politicians runnin' races on corporate cash
Now don't tell me they don't turn around and kiss them peoples' ass
You may call me old fashioned --
That don't fit my picture of a true democracy
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got CEOs makin' 200 times the worker's pay
And they fight like hell against raisin' the minimum wage
If you don't like it, mister,
They'll ship your job to some Third World country 'cross the sea
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
Where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our problems on the weak ones --
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got kids fighting inner-city wars
And what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
And they say we're the advanced civilization --
That sounds like crap to me
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got high-school kids wearin' Calvin Klein and Guess
Who cannot pass a fifth grade written test
But if you ask them, they can tell you
The name of every crotch on MTV
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We kill for oil, then throw a party when we win
Some guy refuses to fight and we call that the sin
He's standing up for what he believes in --
That sounds pretty damned American to me
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

While we stand gloating in our greatness
Justice is sinking towards the bottom of the sea
And it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the free

Kicking out the Jams with The Black Keys!

Thanks to one of my co-workers, I have a new band to love. That band is The Black Keys. Once again, I realize I am late to the party with great music. These two guys from Akron, Ohio have been cranking out their wicked style of fuzzy blues for years now. I am just sort of diving into their material, but make sure to check out their fantastic new release; "Attack and Release". I can tell you I am addicted to it. This will be on my top 10 of the year for sure and I suspect these guys will be getting much attention this year from critics.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Fab Channel, you can see what I'm talking about in this killer show from Amsterdam, 6-10-2006. PLAY LOUD!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

All Apologies

There are two events that occurred on April 8 that had a profound impact on me. One of them was one of the happiest days of my life, the other was one of the saddest. I was married on April 8, 1995. That was obviously the happy one. One year earlier, artist Kurt Cobain was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound. That one was sad. I was 24 years old on that day and like many other twenty-somethings, was deeply troubled by the news.

Looking back, it seems easy to listen to Kurt's lyrics and hear those songs and say suicide was the obvious conclusion to his story. At the time, I was shocked. I was one of those who felt Kurt was singing FOR the angry, the frustrated, the depressed, the picked on, and the isolated souls in all of us. How could he just give up? I still don't understand it anymore today then I did back in 1994. It does prove that the rage and pain heard in those songs was very real.

After watching the Nirvana "Unplugged" performance, you had the feeling that Kurt was maturing as an artist and the limits were unimaginable. To this day, I can hardly listen to that CD. It is just too damn sad to think "what if". As much as I love the 3 Nirvana studio albums, they sound like a band just getting started. An artist just finding his talents. A year later, my favorite musician in the world (Jerry Garcia) also died. As sad as that day was for many, it was hard for me to be totally depressed by it. Jerry had already given so much. Kurt on the other hand, had barely begun.

There seems to be many teenagers and twenty-somethings who don't "get" Nirvana. They don't understand what the big deal is. I feel sorry for them. I guess coming of age post-Nirvana, you would have no perception of what music was like pre-Nirvana. It's like the people who don't "get" The Beatles. Like any art, you have to have some perception of the history and timeline of when it was created to truly appreciate it. I listen to Kurt and I hear someone who changed the course of popular music without trying to. He gave kids the idea that music could mean something. That it could be a guiding force in their lives. That there was a better alternative to the brain-dead tunes of Def Leopard/Motley Crue/Poison and the like. Post 1991, everyone sounded like Nirvana. Pre-1991, no one did. It happened so fast it is easy to take for granted.

On this day every year, I make sure to spend quality time with my wife. But an April 8 wouldn't be complete for me without spending an hour cranking up some Nirvana as loud as I can stand it. It does the soul good. Unfortunately, Kurt had to bare his far too much...


OK, so a couple of days ago I posted how the ever wacky Ryan Adams had shut down his blog site. I should have known better. After a day of postings by Ryan's computer (no joke), now Adams is back at it. The coolest thing is a new interview with one of my musical heroes; Bob Mould. How these two ever got together is beyond me. All I know is Ryan Adams' blog is must-see computer!

Late Afternoon with DRAdams from Ryan Adams on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

R.E.M. Rocks Colbert!!!

This made my day. Two of my personal favorites getting together!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weekly Thank You's and F-You's

Thank Yous:
PBS "Frontline-Bush's War"
Bruce Springsteen
"I'm Not There" Film and Soundtrack
"30 Rock"
Chelsea Clinton
"Children of Men"-Film
Bob Mould
Jesse Ventura
Baseball Season
The Onion
Mia Farrow
Bill Moyers
Larry David
"Into the Wild"-Film and Soundtrack

Fuck Yous
George Tennant, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, and a special place in hell for Dick Cheney and George W. Bush

"American Idol"
CNN' s Election Center
Chicago Bulls
Mother Nature
Fox's Chris Wallace
Hummer Owners
Courtney Love
Democratic Party-Florida and Michigan
MC Donald's