7/10/17: US3 & Herbie Hancock

I was always a big fan of this song. I knew they were using samples from Blue Note recordings, but never bothered to track down the original source material.

 

But then it came and found me. I was listening to the radio, and some Herbie Hancock came on:

 

It’s great to listen to the original and compare it to US3’s interpretation. Both tracks are great, by the way, but right now I’m all about Herbie and his Cantaloupe Island.

 

 

 

Image by Larry Johnson, CC License 2.0

So I was making a song mix for a friend of mine, all stuff from the nineties. I would say “mix tape,” which is obsolete, but I was actually making a CD, which is also obsolete. And then Chris Cornell died.

I hadn’t planned to put any Soundgarden on the mix – I sold my only Soungarden album, Superunknown, for grocery money back during the Lean Times of 2008 – 2013. Nevertheless, that’s a classic album and I love the way they play together.

They played really well together. I never made the effort to see them; I think I missed something pretty special. This is an ongoing problem for me. I keep not seeing bands, and then someone dies and that’s it. Rule of thumb – if you like a band’s album, go see them live!

Audioslave, too. Another really good bunch of players. We lost a terrific musician.

My thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.

An album that did make the mix (and also survived the Lean Times, the Great Purge, the Hurricane, and all sorts of recession-related adventures) is Lucious Jackson’s Natural Ingredients.

I clearly liked the album enough to hang on to it, but don’t remember liking it as much as I do now. I may have been burned out on music a little at the time. I used to work in radio, and listened to as much new music as I could. But these days I’m not inundated with music anymore. I have a chance to step back a little, and revisit albums that I heard but maybe didn’t listen to.


The nineties was when you started seeing women in bands who weren’t just lead singers. Nothing against lead singers – I have been one frequently. But we also play guitar and bass and drums, and produce albums and haul gear.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of very silly conversations with beered-up guys about how I can possibly manage to play the bass without a penis. So I love that now it’s not even an issue.

 

 

Image courtesy of pexels.com

5/1/17: Monday Funday Dance Party

It’s going to be one of those weeks; I can just feel it. The week when you do the thing you need to do.

This is the week when you’ll make that call, find that great job, finish the project and make it awesome. This is the week when you ask out that cute co-worker, sign up for skydiving lessons, or start a rock band (or all three). This is the week when you grab the world by the tater and twist until it does what you want.

With that in mind, let’s listen to some nineties Japanese electronica. Because it is AWESOME.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Elizabeth Walsh

April 4, 2017: Kansanthrax

It’s another one of those cold, gloomy April days when you know spring will never come. Everything’s dank and grey and brown and ick.

On days like this, the best thing to do is make yourself a nice cup of tea or vodka and crank up the Anthrax:

You can tell they love that song; I found it via the Aquarian’s interview with Charlie Benante.

Ebeth fun fact (sort of): I love to compare and analyze different versions of songs. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of U.S. folk music and the different ways it’s been interpreted over the years, but I’m always interested in how one band interprets the work of another.

Like “Carry On My Wayward Son” – Anthrax’s version is very respectful, and it really brings out just how well the guys play.

There’s another cover song they do that I love: Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time.”

I remember when I heard this for the first time. It was at an Anthrax show at Roseland. I didn’t know they covered it, and it was like getting slapped in the face with a wet sock full of awesomeness.

Roseland is a great place to see bands, by the way. Although I’ve got to say I think the shape of the room could bring out the bass too much in a live band. And I say that as a bass player.

But you know what? Sometimes too much bass is not nearly enough. I also saw White Zombie play at Roseland, and there was so much bass that night. Soooo much bass. And it was perfect.

 

 

 

 

Image: Screen Capture from Anthrax’s “Got the Time” video

5/23/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

There. Now you’ll be singing this to yourself all day long. I know I will.

Back in the late 90’s, even jaded grunge enthusiasts had to begrudgingly (be-grungily?) admit how much fun this song is. And for the younger crowd, this was a perfect pop-crush band; three cute brothers, and one for every age range.

Twenty years on, the Hansens aren’t super-huge mega rockstars, but they’re out there playing music, hosting songwriting get-togethers, and starting up a brewery (yes, one beer is called “MmmmHop”). Here’s an article from Vulture on what they’re doing these days:

Hanson on the 20th Birthday of ‘MMMBop’

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to mmmbop my way to the kitchen for some more coffee.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

January 11, 2016: David Bowie

David Bowie died on Sunday at the age of 69.

In an age of macho bullshit rock & roll, he moved fluidly between styles of music, fashion, and taste, while writing great songs and lyrics.

If you haven’t listened to much of Bowie’s music, 1969 – 1983 is recognized as being his “peak” period, but he kept on working literally until the end of his life. The last album dropped a couple of weeks ago.

Here are a few of my favorites, starting with a perfect “Monday Funday Dance Party” song:

My first exposure to Bowie was this album. One of my good friends from high school was (and still is) a huge Bowie fan, and we used to play this a lot.

David Bowie Fun Fact: One of the many cool things Bowie did was introduce Stevie Ray Vaughn to the world on this record. SRV wound up having to leave the “Let’s Dance” tour when his own album began taking off.

One of Bowie’s first singles was the hit “Space Odyssey,” which leaves the hero floating aimlessly in space. This is the sequel, and things have just gone downhill.

“Ashes to Ashes” was released in 1980 and is just dripping with ennui, Weltschmerz, or what you might call “disco hangover.” It’s perfect to listen to when you’re sad and don’t want to feel better.

With Queen. I love how Bowie and Freddie Mercury sing together on this. Bowie is no vocal slouch, but Freddie just had an incredible voice. With that perfect technique and huge vocal range, it would be hard for most rock singers to perform with him and not sound like an amateur.

But Bowie is terrific here. He doesn’t do the dazzling swoops and glides that Freddie does, but he is just as effective a performer. A much better duet than Bowie’s later collaboration with Mick Jagger on “Dancing in the Streets.”

One summer in college, my friend Jen made me a couple of mixtapes. Yeah yeah yeah, cassettes = old people, I’ll be dead sooner than you will, blah blah blah. ANYWAY, One of the tapes was a Bowie mix. It had some great songs on it, including this one.

It’s kind of fun and playful, very melodic, and vaguely threatening; just how I like a song. One of these days I’ll learn how to play it.

I’m really sad that Bowie died; my thoughts are with his loved ones during this time. I’m also very grateful that he made so much great music during the time he was here.

Okay, just one more:

 

 

Image: Nico Martin via Creative Commonshttps://www.flickr.com/photos/nico7martin/

December 30, 2015

Oh, how I love this album.

I bought it because I liked the cover, something that has served me very well in the past. Album art is really important, even now that physical album covers are becoming rare.

It’s a fantastic record. It goes from total noise to neo-country music, and the song arrangements are really inventive. And I wish Santa would bring me a voice like Carla Bozulich for Christmas.

Geraldine Fibbers Fun Fact: Nels Cline plays guitar on this record; he’s been on a ton of projects (including Wilco). Great, creative musician.

There’s a cover of Can’s “You Doo Right” on the album. I’m very picky about my Can covers, and in my opinion you need some serious vocal chops to do this song. When it song breaks down in the middle and then comes back, the singer is really pulling the whole group along.

I like what the Geraldine Fibbers bring to this. It has its similarities to the original, but they really make it their own.

And here’s the original:

I love them both.