Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ryan Adams At It Again...

Ok, as much as I love Ryan Adams's music, someone needs to restrict his computer privileges. Currently on tour opening for Oasis (weird, eh?), Ryan apparently spends his free time responding to negative reviews by fans posting to his blog site. I must admit, I am a sucker for reading these rants. I think it's great that he feels so strongly about his art that he needs to respond to the critical fans. It's also a bit obsessive/compulsive but who else does that crap?

I have posted a link to my favorite recent Ryan rant/post called Here's an example of why it is bothersome to make art with conviction.... which name checks such artists as Fugazi, Phil Lesh, and Bob Mould as well as explains his love of making music.

Oh yeah, he also has written and performed some new songs which you can check out below (in not so hot quality). The tracks need some work and knowing Ryan, they will never make it to an album, but they're fun to hear regardless. I love how one song might sounds like a Smiths outtake and another like Gram Parson's jamming with The Grateful Dead. Only from Ryan Adams....





"Like Yesterday"

"Crossed-Out Name"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fear and Loathing

This past weekend I watched an excellent new documentary about my favorite author; Hunter S. Thompson. As much as I loved hearing Hunter's words and seeing him on film, I also found it very depressing. Hunter's work was always a beacon of hope and a rallying cry against the hidden (and not so hidden) evils in our society. Whether he was fighting against Richard Nixon or fighting for George McGovern, Hunter made you laugh as much as he made you angry.

When Hunter S. Thompson took his own life in 2005, I was shocked and upset. I felt betrayed. I felt like he left us when we needed him the most. The movie makes it evident that Hunter was devastated when our country inexplicably re-elected George W. Bush to the White House in 2004. Just like I was. I could have used some words of wisdom from Hunter at that time. I strongly feel like Hunter simply gave up because he had seen the America he loved make the wrong decisions time and time again. He couldn't live with it. He did have major health issues, but I do not feel that was what made him pull the trigger that day.

As we find ourselves on the brink of electing the first African-American president in our county's history, I can see Hunter down there looking up, smoking a joint, and giving us the Gonzo Fist!

I found one of the last great pieces of writing Hunter did and I share it with you below. Written on September 12, 2001, this reminds me of why I miss Hunter so much. Thank goodness we have all the great books and articles to get us through the dark days.

Hunter S. Thompson, September 12, 2001
Fear & Loathing in America

It was just after dawn in Woody Creek, Colo., when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday morning, and as usual I was writing about sports. But not for long. Football suddenly seemed irrelevant, compared to the scenes of destruction and utter devastation coming out of New York on TV.

Even ESPN was broadcasting war news. It was the worst disaster in the history of the United States, including Pearl Harbor, the San Francisco earthquake and probably the Battle of Antietam in 1862, when 23,000 were slaughtered in one day.

The Battle of the World Trade Center lasted about 99 minutes and cost 20,000 lives in two hours (according to unofficial estimates as of midnight Tuesday). The final numbers, including those from the supposedly impregnable Pentagon, across the Potomac River from Washington, likely will be higher. Anything that kills 300 trained firefighters in two hours is a world-class disaster.

And it was not even Bombs that caused this massive damage. No nuclear missiles were launched from any foreign soil, no enemy bombers flew over New York and Washington to rain death on innocent Americans. No. It was four commercial jetliners. They were the first flights of the day from American and United Airlines, piloted by skilled and loyal U.S. citizens, and there was nothing suspicious about them when they took off from Newark, N.J., and Dulles in D.C. and Logan in Boston on routine cross-country flights to the West Coast with fully-loaded fuel tanks -- which would soon explode on impact and utterly destroy the world-famous Twin Towers of downtown Manhattan's World Trade Center. Boom! Boom! Just like that.

The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now -- with somebody -- and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.
It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. Osama bin Laden may be a primitive "figurehead" -- or even dead, for all we know -- but whoever put those All-American jet planes loaded with All-American fuel into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did it with chilling precision and accuracy. The second one was a dead-on bullseye. Straight into the middle of the skyscraper.

Nothing -- even George Bush's $350 billion "Star Wars" missile defense system -- could have prevented Tuesday's attack, and it cost next to nothing to pull off. Fewer than 20 unarmed Suicide soldiers from some apparently primitive country somewhere on the other side of the world took out the World Trade Center and half the Pentagon with three quick and costless strikes on one day. The efficiency of it was terrifying.

We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them. This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed -- for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won't hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.

Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job -- armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.
OK. It is 24 hours later now, and we are not getting much information about the Five Ws of this thing. The numbers out of the Pentagon are baffling, as if Military Censorship has already been imposed on the media. It is ominous. The only news on TV comes from weeping victims and ignorant speculators.

The lid is on. Loose Lips Sink Ships. Don't say anything that might give aid to The Enemy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New (Old) Dylan-Dreamin' of You

So over at Bob they are offering a free download from the upcoming Bootleg Series Vol. 8 release, "Tell Tale Signs". I've only listened to it about 20 times today.

This cut called "Dreamin' of You" was left off of "Time Out of Mind", which just proves that Dylan's leftovers are better than most artist's major releases. Dylan took bits and pieces of this for the track "Standing in the Doorway" but I may actually like this one better.

If your too lazy to download it yourself, I have posted it here for your listening pleasure.

Bob Dylan-Dreamin' of You

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Live Rock Albums of All Time?

I'm a sucker for music lists, even if most of them are completely worthless. Most best-of lists seems to list sub-par albums/bands just to be provocative or radical. I just read a great list over here of the top 25 Live albums of all time. It's a good list; featuring many that I wouldn't have thought of, but of course it's missing many of the best.

For your enjoyment (and mine), here is a Top 15 list of my favorites. Until there are live releases from Uncle Tupelo or Sonic Youth, this list is it. IMO, a great live album should not only consist of a great performance, but also show a side of the artist/band that you cannot get from their studio albums. Otherwise, what's the point other than a money grab (see numerous Rolling Stones releases).

(Because there are so many great live discs from the world of Soul, Bluegrass, Jazz, and Blues; this list will stick to only Rock and Roll)

15. Santana - Lotus

Not officially available in the United States until the early 1990's, this trippy document of Santana's 1973 tour of Japan almost belongs in the Jazz category. At this point in Carlos's career, his music was sounding more like the Miles Davis fusion bands of the time then a rock and roll outfit. Then again, Santana was never a typical rock and roll outfit. This amazing double- disc ride is full of killer instrumental jams that prove Carlos Santana truly is a guitar god. His guitar playing throughout is unlike anyone else on the planet; shocking, beautiful, and scary all at the same time. Those that only know Santana from the pop-tacular "Supernatural" disc will be in for the shock of their lives when they hit play on this baby.

14. Wilco-Kicking Telivision

By the time this disc was recorded during 3 nights in Chicago in 2005, Jeff Tweedy had been through the ringer. He had survived drug addiction, the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot saga, and the firing/hiring of his lead guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist. I would imagine the guy had something to prove as you can tell from listening to this great set. This was the first Wilco recording with the addition of guitarist extraordinaire Nels Cline and if you hadn't seen Wilco live lately, this disc must have come as a big shock to hear. The band and songs sound completely different then Wilco had in the past. Remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy comes out of the house in black and white into Oz and everything changes to color? This disc is the sound of Wilco walking into Oz.

13. Phish-A Live One

Yeah, I know. Phish. You either love them or they bore you to tears. But love them or hate them, there are few bands that can play live music like these guys. I put this one on here because it was my first induction into the bizzare world of Phish's music. There are hundred's of better documents of Phish live than this available in bootleg circles, but for officially released live documentation of their jammy greatness; this is just "sick" (as the kids say). It has it all; long jams (Tweezer, Stash) and the short poppy stuff (Bouncing Around the Room, Gumbo). Plus, it was recorded during the 1994 tour which for many Phans was the band at their peak. Listening to this great collection, I would agree.

12. Bauhaus-Press Eject and Give Me The Tape

If The Cure were Goth music's Beatles, then Bauhaus were The Stones. This single CD live set is proof that the key to Bauhaus wasn't just the eyeliner and black capes, but the amazingly brave and intricate music they made. Combine that with Peter Murphy's Bowie-meets-Dracula vocals, and you have one of the most underrated bands of all time. What surprises me most listening to this album is stripped of their studio effects and layered sound, Bauhaus actually sound more intense. Goth music mostly turned into formula by the mid-80's, but this is the perfect soundtrack to a time when the music really sounded brave and scary. No one was better at that than Bauhaus.

11. Rush-Exit Stage Left

Yeah, indie rock snobs you read this right. Freaking Rush! Come on lighten up and take a hit. The members of Rush are some of the best rock musicians on the planet and this disc documents them at the peak of their powers. I was 12 years old when this was released and it blew my little impressionable brain out of my ears. It still stands as the best document of Rush's greatness.
"YYZ" bitches!

10. Bob Marley and The Wailers-Babalon by Bus

I know I said I would stick to rock and roll, but Bob Marley is one of those few artists who's music transcends genres. Recorded in Europe in 1978, the audience is almost as exciting as the music. Bob was hitting the peak of his powers at this time and this killer set captures it to perfection. The setlist is great and this incarnation of The Wailers is on fire. If I had to own only one Marley disc, this would be the one. And that is saying something....

9. The Velvet Underground-Live 1969
While this isn't a document of the band during their best era (1967-1968), this is must have for any rock and roll fan. By the time this was recorded, VU had lost Lou Reed foil John Cale and the stunning chanteuse Nico. In place of their early material's eerie strangeness was a full blown twin guitar attack on the senses. While not blowing the audience away with power, the band sounds like they're trying to sing them to sleep with the wonderful ballads"Femme Fatal" and "I'll be Your Mirror. Recorded on a crappy tape machine feed directly from the venue's sound system, this set will certainly not please any audiophiles but don't let that stop you from basking in the brilliant noise.

8. The Grateful Dead-Europe '72
Picking one live Dead set is usually like picking your favorite kind of wine. It depends on the mood and your listening situation. "Europe 72" has it all however. First of all, it was recorded in 1972. The discussion could end there. 1972 was the best year for The Dead in terms of show-to-show quality ratio. Secondly, this set was recorded during the ridiculously fantastic Europe tour, which is the pinnacle of the band's touring life for many Deadheads. Add to all this the fact that it was the only place the non-bootleg community could hear new Dead classics like "Ramble On Rose", "Jack Straw", "He's Gone", and "Tennessee Jed" and you have yourself a keeper. As an owner of over 1000 dead shows, since this is a mix compilation of different shows I tend to not play it much. But for people who just want a great commercially released document into what The Dead were all about, this is the one to own.

7. Husker Du-The Living End

Recorded on the band's final tour in 1987, this is as perfect a live document one could want from one of the loudest and best bands ever. While I personally wish it contained more material from 1987's perfect "Warehouse: Stories and Songs" album, I can't complain about any live Husker Du release. The sound here is so loud, up front, and in your face that you feel fatigued sitting there listening to it. I'm sure that was the idea. For those who missed the small window of opportunity to see Husker Du live and for those who were lucky enough to, this disc is a pure treasure.

6. Neil Young-Live at Massey Hall, 1971

This 17 song treasure chest recorded in Neil's home turf of Canada may not top "Live Rust" as the fan favorite live release, but to me
this is much more special. For one, it features a full solo-acoustic Young show in pristine quality recorded before he was a household name. Young had yet to release the "Harvest" cd, but this set features many of the songs that would wind up there. The crowd treats them as the instant classics they would become. While listening to this, you feel as if you are listening to a truly magical night. And isn't that what great live discs are for?

5. The Band-Rock of Ages
"Rock of Ages" is not just notable for being the last great album by The Band, but it's also one of the greatest live discs by any band. Recorded on New Year's Eve in 1971, the set captures The Band at the end of a tour with their musicianship in top form. As great as their 1976 masterpiece "The Last Waltz" is, this is The Band without the pomp and circumstance that marked that gig. Featuring a horn section with arrangements by the great Allen Toussaint, this is as close to a perfect live album as they come. We all know how great their first two studio discs were, but "Rock of Ages" takes those versions and rocks them up and down. Make sure to get the newer released Deluxe Edition which features the 5 song encore with Bob Dylan making a perfect set that much more essential.

4. The Who-Isle of White Festival, 1970
The Who's "Live at Leeds" gets all the praise, but this unearthed treasure released in 1996 is the better set. For one, it contains a complete version of their masterpiece "Tommy" and it also contains three then-unreleased tracks from the aborted Lifehouse project ("Water", "Naked Eye", "I Don't Know Myself"). If you wanted to know what all the fuss was about with The Who, this is the one to crank up. If you already love The Who, this is essential. It may not sound as pretty as "Live at Leeds", but this is The Who in all it's glory; warts and all.

3. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band-Hammersmith Odeon: London 1975
This first officially released complete Springsteen show could not be a better example of how the E Street band got their reputation as the greatest live act on the planet. Recorded during Bruce's first ever tour of Europe, this 2006 release sounds absolutely fantastic. Bruce had something to prove (living up to all the media hype) and you can tell from listening that he knew it. It also features a Bruce fan's wet-dream setlist including a 17 minute blowout of "Kitty's Back". This set needs to be heard by any lover of rock and roll, and owned by any casual Springsteen fan.

2. Nirvana-Unplugged in New York
I remember first hearing that Nirvana was going to be on "MTV Unplugged" and thinking "huh?". Who knew how transcendent the show would actually be? As a huge Nirvana fan at the time, nothing in their repertoire prepared us for what we heard when the show aired. Stripped of all the distortion, Kurt Cobain showed he could be as tender and he was pained. Add the bizarre covers (Bowie, Leadbelly, Meat Puppets, The Vaselines), a great selection of Nirvana tracks, the fact that this was Kurt Cobain's last artistic gift to us, and you have one of the most intense and unique live albums of all time.

1. Bob Dylan-Live 1966
What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? This concert was legendary well before Sony officially released it in 1998. You have CD 1: Bob Dylan performing simply amazing solo, acoustic versions of all new material. The beauty of these versions and the words themselves just take you away to another world. Disc One alone would make my number 1 pick but then you have CD2: Very loud electric rockers with The Hawks (AKA The Band) backing him up. Of course this show is famous for the guy who yells "JUDAS" at Bob during the electric set. While I can imagine what a shock it was to hear Dylan this way at the time; listening to this set in amazing sound quality after all these years, you can actually hear the sound of modern music changing forever. Thanks Bob!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Largest Record Collection in the World

No, not mine unfortunatly. I just watched this and I now need a new keyboard due to all the drool. Maybe a group of us can pony up the money and share the collection. Who's with me?!

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals-1/29/2008

As a huge fan of Ryan Adams, I realize that his live performances can range from frustrating to marvelous. Here is one of the marvelous ones. This show is from the end of Ryan's "Easy Tiger" tour earlier this year in Santa Cruz, CA. I love this particular show because it's short on Ryan's known in-between song ramblings and also short on material from the mediocre "Easy Tiger" album. What's great is how Ryan and his great band The Cardinals can reinterpret his material live. If you were ever on the fence about Ryan Adams as a live performer, do yourself a favor and crank this show up nice and loud. Especially the killer rock version of the "Love is Hell" quiet stunner, "I See Monsters"!

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals
The Catalyst
Santa Cruz, California

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good Riddence!

As a Chicago Bears fan living in the bowels of Wisconsin, these images made my day. Brett Favre in a N.J. Jets hat and Jersey??!! Oh happy day...

Newport Folk Festival 2008

The 2008 Newport Folk Festival ended last weekend, but thanks to the wonderful you can now listen to many of the sets. The impressive lineup featured sets by Jakob Dylan, Steve Earle, Jim James (of My Morning Jacket, She & Him, Gillian Welch, Trey Anastasio, Calexico, Brandi Carlile, Cowboy Junkies, Levon Helm, Stephen and Damian Marley, and Willy Mason.

I'm currently enjoying the Gillian Welch set and the Steve Earle set is a must hear. Enjoy all the audible goodness here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wilco Rock Wrigley Field!

Proving that Wilco has reached heights I never thought possible, Tweedy and the crew sang the 7'th inning stretch at Sunday's Cubs game. Jeff Tweedy not only was interviewed after the song, he also had the honer of throwing out the first pitch before the game. Being from Chicago and loving Wilco I was thrilled and mystified at the same time by this news. WGN even cranked a bit of the non-album track "Let's Not Get Carried Away" at the end.

Watch my world's collide below....Go Cubs!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wilco Lollapalooza Webcast!

With the entire band sporting killer modern "Nudie" suits, Wilco rocked Lollapalooza last night featuring a wonderfully varied setlist. Thanks to the magic of the AT&T Lollapalooza webcast and You Tube, I bring you the entire show here in great quality. The highlights were many, but make sure to watch the new song called "One Wing". If the song is an indication of what the new album will bring, I could not be happier.

Enjoy the videos!

Wilco-Lollapalooza:Chicago IL. August 2, 2008
01 "Misunderstood"

02 "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"

03 "You Are My Face"

04 "Impossible Germany"

05 "It's Just That Simple"

06 "Stage Banter"
07 "Handshake Drugs"

08 "Pot Kettle Black"

09 "One Wing" (Non-Webcast Quality)

10 "Spiders (Kidsmoke)"

11 "A Shot In The Arm"

12 "Jesus, Etc."

13 "Hate It Here"

14 "Can't Stand It"

15 "Walken"

16 "Monday"

17 "Outtasite (Outta Mind)"

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Jerry!

Today would have been Jerry Garcia's 66th birthday and I think we all know he would have celebrated by playing music of some sort on stage. I am celebrating by listing to this killer Grateful Dead show from his 31st birthday which took place on August 1, 1973 in New Jersey.

The highlights are many, but in particular listen to the gorgeous "Bird Song" and the totally epic "Dark Star-> El Paso-> Eyes Of The World-> Morning Dew". Make sure to hide the cat during the particularly trippy "Dark Star". Enjoy!

Grateful Dead:Roosevelt Stadium, 1973-08-01
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