Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Bruuuuce!

So the fantastic new Bruce Springsteen album "Wrecking Ball" leaked last week. A longer post is certainly warranted and forthcoming, but this song especially stands out for me right off the bat. Full of biblical imagery, this sounds nothing like any Springsteen song to date, and for me it ranks with his best work.

Prepare to be moved......

Monday, February 27, 2012

The "Real" Purple Rain

Being a teenager in the Mid-1980's, you simply could not escape Prince's "Purple Rain". The songs from the soundtrack were everywhere and because Prince was such a unique and dynamic artist, music fans flocked to the film. Due to the fact that rock stars stopped making movies with themselves starring in them since about the time of 1978's "Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park", no one our age had seen anything quite like it. But as a kid who loved the old Elvis and Beatles movies, "Purple Rain" was right up my alley. With its racial and genre bending script, in 1984 the film seemed almost revolutionary. Watching it 30 years later is a different story. It's corny, the acting is awful, and it's beyond misogynistic. But...there are those songs. The songs that still sounds as fresh and groundbreaking today.

If you know the film well, you certainly will remember the concert scene at the film's climax which included a scorching version of ""Purple Rain". From listening to the soundtrack 8,000,000 times and watching the film countless amounts, I was always under the assumption that song was recorded in the studio, lip synced in the film, with the audience being over-dubbed to create a live effect Boy was I wrong, and the killer proof is below!

The real story is that the basic track you hear in the film were recorded during a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis on August 3, 1983. The song was later cleaned up and used in the film. This amazing video of the original performance contain more drama and excitement then the entire movie, and make it so you will never want or need to watch your old VHS copy again. I can only imagine what the audience thought hearing this epic 13 minute version of "Purple Rain" for the first time.

Even if you only care to hear this song one more time in your live (once you get past the two minute intro), this is MUST SEE rock and roll viewing!

Prince - Purple Rain [Live 1983] by Vilosophe

Monday, February 20, 2012

Song of the Day-"Here She Comes Now"

Today I present to you a wonderful song of longing, in which the two versions are in complete contrast with each other.

The original Velvet Underground version is a tender, plaintive plea for a love that seems to elude. Nirvana's twice as long version starts out just as sweetly, but builds and builds with the sound of a man on the edge of such longing, that he can't live with himself.

Like all great cover versions, I love how one can get completely different feelings from the same song. Hence; the power of music on full display once again!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Dave's Picks" #1: Grateful Dead-May 25, 1977

The Grateful Dead have just started up a new Live Release series called "Dave's Picks", and their first one is a whopper! Most Deadheads love to argue about which year was their best for quality live shows. 1969? 1974? 1989? But I would say this show pulls from the best month in Grateful Dead history; May 1977!

Felling rejuvenated coming off the release of their new studio album "Terripin Station", the band sounds so smooth, so together, yet with the sense of their customary exploration reaching almost a dare I say it; "professional" level of precision. The standout for me with 1977 Grateful Dead music is Jerry Garcia's tone. The mere sound of his guitar in this era just makes me smile from ear to ear all while hanging on ever note.

The show itself doesn't have anything out of the ordinary setlist-wise for this time period of the band, but the playing is anything but ordinary. As the cover art hints at; the Force was strong with them this night. As a jaded Deadhead of 25 years now, it's been a long time since a single show knocked my socks off like this one. The first set is complete high-energy bliss and the entire second set is simply one for the ages. While the newly released multi-track CD sounds eons better then this audience tape, you can listen to the classic "old-school" recording below.

As Garcia gleefully howls in the 13 minute epic "He's Gone"; Nothing left to do but Smile, Smile Smile indeed!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 2/14/12!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Sinead O'Conner

For me, putting the needle on Sinead O'Connor's record "The Lion and the Cobra" in 1987 was one of those rare, stunning musical experiences that only happens a handful of times in a lifetime. For 45 minutes, a room of transfixed music fans couldn't say a word; simply blown away by was coming out of the speakers. We were stunned to be listening to that magical voice, who sounded like she couldn't possibly exist amongst the popular noise of the Bon Jovi, Motley Crew, and George Michael.

Well, it certainly has been a captivating and often volatile 25 year career for Sinead. But through her highly public professional and personal ups and downs, the true artistry in her music has always shown through front and center. And this month, Sinead is back and sounding better then ever on her aptly titled new album; "How About I Be Me (and you be you)".

To my ears, the first single certainly sounds like it can proudly stand next to Sinead's best work. And that is a blessing for all who are lucky to be wowed by her....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2012 Band to Watch-"Alabama Shakes"

I may be the last music blog on the planet to write about these guys, but after reading my 100'th blurb about them, I couldn't NOT give them a listen. This Athens, Alabama outfit is sure garnering a lot of high profile attention considering they only have a 4 track E.P. and some in-studio sessions out there. Their debut full length is still 2 months from release but my initial thoughts are that it can't come soon enough! Most of the excitement is simply due to front woman Brittany Howard's insanely soulful and powerful voice. Combine that with a band that sounds like it was pulled from a 1972 Muscle Shoals recording session with Al Green, and you have one the sweetest sounding acts I've heard in many moons.

If you haven't heard of them yet, I'm thinking soon you wont have a choice!

Listen to the 4 track E.P. here!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Return of the Queen!

I know this isn't a popular sentiment in the world of music criticism, but I am an unabashed Madonna fan. I would contend that with the exception of Prince, she is the most influential artist of the last 30 years. It may be a generational thing for the kids today to understand, but if you were even conscious in the 1980's, you could not ignore the impact Madonna had on music, attitudes, and pop culture. Just looking at her impact on music alone, for better or worse; there would be no Lady Gaga, M.I.A., Florence Welch, Britney Spears, Beyonce, or Taylor Swift without her.

Well after a long absence, Madonna is coming back with a vengeance (that I assume will make many wish she wasn't). With a new album and tour on the horizon, she will have her biggest audience in 2 decades tomorrow when she rocks the Super Bowl halftime show And on the heels of that, she's just dropped the first video from the record; a "return to form" jam with some infectious cheerleading help from M.I.A. and Nicki Minoj. Sounding like Blondie after a night of too much Cristal, this is a self-congratulatory track no one else could pull off but Madonna. And while she has long lost the relevance and artistic creativity that produced her best work, for this fan, it's simply just great to have her back!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Protect Downtown Athens - Patterson Hood and the Downtown 13

If you don't know who the Athens, GA based Drive-By Truckers are by now, you need to. For over 17 years, they have been one of the best bands in the land, singing songs about life, love, criminals, the joy of family, and the blessings of rock and roll.

This week, chief songwriter Patterson Hood released a new song recorded with some friends (including Mike Mills, formally of R.E.M.) in honor of a cause to stop a new downtown development project in his hometown of Athens. The song is truley touching and a wonderful reminder of the potencial power of music. The music world needs more folks like Patterson!


As some of y'all might know, an out of town developer is attempting to build a huge mixed use development right next door to our beautiful downtown Athens. The location is a prime piece of land nestled up between our historic downtown and our river, greenway and planned Rail to Trails development.

I'm not going to get into the ramifications of all of that here, except to say it presents a tremendous set of missed opportunities and poses a host of negative implications for our beloved downtown and the local businesses that reside there.

I have written a new song about my love for this town that has given me so much and the threat that I see to our very way of life here. That might sound overly-dramatic, but I travel around this country a lot and I can tell you that what we have here is very unique and can not be taken for granted. Many of our friends who travel every year to Athens to see our annual 40 Watt / Nuci's Space Homecoming can vouch for what a special place this is.

I recorded the song at The 40 Watt Club during our weekend there backed by members of DBT. Then some very special friends from our music community pitched in and came to Chase Park Transduction to contribute some magic. 13 players, ranging from over 30 years of Athens Music history joined in and our friend Jason Thrasher filmed it.

Patterson Hood, Athens GA-2012