Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Because Your Father Did

I just started listening to Admiral Fallow's album Boots Met My Face. I see constant pictures and stories in my head while listening, but it has been hard to nail down what it is about these songs that I am reacting to.

Known as Brother Louis Collective until last year, Admiral Fallow is a group from Scotland formed in 2007. They recorded this album in 2009, and "Squealing Pigs was released in Scotland early in 2010. The entire album was re-released as Admiral Fallow a year later.

Click to Enjoy Admiral Fallow - Squealing Pigs

I am at a lake in northern Wisconsin. The lake reflects the gray sky above, and I know that various life forms are awaking and scurrying about in the trees that shroud the lake's edges, but for now, there is no sound. I barely notice the quiet because my head is full, screaming full, of the voices of my family. My evaluations of their life choices. My reluctance to make decisions that will better my own life.

I could be anyone, standing anywhere, but this is who I see when I imagine someone being moved by the song "Squealing Pigs."

That's Sarah Hayes providing counterpart harmonies throughout the album to lead singer/songwriter Louis Abbott's. Hayes also plays the flute in that haunting, vulnerable, I-will-let-you-hear-me-take-breaths way. Double bass, clarinet, guitar, and drums round out the ensemble and deliver a heartfelt, at times melancholy, at other times brutally honest sound to match the album title, which by the way comes from a depiction of a beating Abbott received as a kid.

Compared to Wilco, compared to Decemberists, influenced by Elbow and Springsteen, Admiral Fallow headlined in the UK earlier this year and also enjoyed a slot at the US South By Southwest festival. BBC2 actually did a documentary outlining all of the Scottish bands at this year's festival, entitled "Scotland Rocks at SXSW". The hour-long program also featured The Twilight Sad, Kid Canaveral, and Rachel Sermanni. Check out more about the program here.

As for my earlier reference to Springsteen, you might wonder where on earth a Scottish band that makes indie music might conjure up a Springsteen reference. Well, I hear the influence on "Old Balloons." Check it out...

Click to Enjoy Admiral Fallow - Old Balloons

Currently playing a few gigs here and there in the UK, watch festival schedules as they are announced for the '12 and bet money you will see this name.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blues to lose your blues

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
On Sunday, Kilter wrote a post about being blue and what he does to get out of his funk. He does what I do. Well, I like to add booze to the the mix, but to each his own. When we are bummed out, we turn to music. I'm guessing you do the same, since you are spending your time reading a music blog instead of working/getting off couch/exercising. True to the music nerd he is, Kilter cranks up the Blues to lose his blues. Following that, Film Bird posted a concert review of the funky Warren Haynes Band


These posts reminded me of a bluesy-fun-soul outfit that go by the name of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears; a blues band for OUR generation. 


While working at a pawn shop in Austin, Joe Lewis first picked up the guitar. For the next few years, he performed around Austin at open mic nights and various weekly gigs with his blues trio. The Honeybears formed after Zach Ernst, a member of the University of Texas Music and Entertainment Committee, booked Lewis to open for Little Richard at the University of Texas' annual festival Forty Acres Fest. After gaining local acclaim, the band toured as openers for Spoon and Okkervil River in 2007. The rest, as they say, is history.


The band describes their latest album Scandalous  as "All killer, no filler, the fittingly titled, take-no-prisoners". I'd say it's an accurate description.  The album—like the the two albums before it, was produced by Jim Eno, moonlighting from his main gig as Spoon’s drummer.  It's a tasty stew of Rock, Blues and Funk, well seasoned with a dusting of Punk. 


Joe Lewis
Listening to BJL & The Honeybears is like hearing James Brown or Howlin' Wolf, The Meters, or even, on occasion, Sam Cooke for the very first time. Much like the artists he's influenced by, Lewis writes from his often gritty experiences. The songs of Scandalous speak about bad relationships, money troubles, and the difficult and sometimes so-crazy-it's-funny road of life. You've been there, and it feels good to relive these blues, if only to release them.  


The highway tale of “Mustang Ranch” tells, in hilarious detail, about a drive between Salt Lake City and San Francisco, that detours into a well-known Nevada brothel. Joe says this about the story: 


“It was a long, ridiculous drive, and we got the idea of stopping at the Mustang Ranch. We were like, ‘Let’s go, man—we got nothin’ better to do.’ So we stopped in there, and it was a really odd experience. We figured out that we don’t fit brothels that well, and the girls are all fuckin’ busted. But nobody caught anything. Then we left, and we stopped in Reno at six in the morning. It was a freaky experience. We went into a casino and got a cheap breakfast, and all the burnt-out gamblers were walking the town like zombies out  there in the early morning. There were even weird lights hovering in the sky. That song’s a true story, pretty much.” 


Makes me kinda regret never taking the trip for myself, if not for the stories I might have to share! 





It wouldn't have been so bad to get my...my...haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam glazed...


The song "I'm Gonna Leave You" is an electrifying blues song about getting out of a bad relationship, before it gets out of control. It's a close call, as it always is in those situations.


Click to listen to Black Joe Lewis - I'm Gonna Leave You


There is no shortage of blues and funk bands, and then everyone else is stealing the best of the genres for their own alt/punk/folk/indie hybrids, but Joe Lewis is the real deal. A Blues and Funk sound that's fresh and new, and made for you.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warren Haynes Band

Last night at the Capitol Theater in Madison, WI, Warren Haynes got functified with his latest project, “The Warren Haynes Band”. I’ve seen Warren live with The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead and Gov’t Mule, but I have to say, this may have been my favorite Warren show so far.

The funked up, soulful tone was set for the evening when they opened with the title track from the album, “Man in Motion” CLICK TO PLAY MAN IN MOTION
followed by a shout out to all the protesters with, “River’s Gonna Rise”. CLICK TO PLAY RIVER'S GONNA RISE
And then... the real magic happened when they covered “A Change is Gonna Come”, which literally moved me to tears. To Warren’s right all night was Alecia Chakour who has the voice of an angel. I really lost my shit when the Brooklyn soulstress and the rest of the sextet weaved from “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” into my favorite Warren song, “Soulshine” (Yes, that’s my big mouth in the beginning of the video and forgive my camera work... DP I am not.)



The night continued with one of my favorites off “Man In Motion”, “Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday” CLICK TO PLAY EVERYDAY WILL BE LIKE A HOLIDAY
and ended with a little Skip James “22-20 Blues”, into a couple rounds of Beck’s “I’m a Loser Baby” and wrapped with Sly and the Family Stone’s, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)", with the crowd clapping and singing along as the band sauntered off stage and then sauntered back on to a standing O.

It truly was a perfect show. A little funk, a little soul, a little rock ‘n roll. Some originals, some covers, amazing vocals, amazing musicianship. Ahhh.... doesn’t get any better than that! You still have time to catch WHB live. Tour dates are listed at http://www.warrenhaynes.net/shows
Do it, you won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

tell me a story

Some of the best stories are told through music. It's been a while since I posted so I'd like to tell a little story of my own through songs. Bear with me because this is going to be a loose interpretation.

I've been in a funk for the last month or so. Not the good, James Brown kind of funk; the kind of funk where you don't want to get off the couch. There are lots of reasons but I won't bore you with the details. Let's just say it's time to make some changes, whether I like them or not.

So what do you do when you have the blues? You turn to the things that cheer you up. Blues music is written for that express reason: to sing your blues away. It can also be good to listen to when you're down. My struggles pale in comparison to Leadbelly's. In fact, I've had a pretty cushy life when I put it in that perspective.



And the blues lead to some of classic rock's greatest works. The Rolling Stones were practically a blues cover band when they started out. John Mayall, The Yardbirds, Cream: they all took the blues to another place. And of course, Led Zeppelin took it even somewhere else.

Which takes us to a song that I've had on constant repeat lately. It's not Zeppelin's raucous blues, but it's beautiful and epic. I just sink into it and relax for 8 minutes of bliss.

Click to play Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song

I'll be back in form soon and get back to reviewing new music. For now I'm enjoying the comfort of familiar tunes that lift my spirits.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'll Feel Better When We Get Some Weather

You remembered what I said and you wrote it on the fucking concrete


Washington.

Amazing.

Why are we not hearing this in the States? Megan Washington is a musician from Australia who goes by the name Washington. Washington won two Australian ARIA awards in 2010 for the debut album, I believe you liar. She has called upon various talented musicians to back her up and was able to afford to take them with her to play SXSW in 2010 only because she won cash and airfare in the Vanda and Young songwriting contest for her efforts in "How to tame lions".


Click to Enjoy Washington - How to tame lions


She got a lil money to make some videos, too...



The entire album is really a vivid demonstration of what talented indie girls are supposed to sound like. It's delightful to hear. But my favorite track is the third track, "Cement."

Click to Enjoy Washington - Cement

Here is another video for you... Megan Washington's cover of "Hallelujah" by Mr. Cohen.





Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Musicians On Call


I know I say a lot of things are genius, but this is TRULY GENIUS! I came across the program Musicians On Call and was so thrilled to see this program exists. Working in the health and wellness industry and with oncology patients, I know the importance of complementary medicine and the effect it can have on those who are suffering from illness, are bed ridden and/or home bound.

Hospice Care provides expert physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients and families dealing with life limiting conditions with their goal being to improve quality of life of those no longer responding to treatment. A 2009 survey that surveyed hospices, revealed that they offer at least one complementary therapy. The 3 most common were massage therapy (87%); music therapy (74%); and energy healing (65%). It has been demonstrated that music has a direct effect on people: it lowers blood pressure, helps with pain management, reduces stress and alters mood, assists Alzheimer’s patients in recalling the past, Parkinsonian patients find that the rhythm of music is crucial in helping them with temporal structure and organization. For more info on studies and testimonials go to
http://www.musiciansoncall.org/site/PageNavigator/About/Studies_Testimonials.

MOC offers three different programs. Bedside peformances (Volunteer musicians give bedside performances for patients going room to room), CD Pharmacy (At no fee, MOC provides hospitals with complete CD libraries and personal CD players for patient use. and Project Playback (Gives patients the chance to have their own music recorded and produced.



So please, donate, volunteer, spread the word, change a life.
www.musiciansoncall.org

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stop Me When My Stories Change

I think I know Los Campesinos! because I am familiar with their name. But I believe that is because their name has been on the billing at all the festivals I never make it to. Which ones? I don't know. To quote the effervescent Sarah Palin, "Oh, all of 'em!"
But I think a festival with this seven-piece band on its roster is definitely on my Must Have Soon list. Even if it's in Alaska or practically in Russia.

Los Campesinos! is comprised of seven young indie-poppers, the original few meeting in college across the pond and the rest of the members joining as interests and performances collided. And that's what the music sounds like. But in a good way. It's a jovial marriage of happy melody, marginally annoyed and disaffected lyrics, and garage rock distortion. You've got glockenspiel, violin, keyboards, horns, and everything else required to ignite mania.



I've learned more from toilet walls than I've learned from these words of yours

Click to Enjoy Los Campesinos! - We've Got Your Back

I think we need more post-coital, and less post-rock


Click to Enjoy Los Campesinos! - Straight in at 101

Together for the last few years, the band's current record, Romance is Boring, has been out for over a year. Get to know them well and impress your friends when you pick up their new album when it drops next month: November 15. It will be called Hello Sadness. So don't say I never told you. Pick up their prior works, get this new one, and understand why all the emo kids have "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" tattooed on their chests.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'll be all right alone...

I remember how you make me want to surrender...

Alex Clare - Damn Your Eyes by Alex Clare

 I don't think she deceived me, or made me believe what I wanted to see, but DAMN her eyes. Even looking into those eyes a little after 10 AM Saturday morning, the thought went through my already overloaded mind... Damn, Damn your eyes.

I've surrendered it all to her. I'm saying "I do" with barely a breath left in my lungs, while looking at those beautiful blue eyes of hers.

I first heard the song while anxiously practicing my toast for the wedding only two days away. It stunned me and I had to wonder again, what WAS I about to do? Always those eyes, how could I say no to those eyes. Those eyes would always win over any common sense or logic I might have. Those eyes own me. Now, those eyes belong to me, and I have never been happier!

Alex Clare
After hearing that silky smooth and sexy cover of Etta James, I found myself owned once again. This time by British singer-songwriter Alex Clare. I quickly downloaded the debut album The Lateness of the Hour and discovered  my new favorite artist. Alex, formerly known as Alexander G. Muertos, has a beautifully warm and soulful voice and sings over a tapestry of bass-driven dubstep and dance music. The combo has been done before, most never such a succinct package of work.

It probably helps that the album was produced by Switch and Diplo. Switch is a UK-based record producer that is well known for his DJ sets as well as his songwriting. Diplo is an American DJ from Philadelphia that started a record company and has started working on producing projects for many notable pop stars. Both Switch and Diplo got a major boost in recognition working with and on various M.I.A. tracks; together they created the Grammy nominated track "Paper Planes".



From the dancehall vibe of "Up All Night" to the piano ballad of "I Won't Let You Down" I was literally floored. Curled up in the fetal position, gently rocking myself, and repeating "OMG. OMG!"

Here is the whole album available to stream: The Lateness of the Hour by Alex Clare

Here's a bonus remix track you might totally love also. Alex is in the studio I hear, and I cannot wait to hear what other beautiful music he will release into the world.

Click to play Alex Clare - Too Close (Distance Remix)

So. I'm married. That's why both TLO and I have not been updating the blog as much as we have in the past. We are doing the honeymoon early next year...so you can expect us to get back to work and write a ton of posts until we leave for our dream honeymoon and vacation. Thanks for sticking with us.

I love her... She's my wife now! Amazing!


Let It Be


In a year that some may consider shitty, filled with illness, break ups, lawsuits, car troubles, etc... I’ve been able to find happiness, smile and count my blessings. Continually throughout this year I’ve had to learn to just “Let It Be” and know that everything will be alright. Easier said than done when you’re perhaps... a little Type A. However, I have been blessed to be surrounded by amazing family and friends and their love and support have gotten me through the tough times.

CLICK TO ENJOY BILL WITHERS LET IT BE

Throughout this year “Let It Be” has become my mantra and my favorite Beatles song.

CLICK TO THE ENJOY THE BEATLES LET IT BE

Thank you Mother Mary for your words of wisdom and Mother Carol (My wonderful Mother) who is definitely my rock, my inspiration, my best friend.


"When you have found inner peace, you have no more feeling of need to become. You are content to BE." ~Peace Pilgrim