Monday, March 30, 2009

New Dylan Track!!

It's always a good day when there's a new Bob Dylan song to listen to. With a new studio release set to drop on April 28, his Bobness is offering a free download of the track (it even has a great title)"Beyond Here Lies Nothin".

The song is a sweaty, Tex-Mex boogy featuring Los Lobos' David Hildalgo on accordian. It has a nice, fresh sound which for many fans following Dylan recent output strongly felt he needed.

Enjoy the track below and make sure to buy the new disc next month. As an added bonus, a video from Bob playing my favorite song of his recently. Great to see him playing guitar again too!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Church

One of the most criminally underrated bands of all time has to be Australia's The Church. Most famous for the huge late 80's "hit" Under the Milky Way, these guys have been putting out amazing albums since 1981. The problem is no one knows it! If they had better management, they would be playing to packed houses across the world. As it is now, they have a hard time getting their new material distributed and can't afford to tour outside their own country.

But 2009 sure is a great time to be a Church fan. Not only do members Steve Kilbey and Marty Wilson-Piper have fantastic new solo discs, but The Church also have a brand new release called "Untitled #23" as well as an EP of tracks that didn't make the album. The album's title is a nod to this being their 23'rd studio release. Not many other bands can say that.

They recently played a couple of shows in Australia which from the sound of these videos, went over very well. Here's hoping for a US tour and make sure to catch them if you can. The Church are no 80's nostalgia act, these guys have consistently produced some of the best music from any era.

Enjoy these recent videos of the show from March 15.

Taking Woodstock

So masterful film director Ang Lee is making a movie about how the 1969 "Woodstock Music and Arts Festival" came to be. I honestly can't tell if this looks really good or horrible. Judge for yourself....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cover Me

Sorry I haven't posted here as often as I like. Part of it is my time constraints and part of it is lack of inspiration. Something has to really get me off my butt to motivate me to post. That something was hearing M. Ward's fantastic version of Buddy Holly's "Rave On" this morning on my way to work.

I love cover versions of songs. I should clarify; I love GOOD cover versions of songs. There really is an art to it. If you make them sound just like the original it may come off as "what's the point". If you stray too far from the original, it may come off as disrespectful.

Take Jimi Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower"; arguably the best cover version of all time. It is almost indistinguishable to Bob Dylan's acoustic guitar/harmonica original, but it manages to turn an already powerful song into something else entirely. The fact that Dylan has only performed it in "Hendrix version" style proves that Jimi transformed the song into something the original could not touch.

There are also two types of cover versions which can be equally good. First, you have the cover version of an already popular song. This can be hard to pull off (See The Cure doing Purple Haze). Second, you have the cover version of a song that wasn't popular in the first place. This will get you coolness points depending on which one you choose (See Nirvana's Meat Puppets covers).

So anyway, I've compiled some of my favorite cover versions for your listening pleasure. In many cases, I feel these surpass the originals. I hope you like them as much as I do and make sure to You Tube the original versions if you've never heard them.

Covers Tracklist

1. The Byrds-Mr. Tambourene Man (Bob Dylan)
2. The Clash-Police and Thieves (Junior Murvin)
3. Aimee Mann-The Scientist (Coldplay)
4. Nirvana-The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie)
5. The Band-When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob Dylan)
6. Jerry Garcia and David Grisman-Sitting Here in Limbo (Jimmy Cliff)
7. The Replacements-Black Diamond (Kiss)
8. The Doors-Light My Fire (Jose Feliciano)
9. PJ Harvey-Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan)
10. The Rolling Stones-Just My Imagination.... (The Temptations)
11. Peter Tosh-Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
12. Patti Smith-Within You Without You (The Beatles)
13. Neil Young-Oh Lonesome Me (Don Gibson and Chet Atkins)
14. M. Ward-Rave On (Buddy Holly)
15. Love and Rockets-Ball of Confusion (The Temptations)
16. Levon Helm-The Mountain (Steve Earle)
17. Sufjan Stevens-Ring Them Bells (Bob Dylan)
18. Dinosaur Jr.-Just Like Heaven (The Cure)
19. Uncle Tupelo-Effigy (Credence Clearwater Revival)
20. My Morning Jacket-It Makes No Difference (The Band)
21. Rickie Lee Jones-Show Biz Kids (Steely Dan)
22. The Church-Cortez The Killer (Neil Young)
23. Nina Simone-Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)
24. Bob Dylan-Can't Help Falling in Love (George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, and Luigi Creatore)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Return of Phish

To many music fans, just the name Phish sends shivers of noodling guitar solo horror throughout their bodies. To me the name Phish means completely unique, intricate, amazing musicianship. From 1983-2004 the band found a huge audience playing a complex mix of musical gumbo that sounded like bebop jazz, Frank Zappa, bluegrass,The Grateful Dead, among others. And all the while they sounded totally unique. Nowadays there are 500 "jambands" that sound like Phish but none of them can touch them in terms of composition and shear musicianship.

When the parking lot and backstage party scene got bigger than the music, singer-guitartist Trey Anastasio and the band called it quits. Thousands of hippies and music fans were disappointed, but anyone who heard a lot of Phish shows from 2003-2004 knew something just wasn't right. The only problem I always had with them stopping was that Phish was something unique in this world that the four guys just couldn't come close to without each other. The reality is, the whole of Phish is a lot larger then the sum of its parts (which is true of most great bands).

Fast forward to this weekend March 6-8, 2009. Phish is back with their first shows in 5 years. I always knew they would come back, but I always feared that they wouldn't be able to get back what it requires to play the intricate magic of Phish music. Well after I heard the first 2 minutes of Friday nights opening song (thanks to the free MP3 downloads of this weekend's shows), I realized my fears were unfounded.

Opening with (arguably the band's hardest to play song) "Fluffhead", it sounds like the band never stopped playing together. The band continued to play a 4 hour-plus show that contained so much of the Phish catalog, that I wonder what the heck they are going to play in nights 2 and 3.

Maybe it's the fact that Trey has confessed to being clean and sober, or just the fact that they are really excited to be playing together again, but the shows are sounding as good as I remember them. I, like thousands of other fans are thrilled to have them back.

Phish, Hampton Coliseum. Hampton, Virginia (3/6/2009)
Fluffhead (16:17)
The Divided Sky (14:11)
Chalk Dust Torture (7:28)
Sample in a Jar (6:06)
Stash (12:22)
I Didn't Know (4:03)
The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony> (1:49)
Suzy Greenberg (5:42)
Farmhouse (5:21)
NICU (5:09)
Horn (3:44)
Rift (6:25)
Train Song (3:15)
Water in the Sky (3:59)
The Squirming Coil (7:30)
David Bowie (10:29)

Backwards Down the Number Line (7:09)
Tweezer (12:50)
Taste (9:21)
Possum (8:25)
Theme from the Bottom (8:39)
First Tube (7:19)
Harry Hood (13:54)
Waste (5:35)
You Enjoy Myself (21:28)

Grind (1:58)
Bouncing Around the Room (3:58)
Loving Cup (7:09)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sonic Youth-The Eternal Mash Up

So I am totally excited about the new Sonic Youth album coming out June 9. The band has been one of my favorites since about 1986 and amazingly, some of their best material has been released in the last decade.

Well apparently Newsweek magazine got a sneak preview of the new disc (called The Eternal) and asked the band if they would do a sonic collage of the tracks from it. So, the good news is the band obliged. The result is a two minute tease of new Sonic awesomeness. 2 minutes of new Sonic Youth is still better than most entire albums if you ask me. It will have to do until the inevitable leak in May. Enjoy!